Nine fifty.

My morning started off lousy, but I managed to motivate myself to go to the store and when I ran into Melissa, my whole day got turned around. I decided I would go to DDA group tomorrow afternoon, so I set up my rides there and back. The weather today is so dark and dreary that it’s hard to get anything done. It rained overnight and will probably rain again at eleven. I wonder if the French verbs for raining and crying are related to each other: pleuvoir and pleurer, respectively. This would make sense from a human point of view, and autumn can be a sad time of the year, though beautiful in its own way.

Last night I thought maybe being honest is foolish; but I think I heard that somewhere; something my brother said about “advantage” and cutting out the Boy Scout stuff. Some people are honest on principle or by upbringing. When honesty is rewarded, the behavior gets reinforced and repeated. Other people have the opposite experience with telling the truth. It’s always a double bind: screwed if you do or don’t. Cordelia told the truth to King Lear and was martyred for it. The cosmos was in an uproar for the tragedy. Events had gone terribly wrong. Is there still a doubt that the truth is a good thing? My brother’s birthday is about ten days away. Seventy big ones. 



Nine ten.

I got off to a late start today, but so did Gloria, and she’s coming to work at ten. It rained here overnight after a long wait. Colin told me it might thunder and lightning for the football game this afternoon: the Ducks and the Bruins play in Eugene. I have music in my head by Steve Khan, very pretty jazz fusion, like they don’t make anymore. We have all this technology for creating wonderful things but the inspiration isn’t there. We serve the machines rather than the reverse. I read the devotions email from Pastor a while ago and got the sense that he feels isolated with his beliefs on God and religion. Everything is kind of falling apart like the moral paralysis in Joyce’s Dubliners. Maybe it will thunder down on the Duck game today as a sign from the gods that we have alienated ourselves from nature, strayed too far away from the heart of things. We have also subordinated ourselves to a big machine that neither thinks nor feels in anything like human fashion. The thought of the gods recalls Shinto kami and the worship of nature, a thing we don’t understand anymore with our focus on cell phones and devices. I feel bad for Pastor, alone with his Christian God in a time that has forgotten what’s important. And the Steve Khan goes on playing… 

With a Coke. To Joni Mitchell and My Brother

Four thirty.

Clouds have rolled in and they’re saying light rain in ten minutes; but they never really know what’ll happen. My head is playing Joni Mitchell’s “Otis and Marlena,” a little ballad I heard again last night, succeeded by a long percussion jam and “Dreamland.” The music is sad for me because it evokes memories of my brother and the trips we took to the coast in the middle of the Bush era. I also think of how complex my mind has become after so much indoctrination: like a baptized Lutheran ought to feel, I guess. My body and my mind truly feel separate from each other as with the Cartesian scheme, or as if my mind had a pre established bucket for receiving the doctrines I did. I’m not the same person I was two decades ago, though I feel a tugging sensation from hearing the Joni Mitchell once again, like undertow, something treacherous and potentially lethal; and I feel that I’m back on the beach with my brother years in the past.

I wonder if it rained yet; I heard nothing like raindrops on the house and the sky doesn’t look like a cloudburst. The colors are wrong for a rainfall just now. But I’m wishing hard for the rain to come as soon as it can while I’ve got “Paprika Plains” running in my head. Music does odd things to me, as if the spirit of Dionysus dwelt in the sound of the notes and chords, the overall atmosphere.

I doubt that it has rained outside, but something has happened within me at this writing. Take it, learn from it, and move on to the next thing. 

Over the Coals

Eleven o’clock.

