Saturday, September 30, 2006
I never could learn to drink that blood/ And to call it wine, as Dylan would say.
Hmm. Well, I don't see it that way, though I know there's a visible difference. Because the lessons I learned while I tried to pick myself up from the floor this summer hold true. They just might need to be applied in a different way than I thought.
I was so depressed after my relationship finished I went a little crazy. Started to identify too much with the philosophising of a Christian work colleague who seemed to have the capacity, because of her faith, to deal with much worse than a relationship breaking up: she, after all, had seen a parent and her best friend die within six months of each other and was still standing, still smiling, still moving forwards. When I asked her how she managed it she said, "God."
So I tried to get back to God to stop me feeling that everything was f*cked, everything was finished. I prayed, I asked God to forgive my (many) sins, I told myself I forgave everybody who had ever hurt me (like it's that easy), I imagined, as she does, that the terrible feelings I harboured signified the presence of unclean spirits or even the Devil at work inside me trying to prevent me from a true reconciliation with God. I let myself believe that all you have to do is drive them out of your body in the name of Jesus and everything would be better.
I even put away all my Buddhas and considered (though thankfully I never did it) throwing away the journals I have written every day--until the advent of the internet-- since 1986.
It wasn't her making me do this, it was my own desperation to find a solution to my depression. Can you think of any greater proof of self-hatred than trying to destroy every trace of the person that you were--which is effectively what I was doing? The only way you can be happy is by not being you anymore? As revoltingly contented as I may have sounded at times over the summer (and sometimes it was a lie), I was actually committing a kind of slow and cowardly suicide.
But I couldn't do it. I couldn't con myself that this new person was me, or that the philosophy (or theology) that underpinned it--as attractive as it was--made complete sense.
My periodic depressions aren't caused by unclean spirits, or the Devil. There may be a Satan, but he's not going around putting people into bad moods so they diss their friends or take the razor from the cupboard. Satan's too busy convincing people that their problems are over because they have a copy of the Bible. Satan's too busy encouraging people to hate homosexuals (Christians say that don't hate gays, but they hate what they do--which seems a very hypocritical and intellectually and morally spineless distinction to me). Satan's too busy judging the neighbour because he's having an affair, gossiping about work colleagues, backbiting, being certain, exercising power, invading foreign countries. If I have four or five weeks out of every year when I have to take to the sofa and cry all day and half the night it's because I have a chemical imbalance in my brain that makes such measures necessary and unavoidable. It's because I have a world of repressed anger and emotional constipation I need to deal with.
Anyway, my Christian phase didn't last very long (thank God). I actually got crazier the more I tried to embrace it: you can't (as Janey pointed out), dismantle a personality that quickly without things getting ugly. And they did. I reached a point, recently, of feeling a despair worse than anything I have ever experienced because I had none of the old supports that provided such a crutch for me in the dark times prior to being "saved". Something had to break.
And it broke. Boy, did it break. I got pissed, I accepted that I was heartbroken because I'd lost the woman I loved (which I'd been trying to deny all summer), I brought my Buddhas back out, and I destroyed my friendship with the Christian woman by telling her the truth, at least as I saw it in my half-crazed, probably distorted mind. Now I am writing poetry again (that had gone), and I feel a sense of true balance in myself spiritually and emotionally for the first time in months. Even if it does sound like I'm ready for the hemlock.
Oh, and my former friend is going around telling lies to everyone who knows me. Which makes me wonder how real the message was that I couldn't take on as my own.
Friday, September 29, 2006
I knew this guy called Bob who was already reading Buk when the movie appeared. He was a year older than me. He didn't attend classes at the college, but he hung around with the students. He was thin, a smack head. He used Bukowski as a rationalisation of his self-destructive instincts. One day he got beaten up in a Kettering pub by a couple of guys he didn't know, and when he came out wiping blood from his face, he was laughing. Buk would have loved that, he said.
IF YOU WEREN'T THERE, SHUT THE F*CK UP.
What's highly debatable is whether talking the way that you need to, when you're a depressive, is what you actually need.
And yet...ordinary conversation seems so superficial to the depressed man, it fills him with nausea for himself and the other participants. Have we all come to this level of charade? he asks himself, even as his mouth is spouting cliche after cliche. Are those flapping jaws actually connected to living human beings?
