Thursday, November 23, 2017

Three Ghosts

I feel like the guy from the Dickens A Christmas Carol story who was visited by three ghosts in order to get him to wake the hell up to the joyful realities of life. I have had three extremely meaningful conversations in the last two days:


The Ghosts of NaNo Future

After an out-of-town National Novel Writing Month write-in, The Healer, Chess Champ and I pooled back to Scooterville and the Healer’s good-energy house of books, humans, dog, and cats where we embarked on an impromptu conversation about the glory days of our NaNo region, the dangers in romanticising them or down-playing it’s current level of success; the hurdles in managing it today, the very sober interpretations of dear Liaison’s health prospects, and the great challenge of keeping this region alive and healthy in 2018 and beyond which include some rather perilous politics. The conversation was emotional; everyone’s eyes became glossy at some point or another. Chess Champ surprised me with his level of transparency and emotion and I joyfully sensed that his relationship/friendship with the Healer was possibly beginning to mature - as it had between he and I earlier this November. The Troll was a prominent conversation piece and I wonder am I going to have to credit him with providing a useful “common enemy” to draw us together? I say this half-seriously.

Of special relevance I spoke of my own ridiculous falling apart and my sudden willingness to take on some degree of leadership contribution next year, if necessary, in the special (diplomatic) areas where I’m likely to have the most available aptitude - assuming I get my shit together. That’s kind of a big step. After going through my journey years ago I found it very useful to step down from my traditional habit for formal leadership roles and I found that change very rewarding. But if I perceive the community needs me…


The Ghost of Parenthood Past

Then yesterday I had breakfast with a dear friend who I can’t pseudo-name just now for privacy sake; though perhaps that’s not even a concern? Most significantly she reiterated the opinion that her parenting methods or circumstances may not have been the most… useful ever, in her challenging past and that she is apparently paying a very dear price for that, as one of her own sons has basically said - stay away.

This is hauntingly similar to my own emotional circumstance and neither of us, to our credit, attempted to imply that our own loss was any more significant than the other’s. At one point I wept deeply but briefly. I cried for both of us. I don’t know if she perceived that.


The Ghost of Presence

And then I had dinner with Aqualad and he was very brave and told me as best he could about all the emotional weight he currently carries. Some of it broke my heart.

He seems very open to accepting an attempt at help from me. It means I will have to be really on the ball because in turning to the poetic process for guidance here (I have done the math to some almost-successful degree tonight on the night shift despite being outrageously tired) for there is a tremendous volume of material which is relevant to his issues. A tremendous volume. But no worries. We will mostly communicate online probably; and it will take the form, not of me lecturing, but me posing the useful questions so to continuously nudge him toward finding the most useful available answers for himself. The good thing here is that he can set the pace by answering each question whenever he’s ready or has time.

I am very motivated at this time to get my shit together. I’ve been surrounded by a whole lot of love these last two days.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How doth the city sit solitary…

…that was once full of people.

I remember many occasions sitting in my Streetsville apartment looking out the big window, contemplating at great length and seeing all these structures and machinations of society: I had never felt so alone; so utterly alien. At the time I regarded this with some degree of emotional peril; not as much as you’d expect, but more than I later would. My yawning separateness was to some degree just another observation; another new important revelation in a long roster of them. It was then that I found some comfort in that opening line from the book of Leviticus and then that I began reading the Christian bible for the first time since grade school, and then that I began finding wisdom instead of nonsense; wisdom which few priests would, so far as I imagined, ever interpret much the same way I was. It was then that I began to sense that much of this “religious” material must have been borrowed from other sources and that much of it was not intended at its roots to be a tool of Christian doctrine at all.

That alien feeling persisted for a long time, varying in intensity.