C— is coming to pick me up at noon, so then we’ll go to Black Rock to have our appointment. It isn’t much fun growing older; I notice how my body is changing with age and I want to turn the hourglass over to start another lifetime. I remember a song called “Visine.” It talks about “the torture of growing old / You must stand there / You must agree…” You just have to accept aging and eventual death, however you deal with it: with belief in heaven or whatever helps. I was playing my new bass when I realized I had rubbed a silly blister on my left thumb. I can’t get away with the things I used to… The air is incredibly smoky today from regional wildfires, yet despite this, C— still plans on our rendezvous. I’m a little nervous but I’m trying mind over matter and the rational side of psychology. This is more black and white than the full color of emotional thinking; rather flat or two dimensional, but it helps me control the tendency to panic and paranoia. It’s very good for people with severe mental illness or simple anxiety or depression. Imagination can be my worst foe sometimes. It makes a catastrophe out of something small, fanning the flames to a conflagration… Most people swear by emotional therapies. However, fighting imagination with more imagination is illogical and infeasible in my case. How does a belief in “karma” help someone with paranoid delusions, for instance. It only makes them worse…

Quarter after one.

My appointment is done. I didn’t enjoy it very much; I felt I was in the hot seat, under scrutiny or inquisition, a severe test: almost as if I’d done something wrong. So, maybe I had good reason to dread this meeting. Or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood today. But it’s over with now, while the air outside gets still smokier and less breathable, and my thumb smarts for lack of a bandaid. 

Elegy of Autumn

Sometimes it seems that life is cheap, or maybe people don’t want to talk about it. It’s said that some people with my illness don’t live to be 60 years old. In some degree it is in my hands, though ultimately it’s in the lap of the gods. (Now I’ve got that song in my head.) All you can really know are the changes, yet there’s so much we want to repeat out of a desire for comfort. People crave permanence, and that’s why the invention of heaven was successful. We dread the loss of what we love. Life is one of the things people love. Beyond life you simply don’t know.

I just read a cool story by Hoffmann that involved things like the alter ego and losing your shadow or reflection to the devil. The introduction to the book is informative and very well done and goes into the doppelgänger idea somewhat. It’s one of those wonderful Dover editions I love so much… I’ve been sleeping poorly for a long time. I’ve noticed a change in my breathing when I try to sleep at night. Maybe it’s the Vraylar; and overall I feel kind of like a resuscitated corpse: death warmed over. A man whose soul is stolen, left to wander the underworld in quest of it. Kiss innocence goodbye.

Or perhaps it was just a bad day for me. There’s always tomorrow and the difference of a day.

We can forget the past, but the past doesn’t forget us.

Sunday Ups and Downs

Two o’clock.

I was under the weather when I went to church today, so I skipped the potluck after service. Grant the musician gave me a ride to the market where we both went inside for some stuff, and from there I walked home. Grant was surprised at how big the “little” store was. It’s partly cloudy. Today is Sandi’s birthday, so we sang the song to her. The sermon was kind of a downer; not one of his better speeches. The theme was people who are “invisible,” and he used Lazarus as an archetype of that, waiting at the rich man’s gate.

Five thirty.

In fact, the sermon was really bad, or I just took it the wrong way. It’s not the first time that his sermon left a bad taste in my mouth. Sometimes Pastor is sort of clueless about people, as if he lived in the Fifties or something. Bleh 🤢! I won’t want to go back next time.

Seven o’clock at night.

I’ve got a few things on my mind. The first thing is the question of why I should put myself through worship services at all. Why sit still and be preached to when I am equally capable of judging life and reality for myself? But that’s nothing new for me. The truth is, everyone has the right to make their own observations and draw conclusions from what they see and hear. What do we need spiritual leaders for? I guess that was my main thought.

As time goes by, I feel less appalled by what I heard this morning. The sun has gone down and the twilight is nearly extinguished. I don’t feel under pressure anymore with the close of the day. And tomorrow is tomorrow’s concern. This is my own free time. 

Saturday for Wednesday’s Child

Eight thirty.

It all makes sense now.

I’m kind of nervous about this morning because Gloria is bringing a friend with her today. It does no good to try to imagine the future. I’m not a psychic; I doubt if anyone is. Pastor Dan sent out an email to everyone to urge us to come to church Sunday. It sounds like he’s rather desperate. I’m still not going back.

Ten thirty.

