Quarter of nine. I bought pumpkin pie ice cream at the store, but no drinks. I grew tired of insomnia from the caffeine. I feel kind of tired today. This afternoon I have Erin for physical therapy. I leave the house after two o’clock. It rained all night again, and now it’s just cloudy. On my walk to and from the market I encountered nobody except one old man with white hair wearing earmuffs, or maybe headphones. We passed each other without a word. I also had the store pretty much to myself… Aesop just had his chicken and rice dog food. He doesn’t complain about the monotony of flavors, but I’m considering a trip to Grocery Outlet for some variety. Things are getting stagnant. To avoid getting upset, I won’t call my sister this week. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round, but sometimes I can’t tolerate bigots. Her concept of what is orderly I don’t share… Now I hear “Love Is the Drug” by Roxy Music. I want to pick up my Precision Bass and make people dance around the world. Maybe someday this will be more than just a dream, and British people will love what they hear. Until then, I’ll keep practicing and waiting out the pandemic.
Quarter of four.
I finally restrung my white bass with the new flats. The old ones were given to me by Kate nine years ago. I think it’s time to throw them away, along with my memories of our relationship. All during our friendship I drank too much, and that altered my mind and judgment. I’ll have to form new associations with my Dell computer, though that takes time. The last couple of weeks have been very confusing to me, just because it’s an election year and the seat of government is up for grabs again. I have a Hegelian streak in my thinking, which may or may not be delusional. Also, I listened to Big Generator by Yes a while back, one of their more political albums. “Moving to the left / Moving to the right / Big generator / Lives out of sight.” This really takes me back to 1987, when my friends still believed in my big dreams. Today, my dreams are smaller and more modest. I’m not even sure what my dreams are. The vision has sort of left me, so now I’m just getting satisfaction where I can. It hasn’t been a very good week for me.
Quarter of five. I feel very tired. Time for something to eat and then a nap. I hope my sleep isn’t plagued by nightmares. I don’t take any drugs anymore that provide the reassurance that everything is all right. Things are what they are, without modification of perception. It takes more courage to live this way.
Noon hour. FedEx just brought my new flatwound strings earlier than expected. I’m going to save them for a while, but they will probably go on my Mexican Fender. I hope I can play with the church, at least. Maybe I’ll email Pastor about that today. I feel like the ultimate geek because no one wants to play music with me.
Quarter after six. Feelings of shame lead me to do regrettable things. The opposite of shame is pride, and pride, rather than a sin, is indispensable to a guy’s wellbeing. Being rejected by the drummer this morning with no explanation made my pride implode. I can be okay one moment and then the next be thrown into a vortex of depression. If no musician wants to play with me, would it help me to know that I’m too good for him? “The better you become, the fewer the people you’ll have to play with.” A music teacher told me this truism in 1998, and now I’ve fulfilled the prophecy. I don’t even want to play bad music like I once did 20 years ago. I can laugh at rock and roll’s absurdity today, whereas then it gave me delusions of demons. The medication changed all that. Currently I feel I want to do something serious with music. The same teacher told me that I’d be a perfect candidate for music school. Said I could major in composition and play any instrument I wanted. I didn’t pursue it because my illness was not under control. But how about now? Could Eduardo introduce me to some people at the school of music?
Four twenty five. I continue to be more aware of Aesop’s discomfort. I suppose I’m more empathetic than I used to be. We need to fix the problem of his boredom and inactivity… The food pantry is a go tomorrow morning. Speaking of feeding the community, this morning I remembered a cruel thing my brother bragged about doing to a panhandler some years ago. The panhandler had a dog, so Jeff went inside the store and bought dog food for the dog and nothing for the man to eat. At McDonalds another time, Jeff threw a cheeseburger to a beggar’s dog. My brother is an unkind bastard. I hope someday he pays for his cruelty to me and everyone else he has mistreated. Actually, that might be happening as it is. His rheumatoid arthritis is extremely painful. He has boozed himself into neuropathy and amnesia. Looking over the span of his life, his fate has been rather an instructive one. As a young student he was a nice guy; but he became corrupted by the career he chose. It was all for the almighty dollar. I suppose most families have someone like my brother. Ambitious and driven to make a pile of money. Well, his devotion to Mammon has consumed his soul. There’s nothing left of the nice young student. I would pity him if I could, but in his case, I’m fresh out of pity.
