Warning ⚠️: Sexual content
Nine o’clock 🕘. From something T— said it sounds like he’s a virgin. He sounds inexperienced with sexual nuts and bolts, just the rudiments that give a man an erection. He lacks this much self knowledge, whereas I’ve seen a lot more of life than he has. Maybe he won’t know anything until he gets married. I’m a little embarrassed for him and his overrated religion which precludes the human experience we all deserve to know. Or maybe I should feel embarrassed for myself for not being chaste and innocent? Sheryl didn’t know anything about male sexuality either. I can’t think of anyone who does know besides me. Rather than keep looking for external verification of what I know about myself, I should just act based on my own experience. It seems to me that human beings are losing touch with their instincts, which would be a very sad condition for humankind. D H Lawrence could have predicted a day such as this. Or perhaps I’m just alone with the knowledge that I have of sexual stuff. I know that my sister is a complete prude, denouncing anything remotely sexual, and maybe that’s why she doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. This makes me feel ashamed of myself a bit, or should I condemn her for being cold as an icicle? It is strange to be ostracized over sexuality, but then she got a divorce over something sexual. I guess I’m willing to accept my solitude with the truth I possess. But it still feels awfully strange…
Ten o’clock. I feel tired from the heat. I know so many people whose minds are on autopilot, who couldn’t think about anything originally. But to do so, first your perceptions have to be clear and accurate. I don’t know what accounts for seeing things justly. It’s sort of like your response to meeting a starving person. If you have the means, do you feed him or do you watch him die of hunger? My brother is callous enough to do the latter. It arises from a warped sense of what is right. His standpoint is one of resentment and jealousy toward those who get something he doesn’t. His personal feelings get in the way. This is not rational or even reasonable. In the profoundest way, it is dishonest. It is illiberal, which is another way of saying merciless. It’s the opposite of generous: stingy, niggardly. I was with him once at McDonald’s when he deliberately saw to it that a woman and her “service dog” were kicked out of the restaurant. He said it was the law— but whose law was he upholding? Ultimately it was his wounded sense of fairness to himself. The poor woman had already paid for her meal. My brother is a complete jerk.
Quarter after one. This is another day when I feel quite strange and rather alien to myself. I don’t know what to expect next. There may be revelations. I read a little bit of Roethke and thought it was very good. Also from a box I recovered my copy of Unamuno, which I had believed to be lost, plus a novel by Iris Murdoch. I even found my old astrology book by Ronald Davison, one of the best on the subject. Sometimes older books are closer to the kernel of the truth than more recent writing. Equally fascinating is The Dictionary of Symbols, compiled by Jean Chevalier, full of rich mythology and folklore and information from astrology.
Quarter after ten. The rain and thunder caught me dreaming about some haunted hospital or twisted old house as in a tale by Lovecraft. It was a different kind of day, poking through boxes concealing mystery and imagination, unlocking the secrets of the soul, teaching them to speak like the Raven. Mostly I was inarticulate during the day, but now the night and the lightning loosen my tongue. And why not expose the gems and precious metals held inside these boxes, these compartments of the mind? Allow them to breathe in the light of day, smuggling them out piece by piece? The thunder answers something muffled and nonverbal. If it could talk, what would it say? Perhaps I could build a machine for translating the language of nature. Like in a Nordic tale of Sigurd, half forgotten, where he eats the white snake and lo, he comprehends animal speech. The same story reappears in The Brothers Grimm, an oral tradition passed down eight or ten centuries. Why shouldn’t these old stories teach us about nature from within our subconscious? How could the beautiful be other than true?
Quarter after one. I gathered up three trash bags full of bottles and stored them in the garage. The weather continues whimsical with sporadic showers. I had a dream this morning suggesting that the south end of my house doesn’t get much use, hence I’m trying to fix this situation. After all, the whole thing is my house… I feel disinclined to play the bass today. Uninspired. It isn’t the instrument, it’s me— and the situation of social distancing.
