Last Word on Birthday

Yes, a birthday today. The occasion brings to mind how I came to exist, or rather the one who bore me: I mean my mother of course. I tried to believe what they say in phenomenology, that I somehow determine my own being, but this is hyperbole or a just plain lie. So instead of this philosophy I moved back to Lucretius with his “nothing can be made from nothing.” Common sense says that every human is born by woman into the world; everybody has a mother. After a while, all of this reasoning becomes extraneous and illegitimate, but the problem still bugs me at an emotional level, or I still grieve for my mom unconsciously. Meanwhile I’m kind of forgetting what she was like the more time goes by, so it feels more mysterious. I think a lot of knowledge depends on what we can remember. I know some people don’t remember very much of anything for very long, so it’s easier for them to postulate nonsense stuff. It’s like the ones who claim the moon is made of cheese or the discoveries of nasa never happened.

Anyway, it is no leap of faith to believe I was born into this world by a woman named Gloria M— who married a man, Robert Graden, and so on and on. Again, my thinking is pretty flaky and ridiculous, like someone who’s read too much intellectual tripe that goes to his head. Probably the field of phenomenology is all bogus and a brainwashing waste of time.

Maybe philosophy is a thing that makes you feel better in times of adversity or pain? We use it for consolation. Or I should say not we but I. It can be a defense mechanism against my emotions— and right now my feelings are probably pretty difficult to sort out. I’ve pushed them down underground to be unaware of them.

Now I’ve turned my birthday into a problem rather than a cause for celebration and joy 🥹. If I did remember my mother better, then maybe I’d still be drinking heavily to blot it out.

But it’s been an okay day all in all. The morning sunshine was transformed to rain this afternoon and it continues even now. As I write, darkness is falling and the sky goes midnight blue. My neighbors across the street turned on Christmas lights one more time. I’m keeping my tree up till after tomorrow. Gloria was here and took me to Bi Mart to get food for Aesop. And I’m thinking of scrapping the kit bass I put together a few years ago. Maybe I’ll give up music entirely depending on what happens this year. The longer I live, the more I feel like the project of life is solitary and totally up to me. And maybe this is the prerogative I should have had for my whole life.

Maybe I really did have it but I didn’t choose it until now.


I Was Born Tomorrow

Eight ten.

I feel good today for a couple of reasons. The first is that Gloria is coming to work this morning and I’ll have some company. The second is my birthday tomorrow, which I hadn’t really thought about until now. Usually around my birthday I consider the zodiac and my identity according to this old structure. But this time may be different somehow. Perhaps my birthday is not so significant, except for the fact that it’s when I came into existence. Another thing is the idea of willing your own existence as opposed to being born from your mother. The memories of my mother keep fading with the passing of time, so I feel that much more independent and like a free agent in the world. Thus the zodiac is one more piece of clutter to discard and be rid of: one more determining factor I don’t need in my life. I’d much rather be the one to determine my essence than be passively assigned my qualities by the planets and their corresponding myths. This will be a philosophical year for me, and I don’t care if philosophy is unpopular or misunderstood. It might be the year that I leave WordPress and find something new to do with my time. The only fate is what proceeds from my choices from moment to moment. Everything is up to me. 

Old Nick

Six twenty five.

After nine o’clock last night I got home from a trip to Springfield to see the Festival Carolers with a few friends. It was what it was. I guess I’m not very Christmassy, but then I usually don’t get into it much. Right now I’m looking forward to my morning Snapples. I remember something that happened a few years ago. My driver’s license was up for renewal, so I had to go to the dmv on W 11th before my birthday. I took a RideSource van very early in the morning to their office, stopping once at a house on N Park to pick up another rider. It was still dark out. But the thing that was rather odd was the way I was dressed in a black woolen coat with an old black hat, and I carried a wooden cane for support because my leg hurt. Together with my shaggy beard I looked like Old Nick himself. Later on, when my turn came at the dmv, the person behind the counter’s eyes were saucers upon seeing me, as if she beheld a ghost. And by coincidence, she said her own birthday was the same as mine. So they took my picture and so on, and my image actually photographed. Then I had to wait a long time for my return ride. The trip home took us through Seneca Street and Hwy 99, as I recall, and I thought about the industrial ugliness of that part of town. Maybe it wasn’t Seneca after all… 


Nine fifty.