No thoughts to record, so maybe writing will bring them out. Band practice was good for me, though the guys didn’t say much about it. Ron is fighting off a cold. Mike seemed to have something on his mind. We went for just two hours. I felt that my gear delivered for me today. You can do amazing things with a 100 dollar bass guitar. Ron’s keyboards were purchased at thrift stores. And Mike has owned the same Tama drum kit since 1988. I don’t know what their expectations are for this band, for rock and roll. Perhaps mine are a bit ambitious. The sooner we can get out and gig, the better. Things might develop for me, though it’s better not to look too much to the horizon. We should probably discuss our goals in music. I want to be a professional musician, so I’m looking for a way to get my foot in the door. It would be cool if we got ourselves a steady gig someplace in town. Work up a following. If the other guys are driven like I am, then we ought to get somewhere. Partly it depends on what kind of music scene Eugene has to offer. Ron describes it as a place of hippies and rednecks. Pretty accurate. I’ve been in bands with both… I guess I’m feeling restless to get the show on the road. I drank away most of my life, and now, sober, I’m ready to be serious with music and writing.
I wonder if the mail can come twice in one day? My vitamins didn’t arrive as promised, yet the tracking page still says today by nine o’clock. I’ll just keep an eye on it…
My parents’ marriage was a failure, mostly. I don’t know what Dad was looking for in a wife, except for maybe a mother figure. Mom married him for his handsome looks. They only had alcohol in common, but after I was born, they couldn’t be wanton bacchants as they would’ve liked. My existence kept them honest. It was quite strange, thinking about it now, that they ever made a long term relationship out of something so superficial. I don’t know what their plan would’ve been had I not been born. They might have just gone on dissipating their lives away together. Nothing meaningful ever would’ve happened in their relationship; nothing of any depth and truth. Certainly not love.
Out of us three, the only love that existed was between me and Mom. She pinned her hopes on me as I grew up. But even that sort of backfired for Mom when I fell ill at 24 years old. She had tried to raise me to be something formidable, a famous star in something creative… But who’s to say that can’t still come to fruition? My mother didn’t live to see it happen, yet I continue to try to fulfill her dreams for me. And I may still fall short of her expectations, which could’ve been unrealistic, a bar too high to jump. If I were like my sister, I would just say screw it and settle for mediocrity. And there’s nothing wrong with doing that. I don’t know how my life will end up since beginning to recover from my demons. How much improvement can I hope for? Until then, I will blog and keep writing diligently, assiduously every day, and keep pursuing music as far as it goes. I guess I do the best I can, which won’t be settling for mediocre…
I’d forgotten that Mom got to see me be a local disco star before she passed away. This ought to have been enough to satisfy her. She’s gone now, and her spirit should be at peace, though my own still struggles with the drive for perfection she instilled in me during my childhood. Maybe it would be okay to relax, to put away the horse whip, the spurs that I alone apply anymore. This is a problem I’ll be wrestling with for at least another year, as my recovery progresses.
I’d forgotten what a celebrity Poe was in his own time. My mother knew that about his life, and somehow the expectation of fame devolved upon me when I was still fifteen. If it didn’t originate with her, then I put the pressure on myself. There’s a psychological reason for my revival of interest in Poe, something yet unclear. But it coincides with my efforts in music, which lately have intensified. The question now on my mind is, What if I fail? What if obscurity is my doom? Who will love me, if not the faceless crowd crammed into the concert hall? The fact is that no one plans to be famous, or if they do, few realize the dream. The people in my youth who believed I would be the next John Lennon were as deluded as I was. What recognition, what love from other people, can I settle for that isn’t world renown? How did my obsession get started? I feel the importance of this question of fame at the same time I make another effort at this elusive and quixotic goal.
