“In certain ways writing is a form of prayer.” ~ Denise Levertov

“The greater the sensibility and the more subtle the capacity to feel, the more absurdly one trembles and quivers at the small things.” ~ Fernando Pessoa, from The Book of Disquiet (trans. M. Jull Costa)

Saturday afternoon. Sunny, air quality weather advisory due to Dismal Swamp fires.

Major meltdown yesterday as I was finishing my post. Tears . . . stuffy nose . . . more tears . . . throwing up for good measure . . . tears . . . Lovely image, no?

I don’t understand it, really. How do people who are normal get along in life without medication? Two days without my Cymbalta, and I’m a basket case. Maybe I wouldn’t have been as much of a basket case if things weren’t so shitty. Who knows.

Dreamed that I was on a bus that was careening out of control. That needs no interpretation. But different people tried to drive the bus, and at one point the bus was leaping through the air across the water—a la Speed—and all of the passengers, including myself, were rocking forward to try to get the bus to land on the shore on the other side. It was sort of like Mario Kart but not a video.

The bus ran into a pancake house, and at one point, it ran over several cars. I remember that in between all of the action, I took rat poison and rubbed it on the cheek of a woman who had been my friend but who had betrayed me. She did not die, but her husband did. What?

I also dreamed that I was selling Avon at Dillard’s, and another female friend from long ago was helping me. I couldn’t remember how to work the register, and ultimately, I lost customers who got tired of waiting.

At some point I dreamed that I was teaching in the public school again, but I had amnesia. I showed up at the school, but couldn’t remember what subject I was teaching, could not remember my locker combination, could not remember where the faculty lounge was. My co-teacher was no help as she also had amnesia, so we both were relying on the third teacher in our group, who hated both of us and laughed at us in front of the students because we couldn’t remember anything.

Wow.

Note: Was never able to finish this post, and this was before she died on Monday.

                    
The Remains

I empty myself of the names of others.
I empty my pockets, I empty my shoes and leave them beside
the road. At night I turn back the clocks; I open the family
album and look at myself as a boy.

What good does it do? The hours have done their job.
I say my own name. I say goodbye.
The words follow each other downwind.
I love my wife but send her away.

My parents rise out of their thrones
into the milky rooms of clouds. How can I sing?
Time tells me what I am. I change and I am the same.
I empty myself of my life and my life remains.

~ Mark Strand

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ~ e. e. cummings

Abandoned by dbgg1979 (FCC)

                   

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Friday afternoon. Hazy and hot. Leftover haze from swamp fires.

Abandoned: Eglise St. George 3, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Yet another bad night. I could not fall asleep, and then I woke myself up coughing and had to use my inhaler again. The swamp fires are messing with my lungs. As a result, I woke up pricklier than a porcupine with a dull ache behind my eyes.

The night before last I dreamt that I was spending time with the Kardashians. Okay. Not a fan of any of them, so why I was in their house makes no sense, except that they were all acting completely predictable: self-absorbed and snooty. I was there as a stand-in for their reality show. They criticized my makeup, my clothes, and the fact that I was carrying a grocery bag for a purse.

Why waste brain cells dreaming such crap?

Corey had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, and won’t finish his shift until the ship leaves, which is supposed to be around 8 tonight. He lost his shift yesterday, so this will definitely help. I think that he ended up with only two shifts last week. Actually, I try not to think about such things as the results are never good.

He had his first real class yesterday—biology—and then we did the usual search for the best prices on textbooks. A new copy of the textbook from the bookstore lists at $160. We found an international edition for about half of that. International editions have different covers and different ISBNs but the same content within. The drawback to buying an international edition is that the quality of the paper used for printing can sometimes be poor, something I learned in my publishing classes, but for a 50 percent savings at this time, we’ll chance it.

“Perhaps everything exists only because something else does. Nothing just is, everything coexists; perhaps that’s right . . . Nothing, nothing, just part of the night and silence and whatever emptiness, negativity and inconsistency I shared with them, the space that exists between me and me, a thing mislaid by some god.” ~Fernando Pessoa

Abandoned: Plant in Belgium

Every once in a while, I become concerned with my stats. I couldn’t explain it to you if you asked me. I mean, I claim to be writing this blog for myself, so I really shouldn’t care how many hits I get. Right?

Most of the time, that’s a true statement, but every six months or so I look at the numbers and think to myself that I must be doing something wrong. I know that my blog entries are longer than what most people are willing to read, but I’m not going to change that for anyone. If I were writing a professional blog, of course my entries would be much more succinct and focused, but this is not a professional blog; this is my forum, for venting, opining, mulling . . . whatever.

I have considered going back to Alpha Inventions to see if I can get my stats up, but I just don’t know if it’s worth it. I had such a negative experience with the moderator the last time, and besides, I know that those stats are very inflated. I think that what’s bothering me is that I haven’t hit one million yet.

Some people start blogs and hit a million in just a few months. And not all of those people are writing professional blogs.

I just don’t know. Does it really matter? Why do I care so much? To be honest, I think that I’m missing some of my regular readers, people who have moved on for various reasons, or who may still be reading but are no longer commenting. It’s strange, the connections that you can make with people you will probably never lay eyes on.

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood. The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved. And that perhaps, is what makes him different from others.” ~ Leo Rosten

Abandoned: Orphanage, by boklm (FCC)

As I sit here, the dishes are in the sink waiting for me. I could probably do some laundry, but I’m just not feeling it, any of it.

