I can sleep no longer this morning, yet it’s still pitch dark outside. Recording the church service went well. It also went quite briefly; I got home before eight o’clock. Kenneth, the Jamaican guy, gave me a lift, so I didn’t have to walk. Only two people showed up to be singers, Sandi and myself. Everyone is getting very tired of the Covid lockdown. Hopefully in about a month we’ll be live-streaming worship on Sunday mornings… This afternoon we’re having band practice again, Mike and Ron and me. I get to use my new amp at Mike’s place. It’s kind of a nice change to have some male friends to do things with. This element had been missing from my life.
Seven twenty five. First light of dawn is showing. Within a half hour I will head to the store for my Snapples and something to eat.
Quarter of nine. At the store I saw three guys in camouflage uniform. I have no idea what they were up to or where they were going. I felt a bit intimidated, but I was on my way out the door… Aesop has been fed his breakfast. Goodness, but everything is topsy turvy, and 2021 is off to a rocky start. Well no, the only oddball thing is Trump. We’re just counting the days until the inauguration.
Ten o’clock. I don’t know what my nearest neighbors are thinking, but they’ve certainly been quiet for the past two months. The gaudy banality of blogging is getting me down; I think I’ll have to give it up. I’ve contemplated it since November. I get enough support for my sobriety from Our Redeemer, which is local and mostly real and live. This community needs me and I need it. Of course I will keep writing, just not on WordPress anymore. This may be farewell.
Four o’clock in the morning.
I had a lousy day yesterday. Just one of those things. Maybe Monday will be better. I still hesitate to buy myself a birthday present for financial reasons. The holidays are always very rough on me, particularly the pressure to believe in something absurd. I keep trying to end my relationship with the church, but feel duty bound to stay and help out…
Quarter of ten. I just reread “The Sisters” by James Joyce. Very subtle and symbolic. Speaking of sisters, I should probably call mine this morning, but I’m still kind of mad at her for not calling me on Christmas Day. I generally feel frustrated and uneasy with my situation in the church and some of my friends. I realize what a hypocrite I am to continue going to church when I have no faith in Jesus Christ. This fact bothered me all during the summertime. It sometimes seems that words only get me into trouble, so maybe I should just play my bass and keep my mouth shut. Two decades ago I was in a band with a guitarist who used to say, “Play your bass, Rob.” In other words, shut up… In addition to these problems, I haven’t been very mentally well lately. But overall, I’m just not a happy camper, especially on WordPress. I can’t expect myself to change the world singlehandedly, and besides, I don’t have the right. I think I’m simply in the wrong place, and ought to look elsewhere for friends. As it is, I’m butting my head against an implacable wall.
Quarter of nine.
Patience is a virtue. Apparently my pen pal can’t receive emails from me by some glitch. I have to wait until the bugs are fixed. It’s another sunny morning. Furnace is running. I won’t participate in the Zoom service. There’s nothing factual about Jesus, and that’s why it’s so hard to believe. It is unfortunate that real information is expensive while BS is free. Even worse when the BS is also expensive… But maybe the best avenue to faith is the Intimations Ode by Wordsworth. Childhood memories hold the key to everything that is spiritual in us. It can take quite an effort to remember back that far. When things were “appareled in celestial light.” We may be asked to give up childish things, to grow out of them. There is conflict with “the Child is the Father of the Man.” And then what are we supposed to do? Go on growing up, or cling to the child inside? This is my personal brain teaser lately. Do I go with Wordsworth or try for something new and more mature?
Ten o’clock. Pretty soon I will hit the street and head to the store. Destination Snapple. Destination something new…
Eleven thirty five.