I remember a long night wide awake in my attic eyrie which I rented from Long Time Companion; the friend formerly known in blog space as Peter Pan. I’m pleased to say that he has come a long way, finding some peace, and considering that when we were breaking up years prior to this rental arrangement and I’d threatened to murder him (and possibly meant it) in a fit of outrageous jealousy - I guess I’ve come a long way too.

That night I’d felt the weight of this threshold; this decision; this gateway to… what? Enlightenment? This reckoning that I’d found no one yet who was willing to take my hand and proceed with me.

It was that night when I strummed the guitar and the song The Line came out: a simple three-chord ditty in which I tried to voice this conundrum; this great step in evolution (or so it seemed to me then) and my concern that I was becoming too alien from everyone around me and that I was losing the capacity to relate and thus to communicate and thus the potential to teach or to guide.

I did not want my learning; these immensely powerful and useful understandings to benefit me alone!

What I don’t remember is any conscious decision; any intention to back away from that threshold, but indeed that is what I did; not ready to give up on others; and not feeling any confidence that I’d ever be able to reach anyone again if I took this step and launched too far into another realm.

I remember being surprised to so easily embrace a reverse-pretentiousness, how easy it was for me to “play dumb” in a way, to reveal no insights in day to day circumstances where I was wise in relevant terms but wise enough, also, to know that what I had to say would not be understood or not be embraced and so I remained quiet and nodded like some very simple man. I was surprised how easily I could keep my ego in check.

I remember feeling lonely at times because I had no one I could be completely myself with. I literally had no secrets. This is a huge statement to make. I doubt it can rarely ever be honestly said. I had no secrets but yet I had to keep quiet about some things, not for shame (I could admit any flaw or fault I was aware of) but for other people’s comfort. I had no energy or any mandate to challenge everyone’s illusions all day every day.

When I met Neo and observed what astounding mental freedoms he possessed, I knew he was very special and that I had to make myself available to him. And with the brainstorming of excellent associate JazzLion, I began writing a novel in which I tried to plant all my most important and relevant understandings, with the thought that if he read it (along with others if it got published) and was of the kind of mind I had been crediting him with, then as an adult he might unearth that book and look me up. I did not indulge in any romantic notions about such an encounter but in essence I could imagine him saying, “Dude! Remember me? I understand what you’re saying here! And I thought we should talk I don’t imagine you’ve been expecting many people to get it…”

Instead Neo took such an immediate interest in me that we became associates when grade school graduation should have otherwise separated us.

In hindsight, maybe that was all for the worse. Another regret? Should I have finished the damn book instead, and put it in his hands and said goodbye?

One of the joys in our association; call it friendship; call it mentorship, whatever, was that I had someone I could be one hundred per cent myself with. I regarded him as completely trustworthy. Not trustworthy in that I could trust him with my secrets (because I felt I had none) but trustworthy in that I trusted him to be able to handle the truth; to be able to handle the things I had to say.

For the first time in quite a while I had someone I did not feel alien with.

This is the crux of my broken-heartedness.

Imagine being a human but growing up on some far away planet where everyone is wildly different than you and finally you meet another human; the only other human on the planet, and you just feel so at home finally, and your friendship blossoms and then after eight years he just says, yeah I can’t do this anymore bye. 

Sometimes these days I think surely we’ll get back together again. Surely he’ll come to his senses.

But sitting here, trying to be a little present; a little wakeful, I think: How carefully have I monitored this alien issue over the last eight years?

Am I sure that no one else is capable of letting me be me, without me having to be concerned about scaring them off?

I know that the Ponderer and Skeeter Willis are frequent readers of this blog (god knows why; it is so scattered and indulgent) and I must ask with honesty; not to flatter, are they not willing and capable?

I wonder too, about Dog Whisperer and Earth Writer and Aqua Lad. I barely knew them eight years ago. Have we not developed an almost familial bond?

On that note what about my mother and my brother?

Surely JazzLion and Renaissance Kid and Global Citizen; though they live rather out of the way to varying degrees, so to rely on them regularly would be difficult.