Yesterday I spent some time in the pool with the dogs and Em and Brett. It was late in the afternoon, and the sky was calm and beautiful. I was doing a bit of cloud watching. And then I came inside to write, but found that I had nothing to say. I played Spider Solitaire instead.

How pathetic.

I mean, my access to this computer is limited to the times during which Eamonn is not firmly ensconced in his bedroom, so I really need to take advantage of those times, but I just couldn’t do it, which brings me to the other thing that I’ve been pondering: What am I doing here?

I began this whole endeavor for a few specific reasons:

  • I wanted to get back into the habit of writing regularly.
  • I wanted to see if anyone out there in the ether would be interested in what I have to say.
  • I wanted to lay the foundation for a book.

So how have I done? When I first began, that first year, I wrote almost every day for at least two hours a day. Now I might put up 15 posts a month, so production has been cut in half instead of increasing.

In that first year, I had about five people who commented regularly on my posts. Now I’m down to one or two, and that’s not regular either. So that’s been cut by over 50 percent.

Since beginning, I have written probably 20 or so posts that I would consider putting into book form. That’s 20 out of 695 posts, 691 of which are for public consumption. Statistically, that’s not even 3 percent.

Beh.

“Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression . . . Why are more creative people prone to madness? They have more than average amounts of energies and abilities to see things in a fresh and original way—then because they also have depression, I think they’re more in touch with human suffering.” ~ Nick Flynn from Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Confession: I just left this page to play a game of Spider Solitaire.

Interpretation: I cannot stand to put my thoughts to page, let alone read them.

Result: More beh.

Abandoned: Side Entrance to Mansion, Beirut, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Perhaps this is not the best day to analyze what I’m doing here. I’m out of my meds, and until Corey gets home, I will not have them. You might think that one day would not make that much of a difference, but when I say that I’m out of my meds, I mean almost all of them.

That’s a pharmaceutical shock to the system. Poor planning on my part. Just making the telephone call to the pharmacy to enter all of the prescription numbers at the prompt stymied me. I put it off for two days.

Yes, yes. I know what all of this means. Just as I know what my avoidance of the hospital visit to see my m-in-law means: I’m definitely on a down slide. There. I said it.

I have named you, and therefore you are, just as the ancients believed that if they gave a name to their adversaries, they became real.

I name you chasm. I name you abyss. I name you night without stars. I name you dreamless sleep. I name you empty hunger. I name you, and in the naming, I face you.

“How strange talking is—what mists rise and fall—how one loses the other & then thinks to have found the other—then down comes another soft final curtain.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, letter to Ottoline Morrell (24 July 1921)

Abandoned: Villa Viron, Belgium

I try so hard to deny the reality, and sometimes, in the denying, I can change things, but not so this time. Too much is hitting me from too many sides, and I cannot separate the grain from the chaff.

My mother-in-law is being moved to the new rehab center, and in effect, she is going there to die. She has stopped eating. Her Parkinson’s has advanced so much in just a few weeks because of her infections that to restore her to where she was even a month ago would mean painful therapy. Her care is now termed “comfort care.” What a blasphemous phrase. Comfort care?

Excuse me. It’s not a blasphemous phrase, but it is a blasphemous situation: how we treat the elderly in our society. This is one area in which I closely relate to my Asian forebears, for in such societies, families are still blended, and the elderly are revered. In our society, they are disposable, just like the homeless and the poor.

I have put off making this visit too long, but I did not want to stand before this woman and weep bitter tears for what is, what cannot be changed, what we cannot control, we who love her.

When my father’s condition had worsened so as to make the prognosis too obvious, the doctor in the ICU asked if we wanted him on maintenance morphine. I said yes. He asked me if I wanted him to have enough. I said yes. We both knew what he was asking and what I was saying, and if anyone ever confronts me, I will deny it with my last breath.

My friend Mari’s mother, who was dying of ovarian cancer, was not given this option, and her suffering was unendurable for her family. After hearing the story year ago, I decided then that I would have a living will, and that I would control my final days, not some faceless bureaucracy. I remembered her mother’s suffering when my dad was in the ICU, and the memory of that suffering came to mind today.

I don’t think that I can continue with this today. I just don’t think it’s wise, nor is it helping.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ruthie Foster, “Tears of Pain”

                   

So the Hall Door Shuts Again and All Noise Is Gone

In the effort to find one’s way among the contents of memory
(Aristotle emphasizes)
a principal of association is helpful—
“passing rapidly from one step to the next.
For instance from milk to white,
from white to air,
from air to damp,
after which one recollectes autumn supposing one is trying to
recollect that season.”
Or supposing,
fair reader,
you are trying to recollect not autumn but freedom,
a principal of freedom
the existed between two people, small and savage
as principals go—but what are the rules for this?
As he says,
folly may come into fashion.
Pass then rapidly
from one step to the next,
for instance from nipple to hard,
from hard to hotel room,
from hotel room

to a phrase found in a letter he wrote in a taxi one day he passed
his wife
walking
on the other side of the street and she did not see him, she was—
so ingenious are the arrangements of the state of flux we call
our moral history are they not almost as neat as mathematical
propositions except written on water—
on her way to the courthouse
to file papers for divorce, a phrase like
how you tasted between your legs.
After which by means of this wholly divine faculty, the “memory
of words and things,”
one recollects
freedom.
Is it I? cries the soul rushing up.
Little soul, poor vague animal:
beware this invention “always useful for learning and life”
as Aristotle say, Aristotle who
had no husband,
rarely mentions beauty
and was likely to pass rapidly from wrist to slave when trying to
recollect wife.

~ Anne Carson from The Beauty of the Husband