Perhaps my karmic debt in the matter of violated loyalty is repaid now?
Hey, have you seen this text? No, I didn't do it! You can't blame me! How was I to know? ...
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
And to think I used to be a genius.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
In the meantime, please keep trying with comments--I know some of you are having problems posting them. I even have problems posting replies, and it's my site! Sometimes I have to press the publish button four or five times before my reply is accepted. I will make good on my promise to contact Blogger and find out what the issue is. If things can't be resolved I'm going to pack up the tent and move Suffolk Punch elsewhere, maybe even back to the old, simpler version of Blogger. I remember that the way you remember a beloved old friend you thought you'd never want to see again, but miss them now like a corkscrew in the heart (a Dylan image for anyone keen enough to spot it). But rest assured, if I make that drastic decision you will all be told well in advance.
So many memories, so much happiness, so many colourful people and unforgettable scenes. Torture! then thankfulness! then hope!
Someone wrote last night saying my entire life seemed to have turned upside down in the last fortnight. From blissed-out holiness to anger and freak-out. Well, I can understand the perception, but nothing has really changed. It couldn't all be roses on the path to a better life. I think the mistake I have made, just lately, is that I have tried to imagine a whole person for me to be who didn't have an angry, resentful, nasty, negative side to his personality. Then that part of the essential man smashed through the door like Jack Nicholson in "The Shining"--"Hhheeeerrrreeeeee'sssss JJJOOOOHHHHHNNNNNNYYYYYY!!!!"--to remind me that he had a part in my future too. Lesson learned, Johnny. The complete man encompasses love and hate.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Four hours later I'm still glad I said it (that bitch had it coming). I could write poems in this mood, I have discovered the eloquence of the bullfighter or the executioner.
Tomorrow he will wake up feeling small and alone.
Me, I go crazy all the time. Ask anyone. This last 7 days I have been raving. Awake all night, almost, and peering myopically through a blinding headache all day. No appetite. Just the desire for beer. This last two days I haven't even been able to work. Felt too sick and dizzy every time I went outside. So I've stayed in with the curtains drawn and watched tv all day. Let my beard grow for the first time in a year. Tried to sleep whenever I could to catch up on what I'd lost. It's been like the 1980s condensed into 48 hours.
What's it all about? I have no idea. I can't be bothered to speculate either. I've needed to die these little, temporary deaths all my life so I could survive the rest of it without choking on the nausea.
The only light in all this crazy darkness has been the positive response of an old friend who I contacted yesterday, wondering if we might be able to patch up a friendship damaged long ago. The jury is out on that, but it felt good to be emailing her. Showed that not all is madness, and destruction, and wreckage--though there was a fair bit of that in our shared past.
I'm hoping that after hiding out like a wounded animal this last couple of days I will be reborn as a human being tomorrow. I will let you know whether that happens.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
I saw a real poet's movie today. Factotum, which is loosely based around a handful of the books and writings of the bloke on the left. If you haven't seen this movie dig it out. Matt Dillon does a perfect Bukowski in the role of Buk's alter ego Chinaski...Hank, a very harsh judge of Hollywood 's efforts to portray his characters, would have loved this one. The movie, like the book from which it takes its title, follows Chinaski from one manual job to another. He loses each one because of his dislike for rules, and his drinking: when Hank wants a beer, he has to have one--even if it's half way through the day and his work van will make him a sitting target for a supervisor searching the streets for a wayward employee. Why is he like this? Because he's an alcoholic? Yes. Because he's a rebel? Yes. His stern German father pushed him that way. But mostly he follows his own rules because he's a poet. That's how he defines himself, and for Chinaski (as with Buk), there is no compromise. If you're gonna do it, Chinaski quotes from a Buk poem at the end of the film, watching a pole dancer, unaware that his first story has been accepted by Black Sparrow, then you have to go all the way.
Which Buk did, famously so, and it payed off in a way he could not have imagined when he first started out.. Generations since have thought they had to be drunks, write the same tough verse about whores and the bars. It has become dull. But Factotum fantastically evokes when it flamed gloriously, in the mouth of the only man who could have made it work. This is the one that young readers should watch to turn them on to the heroism of greatness.
