Sunday, August 19, 2012

Languid Thoughts and Doings

Sunday, August 19, 2012—Long Beach, California

Hot apartment, still (as in both continuing and no movement, of the air). 1:27 AM, lying on sweaty sheets, listening to the Grateful Dead, Dick’s Picks Volume 8 (live in Binghamton, sometime in 1970—I forget the exact date). I’ve been reading Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism, by Peter Marshal. Though I’ve never read it before, at times I feel like I have—many of the threads of thought it discusses are very similar to what I’ve been thinking for a long time. Other than a bit of Emma Goldman, I’ve never read any anarchists thinkers. It’s interesting how I came to such similar conclusions on my own, thru my own hard experience. Back to the Dead. I’ve been listening to a lot of them lately, been reading too Dennis Mcnally’s biography of them, A Long Strange Trip. Rediscovering something special in my life I’d lost touch with. I’d love to go to a Dead show right now … but the long strange trip has fragmented, hasn’t it?

The following afternoon. Early this morning I felt the compulsion to write, but one paragraph in I suddenly became really tired and crashed. I can’t really pick back up on the sweaty languid mood I had going then, though I am feeling a similarly ambivalent. Realizing that I’ve been working too hard for a long time. I want more nights of lounging around listening to music. I’ve neglected myself in recent years. I don’t want to work my way thru life anymore—I want to do something more like dance my way thru it. I define work as doing that which does not fulfill you (in other words, if you enjoy it it can’t possibly be work, though it might involve a great deal of effort). Given that definition, nobody should ever base their life around work—it should be something to be banished from your life. There, I figured it out, said it—now I’m done working forever!

Speaking of not working (writing), I got the new prototype of Edgewater in the mail yesterday. The book has turned out great. The painting looks like its painted right on the cover, which is what I was hoping for. I like the white paper we’ve chosen for the cover; it’s like a snowy version of the old Black Sparrow Press covers. Eric printed the insides on white paper, just because that was what he had, but I think it looks so good with the white cover that I’m going to stick with it instead of the natural colored paper I’d planned on using. I also like that I got rid of the bullshit blurbs on the back (I replaced them with an email to a friend concerning the book). All and all, I couldn’t be happier with it. All we have to do is do a few minor tweaks and print it up. It should be officially released early next month, only a week of two later than originally planned before all the cover issues arose.

Feeling again the urge to paint; I haven’t touch a brush since I finished the cover painting for Edgewater. I have some interesting ideas abound combining abstract images with text. Images of passages from Thoreau (why his work I’m not sure) partially extant thru structures of color, waving, bleeding, chipped—the equivalent of archaeological site in paint: inscription partially worn away, fragmented by time replaced by these emerging colors. I’m not sure if I’m explain this well, but the images are pretty strong in my head, stronger than painting ideas have been in a long time.

Odds and ends. Still not writing much. I’ve got a good opening to the new Backwaters book, but at the moment am lacking the inspiration to continue it—still too burnt out on that series. I also feel like the next move with it is still jelling in my head. My first day back at school starts tomorrow. Not looking forward to it. Not dreading it either. I’ve arrange to buy Greg’s Seagull acoustic guitar from him (how I’m going to get it here from Santa Cruz I’m not sure). I’m really looking forward to playing again—it’s been many years. Though I’m not writing much, I do feel creative at the moment. I think this means I’m in a good place to start relearning the guitar. There must be a reason I’ve decided to pick it up again now … Still working on my Greek, though I’ve lost a little of the intensity lately, mainly, I think, because my apartment has been so hot I can’t concentrate. Missing Greece too. Though I know it was the right decision, I can’t help feeling that I really missed out on something by not going again this summer. Gavdos sunlight calling me from the other side of the world ...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Little Fatigue and Boredom / Margo Dreams

Wednesday, August 15-18 , 2012—Long Beach

Tired. I’m not sure why. I think it’s because I’ve been getting up earlier because it’s been so hot in my apartment. I’ve also been doing a fair amount of “mind work,” which always wears me out. I’m dealing with a bit of eye strain as well—too much computer work, too much reading. Because of this I should probably be trying to get some sleep (it’s 12:17 AM), but I’m feeling restless, like I should be writing something. What I should be writing about, though, I’m not sure. Lately I’ve been feeling a little lazy in regards to this diary. There are lots of big ideas rolling around in my head, but they’re not jelling into anything overly coherent. I get the feeling that if I were to try and put them down “on paper” (says the computer addict) that I might be able to make more sense of them. But that just seems like so much work, much more than I can bring myself to take on. Maybe, though, I’m not being lazy. Maybe the reason I’m not pushing myself is that I know that certain things aren’t yet ready to come out. In fact, that’s probably the most likely scenario: when I don’t want to do something there’s usually a good reason for it, whether I’m consciously picking up on it or not …