One observation I can make: psychoanalysis has always seemed counterintuitive precisely because it isn’t true. We can trust the face value of people and circumstances, and the unconscious is only a theory. When I feel depressed, I rub my eyeballs and mutter what an idiot my first therapist was. The background she was coming from was wrong for my interests. What indeed is intuitively obvious? The River Road Community tends toward conservative values, and this is where I grew up. It is said that individual personality and society are inseparable…
…But rock and roll was always alive and well where I went to school, a culture unto itself. I had friends in junior high school who lived for Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne. I could enjoy this a little, but I always preferred Rush and the other prog bands. Genesis was great around 1981. I caught them live on The King Biscuit Flower Hour on the radio when I was 15. Made an 8 track tape of most of it, then listened to it every morning that summer. They did “Duchess” absolutely beautifully, and opened with “Behind the Lines” with two drummers. Phil Collins on drums was sick good. Genesis was better live than in the studio, took more risks. Music was mysterious and magical when I was just a young drummer. It often gave me goosebumps when the chords were just right. How would it be to put the bass aside and go back to playing drums again? Back to my roots, and they say once a drummer, always a drummer.
Quarter after four. Jan from church has a relative, Faye, who told me a bit about her schizophrenic son, also a homosexual. She said it in a whiny drawl with a sneer. Made me want to wring her neck. And ever since I left the care of my psychiatrist, the clarity I used to know regarding my illness has gotten scrambled. All screwed up. I gave up his sparkling expertise for the incompetence of a lot of clowns. All done out of a feeling of wounded pride when he insulted me as looking like a bum. A homeless person living under a bridge. Pride drives people to do desperate things. I defied at least three people who knew me very well and went and did the contrary of their expectations. No one would’ve dreamed that I would join the church and start seeing a therapist. It seemed like the softer way to go. But no! It has been a long, hard journey out of hell. And I doubt if I’m really seeing the light even yet. The process of peeling the onion arrives at nothing. It is like dissembling an automobile to learn its secrets, and then being unable to put it back together, let alone get it to run. If it does become roadworthy again, it ambles along with a shimmy and the putt putting motor sounds totally different… And this is life without alcohol for an alcoholic.
Five thirty five.
Start with some exploratory writing. The day is dawning gray as the full moon goes down like a paper lantern. People try to be honest and upright, truthful and good. Sometimes our traditions overlook us, make us feel marginalized or persecuted. I think suspending judgment is important. I once had a doctor, a certain Denise, who was a practicing white Muslim. She covered her head with a scarf. If I could forgive her Islam, she could forgive my alcoholism. But the general public here did not agree. Her son was picked on in school, and eventually Denise left Oregon for Washington DC, where she had family. I thought it was an embarrassment for my State to be so intolerant. We’re only a bunch of hillbillies out here after all, and we proved it yet again. The truth of life is much broader than our fictions can encompass. Therefore, the merits of each case ought to be considered… I can’t sleep again. Sooner or later I will pass out from sheer exhaustion. I am so tired of depending on virtual reality for the duration of the pandemic. When is this going to end? I could go throw my iPad in the Willamette River! There, it would find many other tablets to keep it company.
Lisa the counselor didn’t like me very much. She often brought up narcissism in my presence, to the point where I took offense and wrote her a letter demanding an apology. She was afraid of me after that. That year, 2009, everyone was extremely superstitious. I found myself writing poems I didn’t believe. They made no rational sense. I shared a few of them with Kate and she perceived that I was not well. So, she patiently guided me back to sanity. She served as my “therapist” and confidante for six years, reversing the damage caused by the world gone insane during the Bush presidency. Kate was actually an anti therapist. She of course did not believe in God or any spiritual nonsense. I sure could use her common sense today. I’m becoming sick of WordPress. The religious people are getting on my nerves. Americans in general are mostly out of their minds these days. Look at who we elected President. We need somebody like Kate in leadership to reel us back in to scientific certainty. The world needs to be healed of its delusions. Learn our science facts and control global warming. Stop polluting ourselves out of a habitat. Stop expecting the new Jerusalem to come and start providing for our future. I will not contribute to the madness of religion anymore.