He takes pictures that freeze this moment in time.
The bride at the centre of the party really blushes. Only one little girl isn't smiling. Her eyes follow mine as I circle behind the photographer. She's feeling self-conscious about being made to participate in all of this rubbish.
Further on, there's an old cream limo with ribbons tied to the silver lady dancing on the grille. A chauffeur in a black cap waits with his back straight and gloved hands clasped behind his back. This is how to get married in style.
I am actually rather sorry about holding our relationship up for public scrutiny like that--though I have never gotten into it in too much detail. It still seems like somewhat of a breach of trust. She was my friend before she was my lover, and though she probably doesn't feel the same now, in my heart she still is my friend. We shared too much laughter, had too much fun together, had too many moments of tenderness, for those platonic feelings to be completely extinguished.
I don't want to pick apart what happened between us, not anymore. It was what it was. And even near the end, it was more precious than I realised. I had her to talk to. Someone from whom I had no secrets. Someone whose intelligence exceeded my own. Someone who would tell me the harsh truths even though I didn't want to hear them.
You are not a bohemian poet, you are you. Stop hiding behind roles and get to the human. Yes. I am out in the open now, for everybody to see. No masks anymore.
You say you hate someone one day, and the next day you don't. All I have is your statements to go on. Can I fail to be confused? You couldn't.
You compromise your principles by kissing up to those you perceive to be strong. That job is turning you into somebody I don't like.I don't want to see that. I did kiss up. I denied it so vocally because I hated myself. I have left that job and started afresh. No kissing up to anyone now.
You are using other women to try and make me jealous. I did, at one time. It was unworthy, and I'm not going to try and rationalise it away anymore.
You whinge and you whine when things aren't going your way. Well, you can't change everything, right?
If time were like a passage of music, Joyce Johnson says, you could keep going back until you got it right. Well, you can't go back, not yet anyway. When the time machine is finally invented I will be the first one in it; I've got more to make right than all the rest of you put together. But for now what is done is done, what has been terminally hurt stays terminally hurt. All I can do with her, since I made the regrettable decision to conduct the end of our relationship in public, is state publically that she was a hell of a woman, forget any cr*p you might have read on these pages. You all know me well enough by now to know that I have mountains of horse puckey to wade through in my own mind before I can get to anything even remotely resembling a balanced and rational view.
She told me right from the start that it was going to be a hard ride because of her home situation. I knew it, but I still went along for the ride. I wanted love, and adventure. And I got both of them, in buckets, as well as a better relationship with my father, whose point of view she articulated passionately (turning my whole self-righteous distorted view of my childhood upside down); and because of her I got away from my mentally-ill relative into a home of my own, the home I still live in--if I hadn't made that escape, who knows where I would have ended up? In a loony bin, probably, though I'm not sure I'm still not headed that way.
When we first got together and we talked about old relationships, she used to ask Will you say horrible things about me if we ever finish? That used to upset me, anger me: it was like she was willing the end of our relationship. We never will finish! I'd say, showing the firm grasp on reality I've always had. But here we are. And whatever negativity might have crept into the relationship towards the end--and I don't care whose fault it was, not anymore, though I must have been a lousy boyfriend--it was pretty f**king great while it lasted, people. Screw pride, I am through with defaming anyone, especially her.
Every time I relax near a woman these days I call her Ruth.If there's a next time, with anyone, it won't be played out on an internet page.
Post-existentialist twentieth century culture validated depression as intellectually serious. As evidence of insight into the absurdity of human existence. You're born to die. Making the most of it was for people who couldn't see into the depths because of limited intellect. Oh, f*ck off.
I have no right to be angry at anyone. I make my own mistakes. People didn't always do what I wanted them to, but since when was that their duty? Who died and left me prince of the world?
My "depression" won't go away because I cling onto it like a scared child who won't leave his mother. What do I see with my greatly enhanced vision? What insights come to this philosophical genius when he looks into the darkness? Nothing. But people can't tackle me as their equal in life because I have disconnected myself from the process.
Coward. Coward. Arrogant coward. How about taking on a real challenge--to swallow your infantile anger and look the world in the eye? To develop an emotional response to the world that requires resilience and doesn't come as naturally as beard hair in the morning?