I don’t want to believe in karma, so I guess I just won’t. No heaven or hell, either. I think I’ve lost Pastor’s trust. It seems that he hadn’t thought through the matter of the saved and the unsaved. I feel very lousy today. When do I ever feel good? I think I should forget about the church, seeing how Pastor is avoiding me. Don’t email him anymore. He doesn’t have a good line of defense against my arguments, so that it only hurts his feelings. I think it’s over with… Gee, he’s just a little church pastor. My brother used to reproach me for flashing my brilliance. Now I kind of see why. But then, where is an intelligent person supposed to go? I feel like an enemy of the people, doomed to be unpopular for the observations I make. Yet there must be a place where I belong, and something constructive I can do… It’s not as though my brain were severed from the rest of me. My deepest emotions are those of a very smart person. Well anyway, I think my problem with the church is resolved already. Now I have to figure out my next move. But first I think I’ll take a break for a while.
One thirty. I went and hung out with Kim and Angela at the salon. The talk was mostly beauty school stuff, about which I hadn’t a clue. Their friend, who used to be Kim’s boss, dominated the conversation. Karen and Jean carried on a separate discussion. I just sat in a chair and listened. The lemon meringue pie was great.
I still feel pretty good today. I have no desire to practice the bass guitar this afternoon. My jamming days are over. The rock and roll image is not for me. I could sort of make it work when I used to drink, but now I have nothing to rebel against. My mentality is all different now. That’s a good thing. I’ve even made friends with my sister, which until now would have been impossible. On the other hand, my brother’s alcoholism will make reconciliation very difficult, if it’s even advisable. He’s in a different world from me as long as he drinks… Aesop is telling me that he needs water, so I tell him five minutes, and he settles down. Give him a time frame and he is happy…
I look forward to the fall, but until then, days like today are good enough. Probably tomorrow I will export more boxes to the garage. Chip away at it until I’m done. The whole house is mine, yet I’m only using a fraction of it. Some idea that was on my mind had backed me into a corner. I think I’m free now. I feel very confident.
I just remembered: I’m going to the salon tomorrow for Kim’s birthday. This will be a good thing to do. I could actually go to Bi Mart today and buy a few things. As long as I’m there, I could get Kim a birthday card…
Quarter after eleven. I chickened out and ordered from Amazon. The sun is blazing high in the sky right now. It’s just as well to stay home. I feel a little hungry, so I’ll have some cottage cheese presently.
Noon hour. I just began my project of making my living room habitable. I moved 11 boxes of books out to the garage. First I put Aesop in the backyard. Then I opened the side door to the garage and propped open the front screen door. Maybe this afternoon I’ll move some more. My desire is to get some comfortable furniture for the living room, if only a few beanbag chairs and a couple of lamps for reading light. I’m tired of having only two places to sit in the house… I think I’m done with placating my parents’ spirits. If rock music doesn’t appeal to me anymore, then I can make other changes as well. Stay sober and the rest follows. Everything is different from before, including myself. Mom and Dad are truly gone… I found my Oxford copy of Middlemarch and pulled it out. I know very little about George Eliot, except that she was an Englishwoman who accepted Darwin. It might be fun to gaze into it at some point today. I’m so lazy and slow to get anything done, but there’s no pressure on me. If I want something badly enough, then it will happen.
Noon hour. FedEx just brought my new flatwound strings earlier than expected. I’m going to save them for a while, but they will probably go on my Mexican Fender. I hope I can play with the church, at least. Maybe I’ll email Pastor about that today. I feel like the ultimate geek because no one wants to play music with me.
Quarter after six. Feelings of shame lead me to do regrettable things. The opposite of shame is pride, and pride, rather than a sin, is indispensable to a guy’s wellbeing. Being rejected by the drummer this morning with no explanation made my pride implode. I can be okay one moment and then the next be thrown into a vortex of depression. If no musician wants to play with me, would it help me to know that I’m too good for him? “The better you become, the fewer the people you’ll have to play with.” A music teacher told me this truism in 1998, and now I’ve fulfilled the prophecy. I don’t even want to play bad music like I once did 20 years ago. I can laugh at rock and roll’s absurdity today, whereas then it gave me delusions of demons. The medication changed all that. Currently I feel I want to do something serious with music. The same teacher told me that I’d be a perfect candidate for music school. Said I could major in composition and play any instrument I wanted. I didn’t pursue it because my illness was not under control. But how about now? Could Eduardo introduce me to some people at the school of music?