And the Earnest Chef too. And The Healer. Thinking about them now, are they not slam dunks? Have I not already felt free with them and just not done the accounting?

Perhaps even the Thoughtful Educator. Haven’t all these relationships broadened and solidified over these years? Have I failed to give some special people fair credit?

And then there’s Dr. Lock of course. I’m surprised as I think about this now - how many friends I am able to consider in this regard

Perhaps I need to sample the waters; open up to more people the same way I did to Neo and see how it goes; if they are comfortable or not.

It would help, I’m sure, if I could be my gentler self with them. Which would happen naturally I’m sure if I could bring myself to be more present; more mindful. I might not be ready though. Let me cradle myself in the writing for now.

With regards to that evolution, I suppose this is another regret: When Neo asked, But why wouldn’t you want to embrace enlightenment if you could? Why ever choose otherwise? For some reason I gave him a cryptic answer that was more about my remaining addictions; my susceptibility to identity, instead of a straight answer. God knows why. It just happened.

I should have told Neo the more simple and sincere perspective: that I was waiting until he was ready to go there with me.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The profound power of fiction

I have a safe place.

Sad that I need one but the truth is I am rarely qualified to manage my own affairs these days. I am not too bad around other people currently. I can pretty much shift into my old self mode around them as long as no triggers arise. (God damn; to hear myself talk like this! For years I assumed myself immune to this crap.)

But alone my mental idle hands are tools of the devil.

NaNo has provided a solution; perfect or imperfect; who knows. The writing has provided a complete escape. And I like what I’m writing. There are flaws but I shall trust that they can be fixed much later. There is not enough conflict early on. There are a lot of very nice characters being very sweet and nurturing to one another. Go figure eh? It is like a gentle therapy to me.

But it’s much more than that. I feel very positive about the project. I must keep at it until it’s done; then edit it courageously and thoroughly and try finding it a home in the marketplace if applicable.

It is fiction in its most useful form: a legitimate lab experiment. It is a lot of characters who to me are vivid and interesting and who are motivated very properly: by the spark of a single event and its cascading causality, powered by a hands-off writer who does not need anything to happen other than the characters to have the freedom to be themselves. The events unfold organically. The writer’s instincts are at work, channeling the understandings which come from a long period of integral observation and contemplation; providing the conduit to legitimate causality.

Given the September meltdown I’d decided to write the full story of Neo come November but no - it’s too emotionally perilous this soon.

How surprising to find myself endeavouring to write Y.A. material instead; and even more so to find myself attempting an adaptation of sorts!

Having a nephew has inspired me to aim at younger audiences. It’s a learning process. I have much “regressing” still to do.

As a habitual storyteller it is hard to watch a film without imagining how you would change the story (often prematurely and unwisely). I suppose it’s no surprise to find that the same can happen watching a documentary: One that focuses on a small cast of “characters”.

I found myself wanting to re-tell this charming story from a Netflix documentary but with some poetic liberties. And now here I am. My efforts to make it Y.A. though, are not holding together very well. There is only one young character. Adult characters and adult themes have poured into it through a hundred cracks.

I don’t care. The process is good for fiction. It is taking on a bit of an epic feel. This may be a very long book with a lot of themes and sub-plots. And the process is good for me. Besides the lack of initial conflict starving the story for tension, I am also sitting on the fence in terms of subtlety. At some point I should make a commitment to make the story depend on it (show don’t tell) or else to allow some tell (thus Y.A.-friendly).

I guess for now I am hoping for a universal sort of audience; a cross-over; for adults and teens? It doesn’t matter. I am still a writer trying to perfect his craft. The marketplace should not be my concern.

So I will stick to this process and see where it goes. I am throwing a multitude of ingredients into a pot and it is a delight to see what culinary smorgasbord comes out.

And every time I write, my problems disappear. Escapism or not; I’ll take it. 



