Venturing Out

Four fifty.

I just hiked a mile and back to the veterinary hospital to fetch Aesop’s flea medication. The ghosts of the past didn’t stir until I got back home, hot, sweaty, and out of breath, my legs like rubber. Now I remember back to the end of the 00 decade and Sy’s New York Pizza in the Silver Lea Center. I used to have a vehicle for getting around: a lot more convenient except for the cost of gasoline and upkeep. I also drank a great deal, and my relationship with family was rocky, though I don’t blame myself much anymore. It wasn’t my fault more than my brother’s addiction is his fault. Pointing the finger is easy but pointing out the solution is not… For a time, a dog groomer named Terri had a business in the same strip mall as the veterinarian, so I took Henry to her for nail trims. She didn’t like me very much, and eventually her business folded and I never heard of her again. I’ve had some weird ups and downs with the veterinary people over the years, plus it’s been very hard to find friends in my local community. I had a little breakthrough finally when I ventured online and registered with a rockstar’s guestbook in the fall of 2010. From there, things have only gotten better for me, and meanwhile the locals are still pretty set in their ways and narrow minded. It all started with that guestbook on the worldwide web twelve years ago. Now the shadows lengthen with the setting of the amber sun: another October day draws to a close, making way for October night. 

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Simon Sings

Ten o’clock at night.

In the course of writing notes in my diary, Carly Simon’s “The Garden” came up. I’d been pondering the moral absolutes of religion versus rock and roll, or even of good and evil. And then I thought it might be a matter of perspective, and the labels we assign are just fictions. The song at the third verse goes,

Our gates are unguarded

I’ve stolen the key

To where everything holy inside us

Is free to run free

To smell and taste and touch and see

I noted that it was a woman’s good sense that produced this bit of wisdom as opposed to the unyielding doctrines of a patriarchal religion. Then I wondered what it would be like to read Maryann Evans, aka George Eliot.

I think I like Whitman’s poetry, the more I read of it and consider it. I know I’m tired of Christianity. Christendom is no place for a person like me, and I really don’t give a shit what bloggers think anymore. I’ve had just about enough of WordPress. It’s probably time to move on.

To Be a Better Writer

Aesop held a grudge against me ever since yesterday morning for using the phone a few times. He hates nothing more than that. It’s his worst bete noir and pet peeve of all. It took me a long time to figure out what was wrong with him, but now I know.
I made a post this morning that was simply realistic, just reporting on what I observed when I hiked to the store. The interesting thing about realism is its complexity and refusal to conform to our expectations based on systems of belief or whatever else we use to simplify experience. A faithful adherence to facts reveals lots of irony and contradiction, something like paradox. A paradox is a contradiction that only seems to be that way. Deeper analysis shows it to be the truth. Sometimes when I write, I can really nail this style, so it’d be great to refine it to a craft. Maybe this fall I’ll be able to concentrate more on being a better writer, perhaps getting away from the philosophical stuff. I might invest some time in reading Josep Pla’s Gray Notebook. I need an influence that complements the style I’m going for. It seems like I was pretty good at it a couple of years ago.
Today isn’t very remarkable otherwise. The sky is still smoky white, casting a brown light on the ground below. I’d consider a trip to the market but it’s rather gross outside. It can wait till tomorrow morning. I don’t know which title I might buy from loa yet. Something with good descriptive writing. Maybe Steinbeck?

Bare Tile

Four twenty five.

When the disco band, a long time ago, played at the Doubletree Hotel in the late fall, our leader said during a song, “I’m seeing a lot of bare tile on the floor.” And truly, nobody was dancing to the music. So, Chris broke the ice and people got out on the dance floor. Otherwise we would’ve looked pretty stupid.

No Human Power

Six thirty at night.