Quarter after three. I don’t know why I need parent figures here and there in my life. Someone to depend on. And my alcoholism was a kind of dependency as well: chemical. Well, Vicki has been rather parental for me, but not in a healthy way. I attach myself to people and places that feel safe to me. If I stop going to Community Market and shop elsewhere, then I will feel a little insecure for a bit. But I wish I didn’t need parents anymore. The thing with Vicki has been indeed an emotional attachment, as strange as it was. I really don’t know her at all. She was the person who used to sell me beer in the morning, when the addiction was out of hand. My dependence on alcohol was itself an emotional investment. The beer was soothing to me like a mother. And indirectly, Vicki came to signify motherhood to me also. I wonder why the maternity thing is important to me? I’d like to get over it and be independent. At least I can weed out the unhealthy parents and cultivate better relationships with people. Alcoholism is a very odd behavior, because you depend on something that isn’t even human. Alcohol is only a drug, nothing to have a relationship with. When I drank, I felt like I was in the mother’s womb, safe and protected from all harm… And what if I do go to a different store every day now? How will it feel?
So my mom’s birthday marks the climax of my decision to leave the church. Friday afternoon I was getting nervous about the worship service for that night. I couldn’t understand why. I thought maybe it was because I was riding with R—, but how was that an anxious thing? But when we got to the church I felt like quite a hypocrite or an imposter. Add to that the sermon on the wheat and the weeds and I grew very fearful. I definitely felt like a weed planted among the others by the Evil One. From there I became psychotic for the rest of the night, finally arriving at my email to Pastor saying I was done with the church. Funny but R— told me I looked good and healthy when she saw me. A paradox, I guess.
Two thirty 🕝. So what’s next? I lasted five years in my job, three years in the church; now I need a new gig. Maybe someone on WordPress has an idea of where I can go for an activity? Proofreading for Gutenberg used to be fun, but I took it as far as I could go. This moment is kind of exciting for me, because I have so many options open. I could probably get myself a laptop and then work from home doing something with my writing skills. Why didn’t D— think of that? So many times I’ve been let down by professional helpers who gave me bad advice. He thought I should work with senior citizens, but that would have been totally wrong for me. Even my sister thought so. I think it comes down to my own judgment and self knowledge. And I think my verbal facility is my vehicle to the next project.
Six twenty. I took a nap, feeling very uncomfortable, though I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was probably craving alcohol on some level. Maybe I’m putting too much pressure on myself? Nobody’s perfect, no matter what the church expects of people. I got the impression there that having pornographic thoughts meant a person was evil. But if a person is honest, doesn’t everyone have sex thoughts? How can humans avoid this? And again I think that our Neo Victorian attitude will have consequences at all strata of society… Maybe I’m just tired of trying to be a Christian. I don’t think it’s for me anymore. It’s like stuffing your brain into a jar in so many ways.
Quarter after six (morning).
No one ever said I had to be a Christian… I just read ten pages of Bishop’s poetry from North & South. I really like “The Man-Moth” and “The Monument.” Also “The Weed.” These poems are quite personal, dealing with life as an individual. Really, our own experience is all we can know, and the best we can write about. I feel clumsy even trying to think like a religious person, so I’m ready to discard the whole thing. My romance with Christianity is done. Like Emerson, I shall have an “original relation to the universe.” Like Whitman, I will put aside the opinions of others and write what I know… Online worship is officially today, but I won’t be there. For me, Friday night was a disaster. I came away from it feeling unwell mentally. I still have a lot more to learn from the book of myself and not from the musty brown Bible we used as a prop at the lectern. The props and stilts of “culture” suffice for people who don’t want to think; and it seems to me that thinking is the entire issue. Today begins a new day and, for me, a new way of living.