Saturday, September 23, 2006
How come? The darkness is never far away from me. I've lived inside it for a long, long time, and for the most part I have loved the darkness more than I could ever explain. It is more sensual than the light by a long chalk (and if you don't see that you will never understand). My desire to be healed is like the unignorable realisation that you must leave the most beautiful lover you've had because your relationship with her is killing you.
She says One day.
He says When'm I gonna get rid of these demons?
She says When you want to.
He says When I want to?
She says When you want to. Nobody can do it but you.
It is clear they have now stopped loving each other.
On the way home his knee strikes the shopping bag when he steps onto a grass bank to let a woman with a baby buggy pass on the narrow pavement. The clink of the bottles makes him feel more shame than if he'd been carrying a porn magazine.
Ten minutes later his head has stopped throbbing for the first time in a couple of months.
I definitely don't want to expose them to anyone else. From the safety of the keyboard it is fine. In person it is too much of a risk. Every woman I show my need to becomes automatically superior, condescending. Perhaps it is the degree of my need, but when I show it I become a leper in her eyes.
It is better to walk through the world in disguise, wearing a mask of capability and emotional resilience. Then you will earn respect from people who believe that what they want is the truth.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Today I drove past Windsor Castle in a torrential downpour. I couldn't tell whether the Queen was home. Today I ate a foil-wrapped peanut butter sandwich outside a tea room in Runnymede. Today I took a phone call in a pub car park in Egham from a woman I like while it rained and rained and rained.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Rolled back into town
In a borrowed slouch hat
And hermaphrodite gown.
He ain't said very much,
In fact he won't talk at all.
He's just writing short poems
In chalk on the wall.
O Poet, why d'you look so tired?
O Poet, where've you been?
O Poet, who're you dancing with,
Miss Brown or just Miss Green?
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I spent most of my time when I was a kid trying to prove to my mother that I saw and understood everything like some sort of Old Soul. It was just my way of defining myself in the crowd because I wasn't tough like one brother or smart like the other.
Well, it's a confidence trick really. I'm trying to talk my way to happiness most of the time. I was having a good day yesterday, but not long after I posted about feeling blessed and emotionally secure I lost my sense of both and became sullen and annoyed waiting for a phone call that finally arrived three hours later than expected. I have a resentful voice permanently whispering in my ear that drunkenness is good, marijuana conducive to clear thought and insight, masturbation healthy, bitterness the philosopher's familiar, destruction the pastime of kings. That voice shouts over the other, happier voice: who are you trying to fool?
I'm going to wait until I get married before I have sex again? Out of choice? I'm more likely to find a polka dot sun shining down in one direct beam of light on a winning lottery ticket when I step outside my door this afternoon.
Why should I try to rid myself of every defining characteristic of the person I used to be, whether that bloke was real or a creation of my own mind? Drunken stoner egomaniac poet Bruce may have been a useless c**t, but he stood by me when everybody else vanished like the morning mist.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Sunday, September 17, 2006
But you've got to be honest with yourself too. You might feel one way, but actually be another way entirely. Most of us ascribe the highest motivation to ourselves and the lowest motivation to everyone else. But am I really an unappreciated saint? No, I'm an insecure, overgrown baby with a tendency to be fantastically arrogant. Might that just have a little something to do with the collapse of all my previous relationships?
Hmm, let me think.
Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today, as Jimmy Dean is supposed to have said.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
But I don't call them in case they hear the fear in my voice.
These are the times when I used to buy a six-pack and drink till the hurting stopped.
I've been using razors for sensitive skin since I first started shaving (or thereabouts) because I was convinced the standard razor would cut my skin to ribbons. Bought the wrong kind the other day and when I started using them discovered that the only thing I got from the standard razor was a better shave.
Perhaps I am not a delicate prince who wilts in direct sunlight after all.
(Actually, I was talking to a European man the other day--big, macho guy who strips off his shirt to drink beer and play cards--and he said Why your hands so small and smooth?)
Friday, September 15, 2006
This is obviously going to mean my morning habit of trawling through Tim's site, Skullbolt, The Frank Serpico Blog, Arem Arvinson, Mimi's Golightly Cafe and John Peel Everyday and leaving comments whenever I having something to contribute is going to have to become less of an interactive one for a while. Which is irritating, because my involvement in those sites amuses and entertains me (whether it entertains anyone else is another matter).
