Having a Word With the Gatekeepers

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“If someone is able to show me that what I think or do is not right, I will happily change, for I seek the truth, by which no one was ever truly harmed. It is the person who continues in his self-deception and ignorance who is harmed.”  ~  Marcus Aurelius

“But there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer.”   ~  Viktor Frankl

It’s a two pot morning. The second is brewing right now. Coffee. Dawn is coming up beneath a flat sky. The stars disappeared long back ’round 4 AM. It’s 49º and I have powerful thoughts of New England running confidently in my mind. Memories. Those many times I walked along Browning Pond, in Central Mass., that’s what I’m talking about. Thoreau held close to my imagination during those walks, and the best ones were when Autumn leaves colored the day with ease. A balm applied to that which was burned through social doings, the touch of ganga warming my veins, I was away,  thus closer to the meaningful life. I’ve not been Back East since the millennium turned over. My loss, I’m sure. I could have found grounds for the future there. I’ll have to do with what I’ve got, which is a fresh cup of coffee. Henry Thoreau gives way to Juan Valdez, one icon to another, one flesh and blood and the other a mass media minion. I love them both. Yes.

So what’s with me this morning anyway? Listen, Henry David Thoreau has been and will be one of the greatest influences in my life. Mark Twain, Ellen Goodman, Al Burt, Neil Gaiman, Joe Bageant(!!!); but a few of the others, all writers. And Neil Young, but that’s a different story. Go back and click on the Joe Bageant link. No really. Any of you who appreciate my writing might find some rich material there. My favorite article of his is “Algorithms and Red Wine”:

“And I look at the faces of these young men and women, who are among the brightest, best educated and common good oriented the world has to offer. A taxi’s headlights flash through the window of the darkened bottiliberia. Each face is illuminated for a moment, then golden dimness again prevails. And I am saddened.”  ~  Joe Bageant


I got an invitation to volunteer at the mobile spay and neuter clinic, at the Agricultural center, in early October. Of course I accepted! Why? Cats! The invitation came, through the ever darling Emma Lemon, from my favorite neurobiologist. What can I say, I’ve got some beautiful women in my life. But it’s about the cats. At this point my sojourn at the animal shelter has the quality of a good dream. I was talking, over the phone, with my older brother, a few days ago. I mentioned how impactful my end there was, how severe and extended the resulting bout of screamin’ PTSD has been, and he said “Yes, you got hit by a truck”. Insightful stuff just tickles me. I’m still a little dizzy from it. Frown-ridden as well. Speaking of dizzy – listen peeps, I never drank on the job. I’m on meds. You could’ve just asked. But moving forward  .  .  .  I was reading some quotes from Viktor Frankl this morning. I totally grok his rap about suffering generating meaning in life. My New Age friends would remind me that pain is inevitable while suffering is an option. Boy howdy y’all gotta be kidding me. Now, back to the cats. One of the most amazing thing I witnessed in the shelter was how these clownish beasts resided in cages yet only a few were depressed. Through personal effort in an empathic mode I helped a few of them down and out kitties get their game back. Connecting, in a therapeutic mode, with a depressed cat is strikingly akin to connecting with a feral. You start by saying let me in and they’re like fuck no. But it’s a start. I’m sure y’all’ve dealt with people like that too, right? I could go on with the usage of expletives but let’s not. A depressed cat needs way more than a hug. Repeated hugs won’t even make a dent. Depression comes from a feeling of powerlessness. My way was to pick them up physically and stand them before me so that they had a chance to give me their best WTF look before they went back to lay down and dig back in. It’s that one moment, that WTF moment, that makes the difference where a hug fails to achieve. Repeated applications of this methodology are required, of course. That’s not the point. Now, about the ferals. It is a given that they are already pissed, and they might even have the desire to kill you. Their WTF moment is pretty much perpetual. I found that singing was the most effective way for me to connect with them. Music is Universal. We all get the vibes before we get the picture. No critter is exempt from that, yet humans have the maybe unique ability to stuff the vibes in their pocket in an attempt to draw their own picture and see who bites then plays along. We’ve all seen it happen. Deception and its nurturing companion denial are like stuffing the vibes in your pocket. But remember, big pictures sometimes vanish in a heartbeat, and like that depressed cat  .  .  .  well, let me put this way, a guy or a gal steps on my toe then offers me a hug ain’t gonna get no hug. They get the WTF treatment. It’s proactive. Says me.

