From a Letter

Maybe I called myself a moron because I didn’t do anything about that relationship, but I let her slip away. And you’re right: not all Brits and Europeans think alike. I was just writing in my journal about valuing security and comfort every day of my life. I think I’ll give up my persona of the existential hero on my blog and be honest with myself about what motivates me. Surrounding myself with lots of books and music is actually the safe way to learn more about life, but I don’t get the magnitude of experience that I would from something real. My dad was like a character out of a William Faulkner novel or a play by Eugene O’Neill: immovable like a tree firmly rooted to the ground. And I believe that this is a creed of people who drink alcohol. It seems to be built into my family system; that is, the value of comfort and security. Do you remember my post about Scuffy the Tugboat, the picture book given me by my grandmother when I was five years old? The bottom line of the story is safety, like Dorothy at the end of Wizard of Oz: there’s no place like home. Anyway, I looked at my behavior and saw a discrepancy between my words and my deeds, the same way Dr T observed me years ago. Most of my writing is just a bluff, and what drives me is the craving for peace and security— just like my dad. Just like another character from Yaknapatawpha County in Faulkner’s Mississippi. (I doubt if I spelled that right.)

Again it’s sunny and smoky here after a cloudy morning. I don’t know when it’s going to rain but we really need it. Speaking of books, I thought about taking out my volume of HG Wells for a look at The Island of Doctor Moreau. I read it during the summer of 04 but I forget how it ends. That same summer I read The Time Machine as well. He wrote some really great ones; The Invisible Man, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon, etc. Doctor Moreau is quite powerful for me and it makes you wonder about the nature of being animal versus being human. Where does one stop and the other begin? What is the essence of humanity?

I noodled around on my jazz bass again today and had some fun with it. Sounds great. If I only had a car then I could think about being in a band and playing some gigs. But this is me bluffing again, probably. If I wanted to buy a car badly enough then I’d go ahead and do it. The fact is that I don’t do it. But does that mean never?

Maybe it just takes me a long time to decide to do something. Maybe it takes a little push to get me moving.


The Tedium of Medium

Seven twenty.

Today is trash pickup day, so I wonder if Roger will fight with the same homeless man as two weeks ago. This is the only drama going on with me lately. Everything else is pretty medium and stable. I have no complaints and little to worry about. Some people might say that the tedium itself is stressful. I don’t know if I agree with that. I like comfort. If my existence was full of stress and criticism from others, and no escape from it, then I’d be tempted to get drunk like I used to. Human beings love a scandal or whatever they can gossip about, just for entertainment. Many years ago I had arguments with a friend on the topic of my desire for security and peace. His preference was for action and extremes in his life, and avoiding boredom. He was a big fan of Nietzsche, but I found his amorality disturbing. At the time, I probably followed Hume or Kant instead.

Quarter after eight. My dad was a guy who loved his comfort and safety, and I still can’t argue with that very much. Like father, like son? Maybe his security was illusory, but he didn’t think so. September is the month that I remember him because of his birthday and the time he passed away.

It looks like Roger is getting ready to stake out his recycle bin.

From My Grandmother

Scuffy the Tugboat

Actions speak louder than words. On one hand I invest my money in my home to make it a comfortable place and on the other I spout nonsense about playing in a rock band. What does this tell you about me? Where does the voice saying I should do rock and roll come from? It comes from a sense of duty, from a conscience put there by other people; but it doesn’t come from my own soul. If it did, then I’d invest in a car to be mobile, and I’d risk danger to live the rock and roll dream. My soul is probably wiser than that. Even if security is boring, it probably guarantees a longer lifespan. It boils down to a philosophical question: is it better to burn out or fade away? Though I used to do self destructive things, I attribute it to my mother’s influence on me, and my grief upon her death. 

All of this reminds me of a children’s book called Scuffy the Tugboat that my grandmother gave me when I was six years old. The little boat gets away from his owner into dangerous situations on the high water. But eventually he goes home and is content with floating in the bathtub, safe and sound. And by the way, my grandmother was a very different person from my mother who loved The Beatles.

One more observation: what is a probable guarantee? 


Wee hours.

During the afternoon, something awakened me to the validity of other psychoanalytic theories than simply Freud, which I’d lived by ever since junior high school, namely Alfred Adler. He reminds us that we need security and confidence to carry out our lives, a skill to be proud of and do competently, etc. We need self esteem and a little bit of pride in ourselves. I’ve known some people who take this to the extreme of invalidating other people from their own feelings of inferiority, jealousy, or resentment. Perhaps even some therapists have done this to their clients. I feel I was shipwrecked by one such person four years ago, and the trauma still messes with me in the springtime. I never should have left my psychiatrist in the first place. Human relationships can be very delicate things. There’s always someone with a pellet gun to shoot down your balloon in order for themselves to rise. We say the good die young and nice guys finish last. But sometimes you have to protect yourself from predators. 

The Illusion of Safety

Noon hour.

I catch myself being a jerk today and then I have to stop and reevaluate my attitude and behavior. The cabbie for the return ride was interesting. He lived through the great snow of 1969 in Eugene. I mentioned drought after observing that Kelly Pond had shrunk down to hardly any water at all. He said that in ‘69 it was dry for 120 days in a row. I was two years old that year and don’t remember much of it.

My meeting at the agency went pretty well, except as I said, I was kind of a jerk. I look back on my working days now and wonder how I endured the boredom of it. I was not challenged by the type of work I did. There was a coworker who understood that about me. She was very intelligent and incisive, and advised me to get a job in the larger community. But I stayed where I was because I thought it was safer. After a few years it turned into a big mess. The alcohol addiction usurped my life and in general I felt trapped. Today I still feel a little bit that way. Therefore, no situation is really safe. I’d like to do more fun things in the community and try to connect with smart people. Bookstores are a good place for me to start looking for intelligent life, and maybe a trip up on campus. The burden of being smart is that it takes more to keep yourself stimulated.