So don't think I'm being unfriendly, guys. As soon as the link is established between the old and new versions of Blogger, I'll be back ruining your sites with my banalities just like before.
I bet you can't wait.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
There's very little as satisfying as your morning poo, fellers. The shudder in the base of your spine that accompanies a good clear-out is a wonderful thing indeed.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Another of my supporting fictions falls. Is there nothing that is sacrosanct, nothing that can't be done away with now as flimsy, if not unreal, as I lurch on towards my 42nd year?
Well, I'll be darned, she was right. Turns out writer as defining persona was a piece of fakery that fooled no one but yours truly. And interested no one but yours truly.
I don't look at my ideas as a method of defining myself anymore. They're just part of who I am. That's why I don't gas on here about how clever I am not to eat meat. Who cares? It proves nothing except what I allow onto my dinner plate (and I still wear leather shoes). Plus all of my friends eat meat and to a (wo)man they're all closer to Heaven than I am.
Everybody in the world should just sit down for a cup of tea and a chat as far as I'm concerned. It wouldn't be long before they realised how nice everybody else is, behind all the big talk and posturing.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Is that healthy? I don't know. I work very long hours at times, so the amount of sleep I'm having is probably just my body's way of catching up with its quota. And it's very tiring trying to learn a new job at the same time as working the job with its daily stresses and challenges.
But anyway, that's the picture. Tonight I'm going over to L.'s house after work for dinner. Hopefully some tofu and a bit of face to face chat with my buddy will breathe new life into this slumbering beast.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Well, when I think about it, I have different models.
My friend Lynn.
Talented people. Liberal people. People cooler than I will ever be. Perhaps that's why it doesn't scare me to realise I have been turning back to God bit by bit, inch by inch, over the last few months. The Christians in my universe are the sort of people any sensible man would want to be.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
The attack on the towers was the most frightening moment in modern political history. I remember receiving a call from a relative telling me a plane had gone into one of the towers. I was at work but on my own, so I went into the tv room to switch on the telly, put BBC 1 on as most English people do in times of crisis; the regular programming had been abandoned and they'd gone over to live streaming from New York.
The one thing I don't recall is seeing the second plane go in. Or had it already hit? I can't remember. I do remember thinking, America is under attack. World War III is here.
Then my manager and a colleague arrived back from a council bungalow they'd been decorating ready for the move of a resident out of the main house, which is where we were presently sitting. They sat down with me and watched the developments for a while. Then they began talking over the news about the jobs still left to do on the bungalow before the woman could make her move.
Life goes on, for the lucky ones. But my sense of foreboding wouldn't permit me to go on with normal conversation, normal activity. I felt there might be more developments. I was waiting to hear that the White House was under fire, or the Statue of Liberty.
And I wasn't wrong in any of my gloomy predictions. But it would take longer than I expected, and the attacks on the two greatest symbols of American democracy wouldn't come from the direction I anticipated.
As for World War III--well, my friends, we may actually be in it. Newspaper commentators this weekend pour cooling water on the alarmist talk of politicians and police about the perils of radical Islam, but the world is an infinitely more dangerous place while Bush and former Prime Minister Blair use the memory of 9/11 as an excuse for establishing a tactical bridgehead in the Middle East. This is a rocket that is locked and loaded and ready to be fired across all of our lives, and only God knows how much destruction it's going to wreak.
I beamed with the pride of a massaged ego, of course. But this springs to mind:
'Oh mighty thing!' said Vera to Frank, 'Why didn't you just tell them you were a moderate man and leave it at that instead of goosing yourself all over the room?' 'Patience, Vera,' said Frank.
(Bob Dylan, 'Three Kings' 1968)
I'm a desperate fraud who may well believe in nothing but saving his own arse any way he can.
So what do readers think?
Yesterday is History.
Tomorrow's a Mystery.
Today is a Gift.
Cheesily expressed, I know, but true. It's so hard to remember when you're tired, your neck hurts, and every fibre of your being is crying out for company--but each day is a kind of gift, even if you don't believe in God. Because you could be dead. And one day you will be dying, actively, and you won't be able to walk around in the park in September sun or sit up at the keyboard after midnight trying to write away the long-gone lonesome blues.