Feeling restless about more than just writing these days. My routine is starting to bore me. Having to go back to teaching next week isn’t thrilling me either: that routine interests me even less. I’m beginning to realize that I’m thru with teaching anthropology (though it’s not quite thru with me). The years I’ve been teaching have taught me a great deal; they’ve helped me to understand where my writing needed to go after my Heaping Stones/Edgewater break thru. Partially because of my teaching in the social sciences I’ve figured out that my writing needed to begin looking outward. More specifically, teaching helped me get from the previously- mentioned books, which were about me (in the broad emotional sense) to the Backwaters books, which are more about community. But I’ve made that journey and I know it’s time for me to do something else. It’s time to put my new books out and make my way thru them—teaching has gone from a learning experience to one that is becoming increasingly confining, boring.

On another topic, I’ve been thinking about relationships lately, about me maybe again being involved in one. This is a very interesting development. For years I have not allowed myself to get remotely close to anyone: the last time I fell in love—one of only two times in my life this has happened—I was so badly wounded that it’s taken me nearly a decade to … I don’t know, I was going to say “recover,” but that’s not the right word. What’s really happened is that it’s taken me all this time to understand what happened, why it happened, and to integrate what it means into my life (I’ve probably made an overstatement—I do not yet fully understand what went down and probably never will, but I’ve made huge strides in this area). What happened to me with, I’ll call her Margo, completely short-circuited my life and I’ve been rewiring it ever sense. Or to be both more melodramatic and trite (but at least as accurate), there was my life before Margo and my life after her—and they are not quite the same life. My problem is that what happened between Margo and me was so profound (for me), was so powerful that I don’t think I could settle for less than that intensity of feeling again. The question is then can I be moved like that (or in a different way that’s just as absorbing) in a healthy relationship. Recently I’ve begun to ask this question, which could be a good sign …

Speaking of Margo, for ten years now she’s been haunting my dreams (I may have mentioned this in some earlier diary entry). The early dreams were horrid and always pretty much the same. The scene and backing cast would change, but in all of then she was incredibly popular—everyone loved her, despite the fact that she was obviously a completely self-absorbed user, which drove me crazy because no one but me could seem to seem what she was really like—and I was so in love with her that I was desperately trying anything to be with or at least near her. There was usually another guy or guys she preferred, which was something she’d make brutally obvious in my presence. She wouldn’t quite ever let me go free, though—she showed just enough interest in me to keep me around, to keep me thinking there was hope; I sensed she enjoyed being so worshiped. Often in the dreams she’d be sitting on my lap or lying with me in a bed. She’d let me kiss her in and sometimes do a lot more, but she almost always was indifferent to my touches. Or worse she acted like she was doing me the greatest of favors. I woke up from these dreams feeling angry, bitter, broken ... like a complete loser …

Over the last few years, though, my Margo dreams have become less frequent and there’s been a huge change in their tone—mainly because I’m viewing her differently. In these dreams she’s usually as self-involved and before, and sometimes she’s with other men, but I don’t hate her like I do in the earlier dreams. This is because I don’t need her. In these dreams I’ve learned to accept her behavior as that of someone who is deeply frightened and insecure. Since I don’t need her anymore she can’t hurt me. Without this pain of need I’m finding myself seeing a beauty in her cruelty, an understanding that comes thru empathy—I know she’s been deeply hurt in her life as I have and that she’s simply trying to deal with this pain: by trying to control the men in her life as a form of protection. In these dreams, despite our past, I have warm feelings for her and consider her my friend. I’ve also accepted that she doesn’t, can’t love me because of who she is and who I am. I’ve woken up from these kinds of dreams feeling good about things, about my past. The self-loathing that came out of the earlier Margo dreams is nearly gone.

Last night, though, I had a Margo dream that was at least partially a throwback to the earlier ones. I don’t remember the exact scene, but we were in a house. I think there was a party of some sort going on. I was back to needing her (though not as much as in past dreams). I don’t know if she’s with me in this dream, but she’s at least implied that we're together. But she keeps going into this bedroom where she is being fucked by this huge black guy who looks a bit like the actor who stared in The Green Mile. And when I say “fucked” that’s what I mean—she just being bent over by this guy and rammed, while he says abusive things to her and she gets off on it. In between being fucked by this guy she's in the living room sitting on my lap, kissing me, with cold indifferent lips. In this dream I’m feeling something close to the desperation and hate I felt in the old Margo dreams. I woke up feeling deeply hurt, by this dream Margo and myself—I thought I was past such self-tortures.