Monday, November 20, 2017

Keep it down, will you? I’m spiritually sleeping.

I am not present. I am not mindful. I am spiritually asleep. On the road, I’m yelling the “C” word at bad and selfish drivers. I’m laying in bed way too much and sleeping way too little.

I’m hopeless.

I have avoided facebook (and most people) since September 26th. I can’t imagine going back.

I have stayed away from most November Writing Month write-ins in; especially the ones where a certain jackass semi-unintentional NaNoWriMo forum troll might be present because I’m afraid I will knock him unconscious with a well-placed punch to the jaw. And let’s face it. That would be a stupid thing to do because then my hand would hurt for a while.

A couple friends know that I am struggling. A couple others even know why. I’ve been pretty tight-lipped for the most part.

The Healer falls into the first category. We are - or were - arguably the two most significant leadership consultants to the writer pal known here as the Liaison who is the NaNoWriMo (November Novel Month) regional leader for Scooterville; a contingent roughly 2000 members strong of which about 220 actually participate on a given November, of which maybe 50 participate in the forum of which maybe 30 might be prone to coming out to a write-in or a social event at some point.

I had my life pulled out from under me - to put it as dramatically as possible. I also had my employer tell me that work was slow; the subtext being: I should look for another employer.

The Healer (my dear hiking buddy and part-time life-coach) suffered a home invasion just days prior to the November 1st NaNo launch - where she was punched in the face by the drug-fucked absconder of her cell phone and laptop (she got them back. Kudos to the cops). Her life-mate learned that he is being laid off in eight months. His kind of work is very specialized; hard to find.

And our pal the Liaison is suddenly - as far as we know - dying of brain cancer.

And official leadership is not at all a priority for either of us even though it is something we’re both skilled at. Therefore the NaNo community is being publicly led, for better or worse, by our pals Sickboy and Chess Champ with our support in the background.

This internet troll surely does not see himself as such but he is a giant buffoon who is scaring away a lot of very sensitive writers; many with social anxiety and I am seeing one of the most successful NaNo regions, which was rebuilt lovingly and profoundly gracefully by my dear departed pal the Liberal Theologian years ago, falling apart - if I may be so bold.

And here is me in my pathetic weakened state: furious at this fucker for undoing her noble work; apparently unable to be the peaceful balanced forgiving nurturer I once confidently manifested in myself. Terrible. Terrible. Terrible. What has become of me?

In one of our frequent sad little support-group-of-two conversations with The Healer I said: “I’m semi-aware that I’m being a big baby but…”

But what? I can’t do anything about it? Maybe I can. Have I tried? Not really. Do I fucking feel like trying? No, I don’t. Sometimes I think I want Thing One and Thing Two - lunatics of The Fucking Century (Trump and Jong-un) to fire up a thousand nukes and put us all out of my misery. God knows I’m way to cowardly to ever take my own life.

“...But oh well.” is all I said.

She very much identified with this and so she put one of her thousand deadly creative skills to use and made us our very own meme which I shall here post. I hope one day I will look at it and look back at this and laugh and say “Never again.”


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Regret, regret and regret

About six weeks ago I lost my best friend; my closest confidante; my primary life consultant; my greatest source of inspiration and of hope for this society. He played some central role in every purpose and life endeavor that is important to me. He meant all of this to me and much more. I lost him under baffling circumstances. It's still hard to imagine ever fully recovering.

I seem trapped in an endless cycle of grief, anger and love. Grief… anger… love… grief… anger…

When the anger; the outrage takes over, it is the briefest cycle. I imagine fighting back; throwing damning judgement in his face, and there I immediately despair. Despite the immense hurt he so easily; so chillingly heartlessly delivered me, there is still nothing so horrible to me than the thought of him being hurt; and to be hurt by my own words or actions? The thought of that is immediately agonizing. I would still rather die than allow that.

