Quarter after eleven.
I just had a lunch of cottage cheese. Feeling kind of low right now. My sleep was troubled last night, so I got up before five o’clock and pottered the time away, waiting for daylight to come. In a moral and emotional way too, I’m waiting for a sign glowing in the dark to show the path forward with my life. I feel very tired. All these conflicting perspectives give me a headache. The music I hear inwardly is “Gypsy” from Fleetwood Mac, very long ago… It’s as though I could flip a coin and let that be my direction. Or consult the hexagrams of the I Ching. Go to an astrologer to cast my horoscope. Have my palm read. I never tried tarot before. Nor singing down the moon. Take the midnight train going anywhere. Roll the bones. Everything would stand an equal chance of being right on. I could be putty in the hands of the four winds… until the hurly burly is done.
Bubble gum, bubble gum in a dish
How many pieces do you wish?
One, two, three, four,
And you are not it.
I’m beginning to believe in the influence of Jupiter and Saturn on the events of my life. Whenever something good happens, I can attribute it to Jupiter, and the bad things to Saturn. It seems that I get more ill fortune, or just neutral stuff, than actual positive in my life… Last night, something potentially very good happened to me and got set in motion; but when I was sleeping, I had some catastrophic nightmares as a sort of compensation. Every twelve years I get a stroke of incredible luck, which coincides with one Jovian year, or orbit around the sun. Otherwise, Saturn usually dominates for me. I don’t think any individual’s life can be totally cursed. Every dog has its day. Everybody gets a chance to be a hero. Or a famous star.
Five o’clock in the morning.
Every day is a challenge for me mentally and emotionally, especially when the holidays come around. To think that the illness all started with a mononucleosis bug when I was in high school is an idea that blows me away. To think that it could have been avoided if I hadn’t gotten the virus is so regrettable. But I guess everyone is damaged goods to some extent. We all have scars of battles won or lost. Often our misfortunes are unjust, the adversity unmerited, so the notion of karma doesn’t make much sense. I don’t like to believe in retribution or other spiritual laws. The events of life just happen like cause and effect. What else will science discover, given a chance? For some odd reason, people try to halt scientific progress and turn it around to Dark Age superstition. We make martyrs of those who would improve our knowledge. Something tells me it’s a biblical tendency that holds us back.
And yet, my life has turned out favorably to me, for I live in comfort and some degree of freedom, as if justice held sway. Or rather, life was flexible enough for me to fashion my own fate as I desired. And then I recall the ones who are less fortunate. Every situation can always be worse.
I’m having a rather rough day, though the rainfall is a kind of consolation, like sympathetic tears. Dunno; I’m just unhappy with my role as a person with this illness. The inside of my house is a dirty and cluttered wreck, and likewise is my mind sometimes. The two posts I published this morning I trashed; they were just inconsistent with my usual beliefs and attitudes. I guess I’m okay with the open door policy regarding church, the flexibility to come and go as needed. Today I feel like no kind of existential hero, but even the underdog will have his day. All I really want to do is empower people like me with mental illness by means of this blog, and to show you what we’re capable of in spite of a diagnostic label. And if you get some entertainment along the way, so much the better… Right now feels like sort of a trap, a lot of closed doors and windows, and every road leads me back to either church or the agency. The dice I was given are loaded and always land on snake eyes. If only I got just a fighting chance in the real world, the outcome would be fruitful. In the meantime there’s this blog to be my domain, a place for being simply myself. I will do what I can to get myself together in time for the New Year.
Quarter of one in the morning.
Tomorrow I’m going to treat myself to a little trip to the booksellers on Valley River Drive just for a change in scenery to relieve the craziness. I keep thinking that I’m tired, but it’s not really fatigue; more a kind of dullness almost like apathy and resignation. Occasionally it occurs to me to reread The Sheltering Sky for the masterful writing by Paul Bowles. It’s a Saturday night, so I hear the sounds of rowdy people in their cars over on N. Park or farther away, as well as the typical clashing of freight cars in the yards by Northwest Expressway. At midnight I woke up and reminded Aesop of the garlic cheese still in the fridge. So we got up and dusted it off. Here and there a dream will come back to me; like this morning when I dreamed the 40th Anniversary edition of Moving Pictures was released on CD and I found it in a bin at Fred Meyer. The reality is that Fred Meyer doesn’t stock CDs in their home electronics section anymore; those days are gone… There must be a perk to being realistic with the coming of maturity, and I think it’s that people respect you better than when you were a foolish idealist. About 11 years ago my brother and I were out driving on 7th Street downtown on a sunny day. To my left on the sidewalk, a bum held up a cardboard sign: “Vision of a cheeseburger.” We laughed. But in the blink of an eye, the roles can be reversed: so that royalty is really a fleeting state of mind.
Eleven ten. Outside, it rains, and I just woke up from a nap. Suspense over the election gives me wild dreams. Life can be quite unfair to people, and the only way out of caring is by drunkenness or by Buddhism. To take things with equanimity is foreign to my nature, but then I have to remind myself of what I have no control over, like the weather and like politics.
A song from the era of big bands presents itself: “Rhythm of the Rain,” but does the rainfall really have a pattern to it? It’s the same as listening to wind chimes in the outdoor breeze, or in Romantic times, a wind lyre. Only a bit more sophisticated is the I Ching, the ancient Chinese Book of Changes. You flip a coin and consult the corresponding hexagrams for your fortune. I once imagined setting the book open on a tree stump outside and letting the wind rustle the pages, thereby deciding the wisdom of nature. Is this randomness or is it intelligence? A passage from a Merlin novel by Mary Stewart has it that he, on horseback, lets the horse pick their path through a wood. I suppose this passivity is a variety of wisdom, as is the rhythm of the rain. Letting go and letting a nameless Something take control. Like the wind. Like the rain. And the pages of the Book of Changes.
Eleven thirty five. It’s been a rather productive day, while still being relaxed and low key. My dog, as smart as he is, learns to roll with my routines. He understands more than I know, and I’ve never had a dog with such a quantitative mind. He can measure the time in minutes and seconds, and is reassured when I give him a time table. It was cloudy all day, with a few spats of rain showers. It would be so nice if I could recover my heart again and stop overcompensating with excessive intellect. I left my heart behind me in 1987, wounded and bleeding and destitute of hope. On that July 4th weekend the girl dropped the bomb on me, a letter in purple ink breaking off the relationship that never had a future. My first reaction was denial, then anger mixed with shame for having failed in love. But that’s just the rub: for love is not a project that you undertake, not a quarry you hunt down, not a kingdom you conquer. It either comes to you or it doesn’t. Tennessee Williams ends Streetcar with a game of Seven Card Stud: does he mean that love is a game of luck? My interpretation is as good as any other… So I guess there’s no success or failure in the matter of love. It’s not a game of skill, but rather of blind fortune, and no blame or shame to be had if it doesn’t happen. “Please believe I implore you / Spirit flight will restore you / Only love can ignore you / Another fighting heart…”