Midnight. With everyone having an equal shot at being right, I’ve decided to trust my own vision of reality. Why not go with second nature? I’m very tired of the same banal Christendom that nobody dares to question. I want to do something heroic like Descartes, whose bold and fearless intellect plowed a whole new way of thinking about life and truth. He took it upon himself to correct what he perceived to be the errors of his fellows. He changed the course of mainstream philosophy from his time to that of Sartre… In our times, which have sadly discarded philosophy altogether, I resolve to stick to what I know. I suppose it is a path of pride over humility, but still these are Christian concerns, and I can’t honestly subscribe to Christianity. It was always a struggle for me, and it’s still an uphill battle against the ignorant people who would brainwash me. This has been going on ever since my mother died. Forcible indoctrination has always been indefensible, a grievous wrong to those who know better. Consider this my little Declaration of Independence, if you will.
Quarter of two. Had my lunch. I feel like a hollow vessel, a body with only air for a soul. It doesn’t feel bad. I wish I could just once get a night’s deep sleep. I can manage only a slumber. Reality doesn’t feel real, as if I could wake up from it suddenly and be somewhere else. It doesn’t matter much to me what I say to people. I don’t pity anybody, as the flip side to not feeling guilty for anything. My good mood is melting to something I can’t define. This is not me. I don’t recognize this person. The clouds outside bulge with muscle, gray and white, while letting the sun dominate temporarily. Again I feel like Atlas or like Sisyphus, waiting for relief from a Hercules. Someone to allow me to breathe… I can hear Jaco playing on Heavy Weather. 1977. I picked up the cassette tape originally in August 1988— and was totally blown away. Within a month I was trying to emulate his style. It seemed like a realistic goal for me, so I pursued it… But reflecting on the memory depresses me because I was a jerk that year. I didn’t know what I was doing with music. All I can say now is that I learned a lot, and got a lot of enjoyment along the way.
Three twenty. Thinking again, college was really quite selfish and shallow, and above all, materialistic. Maybe there was a deeper reason why I fired my psychiatrist, who was another materialist and empiricist. Sometimes he lacked moral fiber, withholding the truth from his clients in order to make them obey. He and others like him are icing on the cake rather than the layers themselves. Gradually I have come to prefer substance to show. This started when I was thirty years old, and it has been consistent with me. What really matters is the truth, however ugly or beautiful it is. I can’t deny that there’s a lot to be said for the inner reality as opposed to the outer appearance. Whatever is moral is what is good and true. Whatever resonates with the conscience is beautiful and right… In some ways, my education misguided me, yet studying the Renaissance was a great thing. I see a few smoky clouds in the east outside my window, but the sun dominates, making splashes of pale yellow on the ground through the magnolia branches. Shakespeare said that the truth will out. And he’s right about that. A life of lies and deceit, of duplicity and perfidy, eventually catches up to a person. Or maybe this is just wishful thinking?
Quarter of noon. My new book arrived in the mail yesterday, and I found it this morning. The bookstore price on it is considerably higher than Amazon. Les Miserables looks much better in an Everyman’s hardcover, although the principle of the novel deemphasizes aesthetics and shallow things. It makes me feel a little guilty. But I’m only about 60 pages into it. Now I wonder if my mother would be judged as shallow by Victor Hugo. I should read the book to find out. So far it gives me a conscience about wealth and poverty, and beauty and wealth go together— unless you’re like Edgar Allan Poe or Charles Baudelaire. My siblings feel weird about beautiful things, while Mom had no qualms at all. She admired beauty, and moreover hated preachy things…
Two thirty. I feel very frustrated about something. Everyone is so grave in this time of emergency, when I’m the type who likes fun and pleasure. I want people to lighten up and be happy, not so serious and gloomy. It seems like a duty for us all to wear a long face. But I don’t feel like doing that. I’d rather play a gig with my band, and make people dance and celebrate. I have to wait until the virus is under control. It depresses me and makes me want to sleep the time away. I haven’t succumbed to the temptation to drink. This would only worsen the situation. The days when alcohol was the elixir of joy are over for me. The pleasures that remain to me are music and writing, though writing tends to be more truthful than beautiful. And not all truth is beautiful. Did the One who made the lamb make the tiger? The song in my head is “Forlorn” by Weather Report. Some soulful playing by Jaco on fretless bass. Though I’m having a bad day, I suppose it could be worse.