To kill time I just listened to Abbey Road for the first time in many years. It is the one Beatles album that everyone seems to know, like an international anthem of peace and love. The quality of the vocals and of Paul’s bass are beyond comparison; every subsequent band has been an imitation of the original and archetypal. A perfect masterpiece of rock and roll, paving the way for the art rock bands that followed, in particular Yes and Genesis; also Queen. The Beatles had an earthier sound than Yes, however, with lyrics often more mundane and common… It’s interesting how life unravels day by day, like the expression of nature’s DNA, the very blueprint of fate. My neighbor Roger is working on a project outside his garage. The sunlight tastes like tangerine. I catch myself feeling a little greedy, a bit of a spendthrift. But investing in music gear at this point would be useless. There’s no one else to play with…
Nine twenty five. I remind myself that crazy things tend to happen in the summer. The heat has an adverse impact on people’s brains. My pen pal has not yet written to me this morning, so something must have come up… I’ve found my copy of The Planets by Gustav Holst, very poignant for me because of two friends who are now gone from my life. One of them was canine, a pug named Henry. The other was a Scotswoman pen pal. Maybe I won’t listen to it again. The music will conjure to my mind King Voltaire dog biscuits and worse, the taste and effect of cheap beer and sometimes wine.
Ten fifty. I crossed paths with Mike again at the market. He told me straight up that we won’t be practicing anytime soon— if ever. Well you know, the pandemic is going to cause serious problems with our mental health if we continue to socially distance ourselves. And imo, writers like D.H. Lawrence will eventually be brought to light again, being as they are symptomatic of their times, and ours as well. Not only is our society excessively industrial but also we have this virus situation that forces us apart. It is against our instincts to live like bears alone in the woods. Plus I hate to see the demise of music performance, played on real instruments by real musicians. At some point people will do something desperate. We will develop neurotic symptoms, making necessary another phenomenon like Freud. The future will be interesting to observe, if not tragic and sad.
Warning ⚠️: Sexual content
Nine o’clock 🕘. From something T— said it sounds like he’s a virgin. He sounds inexperienced with sexual nuts and bolts, just the rudiments that give a man an erection. He lacks this much self knowledge, whereas I’ve seen a lot more of life than he has. Maybe he won’t know anything until he gets married. I’m a little embarrassed for him and his overrated religion which precludes the human experience we all deserve to know. Or maybe I should feel embarrassed for myself for not being chaste and innocent? Sheryl didn’t know anything about male sexuality either. I can’t think of anyone who does know besides me. Rather than keep looking for external verification of what I know about myself, I should just act based on my own experience. It seems to me that human beings are losing touch with their instincts, which would be a very sad condition for humankind. D H Lawrence could have predicted a day such as this. Or perhaps I’m just alone with the knowledge that I have of sexual stuff. I know that my sister is a complete prude, denouncing anything remotely sexual, and maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. This makes me feel ashamed of myself a bit, or should I condemn her for being cold as an icicle? It is strange to be ostracized over sexuality, but then she got a divorce over something sexual. I guess I’m willing to accept my solitude with the truth I possess. But it still feels awfully strange…
Quarter of midnight. I am halfway through the Salinger book. Something about Holden being an ancient, gray haired teenager is symbolic. Also his question of where the ducks go when the lake in Central Park freezes in the winter… It seems impossible to me that I was at Bi Mart 12 hours ago. The trip wasn’t really necessary but I wanted to go for some reason. I went in search of lost time, sort of reeling in the years. The only discovery I made was the natural flora that grows in the community and has always been here. Yellow headed dandelions, for instance. The nature around me reminded me of D.H. Lawrence and took me away from the age of technology and information. And industrialism was exactly what Lawrence kicked about a hundred years ago. He saw it as something that sterilizes human life, makes it dispassionate and inorganic. It’s hard not to agree with him.