Just admit your sadness, son, and don't attach it to any missile that's going to hurt someone else or you some way down the line.
Stand naked in your vulnerability and don't turn it into anger against anybody, not even yourself.
These days I seek to understand myself, not validate myself. I want to figure out how to wake up in a good mood in the mornings. And periodically I'm achieving it, though I still suffer the overhang of those other, ego-driven days in periods of unwanted isolation, unaccountable sadness, and what Allen Ginsberg calls "lacklove". That will end, one day, if I can stay on the track that I have put myself on these past few months. Sometimes these days Heaven and Earth seem like two parts of one giant eye winking at me in divine amusement.
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Friday, September 08, 2006
Will it come? I hope so. My self-confidence is low in the romantic department--which is only to be expected after the collapse of my relationship with R. I have only ever made a direct, unapologetic pass at one woman in my life. The rest of the time I've fallen into my relationships almost by accident.
Here's what I know: love doesn't come if you sit at home alone every night, not unless you order it from the Phillipines. Nor does it come to those who are too screwed up to recognise it, or receive it.
So while I wait for the bus I'm working on what Allen Ginsberg called "unravelling my mysteries". Getting rid of my arrogance (mostly gone), tossing out my guilt like a mattress on the pavement (easier than it sounds), trying to understand and forgive those who have done things to me so I can stop clutching anger to my chest like a knuckle duster waiting for a chin to snap. It only ends up connecting with the wrong chin anyway.
And most crucially perhaps, I've got to get rid of my self-loathing, which has lived side by side with my arrogance for the whole 41. Perhaps if I get rid of the guilt some of it will go. Perhaps if I get rid of the anger too, which in some senses is on the same power circuit as the guilt. As is the arrogance, which causes an aloofness that separates you from the people who might reinforce your self-esteem with love and attention.
People began coming back to me when I remembered how important they were (I say remembered because when I was 16/ 17/ 18 I had the wisdom to place my friendships with Helen and Lisa and Salvatore high on my list of priorities--stopped doing so and withdrew into myself for 24 years after drunkenness, romantic disappointment and general exhaustion hit me)(as the saying goes, I never do anything by halves, me). So, what next?
Now I practice not ruining my friendships through possessive insecurity (I keep thinking I'm going to) , and staying out there in the world rather than scrambling back up to my divine eyrie the first time something upsets me.
If I hold my nerve and maintain my balance--if I pray for strength and guidance, and thank God every day for what He has given to me--love will come. And if it doesn't I'll be a heck of a lot happier about the bus stop and the rain.
From living in a people-less vaccuum I am now in the wonderful situation of having good friendly contact with a growing number of people. Which makes my occasional feeling of bottomless loneliness all the harder to fathom, but there you go. There are other reasons why that feeling may come to bite my arse so often, and they are being dealt with. I got a crucifix hanging from my ceiling that says the soul-gnawing lonesome blues aren't going to beat this boy.
What the hell has he got to be depressed about?????!!!!!!!!!
We had barely entered the present decade the last time anybody told me I was attractive. And as gorgeous as that one was, she was also suicidally depressed and addicted to booze and pills. Lord knows how focussed the image was that she saw of me when she gazed into my eyes so admiringly.
The abiding memory I have of her is the day she vomited out of the car window while driving us through heavy traffic in the middle of Northampton. Gorgeous girl, but as deficient in sophistication as C. apparently is superfluous in cock.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I did yesterday. And when I put them on this morning, it felt like the first time the woman of your dreams puts her hand in yours.
I'm telling you, expensive socks. There's no better cure for the blues.
Hmm. My fate also, if things keep going as swimmingly as they are.
My insecurity used to find refuge in my egotism. Any slightly vulnerable emotion I had could be subsumed into my sense of myself as an unappreciated literary giant. The process, in fact, became so automatic I often didn't recognise anymore that I was experiencing simple human emotions; each feeling I had would click instantaneously into its literary correlative. A bad day at work didn't even register. I'd just get on the computer and berate magazine editors for something or other. Or humanity for its swineishness and philistinism. My manager might upset me and immediately my perception of his/ her cruelty and stupidity would be generalised into a condemnation of the same qualities across the entire human race. When they weren't even necessarily guilty of stupidity; they were often just guilty of embarrassing me or making me feel insecure by pointing out mistakes I had actually made--which was their job, and the same job I do with people below me in the work hierarchy.