I perceived early that my parents had a marriage of convenience, with no deep love for each other. My mother married my dad for someone to depend on financially. It was what everyone else did, and it was all governed by Hollywood: the booze, the cigarettes, the busty women and war hero men. I remember how when I was four years old we went to the drive in theater to see Patton and Midway. I couldn’t see over the car seat, and anyway couldn’t have followed the action, so I just sat and suffered through the haze of their cigarette smoke. So this was life then? Intelligent people did this? My mom was used to willfully shutting down her brain— in accordance with Marilyn Monroe. She had no better role models, unfortunately. Occasionally I saw a flash of brilliance in her eyes. But her interest in anything worthwhile was never reinforced by her milieu. Thus she lived vicariously through my education, which she could do as long as the material was literal and not abstract. She couldn’t comprehend figurative language or anything philosophical, though her psychological insight was very keen. With encouragement, Mom could’ve been something great. But as it is, I got to know her, and I’ve been able to flesh out her dreams at least somewhat. I will keep trying to realize her wishes for herself and for me into the 21st Century.
Midnight hour. Slept for three hours and then took my Vraylar. I hear the lullaby section of The Firebird in my head. It is beautiful, the way it ends and then the piece builds and transitions into the finale… Some people can live most of their lives with never a change of conviction. I’m not one of them. Changes come about by thinking rather than just existing. My Romantic and religious phase is mostly over with. Heidi said something off the wall about the ghost hunter on television. He proves the existence of spirits by means of some detection machine. Heidi thought it was scientific, but didn’t know when I asked her how the machine worked. Her mind always comes back to spiritual things. It doesn’t bother her that such things can’t be proven true or false; she just believes them. That would be hard for me. Without verifiability, what are we really talking about? It seems to me that we’d be having an empty conversation. At best, we would be tandem dreaming about impossible fluff. If the fluff served a purpose, then it would be in some sense true, according to Jamesian pragmatism. But I could never see how an essential lie could help anyone. The rock band Yes sang, “Dreams are said to blossom courage constant to the soul…” Still, dreams can’t be taken for literal truth. Can a strong and persistent desire change the fabric of reality? Human beings used to only dream of being able to fly. Then came Kitty Hawk and Cape Canaveral. The fluff of dreams is the stuff of invention. Edgar Poe imagined balloon travel to the moon. In 1969, Americans stuck their flag up there. It took about 130 years, but humankind realized the dream. Thus dreaming is useful for more than just poetry. It programs our consciousness for getting things done.
Six thirty. Jeff is still jealous regarding his mother. It’s the strangest thing I ever heard of. Polly only calls me when her son is not around. Usually only lovers act like that; it’s called sexual jealousy. If I’m not mistaken, Jeff’s hang up with his mother could influence his sexuality in a gay direction. Polly is consciously blind to the little family romance. She participates in and indulges this “relationship.” She doesn’t realize that mother son incest is the worst taboo in the world. Polly needs to get a life of her own and leave her son alone. My own mother was over assertive with me as well, resulting in an emotional disaster. What is wrong with the women in my family? Why the dominance over their sons? The family system is a screwed up matriarchy, a network of strong women and effeminate men. And that’s the point I hate about Polly and my deceased mother. It’s just backwards from normal. Or anyway, it doesn’t work for me, being a man trapped in a web of masculine women…
The reason I like Sartre is because he champions the condition and rights of the individual without reference to a person’s family or any social context. The individual is an end in himself. I will to be an existential hero in the tradition of Sartre, and in turn of Don Quixote in the Putnam translation. “I know who I am and who I may be, if I choose.” Words to live by. Individual freedom is worth fighting for, perhaps the only worthwhile endeavor. Is it too much to dream of? The impossible dream…