My mind has upshifted into the writer zone. I’ve proffered many potential creative projects to myself but most never kick in. They never get that WTF mojo goin’. But the new book project, “Sing to the Deathlike Silence”, has kicked in and said yes. So, I can now see the dimensions of writing that go well beyond simple syntax and lexicon. Right upfront and waiting are my semiotic pals, the gatekeepers to the realm of archetypes and mythos. I prevail in my Sisyphus charity marathon to meet these pals at the gate. And they are like dude you don’t work here anymore so dude you can’t just walk in dude so give us the password and yer good to go dude (Hipsters at the gate can be quite abrasive in their smoothness). And I’m like dude what the fuck. They bow and say in unison dude you may enter.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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Of Beauty and Florida Bay

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“No book can ever be finished. While working on it we learn just enough to find it immature the moment we turn away from it”  ~  Karl Popper

The darnedest thing just happened. Right after I pasted the opening quote I went to Wikipedia to read about Karl Popper. Man, the dude made my head spin with his philosophy. There’s a lot to it, it’s just that it is early in the morning and processing philosophy of that depth and density is perhaps something you should not try at home. Then smack in the middle of reading about his philosophy the danged rooster crowed for the first time today and I was like all annoyed and stuff. But there was no one to get mad at so I let ’em both off the hook. I was really into what Popper was saying! The rooster? I’ve heard his song many times before. But for some reason I have classical stuff on my mind this morning. It started with Franz Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony No. 8 in B minor“, so I went to You Tube and got an earful. Next I found friggin Maurice Ravel in my head and he was pushing his awesome piece “La Valse“. I’ve loved Ravel ever since hearing a rendition of his haunting ballad “Pavanne for a Dead Princess“, which I think is one of the most beautiful melodies of all time. Anyway, in listening to La Valse again I realized that it summed up my feelings about working at the animal shelter, and that the ending is so poignantly perfect in fulfilling my musical analogy. My goddess that man could write, compose, whatever. Impressionistic, that’s what I say. I lump Ravel right in there with Impressionist painter Emile Bernard. Dude could paint.

“Springtime” – Emile bernard

K, relax, I’m done with the classical stuff, right? But it provided a good effective grounding energy for me, as did the steak dinner I cooked for myself last night. No I didn’t exploit my unemployment benefits, the steak cost me friggin $3.50, so don’t go there.  As for the grounding, it is needed because I am nearly out of the PTSD spell I’ve been weathering ever since the discharge of so many of us from the shelter. Once triggered PTSD kinda runs on it’s own until you manage it or it runs out of steam. It’s been a little of both for me, and I am admittedly and literally breathless from the ordeal. This is my plug for mental illness advocacy today. I had an old girlfriend, who thought that she wasn’t a girlfriend, who shoved me right into my by far most severe episode of mental illness actualized. No, she didn’t do it on purpose, silly. Despite her fine Southern high class upbringing she could be really fuckin’ rude in denying mutual attraction. And I, of course, did not have money. That’s the thing. She called me one night, woke me up from a sound sleep, at 1 AM, to tell me that she just got laid, in a dinghy, on the way back to shore, through the grass flats of Florida Bay, by a guy who smoked weed and dreamt of the Sea Shepards, and wow it was soooo good. And I’m like dear what time is it? And she’s like dude I just fornicated. And I’m like what am I now your priest? The things a guy goes through; true story by the way. But the point here is the darkness into which I plunged shortly thereafter. That’s when I first actually found the illness. Boy howdy what an accent. And her  .  .  .  oh never mind. The therapist I ended up seeing told me that “an image of a depressed brain is all lit up like a Christmas tree”. That explained a lot. That’s why depressed people are sometimes seen as lazy; we are so overwhelmed we either cannot move or are afraid to do so lest even more adverse bad stuff should happen our way. Poor us. We can see so much at that point that we wish we were blind. Depression is not delusion, although it can rival even the best delusion proffered by a mentally healthy individual. So, we are not lazy and we are not delusional. What else are we not? In the name of Pete lady I am not your priest.

At actual sunrise there were two kestrels snug up against the distant smokey pale blue mountains. The summits and ridges of the mountains were etched into the orange and beige of the sky. The whole scene satisfied me by forcing my jaw open and by punching the mute button of my linguistic abilities. I was grateful for that sense of awe. I always turn to beauty when my heart is wrung out by life. That is perhaps why I have an image of Taylor Swift on my desktop, right? Black leather short shorts and all. Hey, I just read that she is included on Rolling Stone Magazine’s top 100 songwriters of all time. Now, what was I saying? Oh, beauty. I wrote an email to Dr. Sartori yonder in Wales UK yesterday. I love how at times internet friends can be true friends. She and I share in a field of  NDE research and the nature of that research must in essence deliver connectedness, then friendship. Yes, we are all connected. You’ve likely heard me be snarky about that before, but that is just me playin’. I know it to be true. Shucks I even hugged Gregg Braden once. It’s all about energy dude. Energy and information. I added that last part, the part about information. See, without information energy just kinda flies around buzzing all day. Wow, I love that image. Say, thanks a lot for reading here today. I’m all done writing now. More tomorrow. Remember: all things are Light.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Voices in the Wind