I got on Amazon and ordered a CBT workbook to help myself with anxiety. The biggest problem I’ve been having is with mind reading, trying to second guess situations and people. But the only way to know the thoughts of others is to ask them to their face. It’s pretty stupid to weave a web of fantasy around people you know, or to dramatize your own life, maybe glorify it to heroic proportions. I may be divided on this perspective because I like existential philosophy so much. But it comes down to what is realistic, and really, life for most humans is quite ordinary and modest, not over the top with hubris and superhuman powers. Sometimes the need to empower yourself is so strong that life feels like a tremendous dare, a heroic struggle against overwhelming odds. So we produce brainchildren as Richard Wright produced Bigger Thomas, a larger than life martyr for racial and social justice. I suppose my blog has been something like this, but for mental health. And for this fact I feel a bit penitent and apologetic.

Maybe true strength consists in vulnerability, though I’m not yet persuaded of that. Does something take over when you surrender control? I think of Gandalf saying that even Gollum had a role to fulfill in the War of the Ring. It was a purpose bigger than Gollum himself, one that included all of them… Perhaps everyone is a pawn in a sociological game the horizon of which is past our understanding.

Peace Tea (No Drama)

Noon thirty.

My Precision Bass, modified with the Model P pickup, sounds rather barbaric, but I won’t really know until I change the strings. Obviously I didn’t attend church yesterday. I’m actually kind of glad I didn’t. The posts I made last fall, through the end of the year, were mostly reactions against the church pastor and his medieval opinions on a lot of things. I really needed to shake it off and be free. Now that I’ve succeeded, my writing isn’t as good as when I had something to fight over. Funny how that works. Gray clouds still block the sun today, though it comes and goes as they allow. I went for the gusto this morning and bought a two liter of Coca-Cola. It isn’t doing much for me. I think I like Peace Tea better, and of course my standby Snapple. The intellectual warfare with the church is ended, clearing the way for peace, even if peace is boring. I have to find something else for stimulation, perhaps something better than petty conflict with others. A rebel without a cause must adapt to changing times. A warrior out of war, like Hotspur, will be food for worms if he doesn’t speak the language. And today the lingo seems to be pretty ordinary: no puffed up rhetoric, no personas to hide behind. People are bored with ostentation anymore. The days of self glorification are over…

A Los Celosos

I must’ve slept five hours this evening, and I dreamed about my mother, a little sadly. I’ve got a song in my head by Wang Chung, but if it’s significant to what I’m thinking, then I have no clue what it means. It hasn’t been a great day; kind of a time for feeling doubt and regret. A very old song by Petula Clark ends with the lines, “To question such good fortune / Who am I?” And I think this is the same question I ought to ask myself. Now is a time when, as I keep saying, good things are falling in my lap. The system is taking excellent care of me, “So why on earth should I moan?” Is it only because other people on WordPress are jealous and envious of me? It reminds me of second grade, when the kids would jeer at me when Mom picked me up after school, and then she took me out to ice cream at Dairy Queen. We’d get the cones, usually dipped in chocolate. Other times she’d take me to the store to buy orange creamsicles. And you know, I don’t regret that one bit! The other kids probably went to an empty home and let themselves in with a latchkey.
Jealousy is the oldest and most wicked feeling in human experience. It’s what motivated Lucifer to revolt against God and start the war in heaven; and with his miserable defeat, he became Satan, the leader of all the demons in hell.
Therefore I have to say screw other bloggers on WordPress for being conservative capitalists, or whatever drives them away from my blog. And that being said, I’ll think about posting this message to my domain.

Friendly Counsel

And it’s quite a nice one. I just made a second run to the salon and store, gabbing with Kim and then picking out a huge cookie for Aesop that got some attention from Deb and Cathy. Of course I also bought a Coke. This morning with Gloria went really well. We drove to Springfield to recycle again, but I gave all the money to her for doing my laundry. The amount she asked was equal to the value of the bottles, just a flukey coincidence unless it was a Jungian phenomenon. You never know.

