Quarter of ten.
I begged Gloria for a light duty day since my dental ordeal Thursday morning and the long day yesterday. So now she’s mopping the floors while I take a siesta on the loveseat, languidly writing a desultory note to myself. The weather is rather lemon.
Eleven fifty five. The clouds have blown away to make a bright sunny Saturday. I was thinking that if humanity has free will, then anything is possible with our lives, including breaking bad habits like alcohol abuse. Independence is essential to everything we do, and often no one’s opinion matters but your own. Contrary to what people tell you, you are capable of thinking for yourself… I might go bash my four string war club down the hall a while, make a brash brutal rock and roll racket on it for my daily catharsis. Or I could read Richard Wright or Mark Twain. It’s possible to do both today. But I think I’ll be considerate of my dog’s anxiety and spend the day quietly. Even this, however, is a personal choice from a few available options. I merely looked before leaping… Everyone anticipated this beautiful weekend, but now that it’s here, I feel very tired, sore, and somewhat dodgy and daft. I think I’ll delay making a decision.
I ended up both reading and playing the bass, and both were fun. Outside, the quality of the sunlight feels rather obscure and filtered; maybe dark and sensuous. Church happens tomorrow, but if I went, I’d know my reasons were insincere, for I’m not a true Christian. I feel tugged in several directions. But what’s done is a done deal. The future presents options; but “when you look behind you there’s no open doors.” And there is no would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve: only what actually happened; what you did. Everything else is a trick of grammar.
Well I’m glad this morning is behind me and I have two days now to rest and take it easy. I started writing in my new journal this morning: really pleased with it. Seems to inspire me to better thoughts than ordinary blank books. A while ago I returned to my old theme of individual freedom, especially in Continental thinking, for instance Spain and France over the centuries, from Cervantes to Sartre. I just love that stuff. I always get excited for the idea of personal liberty, whether or not it’s illusory, perhaps an impossible dream. The point, I guess, is to keep the dream of freedom alive in our imaginations and work towards its realization. It’s awfully easy to get depressed with the belief that we are nothing but pawns in a government game, puppets controlled by a master puppeteer. This is especially true if you are a mentally ill person snared in the system, having to take the medication and jump through the hoops that ultimately boil down to economics and the associated greed and corruption. Even if freedom is only a dream, still dreams inspire people to action in the end. I might argue that Edgar Allan Poe flew to the moon just by writing a story about it, because posterity made his fantasy a reality, inspired by his original idea.
It’s still overcast today with a few drops of rain. I’m curious to see how hot it’ll get this summer but there’s no hurry. I’ve gotten tired of the world news every day. In fact, I’m quite tired of people in general, the way we always refute each other’s identity and desires, like a constant negation of who we are. You have to just roll with it, though you also have to create your opportunities. It’s a matter of being up for it, and lately I haven’t been. Maybe someday the stars will line up in an auspicious way for my happiness, but it isn’t today, for me or for anybody. We hunker down in fear and uncertainty, magnifying the depression with our attitude. No one is being very heroic like characters in great literature. At a time like this, people could learn something from reading Sartre’s plays, but instead they flounder aimlessly, not knowing that they are free. The same thing goes for me as well. It’s not the will of God that drives the world. We are not pawns in this game, but rather agents who freely create our circumstances. Biblical prophecies are the ones that we ourselves fulfill because we don’t know any better. People are equally free not to turn fiction into fact. Becoming aware of this is the first battle. There is no blueprint for the human future.
I don’t know if there’s a deus ex machina in all of this. I suppose I could choose to believe such a thing, and yet no good fortune happens without an individual being assertive with the situation and people.
Once, a friend told me something humorous on that head. I’d had a phobia of parking my vehicle in crowded places Downtown or on the campus. Mike said, “You see? The parking gods will be kind to you if you show a little courage.” He was mostly an atheist but a great songwriter, leading the band with me in it. The same year I began dating a woman my age who was a Lutheran working in a bookstore. I did a lot of reading in Herman Melville, starting with Moby Dick, though his worldview clashed with the Tennyson I also tried to embrace. The result was a big mess for me, and in the end I lost those friends plus my best friend and my dad died that year: and on the whole it felt like 1999 was the end of the world.
I don’t know which impulse won the day, the blackness of Melville or the Christian sunshine, however, life went on with my dad’s passing. A few days later I bought two little books related to Epicurean philosophy but this was soon drowned out by the era of the holy wars and incidentally my mother’s death. And then my whole world was transformed, though I fought it as my addiction to alcohol progressed and eventually took over my life. Just today I pondered what the new hub of my life had become, and it seems to be the written word probably more so than music. As I think about it, a lot of living is adapting to sociological changes out of my control, surviving them and holding onto the wave like the old song by Yes says. Personal freedom is a comforting idea but ultimately it’s a tired illusion, so that my recovery from alcoholism really isn’t creditable to me at all, but rather to something like fate that operates within and without the individual person.
Quarter after one in the morning.
Most people are rather ignorant, not realizing that Shakespeare, the Renaissance icon, was bisexual. Living in North Eugene isn’t much fun for a person who has some humanity and culture. Here it’s nothing like the Renaissance, where the people were fully human in a flowering of love, understanding, and beautiful things. Being human itself was a religious experience during Shakespeare’s time. If I had the strength, I would build the New Renaissance here on American soil and forget Jerusalem. Eternal life that is circumscribed is less desirable than a mortal life of liberty and happiness. The ideal thing is to be just what you are. As I’ve been saying for six years, people needn’t give each other hell when it’s equally possible to share heaven that lasts a lifetime… My brother used to tell me never to argue with an idiot because there’s no percentage in it. Today I see an epidemic of idiocy, yet I still fight my battle of words to liberate the human spirit from its prison of prejudice.
