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.

Pleasure

Quarter of eight.

Gloria is coming today at nine, but lately I’ve been feeling tired every day, so I’m not really looking forward to this. I don’t know of anyone who is actually clicking their heels these days. It’d be nice to believe in astrology, particularly the coming around of Jupiter to bring jollity. I wonder if it’s possible to conquer happiness as Bertrand Russell suggests? But it seems to be more like sunrise, sunset day after day. In this case we ought to appreciate the minutiae while they are still available to us. Dust off the Thornton Wilder book… The trip to market was pretty boring today. It’s Saturday, so the espresso shack wasn’t doing very well this morning. Lisa is always nice to me. My sense of things being larger than life is dwindling down to ordinariness. I realize that I’ll probably never be a rockstar, especially at my age. Even the local rockstars made it big one time, then spent all their money and faded back to relative obscurity. How do you get to be an icon in our culture? You have to be in the right place at the right time. It is best to set realistic goals, if you must have goals at all. And dust off the Thornton Wilder book.

Noon.

I feel tired and dizzy, probably from the Lipitor I take for cholesterol. My dog was amazingly good while Gloria was here. I was just thinking about the place of pleasure in human life, and whether it is the highest good, or if instead some people have it backwards. The work ethic is strong in some people. Others may be indolent epicureans, maybe alcoholics, and maybe they’d be smart to enjoy life. I always wonder what I am to do in the wake of addiction. Only time can sort this out. Nothing is very clear in the meantime. We just do the best that we can. 

Lap of Fate

Quarter of ten at night.

Living in American culture hasn’t done me any favors as a person with a mental health diagnosis. Even my family rejects me, as I actually predicted in a story I wrote when I was 19 years old. Sometimes I feel like a perfect pariah, like the monster in Frankenstein, totally cut off from humanity except by the power of his rhetoric. Only his speech gives him any kind of place among humankind, kind of like my own situation. I can remember the lectures I heard on Frankenstein by Professor Pyle when I was a student. It was in the springtime, and occasionally while he was talking, a yellow jacket would fly in the open windows and dangle above his head. I sat next to a young lady named Lori who was nice looking and very smart. She worked for another professor grading papers and exams. Her plan was to join the Peace Corps after graduation and then be a teacher wherever she wanted. I had no such plans after college; I really didn’t know what I was going to do. I had a nebulous dream of being a rockstar. I guess I sort of dropped it all in the lap of fate, though I knew I didn’t want to leave school. Now I’m not sure what happened to me. But I think I knew there was something different about me. And underneath it all I still count on being catapulted to fame, however quixotic this expectation is. I don’t know where I got such a beautiful idea. 

Being a Star

Six thirty five.

I guess I’m up for the rest of the day. I need a Snapple tea to wake me up. Fame and fortune may elude me, so what does that leave? Hopefully the love of a few people. And making a difference, however great or small. My mother thought I would be the next Edgar Allan Poe, but at 54 years old, so far this hasn’t happened…

I got to meet the new help at the store, a young woman named Heather who will be working on weekends. Michelle was training her today. Heather’s hair on one side is dyed lavender and shaved on the other side. Her arms and torso are illustrated with numerous tattoos. She seems affable enough. I suppose the market could be considered a liberal place, especially by contrast with a store like Bi Mart. I feel comfortable in either location, so I may be a political moderate. It doesn’t matter very much. Yesterday morning I saw Jessica waiting in a car with her mother, I presume, outside of the salon. She didn’t acknowledge my presence with a look in my direction, and she always impresses me as rather shy, if not a bit cold and unfriendly.

Eight ten. The weather is not picture perfect; to the east I see patches of blue through muscular clouds. There is sunshine on my magnolia. At noon today the taxi will take me to Laurel Hill for dual diagnosis group. A week from today I get my second shot of vaccine against Covid. I’ll be one of the last people to do this. Better late than never, though I don’t blame those who still hesitate on vaccination.

Even famous people are not loved by everyone. Fame is the craving for universal love and also for immortality, but most of us are denied either one of these. I guess there are other ways to be a star, so this is what I’ll think about over the course of my day. 

“Remember My Name”

Eleven o’clock.

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.