I am worn down. I am threadbare. I wonder does he regret words he said in some moment of drug-induced other-mindedness? And might he wish to re-connect but the thought of such a perilous conversation it is too frightening for one with such crippling anxieties?

It’s inconceivable to me that he wants nothing to do with me. The idea is completely crazy; completely insane no matter how I look at it. How incredibly different our perspectives must be, though I cannot imagine how they could have become so. Does he imagine I have been dishonest about something? I have been utterly profoundly honest with him at every single moment.

I have also failed to demonstrate the depths of my wisdom and intelligence (where soever they may rank. I’m not bragging). I have been so patient; never eager to reveal the products of my work and insights; letting him guide the realms; the limitations in which we explore, which is often a place trapped within certain illusions which I have defeated and which he has not.

We seem to never have opportunities to build upon these evolutions because of the long frequencies he dictated between our visits and the changes in his perspective which would always occur between visits. He seemed always to change his mind about everything between visits and so the progresses I envisioned would be abandoned over and over again. And I was too patient to urge us along any path which he’d lost interest in.

I regret not being firmer than that and not leading us toward available progress. I certainly regret being so lazy during these last years and not producing published books or more-functional music; not giving him a better look at my potential as a creator. I have always been more concerned about his own progress than mine. Part of that, I’m sure, is my laziness manifesting as seeing myself as a coach and not a producer, as a Morpheus and not a Neo, and he as the one who would learn from me and bring my own potentials to life, enclosed within his own.

And I certainly regret being so amenable to his secretiveness. It’s so strange in hindsight that I did not fully acknowledge how important it apparently was to him to keep our relationship quiet, nor the degree of it. I treated all the signs like they were something a little different than what they were.

Was he always planning to not remain lifelong friends? Was he using me all along? Heartlessly trying to manipulate possible insights out of me; solutions to his problems, without any loyalty whatsoever? And now he tragically thinks that that’s all there is? When in fact he has gleaned a tiny insignificant fraction of what I have to offer?

After all the neglect; the “radio silence” which some of his alienated friends refer to, I must wonder if these were periods where he was trying to lose me. Hoping I would go away? Without him having to summon the courage to tell me to go away?

To assume such would be to call him a liar. To say this out loud now makes it feel absurd. He told me I was one of his two best friends (without offering a specific ranking). He told me on occasions that he wanted to move in with me; and not that I asked. He told me I meant a lot to him. He told me of a book he much enjoyed and when I asked what he liked about it, he said that the author “sounded like me.” He told me once that he was sorry he hurt my feelings; not that I revealed that to him much. I ate 99% of my hurt feelings, not wanting to burden him.

He was like a son to me and I never doubted I would die for him the same as any father would say of their child. Would I really though? Who could ever know? I really think I would. Yes, I really do. Even now. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Movie Tips Volume 3


Blade Runner 2049 ****1/2
(2017) Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford
Oh wow. It’s rare to find a sequel so legitimate and responsible. Add a lot of spectacular visuals and moral and emotional depths worthy of the original masterpiece. Significant achievement which I know a lot of people don’t get for some reason. Loved it.

The Nice Guys ***1/2
(2016) Ryan Gosling, Russell Crowe
Almost took a pass on this and glad I didn’t. Very decent performances raised a competent script to a very amusing level. Let’s give them a mulligan on the cringe-worthy Abbot and Costello homage scene; shall we?

Blazing Saddles **
(1974) Cleavon Little, Gene Wilder
Eyebrow-raising experiment with the undisguised aim to offend every possible population segment as quickly and thoroughly as possible. Achievement unlocked.

Cloudburst ****
(2011) Olympia Dukakis, Brenda Fricker
Cute story with a very amusing Dukakis performance.

Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things ***
(2015) Dan Harris, Joshua Beck
Worthwhile look at one of the many lifelines for mankind’s tenuous future, all of which must come together and soon. And almost certainly won’t. (Netflix)

For Ellen****
(2012) Paul Dano, Margarita Levieva
Loved this simple, sensitive little Paul Dano gem. Don’t be disappointed in the ending. It’s perfect!