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“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”  ~  Pablo Picasso

The 3 AM wind caught me by surprise. The first thing I noticed was the soft tree song. I can’t remember the last time there was any significant wind at that hour, a fact that only makes it more precious. Precious things are a balm these days, if not every day. Also, wind is my element. Through letting myself merge with the wind I sometimes get a distinct feeling of being able to hear into the past. None of it is within the reach of words, so don’t ask. Why, for me, time and wind are entangled I don’t know. Wind’s of change? Maybe. That fits for now, for the present, but when the wind speaks to me in that way all time is present time. All of it. Some of y’all might think I got that “all time is present time” from Eckhart Tolle, or Ram Dass for that matter, but I didn’t, yet I reckon they’d like it. So, you may ask, where does that leave me today? That is the juicy part, my friend. Listen, part of me is in the future, listening to the wind, because that is the way I am, from soul on out. D’ya ever think of listening back? Imagine that happening. Two aspects of the same person, at two different times, listening at each other, with each other. And from where I sit, at the moment alongside of the fierce predator who wakes me at 3 AM for kibble, I’d be wise to listen forth in time. That other aspect of me is calling out to me. ‘Twere I the quantum physicist I once aspired to be I would know that at any moment in time there are infinite probabilities at hand. Boy howdy that means that from this moment in time I could go practically anywhere, so I reckon I’d best be either careful or bold in choosing which voice I hear. But wait. Do you believe in destiny? I do. What destiny adds to this rather perplexing metaphysical jaunt of mine is that the one who sings the best, sings the clearest and most truthful Spirit song, is the one who calls me forth with the greatest success. Let’s make this even more perplexing, shall we? Back on February 3rd of 1984, on the cusp of what Catholics call Candlemas, but I call it Imbolc, my consciousness, with full awareness, left this plane of existence for a few minutes to take a little peek at eternity. Let me tell you right now, it is fully worth it to pencil that in to your schedule. Just have your smartphone give you a poke at a random moment. They’ve got an app for that, right? Anyway, when I stood in the face of eternity I could hear each and every one of my infinite selves singing to me, all at once. When I look back it is my memory that they were all shouting; I was lost and getting more so in my hesitation. I was in awe of the celestial encounter that engulfed me, and I was looking at the beauty while ignoring the fear. This morning, within all of the mess that is my life these days, I am wondering if I listened to the right one. Let’s just say I did. Right now I am listening to one who has a job, preferably working with cats. Dammit! I miss them furry little predatory clowns. And by the way, unemployment sucks. I’m still coming out of the PTSD continuum. I’ll get there. Just you watch. Meanwhile I am still trying to get my cognition back on track.


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“How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.”   ~  Carl Sagan

As the morning sky begins to lighten against the dark I sit here with a headache and a sense of wonder. I have no schedule today. I do have a strong urge to work on the new book. That anxious PTSD guy in me says dude you’ll like never find a job that way dude. He may be right. Whether or not I write I’ll still have to be diligent, and vigilant as well, in keeping that friggin anxiety guy on the right track. You can’t bulldog that guy, except in emergencies, or you’ll make him stiff as a 2″x4″.

I think what inspired me to write the first segment of today’s post was that I have been, as valid research, been contemplating death. In part this calms any suicidal ideation and gives it something better to do, more productive and proactive. But in a grander scheme I have been enchanted by the image that Carlos Castaneda planted in my brain, an image that depicts death from a sorcerer’s point of view, a spiritual warrior’s point of view. Simply put the sorcerer knows death as a presence that walks with us, to the left of us. At any time death may tap us on the should, and then the gig is up. Death hunts us and we must stand ready to dance from our heart when the time comes. I guess you might say that it is a Dylan Thomas sorta thing. You know, the one about not going gentle into the good night? “Rage, rage, against the dying of the light”. Hey! Did I tell you that I had a grilled cheese sandwich and a pint of Bass at the tavern, in Manhattan, where Dylan had his last drink? Cool, huh. But about the dying of the light  .  .  .  ? Dude, Dylan, you got the light all wrong dude. There is more where that came from. That’s where we go dude. But leaving Dylan behind, the point here, I guess, is that life can end at any time. Mine almost did back in ’84, and let me tell you right now it came as a big friggin surprise. We never know, do we. But that doesn’t, it shouldn’t in fact, mean that you have to get all anal and stuff, you know like getting your house clean, or get your tires rotated first, maybe even enrolling in that mindfulness class you’ve been thinking about, it means that you need to embrace the awe of life, see magnificent things, go to the mountains, or the beach, you know, that kind of stuff,or maybe you could take a gander at a Van Gogh, heck you could paint your own then do a little dance when it’s done, but all I am sayin’ is give peace a chance. No wait! That was Lennon. I am saying to dance and find joy, or awe, or beauty. Because dude when that tap comes on your left shoulder dude and you are sitting in your cubicle at work dude you are so gonna be pissed dude.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