What interests me is why I went back to this type of Margo dream. Perhaps I just needed to clean out the attic, so to speak—perhaps there’s still some pain lurking around hidden places inside me that I need to flush out. As I’ve said, I’ve recently been considering the possibility of a new relationship and maybe I’m just trying to get everything in order so that can happen. I’m leaning towards this explanation, mainly because the aftermath of this dream was minimal, compared to the past. Back then after a bad Margo dream I’d feel like shit for hours, sometimes all day. Within an hour or so after waking up today, though, I was no longer in pain and could examine the dream analytically. For whatever reason this dream cropped up, largely because of my reation to it, I don’t think it has much to do with backsliding—I think it’s mostly about something new. Another reason I think I’m in someplace different is Margo’s persona has changed. In the other dreams she’d never have allowed herself to be sexually used as she was in this dream (or maybe she was using the guy in some convoluted way?). I’m not sure what this means, but it’s interesting.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Stupid Hot and Other Stuff

Sunday, August 12, 2012—Long Beach, CA

Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. Stupid hot. Angry hot. Several days in a row of blazing heat with at least that many on the horizon. As usual when it gets like this my apartment becomes all but unbearable (people are always commenting on what a great rent I have, but they don’t seem to understand that I get what I pay for—a uncomfortable crumbling one-bedroom place in a ugly, worsening neighborhood that turns into a furnace at least a couple months of the year and has no heat when winter comes around). What’s bumming me out is that I have a lot I need to be doing now—prepping for, school, BSP stuff etc.—and it’s too hot in here for me to think. I think I’m going to head over to the Downtown Branch of the LB Public Library next week and try and get some work done in its air-conditioned environs. The situation in Chez Rob is ridiculous …

The weather is seeming even worse than it is when I compare it to last weekend, when I went up to my cousin’s wedding in the Lompoc area, which was much cooler than it is down here, especially at night (we even got rained on a little bit on Saturday morning, which is really unusual for August in these parts). Speaking of that trip, I enjoyed it. The wedding was one of the nicest I’ve ever been to (no phony religious crap or tedious traditions to be found). I was a little depressed for a day or so after it, though. My life feels so stuck these days: I feel like I’m more than ready to move onto to something else and I can’t quite put things together enough to make it happen. Watching E— and L— get married, watching them so happily moving into the next phase of their lives, got me really thinking about where I’m at at the moment, which is a significantly different place than I want to be.

Like I just said, this bummed me out for a few days, but I’m feeling better now. Things aren’t quite right with me, but when I look at the big picture I know I’m making the right moves, or mostly right moves at least. My days of making stupid decisions are over. The question is now how much can I recover from my previous wrong moves, my formally faulty vision. I think I still can make some big strides; the game's far from over and I can see a lot of interesting times for me on the horizon.

Since I’ve been back I’ve mostly been fighting the heat and trying to get some prep work done for school (I have my first faculty meeting next week). Greg’s been in town the last few days, though, so I’ve been hanging out with him a bunch and getting less done. Besides that I’ve mostly been reading and doing a bit of writing (on the latest Backwaters book, not in the diary obviously). Eric and I also seem to have finally gotten Edgewater ready for printing. We’re looking at paper samples and we should be able to let that rip by the end of next week. Hopefully it will be officially out by the end of this month.

Getting a little worried that gluten might not be what’s causing my health issues. I did an experiment at the wedding last weekend and ate quite a bit of gluten and had no reaction. Since I’ve been back, though, and gluten free my bloating has returned in a pretty big way. I’m very confused by all this.

Realizing that I’m a little weird as far as diarists go. Most diarists seem to be obsessive about their diaries. I’m not. I do it because I enjoy it and learn from it, because informal writing like this helps me as a writer (it keeps my chops up, if nothing else), and because other people seem to find it interesting. But I don’t stress when I’m not writing. Maybe it’s because this is an internet diary and my options as to what I’m comfortable doing are limited; maybe the aspects of my life that I might be obsessive about are the ones I feel the need to eliminate in this endeavor. I do wish I had more time to write here, though. I feel like I lose the deeper threads when I’m away from this diary too long. Once I’m back at work and trapped on the backside of Orange County with time to kill and work to bitch about I’m sure my focus will return.

Keeping up my Greek studies. I’ve hit a point where the learning curve has gotten a little steep, but I’m chugging along—slowly. It’s really hard studying a language when you’re completely divorced from its day-to-day use. None of the schools around here even teach Modern Greek. My goal is to learn as much about the structure of the language, its grammar as I can and build on that once I’m around Greek speakers again—vocabulary and pronunciation can come later.