My morning started off lousy, but I managed to motivate myself to go to the store and when I ran into Melissa, my whole day got turned around. I decided I would go to DDA group tomorrow afternoon, so I set up my rides there and back. The weather today is so dark and dreary that it’s hard to get anything done. It rained overnight and will probably rain again at eleven. I wonder if the French verbs for raining and crying are related to each other: pleuvoir and pleurer, respectively. This would make sense from a human point of view, and autumn can be a sad time of the year, though beautiful in its own way.

Last night I thought maybe being honest is foolish; but I think I heard that somewhere; something my brother said about “advantage” and cutting out the Boy Scout stuff. Some people are honest on principle or by upbringing. When honesty is rewarded, the behavior gets reinforced and repeated. Other people have the opposite experience with telling the truth. It’s always a double bind: screwed if you do or don’t. Cordelia told the truth to King Lear and was martyred for it. The cosmos was in an uproar for the tragedy. Events had gone terribly wrong. Is there still a doubt that the truth is a good thing? My brother’s birthday is about ten days away. Seventy big ones. 


Quarter of seven at night.

I’ve had a great day, with two fun packages for me in the mail.

Quarter after eleven.

I’m very happy with both gifts I got myself. The little Squier Jazz Bass looks, sounds, and plays great. The body is Daphne blue and the neck has pearloid inlays. I had fun unboxing it and plugging it in the first time, setting the tone for my day. Later, as night was just falling, the mail carrier brought my book of four Jules Verne novels, another delight. The pages are gilt edged, the cover probably leather, and the sewn binding includes a ribbon marker… This morning I skipped church as a kind of objection to something I don’t believe in anymore. My journal is full of nostalgia for a band I played in 24 years ago, an alternative groove band called The Owls. It was far more mature than the butt rock band I joined two years on its heels. My dad’s death threw off everything else in my life; sometimes I miss him more than my mother. He gave legitimacy, decency, and taste to the activities I chose to pursue in the Nineties. Even if it was only rock and roll, it could be respectable as well as fun, with a good moral message to listeners as opposed to sheer gaudiness with no substance. Thus I’ll probably think again about returning to church— just for the ethics element if not for the supernatural fluff. 

Birthday for Two

Well it looks like I’m going to make it for my birthday tomorrow: five years of sobriety, and nothing really mysterious about it.

I actually sent an email to my former friend about the anniversary. I only did that to make myself feel better; it has nothing to do with him at all. I doubt if he’ll reply, and that’s just as well.

Tomorrow will come and go like every day, but the word of the day is “relief.” It’ll be a huge burden rolling off my shoulders, and then I can get on with my life.

I know it happened three years ago, but the house fire 🔥 is on my mind today. Amazing to me that I lived through a fire and what that means symbolically and psychologically, even in an occult way. For me, it means my transformation to an independent person, which is like the zodiac sign Aries and my life path number of 1. Sometimes I get into this kind of stuff. Maybe it’s stupid and bogus; or then again maybe it’s not. I think I’ll look up fire in the dictionary of symbols.

I feel pretty puffed up with myself just now. I feel really good about my recovery ❤️‍🩹 and how far I’ve come. I’m a much stronger and braver person now than before I quit drinking and took control of my life.

Woo hoo! It’s a very big deal!

I should order myself a pizza 🍕 tomorrow afternoon and pig out! Call it a birthday for Aesop and me.


Seven thirty.