I think I know what you mean about the situation with blogging, though I’m curious what the other blogger wrote that made your heart sink. There are some days when I can offer pearls on my domain but still nobody cares. I get no likes or comments at all except from Liz and maybe one more person. Yet it doesn’t bug me too much. I think I’m getting used to rejection. I’m learning to feel satisfied just reading on my own and writing in my journal— and to you every day. Further, I seem to be accepting that fame and immortality will never happen to me, whatever my mother dreamed for me. I doubt if I’ll be the next Edgar Allan Poe or Jack London, or whoever Mom admired. I believe a lot of being famous is being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, and having a shrewd business sense. You also need to be tough, maybe even unscrupulous to some extent. It’s probably true that nice people finish last. Those who have a genuine sense of morals and what’s right have a slimmer chance of success. In sum, the ones who make it big time are usually jerks. I’m thinking particularly of the guy who led the disco band, but it applies to other careers as well.

Right now, it’s enough for me to live in comfort and security with a certain feeling of contentment. I can hardly believe the way good things are falling in my lap since this year began. I don’t feel especially oppressed or anything for having my diagnosis. It’s kind of like plucking dollars off of trees, a life of the Golden Age as Hesiod tells it, or like the Garden of Eden: prelapsarian existence, before Adam and Eve had to work for their living. Maybe I should feel guilty or ashamed for my idleness, but somehow I circumvent feeling lousy about myself. Family dynamics are almost telepathic, with a certain subliminal language; but it’s a language I don’t use anymore. Now I don’t give a damn what they think of me. And with my free time I can express myself however I want. Perhaps when I’m gone, a kind soul will save my notebooks and preserve them.

Did you know that Emily Dickinson became famous only posthumously?

It may seem like a waste of time and effort, but I hope you keep writing even if it’s just for yourself. If you don’t try at all, then your chances of success really are zero.

I guess it’s a question of why you write, or why anyone writes. Are we looking for immortality or what? Do we need self empowerment?

I only write because it’s a natural function for me. I once had a dream that I was a speech writer for Donald Trump! It gave me all kinds of privileges, yet he was a very dangerous man to work for… Just a dream, as I said.

Maybe it’s just a matter of sheer faith in what you do. “Have faith in you and the things you do / You won’t go wrong / Oh no, this is our family jewel.” Sister Sledge.

Less than Perfect

Eight thirty.

I plan on a low key kind of day. I’ll try to sit still for reading a book today, a little later on. I know a lot of disgruntled Republicans, but I’m not one of them. So I wonder if I’m in the wrong place on this website. I always feel pulled in opposite directions by politics that don’t make sense to me. I understand the platforms very well, but I don’t really subscribe to either one. Something is wrong when the likes you receive depend on your readers’ politics… It has clouded up again and looks like rain. With the clouds, my spirit gets a bit depressed. Maybe I’m too sensitive. I feel like I was the only Democrat in the world; or maybe the Republicans are just more outspoken than people like me. The ones that shout the loudest usually get their way, not the ones with the best argument. Both sides tell the other to sit down and shut up when they are in charge. We’re just damned if we do and damned if we don’t, and it’s so unfair. Why can’t we abolish politics forever and present our faces unmasked? This system is one that none of us designed ourselves, yet we keep the pendulum swinging. Someday the pendulum is going to break. 

Menaced

Ten o five.

Gloria is here cleaning the bathroom. Outside the sun is shining: a beautiful day. Bloggers seem to be converting their sites to places for selling stuff, so I feel like the only person still doing human interest posts on WordPress. Also, people don’t want to read stuff anymore. Eventually I’ll quit doing this because there’s no reward in it. But I’m disappointed to find that people are so greedy and materialistic, valuing things more than ideas and what makes us uniquely human. I’ve known for some time that philosophy is going out of style, but this is sad. There’s something wrong when people don’t care about life— the examined life that is worth living, preferring things to be cut and dried and readymade so we never have to think about them again. And again I consider the image of the new high school on Silver Lane: ominous dark brick façades that suggest a prison more than a teaching facility. This might actually be the fact.