Quarter after three. The scene in Sons and Lovers where Mrs Morel takes refuge in the flower garden after a fight with her husband is particularly to the point. Now I wonder what happened to the times of great writers like Lawrence and Joyce. Who will be the next big groundbreaker in letters? Who can do a revival of Modernism and be the new Modern Shakespeare? …Queen’s “Millionaire Waltz” sneaks into my awareness with joy… The revival really depends upon a reconnection with Mother Nature. If we can find her in our hearts and pull the dream out from within, the New Renaissance is accomplished.
Nine fifty five. Aesop and I slept in. He gets his breakfast in three minutes. Yesterday I flipped and scanned through Another Country and began to suss it out. It’s really about romantic love and sex as opposed to spiritual love, and maybe for Baldwin there’s no distinction… The gabapentin is great. I feel a lot better since taking it. I used to have back pain, but now it’s virtually gone… Another Country explores the meaning of love, and it seems not to be a Christian love. It is a wanting and needing kind of love. Desire and affection. I don’t see anything wrong with that. It’s probably very true. I see a lot of repression in society nowadays, however. Some people hate sex, though it makes no sense to me. There ought to be a continuity of the head with the body, as if we had no neck. But this is a matter for debate. What is spiritual love, anyway? Is it a condition of being a severed head? I’m beginning to remember my Whitman and Lawrence: the body is the soul. Spiritual love is where the head dominates the body, rules it with an iron fist. The healthy way to live is for the head and body to be whole and in harmony with each other. I hadn’t thought of this in many years. I believe it’s true.
Insipid look to the day when everybody is in lockdown. Nature’s aspect hasn’t changed, but it feels different because people still aren’t talking very much. My chief regret is how Victorian our society is, how repressed and prudish and wasteful. D H Lawrence would spit in disgust while we miss opportunities to love each other in the Byronic way. Now, for some of us, there will be no more chances. Katherine Mansfield wrote brilliantly about romantic love as well. What are we doing to ourselves? Why is there always this chastity belt on our hearts and minds? When you see the love of your life pass by, do you stop her and tell her how you feel, or like a fool do you let her go? It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, just go for it as nature intended. If she says no, you wait for the next love of your life. But someday, like maybe today, there will be no more loves. Someday it’ll be too late. And then your love dies within you, having no place to go. Sometimes we have to break the rules in order for progress to happen. We break the rules in order to establish new ones. The least we can do is unlock our lips and speak our thoughts and feelings. Don’t let your heart wither away and crumble to dust. Let no words be left unsaid, nor notes unsung. For once, let us say the things we mean.
Heidi is coming out to pick me up tomorrow at one fifteen. I hope the weather is nice. She’s too cool to be bipolar, yet there it is. Maybe we could go to Cal’s again instead of Black Rock. There’s more light inside the former, and it has a local feel to it. It’s been there since at least 2006, when Alice and I used to meet there before work in the morning. I was like a different person 14 years ago. I had a job and I drove a car, and also I drank like a fish on Friday night. Those must be someone else’s memories. I hovered so close to quitting my job when the old Bell and Howell scanner bit the dust and my supervisor was too chicken to ask the CFO to buy our department a new one. This situation dragged on for weeks, and during it I could hardly get any work done. Ron was a coward, afraid of confrontation with people. He was also a damn fool. Sometime that spring he finally called Office Imaging and the agency purchased a new high speed scanner… I deceived myself that I was happy when I worked a conventional job, but I also felt trapped and miserable as a victim of industrialism. Before 2004, I was still a Lawrentian, an anti industrial Luddite, and a Romantic. Working in an office forced me to become handy with computers, but it was never very natural for me… So tomorrow afternoon could be a time to reminisce a little if Heidi and I go to Cal’s. The contrasts between past and present always are interesting, with a confusion of pleasure and pain. Overall, it will feel like the triumph of freedom in my life.