A Tropical Grove of Whispering Pines

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“Depression is the most unpleasant thing I have ever experienced. . . . It is that absence of being able to envisage that you will ever be cheerful again. The absence of hope. That very deadened feeling, which is so very different from feeling sad. Sad hurts but it’s a healthy feeling. It is a necessary thing to feel. Depression is very different.”   ~  J. K. Rowling

“Everything I’ve ever let go of had claw marks on it.”  ~  David Foster Wallace

Finally coyotes. They went on only briefly, as if to simply reassure me that they are still here. I actually feel reassured. Tis a great way to start the day. Apparently I missed posting yesterday. I was well aware that it wasn’t happening but I was in deep, having had a fairly serious anxiety attack, which I held at bay with whatever rationality I could muster. Managing intense anxiety phenomena is taxing, to say the least. It was not a good morning. I cannot and will not try to put it into words. Although I must pat myself on the back for managing the beast. And it is a beast; big and freakin’ dark and mean beast. And scared. Mean and scared. I could go on. Let’s not. Let’s just handle it.

I’ve been finding some great research material for the new book. This is clearly going to take a lot of work. Just as energy is acquired from handling an anxiety attack, it is also drawn like fresh spring water from focus on the NDE, which will indeed guide if allowed. The reason I equate the two is because the aspect of ‘the Hero’s Journey’ applies to both, so they are drawing from the same source. It’s a matter of healing, and all that that entails. The NDE disrupts a life so thoroughly that it becomes a spankin brand new world from then on. The anxiety attack has no such grandiose claim yet emerging from one of those attacks is a fresh albeit raw experience. Healing again. That’s where I am today. Think about a snake shedding its skin. Gotta be a tad tender after that, right? Yes. The Hero’s Journey alludes to the story value of trauma. Without that there is nothing but pain. There has to be purpose to keep things dynamic, to keep them moving at all. I’m heading in to obscure philosophical territory here, and that ain’t cool with me this morning. I’ll keep that to myself. Actually this all ties in to my discharge from employment at the animal shelter as well. Because of my deep and abiding love for what I was doing, in providing hand’s on service to cats, when I was cast asunder from the job my heart took a big hit. Remember, this is my stuff, not theirs. But what I am getting at here is that the discharge embodied trauma. Exactly. The shockwaves of an event like that are profound indeed. I’ve had several anxiety episodes since then and they can most certainly be called aftershocks. Dude it like rocked my world dude but it wasn’t cool. Not even. I owe deep thanks to the pretty doctor lady for helping me maintain structure while this is going on, by giving me more of her time than usual. That’s some good medicine. I’ve no taste for chaos at this time. And what emerges from this all is that I have progressed about 75-80% through the five stages of grief as far as the loss of job is concerned. But even when I hit 100% I will still be pissed; at the situation, not at any person to speak of.

There are no plans for the day. I’ve not yet reached a feeling of freedom in this unemployment. Soon come, mon. Every ting eire. Yes, I’m sleeping a lot, but that will be no problem until it is a problem, and the solution to the problem is to stay awake and find something to do. Meanwhile I will conjure up memories of laying back in a grove of whispering Australian pines, with a beer in hand and a sweet fat spliff now gone to ashes, and good friends each with their own places among the trees. The breeze will be hot this time of year, but out of the direct sun I will be just right. The palm trees are now swaying in the southeast wind, and the petrified coral reef that is the sole content of the land will be there if anyone were to fall. In the meantime there will be a lot of laughter. Good memories. They come in quite handy these days. Boys, dudes, thanks for the quality time and the good vibes. Those vibes are timeless. I can be there and here in time. Friggin gnarly dudes. Y’all rock. Every ting eire mon.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Pinball Mode on a Sunday Morning

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“An ad that pretends to be art is — at absolute best — like somebody who smiles warmly at you only because he wants something from you. This is dishonest, but what’s sinister is the cumulative effect that such dishonesty has on us: since it offers a perfect facsimile or simulacrum of goodwill without goodwill’s real spirit, it messes with our heads and eventually starts upping our defenses even in cases of genuine smiles and real art and true goodwill. It makes us feel confused and lonely and impotent and angry and scared. It causes despair.”  ~  David Foster Wallace

