One thirty AM.
I’m not sure why I got out of bed in the dead of night. Vaguely I remember drooling on my pillow when it was 75 degrees in the house and a bit out of my comfort zone. But by now I’ve forgotten the things on my mind as I’ve woken up and shaken off the slumber… My journal is nearly full of my drivel since the beginning of April. After reading it back, I gave it the title, Future, Past, & the Imperfect. The most noteworthy thing about it is the departure in style and content from the sermons I used to hear at the Lutheran church. A voice of my own begins to assert itself, though the observations are often regretful and remorseful for a big decision I made five and a half years ago. It’s almost like leaving the Old World to explore the New on this adventure of recovery. Something about my progress is one step up and two steps back, and I frequently look back on the familiar past and wish I could have it both ways. It’s a little like having a foot in both places at once before the old Atlantis finally sinks below the ocean waves forevermore. What happens next is totally up to me.
I’m having a high energy day and things are going right. I just practiced on my Aria bass and for some reason it sounds pretty great. Perhaps the battery is fresh, or maybe the Donner cable makes a big difference. Or both. I hadn’t played it in a long while. The Aria is the bass I’ve had the longest; about 13 years, yet it’s never seen a real gig. I suppose that could change before too much time goes by… Gloria was here for two and a half hours this morning and it was rather fun. Something has happened to me that changed my whole perspective. I have no fear or dread of anything. During the small hours today I got up and listened to The Joshua Tree and some fusion by Yellowjackets, and that didn’t hurt… All day it’s been scattered showers, like early this morning when I walked with an umbrella to Community Market, and again for our road trip to the thrift store to dump off old useless junk. I don’t really have any more didactic things to share with my readers, and just maybe my job as a blogger is completed. I reckon time will tell. I could be gathering myself for the next jump; and I could be full of beans, too. It doesn’t matter very much.
Eleven thirty at night.
I’ve been dreaming about the devil in his role as deceiver, the one who trips you up and does you in. It’s a mystery why such a Christian dream should keep occurring to me. Does it mean I ought to go to church again? In my opinion, you can be a good Christian without church involvement, which is what Kierkegaard partly had to say. The church I used to attend expected that you tithe when you could, but I can’t afford to give away money anymore. I’m on a fixed budget that allows no extras, not even a car to get around town. Financially, I’ll never get ahead, and that’s fine with me as long as I have free time to think like a natural human being. I spent five years as a data entry slave, typing in alpha-numerals that were meaningless to me, oiling the machine with weekend binges, and hating life. Towards the end of my job, I figured out their game and started winning at it. At the agency meetings and when a prize was raffled off, I would come out the winner, and then give it away to somebody. The game turned out to be a shallow and silly one, something for children. A coworker told me I had outgrown the workplace, and before long I left that job. I guess all jobs are transitory things. Even a church can be a thing you use up and move on from. Sometimes a smart person ends up with nowhere to go until the next big change. And sometimes he learns that he constitutes the big changes himself…
It’s hard to admit that I’m getting older. The root beer from yesterday disagreed with my gut, so I guess I can’t tolerate soda anymore. My brain can think one thing, while my body has quite a different opinion of what’s healthy… My drinking days are definitely over, even though I still remember when getting tipsy felt great. And that’s why I keep reminiscing on my old friends, long since gone away… I really love my Kiloton bass, and I rue the death of rock and roll. It would be such a devastating loss if people couldn’t enjoy live music anymore… Any minute now I’m going to pick up Henry James and spend some quiet time reading.
Two o’clock in the morning.
I think reading James will make anyone a better writer, although I put down The Ambassadors yesterday morning, declaring it quite boring. I have to be in the right mood for it. Here it is the limbo time before Friday. No one said anything about having a band rehearsal this weekend, so I assume it won’t happen… I understand that cyber friendships are becoming more and more common in our culture, thus I guess there’s nothing wrong with accepting the changes wrought by technology. Two different therapists I had seemed to believe that internet relationships were invalid due to being somehow unreal, hence they were unhealthy. But these people were older and resistant to change. One of them insisted that body language was over fifty percent of communication between people, an opinion that I contested on the spot… Sometimes I used to summon the vision of D.H. Lawrence to decry the computer age, saying how unnatural it was, how it perverted our instincts, and so on. However, hardly anybody reads Lawrence anymore, as if he’d been a relic of the 1980’s curriculum. A month ago even I tried to read his poetry and was shocked by the pornography on every page. So I reckon that in the end, everyone must go with the flow and roll with the changes, or else get left behind.
Three o’clock. Outside, the rain is heavy and constant. Aesop likes his ribeye steak treats; I bought more of them this morning, and battled with the cold and wet on my walk there and back again. The raspberry tea I brought home tasted great, but the caffeine and sugar made me feel woozy. I noodled about on my homemade bass for a while, satisfied with the lowest frequencies through my old GK amp head… I didn’t see much as I marched to the store. One car passed me on Fremont, cruising around the corner of N. Park. No other pedestrians. The neighborhood is a ghost town. And it was just another gray morning for a recovering alcoholic in the middle of the pandemic. Perhaps late this spring we’ll all be vaccinated and the music venues can open again. But nobody really knows what’s what. How effective are face coverings and vaccines against Covid? It’s the blind leading the blind… Something made me think of Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. I have a nice omnibus volume of his novels. I left off in the middle of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
I’ll probably skip church again Sunday and gradually let them go. Pastor is leading them in a direction I don’t agree with. While they wait around for the Resurrection, I’m going to live my life more like a bohemian in quest of happiness. I was always a lousy Christian, having no faith in the possibility of a demigod or even a virgin birth. Mythology is full of immaculate conceptions, but these don’t make a pretense to reality. I gave Pastor that book of William Blake a while back because my own belief was very shaky. He didn’t seem to like it much. He told me he read the introduction by Harold Bloom, which was probably not Christian but rather secular humanist. But Blake is about as close to faith as I’ll ever get. So this was sort of my last offering before saying goodbye to the Lutherans. It couldn’t have happened any differently. In the blackness outside, the rain comes down with benign apathy to human affairs.
Predawn blackness outside. I think I’m done sleeping, yet I’m tired. I’ve written in my blank book that I’m sick of the sermons about culture and the doom and gloom. I’ve had enough: it’s time for a holiday. Instead of saying “we” I’m going to say “I.” And I will make a clean break with the church once and for all. I contributed all I could. Tried to help Pastor out during the summer and fall. Time to say goodbye… There should be daylight in about twenty minutes. I see a gray glow in the east right now. The promise of a day that’s just for me. Nature cares nothing for society, and can’t be blamed for it. The sun in the sky is equal opportunity and available to everyone. I plan on disengaging from the media for a while. No news and nothing social when I go on holiday. Unplug the devices and turn off my phone. Had enough of thought control. Then I will write more in my blank book, conferring with my own spirit and shaking off the BS. I might buy a little tub of ice cream today. I’d forgotten what it’s like to treat myself.
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.