I finally figured out what causes my insomnia: it can be no other than the Vraylar. It’s a side effect of the medication. Probably there have been other ones as well, and I just didn’t recognize them. I bet constipation is one. Here it is the wee hours of the morning, the sky and everything cloaked in blackness. The sounds of the railroad faintly reach me. It feels cold because the furnace is turned down. Aesop lies on top of my feet. Fifteen minutes have already elapsed since starting to write. One thing I’d like to remember is the importance of body language in social interaction. A live presence, a meeting in person, is much different from something solely verbal. Our gestures and every movement of face and body express ourselves. This didn’t dawn on me until I met with Ron on Friday afternoon. As any impressionist writer knows, so much is said in the silences. What words or musical notes don’t say, the silence implies. And the same for body language. It reminds me that I am responsible for my facial expressions and body movements. Dependence on electronic communication had obscured from me the truth. For meeting in the flesh there is no substitute. In this sense, DH Lawrence has been absolutely right. No machine, therefore, will ever be able to feel anything. Do machines have body language? The question sounds absurd. Lawrence is amazingly farsighted for his century. He spoke a prophecy for all of us, one that we haven’t heeded. I daresay we never will.
D H Lawrence, in his critical work Studies in Classic American Literature, posited a rule that may be helpful to those who want to not only read, but also write. He said, “Never trust the poet. Trust the tale.” In other words, author intentions can be misleading if that’s all we look for. It’s more important to examine the text that was written on its own merits. My advice to new bloggers is to let go and just write, then afterwards see what the writing wants to say. If it tells a worthy story, then post it. Our best observations come out in writing that is unintentional. Make a description or a sketch of a person or situation and then look at it: what is the story that emerges? Is there some irony or something quirky expressed in it? Something significant like a theme? Hopefully there will be a universal that people can relate to. But keep in mind what Lawrence says about trusting the tale.
Ten thirty. I was disconsolate all day until, as I lay in bed, it occurred to me what had been missing from my mental life: it was music. I was able to put together the rudiments of Le Coq D’Or by Rimsky Korsakov, just two passages from the part about King Dodon in his palace. It’s been so long since I was able to listen to the music files on my computer. So I lay there racking my brains for strains of the suite. Next, I searched my mind for Stravinsky’s Fireworks with more success… I just played it off of YouTube, but it’s not the same on my iPhone as on my old clunky Dell… Anyway, my mood rose a bit with the music in my head. Technology is strange to me. The race for it to be faster and freer, especially in music, is rendering obsolete the mediums to which I had an emotional attachment. Someday humans won’t even need to think— so what will be left for our minds to do? We will be utterly replaced by our technology, while our brains soak in suds or fry on methamphetamine, totally useless. Is this a desirable future for humanity? Or should I say, the humanities? The Luddite in me wants to break all machines and restore people to their natural splendor. So that my brain is again adept at retrieving music and playing it at will. Because this is my life, not the livelihood of any machine. Does anybody out there feel the same?
Quarter after eight. I’ve felt wiped out all day and uninspired. Perhaps I picked up a touch of a virus yesterday in church. The best news I’ve had all day is that Powell’s has shipped my D H Lawrence book. I haven’t thought about things in his light since before I got a job. He despised industry, having seen his father work in the coal pits. Not sure how I ever got into a phase of reading him. I was young, still a student. I also wonder why I stopped reading his stuff. He was very important to modern fiction, or at least he was at my school. I remember the day I bought both Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams at the university bookstore. It was the spring of 1990 and I thought Freud must’ve been onto something. My Chaucer professor was a fan of his. And over the summer I also purchased Whitman’s Leaves of Grass from a locally owned store called The Book Mark. Considering now, I was very impressionable at twenty three. After I had the initial episode, the first novel I read was The Rainbow. A year later I did Women in Love. Thus, to return to Lawrence’s stories now may be a culture shock, comparing the present with thirty years ago. My points of reference are all different; I’ve been exposed to a lot more ideas. Sometimes I dislike certain authors for being elitist in outlook. Experience and maturity have taught me that elitism is destructive. No one is superior to anyone else, the lesson we should learn from WW2 fascism. I don’t know; but whatever I observe, it’ll be interesting.