Seven twenty five.
I’ve got “Tea for One” playing in my ear, the old Led Zeppelin classic. I slept badly last night, but I’m thinking that Freud was close to the truth about human beings. The clouds are gray and puffy in the east; maybe we need a good rain today. Something to wash away cares and worries. Memories from my childhood keep haunting me, though I don’t know how important they are to the present day. My experience with the church was just a veneering with doctrines. The situation now is unique: I am sober and also have a lot of free time for soul searching… Freud is depressing. I prefer to feel happy and free and proud of myself. Like being in ninth grade again, and having a skill I was very good at. But even then, I had latent feelings for people, but it wasn’t my fault. You are just what you are.
After nine o’clock.
I’m in the waiting room of my doctor’s office. The music on the PA sucks; very drippy and sad sounding. No one here seems very happy, and I’m already having a bad day. The receptionist was rather rude and cold. I don’t know. Something is wrong with the whole scenario. I’m so sick of going to healthcare appointments one after the other. My life feels controlled by forces I can’t perceive, by god and government, by the media and whatever else. I don’t have the freedom to choose what I do with my life anymore.
Eleven o’clock. I guess I was just in a foul mood, and I waited a half hour past the time of my appointment, which lasted 15 minutes. My cab was there when I got back to the lobby. I didn’t want to keep him, so I hurried out to start our journey home.
The real world is a far cry from the university campus, but the latter is more expensive. It’s an arrangement that doesn’t seem fair if you’re an intelligent pauper. Poverty can be a prison cell, and yet everyone likes to have free time to do what they love to do. A gain here is a sacrifice there. We barter time for money and money for time but can’t have both. A title from Lord Byron speaks: “I Would I Were a Careless Child.” I long for a Golden Age where necessities grow on trees and nobody has to earn their living. Like children, you can play and enjoy life with no responsibilities. The Golden Age and the Garden of Eden are the same thing, a childhood paradise that would last forever if we only obeyed our father.
At nine o’clock, Gloria is coming to work for me again. The sky is clouded over and there’s no breeze. I bought her a bottled water because she told me she’s diabetic. She worked hard the last time she was here and we got a lot done. I’m not certain what I’m aiming for with my life. I’d still like to play in a rock band if that’s even realistic. Circumstances keep blocking my way, so I think I have to plow an avenue myself where no road existed before.
Eight twenty five.
I walked to the store this morning without a mask, where Cathy cashiered and Doug was doing something electronic item by item on the shelves. I saw about a half dozen kids from the middle school. One of them bought an energy drink and something else using nothing but quarters, dimes, and nickels, so Cathy had to count it all, scowling with concentration. Later he rode his bicycle down to the corner of N Park to cross Maxwell Road; luckily the traffic stopped for him and he made it over safely. Behind me in line were about four other people waiting patiently. I noticed that no one showed an excess of joy or cheerfulness today, but then it’s Monday, the return to the business week. Last night I listened to the Chili Peppers doing One Hot Minute while I thought about the life of rock and roll and addiction, and what was the purpose of my still playing the bass guitar when I’m sober. Also I was pondering behaviorism as opposed to my old libertarian views: maybe determinism makes more sense, but the idealist in me still holds onto freedom. I’d rather not believe like a fatalist. It’s not a matter of what will be will be, or of surrender to what’s going to happen. I don’t know; can we change our genetic blueprint and tailor our lives as we like? The sky is white again and they say it will rain today, but no prediction is ever accurate one hundred percent. So, for today I ignore scientific certainty.
Well tomorrow’s the big day. I was just playing my bass. The song I wound up with was “Yours Is No Disgrace,” an oldie by Yes from their third album. Now I’d like to listen to that one again soon… I thought last night that I’ve been under a great deal of pressure and stress since this year began. I agreed to do a lot of things that I probably should have refused to do, so it wouldn’t turn into a runaway train. From the start with Misty I got talked into stuff I didn’t really want to be involved in. For some reason I couldn’t say no to her. I spent the last weekend feeling pretty miserable, remembering the way I drank 18 packs in 2017. That was the year I finally quit drinking. I’m not sure what triggered these memories, unless it was just being stressed out.
You know, with the schizophrenia and everything, sometimes my life just seems hopeless and not worthwhile.
I think I’ll go take a nap right now and write more to you a bit later.
I’m quite certain that I feel so lousy due to having been manipulated and forced into this situation. Maybe I shouldn’t blame myself but rather Laurel Hill and all these government organizations that steamroll right over your human rights, shoving their version of what’s appropriate down your throat. And of course I feel mad and resentful about all that. So maybe the thoughts I had about drinking 18 packs were a desperate attempt to rebel and feel free. The same is true for reading Native Son. Underneath it all, I have very strong libertarian feelings traceable to my teens and twenties.
Perhaps I’m just a divided person? There’s the Robert before schizophrenia and after schizophrenia, but I want to believe in the continuity of my identity throughout my life.
I’m really not happy about having a PCA come to my house on Tuesday because the whole situation indicates my loss of control over my life. It’s been taken over by government agencies, these nonprofit organizations that don’t take no for an answer, but instead bulldoze over your will and your privacy. Maybe I don’t like the Democrats after all? It’s hard to say who’s in charge of the big changes since I started going to the agency in 2019. Do they really intend to be helpful or do they just want to force everyone to conform to the norms created by nobody in particular? At this juncture I don’t know what to do, though I want to assert myself in the teeth of this Big Brother thing and reclaim my self control, the right to govern my own life. While the mask mandate is going away, they still find ways to shepherd us and keep us obedient and scared. It’s as if the sun outside had to shine in chains just like every human being.