The plan was to make the coffee extra strong this morning. It didn’t work. Who’s fault is that, right? I did it to myself. Let’s call that a shortcoming and move forward, shall we? The ringing in my ears is notably strong today, which is a change from the past few days, during which it didn’t bother me at all. I’m yawning a lot as well. And to top it all off, if that is of any interest to you, I have noticed that I have been using a lot of hand gestures when talking. The hand gestures really freak me out, but in a good way. I am of the opinion that if you don’t keep a person’s eyes entertained they are not likely to hear much of what you are saying. I don’t recall ever using any hand gestures when talking in any day-to-day situation. But that doesn’t justify being distracted by my own hands when trying to say something to someone that I want to hear it. That last sentence seems clunky to me but it stands as it is. I’ve been successfully practicing mindfulness lately, and when I became aware, while talking to the psychiatrist the other day, that my hands were moving about as I talked, I almost mentioned it to her, because I am unused to it, but I thought better of it, not knowing why. This morning it is clear to me, this “why”. I didn’t want her to smack me with yet another disorder. I have enough of those as it is. A guy can take only so much.

Ken Winslow the rooster is waking up and crowing about it. The night sky is slowly becoming history. I really got off on the stars this morning; they were so bright for a change, and I noticed that I almost always see things as if there is some kind of battle between clouds and stars. That’s just silly. The stars would win.

 My mind is in pinball mode. Having that modality at this hour of the morning is plain annoying. I think it is my lack of focus. My focus has been slack ever since the animal shelter told me, as a full-time employee, bye bye. They handed me a check upon parting ways. That helped. Two days short of three weeks since the break up and I am already considering that I may not be handling this dilemma in a proactive way. But it’s Sunday, right? Sunday can justify all sorts of things.

I watched an old movie last night, one of my favorites: “Meet Joe Black”. It was in part because I needed to experience the philosophy expressed in the film, for my current research, but it was also because I wanted to see Claire Forlani in action. I’ve got a portrait photo of her on my desktop right now. I also watched her in “Shadows in the Sun” the other day. The film has a lot about creativity and writer’s block, but it was nice to see her, and her acting is fine as well. Beautiful woman. Those eyes!

I’d better stop now. This writing is taking a lot of effort this morning. I’m in a low cycle on the bipolar depressive chart. Being an advocate for mental health/illness I don’t give a fig about divulging my mental state. It’ll improve, it always does. Maybe tomorrow. Yes.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Perception and Stuff

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“I came to a point where I needed solitude and just stop the machine of ‘thinking’ and ‘enjoying’ what they call ‘living’, I just wanted to lie in the grass and look at the clouds.”   ~  Jack Kerouac

There were, last night, some of those dreams that were as if I was in some other free-standing world. Maybe I was? Who knows. Doesn’t matter anyway, I don’t remember details so whatever needs knownin’ from those dreams will seep over into this world as my day goes by. Simple as that. In researching for my new book I have started from a launching pad, that being the idea of the Imaginal World. Heady stuff. I sure am glad my mind can handle this kind of stuff because I sure would hate to use force in learning. Learning by force should be left to far right conservative folks, right? The kind of learning that I am getting now is where the subject matter just kinda moves toward me, drawn to me by resonance. It’s fun. I started this morning by following an unbidden mind-prompt to check out an ancient pre-Socratic Greek philosopher named Parmenides. Now there is one gnarly dude! This has opened up a whole new kettle of worms, can of fish, whatever. I’ll go with the can of fish and have tuna something for dinner. Rosie the cat gets the water drained from the can. Everybody benefits from tuna. Fish is brain food. It’ll do me some good. Maybe some bargain basement cheap red wine from Walmart? Just maybe. Three bucks a bottle is within my budget. That too might do me some good.


Just back from by customary perch out side of the house, where I watch the sun light up the back side of the Sacred mountain. Okay, I’ll share; it looked like this this morning.

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We got into a discussion about death the other day when I visited the psychiatrist. I told her about the idea for the new book, noting that the idea had come to me on the drive down into town to see her. As I described it, by the seat of my pants, her intent look went to a smile that broadened as I spoke. She was really into what I was saying. We bantered it about and the idea crystalized for me in a big way. Part of it was about the stigma/taboo thing I’ve mentioned before about death. We are all gonna do it, my friends. It doesn’t just happen to us, it is something we do! Knowing this, keeping it a fresh perspective, makes all the difference. But I also included the euthanasia controversy that is such a big part of the animal shelter scandal of late; they say that absolutely no animals will be euthanized to make space. I look at quality of life, and that kind of death as viewed by someone, me included, who has seen the Other Side and has a good idea what it is like over there. From that perspective the burden of the euthanasia question shifts to the perception of the observer and their personal views, in the form of informed opinions, but the point is, as I see it, that the intensity of the issue is really all about the people, not the dogs. Trust me, the dogs are going to a better place. I can see both sides of the issue and I have no set opinion.