The egotism remains in me (I wouldn't be writing this without a pinch or six of ego), but since I've retired (temporarily? I don't know), from literary endeavours and--as I said in the last post--from my career as a genius, my insecurity has nowhere to hide anymore. It just floats freely in the air, and it's a powerful thing. Does everybody else in the world feel like a scared and lonely child surrounded by big people and expecting any moment that somebody will come and push them over in the dirt? Or have I just killed all of the brain cells associated with mature emotional armouring?
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Sunday Was A Bad One, But Things Are Looking Up
After feeling so bad the other day, I had so much come to me yesterday it shows that all this business of making friends with God again has some meaning and power--if only (for all you rationalists out there) in that it balances me better so I communicate my needs more clearly to the people who care about me. How's the lovely Bruce today? --someone asked at work yesterday (she always calls me that). I'm tired and cranky, I said. It's nobody's fault, I was just in a bad mood yesterday and I haven't got out of it yet. You should have called me, she said.I had a shitty day yesterday as well, we could have been miserable together. Later she asked me to her office and we sat with her deskmate (about whom I once wrote beauty in long boots/ strides into the office/ my focus departs), and talked about it for a while. I told both of them that I'd been bummed because I was on my own and I don't like that anymore. In the old days I never would have admitted something like that for fear of looking like a social reject (which for a long time I have been, or felt I was in my victimhood--actually I had rejected society).This morning I got up and had a wonderful email from a friend full of really powerful good wishes for me to have fun, exercise, adventure, good looks (hmm), lots of hugs (sounds corny, but they can transform your mood in an instant), someone to dance with, and love. Thanks J., you have no idea how much I appreciate it (x).There were the comments by S.P. readers. And then there was L., who despite having a few serious problems of her own, gave me so much attention last night I felt spoiled. Attention, laughter, and spiritual advice. How did you come into my life, honey? I did absolutely nothing to earn it (my past is full of mistakes, cruelty, bad faith, bad blood), and suddenly I find myself with a beautiful and wise friend who loves me and is helping me break a chain of events (as Bob Dylan would say), with links going back 41 years. My personal view is that God sent me a rowboat.Whatever the cause of all this--and even if it's just complete coincidence (or serendipity, as the New Agers used to call it, irritatingly, back in the 80s)--things happen when you approach your life in the right way, with an open heart and proper appreciation of the healing power of the connections you make with other people. I just have to work on ridding myself of the curious feeling of discomfort I have when anybody does anything nice to me (it's as if they've directed it at the wrong person and will take it back with a blush and an Oops when they realise).
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Friday, September 01, 2006
This is where it's at with me. I have good friendships for the first time in years; but I lost my true love three months ago, and I certainly could use a little more company as the long nights are drawing in. Which is the way it was, pretty much, when I had my true love--except back then there was a kiss and a cuddle sometimes that made me forget all the loneliness for a while. Now, though, I feel a little sad when I sit here on my own with some lugubrious country blues on the stereo behind me, and I wish that a friend would call or an unexpected email would arrive, but I know that in my sadness, or lonesomeness, as the country singers define the condition more correctly, there's a clarity of vision that will help me create the future I desire. I feel it, I go and clean myself up, I washes the dishes, put clothes in the washing machine, lift some weights, and I know I'm more ready.
Happiness makes me grateful for the things I have got and sturdy in the pursuit of things I want.
Barrow's attitude to O'Connor's excesses veers wildly between neutrality and loving admiration. In the past, I would have inclined towards admiration, reading about him; after all, he's not a million miles away, in his behaviour, from Gregory Corso, or even Kerouac in his later years. But presently, reading Barrow's account, I keep thinking, What a thoroughly obnoxious, ill-mannered and boring man. I'd much rather spend time with a non-genius, if they had good manners and consideration for other people, if they smiled occasionally.
All these malodorous geniuses can talk about is how brilliant they are anyway. Very few of them ever prove it.