Gloria’s friend is named Laura. It went okay: we went to Carl’s Jr. after Gloria vacuumed the floors. I heard that the Ducks have a game today but I don’t know if it’s a home game or away… I looked it up. It’s here, and kickoff is at 12:30. We’re playing BYU. I actually miss being a fan of Duck football, back when my parents and my best friend were alive. The rest of my family roots for the Beavers but the UO is my alma mater. I think I’m the only one of my relatives left who attended Oregon… Today I’m in a mood of deep pathos. It’s a difficult thing to control, and something you can’t just stick a bandaid on… Now Aesop will be in a funk because of the visitors this morning. That makes two of us in a bad mood. I might as well pop the plastic on the new books that came yesterday to commemorate my birthday of sobriety. The weather is good for the squirrels to play around together, leaping from tree to rooftop and making a patter with their feet. If life were only that simple for human beings. I still ponder the question about happiness and stupidity versus melancholy and wisdom. I can’t draw a conclusion which is the better way. 


Six fifty.

I feel kind of gross this morning, rather wiped out from the heat yesterday and overnight… I know that some people wouldn’t be caught dead taking assistance from government programs. I have a nephew who is too proud to even walk into a Dollar Tree. He buys his reading glasses for twenty bucks from a “regular” store. Another nephew of mine builds his own guns and has an arsenal of over thirty of them. The absurd vanity of some people blows me away. What do they have to be proud of but their cowboy boots, belt buckles, and big hats? And maybe the can of Kodiak wintergreen in their outing flannel shirt pocket. A bright Confederate flag for the front yard, perhaps. All this to the sound of New Country blasting from the black Dodge Ram. Usually I shrug it off and let it be, but I’m in a weird mood today.

Manic Friday

Nine thirty five.

It’s raining and ugly again today. I’m getting really sick of this crap but no one can control the weather. At least, not at a finger snap. But I tell myself it’s okay to feel lousy occasionally. Otherwise you’re putting on a happy face. Some people prefer a façade to the real thing if the real thing is unattractive. Well whatever. I offer no apologies for my moods. I have to get ready for my taxi pretty soon to go see Todd at the agency. I don’t feel stressed, though I do feel gloomy and even kind of mad about something. I feel irritable.

Quarter of one.

Something has knocked down my self confidence today so that I feel like just another person with schizophrenia. I wasn’t keen on my trip to the agency but I got it done. Usually it only reminds me that I have a mental illness all over again. It’s just not a very cheerful place to go. At least I’m back home to be with my dog and chill out the rest of the day. One of these days I will finish reading Native Son; I had about 90 pages to go. It’s a good read for anyone who feels disempowered and marginalized in society, not just Black people but everyone of color or disability that suffers discrimination and neglect. And while I’m thinking about that, the weather continues gray and gloomy in this part of Oregon. One good thing happened on my cab ride home: the radio played an old pop tune by The Bangles, stimulating thoughts of my sophomore year in college, back when life was better. Is there a reason why it can’t be good again? I think it’s up to you and me to change our attitude and reverse the tailspin we’re in. Maybe someday we’ll be dancing in the streets. It’s worth working for. 


One twenty five in the morning.

“Consider yourself one of the family… it’s clear we’re going to get along…”

To use plainer English, I relate to the misfits in Shakespeare because I feel that an outsider cannot buy, beg, borrow, or steal his way into a religious organization, like me trying to find a place in the Lutheran church. A person must have a pedigree in order to fit into the big Christian universe, but I was brought into this world out of wedlock, fathered by a man who had been adopted after being abandoned by his biological parents… It is all well and fine for the human race to organize into Christendom or a Shakespearean aristocracy, yet my heart bleeds for others like myself, the outcast renegades and rebels with all odds against them. A small thing like alcoholism is a drop in the bucket next to the spiritual alienation that people like me experience. Surely the “redeemer” for the elect is different from that for the reprobate? I reckon time will tell. We may not have long to wait.