As for the rest, the other parts, of the scandal, being one of the fifteen workers set unceremoniously free from labor I am lately looking at how the downslide that led to our discharge had to begin at some point. It is that beginning point that, to me, is what needs to be examined. The shelter has an obligation to the community by its very nature. So, maybe the discharge was in the best interest of the shelter, and maybe, just maybe, for the newly unemployed former workers as well. I can’t say because I still have a bias that is recalcitrant if not more so. It’s one tough attitude; it ain’t gonna give way just because I or somebody else say so. The change will have to be organic and within a natural flow. And the consequences as far as the community is concerned? Should be interesting; I hope for the best.

It’s about death as it relates to life, and about how that relating colors what we do and how we do it, because living as if we are immortal is counterintuitive. More consequences, right? But the doctor grokked what I was on about. It’s about the mental state, not our intent. That’s one problem I have with the positive thinking movement. The very act of shifting to the viewpoint of the positive thinking advocates is that in choosing that path, there has to be an opposite end to the positive thing spectrum, because if not there is no definition to go by, and if you ignore the opposite end, bury it so that you don’t have to think about what happens if you slip and fall, that lack of definition will kick your ass. Just my opinion folks. I think that this may be, in part, what happened at the shelter. Life is not a pep talk.

I’ll be thinking about the book as I go through my day. I ran out of friggin dish soap so I pretty much have to go into town. Maybe a bottle wine from Wally World. Oh, oh, oh  .  .  .  and now for something completely different  .  .  .  I want you to meet my friend Oscar. His photo will appear right after my sign off. He’s a beauty. I just have to share.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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A WTF Phenomenon

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Socrates again. I mean the cat in the photo, not that old-timey philosopher, although that philosopher’s method of dialogue has saved me from a world of hurt these day. I’ve got a sneaky therapist, so I find myself attempting to inject rationality into my daily life, and I’m like how did she DO that? It works. One way that PTSD and bipolar 2 depression succeed in near crippling fashion is by flooding you with thoughts, compulsive in nature, that run all the way from wacky to truly sinister. My advice? Don’t go there. This is significantly important to me because I have finally entered a fresh stage of recovery, after the highly traumatic loss of my job at the animal shelter. Damn it that friggin hurt! Don’t do that again! To ANYBODY! Anyway, this fresh stage is that safe place where bad head stuff has eased into a fluffy kind of sameness, meaning that no thoughts have one up on any other thoughts. It’s a WTF phenomenon. It’s like what have I been thinking?! It is times like these past 18 days when I think deeply about disability, but there are prohibitive reasons why that won’t fly. Oh well, right? I’ll get back to work by and by. No worries. A return to relative rationality is refreshing. That’s all. Internal Socratic dialogue kinda tickles but it works. Try it, you’ll like it.

I have no idea what I will do today. I can rent a movie on DVD for two bucks. That’s an option. I have one bag of microwave popcorn in the pantry. I have a strange urge to go sit in Taos plaza. We’ll see. A low-impact hike? Maybe. Write? I’ve got a new and unexpected book chomping at the bit. Is it just me or am I flirting with using a plethora of idioms here? Sometimes even two of them can be pushing it. My bad. The idea for the book came to me out of the plenum, which indicates that I didn’t think it up myself. Muse or whatever, an artist of any venue should might could maybe listen to these prompts from the Muses or whatever. My first book was advocated, indeed requested, by a Goddess. That’s some strong stuff. I accomplished that goal. No pat on the back from Her, she just giggled. The new book is of course about death, among other things. There’s a taboo about death that oddly resonates with the stigma attached to mental illness. Were I king I would by decree have taboo be stigmatized and stigma made taboo. It’s a tidy solution to a thorny social problem. Moving forward – there is a form of memoir that gets real loose with the traditional forms in the writing of a memoir. I’m not vey good with formal traditions. An example of the aforementioned type of memoir, which is called a personal essay, is Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez. I’ve not read the book but the preview PDF on Amazon.com is sumptuous writing indeed. Another piece of writing that I found to be compelling use of the loosened form is “Father Away” an essay from the book by the same name written by award-winning author Jonathan Franzen. Dude can write! He may not agree with my categorization of his essay but, heck, he can comment below and tell me so. Franzen was also close friends with David Foster Wallace, and DWF is one of my heroes in writing. Moving forward – creative non-fiction is what we are talking about here. I just want to fly free with my new book. Here’s a sample of Franzen’s writing, from the essay I just mentioned above; he is writing about Wallace.