One by one, Randy has been hauling away the cars from his lot on the corner of N Park and Maxwell Road. I don’t know for sure when Will’s Auto Repair is moving in. Whatever, it must be a situation that benefits both parties… My mind has been on my fifth birthday of sobriety and how I dared to show up 12 Steppers. I actually feel kind of remorseful for doing this, and I’m not complacent by any means. What if the AA’s are right and I’ve been wrong the whole time? I’m afraid I’m going to slip or have a full blown relapse to active alcoholism simply because those people said it would happen. According to them, if you don’t surrender control over to your Higher Power and keep it yourself, “you’ll drink it.” I’ve struggled with AA doctrine ever since my introduction to it in 1991. So now, with five years sober, I’m sort of quaking in my boots after all the warnings I’ve heard from them. Again I remind myself that there has to be more than one way to do things. The date of the anniversary is actually the 12th. It’s not a matter of luck, it’s a matter of myself.


Nine o’clock.

I dreamed that my dog could talk. He had a vocabulary of 600,000 words and knew the entire Bible. Then I woke up and fed him breakfast. As he scarfed it down, I said, “Bi Mart to the rescue. Gloria to the rescue. Laurel Hill to the rescue.” An otherwise sunny day is clotted by high clouds. They forecast a high of 92 degrees. The trip to market was pretty dull, and sometimes I consider mixing it up with other places to buy goods. I told a friend I was contemplating getting myself a gift for five years of sobriety. So I went on the Guitar Center website and priced a bass I was interested in. But the thing about it is how the music community here is totally saturated with alcohol and weed, almost to the exclusion of the music itself. Thus it wouldn’t be practical to invest in a musical instrument with such a situation. Another thing is, I saw photos of Robert Plant’s daughter, I guess, “then and now.” In the second picture, she had breast implants so huge that I had to say, “That’s disgusting!” At one time I would’ve liked that look— back when I drank a lot. Now it’s a different ballpark. So I wonder what rock and roll is really about, and should I invest in a new bass guitar? Where will my attitudes be in five more years?

She’d Be 94

Seven fifty.

Home on the range. I got a very good sleep last night. Earlier I was concerned about being addicted to caffeine, but when I got up today feeling fine, I decided on my usual Snapples. I’d been overwrought with company three days in a row, so I was overdue for a break from people. Aesop, my dog, is breathing easily; no anxiety or nerves this morning. I’m not going to church. For some reason I’m reminiscing on eighth grade, before I ever bought a Rush album and when I still thought Jack London was pretty cool. There’s time now to reread The Call of the Wild if I want… The oak in my backyard drops acorns on the roof now and then with a sharp report like gunshots. Though it’s gray outside, the forecast calls for sunshine this afternoon and a high of 79 degrees. It’s a great day to recharge my introvert’s battery; to stay home quietly with a book. Aesop stretches himself, rousing from his little nap. I’ll feed him when he’s hungry. I just remembered: this would have been my mother’s birthday…

Fate and Fame

After midnight.

A while ago in my journal I wrote about the incongruity of finding myself in church. It would be like my dad showing up for worship the morning after a night at the Elk’s Lodge. He was a confirmed skeptic on the issue of Jesus Christ. You either believe in him or you don’t, as even Jesus said himself, though it seems rather Calvinistic and unfair. But ultimately I have to just accept the fact. If I’m a goat and not a sheep of the fold, then it’s better to live with this knowledge in peace. A goat must be good for something after all. By the way, the other day I met a woman with the same birthday as me: January 4. What are the odds of something like that? One in 365? And her colleague was named Destiny, with the letters transposed… For some reason my mind has been turning towards mysticism in the past week or so. I suppose it’s a function of getting older, but not necessarily more feeble witted. There’s some truth to “seek and you shall find.” What you look for determines what you see… Aesop is sleeping the sleep of sheer exhaustion, but it’s good to see him so relaxed. His breathing is slow and regular. The music in my head is a recording I made during the summer of 1986, back when my dream was to be a pop star. Yet in their own way, every individual is a rockstar by virtue of their very existence. Trust yourself.