Rogue One****
(2016) Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Alan Tudyk
As a kid, nothing could, or would ever, beat the magic of Star Wars epics A New Hope or Empire Strikes Back. But as a flawed adult who just may have lost too much innocence: This was easily the most amusing and competent Star Wars flick yet; magic falling no longer on the radar.

Blue is the Warmest Colour ****
(2013)  Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos
Brilliant vertical movie. Simple plot. An exploration of human fallibility as rich, textural, sensual and intimate as you can find. Very special. Try not to view the sizzling lesbian sex as pornography! I thought it far more sincere than that, and perfectly appropriate to the rare goal for which this film strives.

The Crucible ****
(1996) Daniel Day Lewis, Winona Ryder
There’s an alarming and dated feel to this witchy Salem thriller packed with dynamite Lewis scenes. I’ll even give Ryder the thumbs up for surviving the horrendous task of having to dance so dangerously close to the line of satire without stepping over.

Oz the Great and Powerful **
(2013) James Franco, Michelle Williams
Oh dear. This looked to me like an aimless and pointless pile of doo-doo. Did I miss some irony somewhere? I fear it may indeed have been an aimless and pointless pile of doo-doo. Let’s hope I’m somehow wrong.


Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind ****
(1984) animated film by Hayao Miyazaki
Such a strange and sober quality to this wide-eyed tragic anime genre whose waters I dip my toe in so infrequently. This one is a classic and I can see why. I wish Earth Writer would view it. I felt all along it was the kind of story she would write.

The King of Comedy ***
(1982) Robert De Niro
Dark unsettling material in drag as light comedy: The flick mimics the mind of the hero, or anti-hero, played perfectly off-kilter in that subtly dangerous manner that is classic De Niro.

A Brilliant Young Mind **
(2014) Asa Butterfield
The monotonous main character performance was probably not Butterfield’s fault but more the director’s. Nor is he to blame for the sadly contrived ending. Give this a pass.

Aerodynamics

The condo construction office is a trailer basically stuffed with thousands of technical drawings. Literally thousands. They’re laid out in giant booklet form on two great worktables, they’re hanging from rack hangers. They’re rolled into giant rolls and stacked on shelves and on more shelves and standing in bunches on the floor in every corner.

Also of note, in this trailer, is my fat ass on an office chair watching a fail video on my computer while dipping my spoon into a brand new 650 g tub of strawberry yogurt…

…when the chair suddenly bucks. And I jolt so bad that the yogurt tub flies from my hands.

Oh... Oh does it fly.

I have no recollection of its entire unauthorized flight path, surely complete with some number of ricochets, and no ability to reconstruct it based on the patterns of carnage left behind. It looks like a sustained food fight broke out in here.

About 200 g of yogurt remains in the tub which I have picked up off the floor.

Here’s the list off all the things that got splattered with the 450 grams or so of wayward yogurt which I had to clean up:

laptop computer (screen, keyboard and left hinge area)
laptop chill pad
reading glasses
water bottle
the floor
one wall
one window
three table tops
one robust wooden table leg
three (fabric) chairs
one shelf
one file cabinet
somebody’s boots
large utility tub
laptop power cord
my jacket (lining and exterior)
briefcase
binder
notebook
duty cell phone
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
(sorry, that was me scraping dried yogurt off the ‘M’ key)
circular saw blade
oxygen bottle
wall/ceiling molding
my pants
my shirt
my arm
my face
probably my hair; I don’t know. There’s no mirror in here. And last but not least:
one technical drawing. Just one. Out of thousands. It’s an honest-to-god miracle.

And here are the cleaning supplies I had to make do with:

my tongue
refrigerated bottled water
napkins

Thank you for validating this experience with me.
FWG