The curious thing about David’s fiction, though, is how recognized and comforted, how loved, his most devoted readers feel when reading it. To the extent that each of us is stranded on his or her own existential island— and I think it’s approximately correct to say that his most susceptible readers are ones familiar with the socially and spiritually isolating effects of addiction or compulsion or depression— we gratefully seized on each new dispatch from that farthest-away island which was David. At the level of content, he gave us the worst of himself: he laid out, with an intensity of self-scrutiny worthy of comparison to Kafka and Kierkegaard and Dostoyevsky, the extremes of his own narcissism, misogyny, compulsiveness, self-deception, dehumanizing moralism and theologizing, doubt in the possibility of love, and entrapment in footnotes-within-footnotes self-consciousness. At the level of form and intention, however, this very cataloguing of despair about his own authentic goodness is received by the reader as a gift of authentic goodness: we feel the love in the fact of his art, and we love him for it.

The early brightness of the day is up and ready, and I still have the curtains closed, as if I could escape the rooster’s crow without closing the window. Symbolic measures do not work with roosters. But the bird has gone quiet since I let the birds out of the coop to range in the had for the day. Damn it, he just crowed again! I don’t have to take this. Gonna take a shower then go do something.

Boy, I say, boy, now don’t get me riled.  ~  Foghorn Leghorn

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

His Own Silent Thunder

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Socrates ~ The best cat to ever pass through the cattery at Stray Hearts; a true Spirit cat!

One man stood firm guarding cups overflowing
Brimful of memories and yesterday’s dreams
He could never explain his own silent thunder
The ocean just blows rough at this time of year

~  Moody Blues, Celtic Sonant 

“He could never explain his own silent thunder. The oceans just blow rough this time of year”. I fucking love that! Pardonne moi my French. I just feel like a sense of freedom this morning. That gruff manner of speech, sanctioned by George Carlin, is something I picked up at the animal shelter. Before that I didn’t use such language much. Laconic vulgarity. There is a sweetness to it. I feel no compunction in using it. Nuff said, right? I’ve done nothing wrong.

I was just sitting outside on the deck, bemoaning the stinginess of the night sky. Perseid meteor shower? I had seen naught. Then a big one sliced through the darkness and I smiled to see a golden linear flash. Life is good. The sight took me back to 1973. A lanky teen, his mind addled from Viet Nam and Watergate, laying atop the roof of the house, flat on his back, watching the night sky, fully comprehending the vastness out there, and he was knowing some tears at that time. He’d just escaped going to war in Viet Nam, the draft having ended just as his number had come up. He was going one day and the next day he was not. Then Richard Nixon came out of the darkness, rather he let his darkness out into the light. Kent State, as well, haunted him. That kid on the roof had good reason to commune with the Universe above, darkness and all. Of course that kid was me. Just out of High School with nary a goal to be seen. My only lodestar at that time was quantum physics. I had the mind for it. ACT test scores, for science and mathematics, up in the top 5% nationwide. IQ 157. I could have been a contender but I ended up, 42 years later, working under the oversight of cats. For lack of a goal I came to know cats in a way that most people never achieve. And it gave a sense of stability to me. Two years short of potential early retirement and it was, for a time, cats that would carry my wounded soul forth unto that decision. In my dreams I would take the retirement and supplement it with 20 hours of part-time caregiving for those friggin felines. Little did I know that those cats were, every one of them, Schrödinger’s Cats, and they had a failed quantum physicist as their minion.

Do the next right thing. That was something an old friend used to say to me. She was crazy but she was right. She was right in her crazy spiritual way. We became friends, came together due to the purported Apparition of Mary yonder in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia. She’d actually been there, I hadn’t, but my physics-minded self could see a Holy Apparition as a bleed-through from some other Universe, a process held as possible as seen through Schrödinger’s thought experiment regarding the safety of a cat. I loved that woman, mind and body, both of which were spectacular. I’m not a sexist, so don’t got there, k? To get closer to her I enrolled in some ACT classes at the local Catholic Church. I stayed in those classes until Father John told us that astrology was the work of the Devil, and then, suddenly, I was like all fuck off and stuff. To get closer to her I endured an extraordinary tropical thunderstorm on Plantation Key after watching “Dead Poets Society”. It was the marching scene that spurred me into that rather precarious adventure. I could walk as I pleased. That’s what I got from the marching scene. I’d walked north, from Windley Key, up and over the Snake Creek drawbridge. My walk was random, and after I had decided to head back home there came an astonishing bolt of lightning, and the resulting thunder nearly knocked me over. Those tropical storms, coming off the ocean, can lay low and close to the ground. And that was just the first blast. It was also a harbinger of rain. Upon its arrival I was saturated immediately. Here I was two miles from home, at midnight, and an intense tropical storm was having its way with me. I headed back south feeling forlorn. As I was walking by the veterinary clinic I remembered Doctor Bob’s little statue of St. Francis, out in the little garden in front of the clinic. Doctor Bob had once made a prognosis from a dream, for a cat of mine, Hermes, who had been crippled by a car. From a friggin dream! The guy had a vision. Turned out he was right. So that little statue held special meaning for me. I knelt in front of the statue and prayed, my prayer more Pagan than Catholic, as the warm rain pelted me, and it seemed there was more water than air. And the lightning was still bringing thunder that shook the coral island vigorously. I was in deep. After the prayer I headed back toward home. There had been no traffic the whole time but suddenly I saw headlights coming from the north, so I ran out into the middle of US 1 and began to wave my arms like a madman. The vehicle came to a stop and I ran toward it. It turned out to be a taxi. The fare was $5 and that was exactly all that I had on me. As soon as I entered the taxi the driver asked, “What the hell are you doing out in this storm!?”. I had no answer. I still don’t. Life is a storm, my friends, and we are but riders.

Back to the present now. I have an appointment with the pretty doctor lady today. You can’t go wrong with a pretty psychiatrist who is also a Harvard grad. She’s not a therapist and there is no couch there. But she will ask me how I am doing, and that will lead to cats, and how I was unexpectedly severed from my service to the beasts, a service for which I had at one time been paid to provide. That severance has hit me perhaps too hard. I’m pulling out of the dive but the goin’ is slow. Any resentment I had or have is now carved rune-like into my soul. No praise no blame ’cause shit happens, right? I think of that little statue of St. Francis in the Keys and I think of the statue of St. Francis in front of the animal shelter and I’m like dude it’s like all a blessing dude and while we’re at it dude would you like to sit down with me and have a pint dude ’cause that would be all righteous dude. Text me, we’ll catch a buzz together. I’m sad and you’re Holy. That’ll work dude.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

A Rare Smile to Start With

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“If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.”  ~  Émile François Zola

The Sacred mountain shows pale through the morning haze, yet its edges have stayed sharp. A cloud cap sits upon the peak. It’s all gray. The scene fits my mood, neither sweet nor bitter. Today is the first actual free day I have had since I joined the 8.3 million; the unemployed. It’s not that bad. Regardless of this plight I still, after two weeks, am struggling with a slow-fading cycle of PTSD and depression. I try not to take it personally and I am relatively successful from the trying. Yesterday I saw one of the people who is still working at the animal shelter; nice kid, looking strained. He told me that it’s hard; there’s so much work. So much. If you have it in you, if you have the time, go down and help. They need it. Any stress that lays upon the remunerated crew is passed along to the animals to some degree. The animals know, they feel, that stress is afoot in a caregiver. They take it on as well. Its holistic, and unfortunate. Go on down and help. I have friends in cages there. Make their life easier. Thanks, yer a pal.

I saw one of the cattery volunteers last week at the meat counter in one of the corporate supermarkets in town. She’s got talent with the cats. She eases them to a great degree. It’s always a treat to see a volunteer who has the touch. This woman’s favorite cat is Stella, a hunk of muscle, 15.5 pounds, a sleek black cat. Go on down and see Stella. You won’t be sorry. I promise. She’s a wonder of Nature. As for me it will be a quick consumer commando raid, where I will slip into that same supermarket to buy some AA batteries. If they have a small beef steak I will get that as well. I’ve been craving beef, probably because of its grounding effect on the body. That wouldn’t hurt me at all. That done I will return home to see what I can do about conjuring contentment for the aching body and weary brain I carry along as I go. Sit. Just sit. It will be good for me.

My mind is open and the openness is intentional, for I am calling out, petitioning for some help from the spirits. Even their casual company would be fine. All said I find that I did not leave my love and devotion to the animal shelter at the door. It doesn’t mean that I would go back as a volunteer. My emotional state is still a tad rickety. I’ll let healing do its thing for a while before I actively think about going on down to them cats. The cats are my deepest concern, then the remaining skeleton crew, who undeniably have been burdened by the administrators there. Maybe they had no choice. I respect that, but that is a separate deal from the crew cut. They will work it out, right? I raise a fist of solidarity in devoting a prayer to all of them two-leggeds and four-leggeds. Then I smile. Smiles are rare for me these days, and those muscles that enable smiles are a little out of shape. I suspect that it is caused by the dearth of cats in my life. Poor me.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

Day of Rest

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“Absence is a house so vast that inside you will pass through its walls and hang pictures on the air.”  ~  Pablo Neruda

Seems like today might be a good day to take a blog break. I pride myself on posting nearly every single day, but I am exhausted so let’s give it a rest today. See you next time.

 

Peace out, goof gloriously.