Serendipity and Expectations

“I understand perfectly why some of my autistic patients scream and flap their arms–it’s to frighten off extroverts”  ~  Mark Vonnegut

“Mindfulness helps us get better at seeing the difference between what’s happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what’s happening, stories that get in the way of direct experience. Often such stories treat a fleeting state of mind as if it were our entire and permanent self.”  ~  Sharon Salzberg

“I’m subject to occasional theological nightmares. The one that leaves me in a cold sweat every time is, I arrive at the pearly gates and the first thing I’m asked is where I went to college.”  ~  Mark Vonnegut

Serendipity led me to Mark Vonnegut this morning. I never would have expected that. One of the nice things about serendipity is that you don’t need no stinkin’ expectations, because if you saw it coming it ain’t serendipity. Mark is, of course, son of Kurt, but I don’t reckon I know who Kurt’s dad was, and that is exactly the point. Mark is a fine writer in his own right. And likely a fine pediatrician as well. What a day job, right? Dude rocks. I first came across Mark’s writing when I endeavored to learn more about the suspected mental illness I was seemingly facing at the time. Mark’s first book, The Eden Express, was one of the first places I went. It’s a great book, and it will make you laugh as well as making you squirm — it’s the story of his plummet into a psychotic break. Interestingly enough, I came across another writer, right around the same time. He came to my attention because he had recently hung himself, during a bout of depression that sounded to be just about as horrific as could be. First it was a perfunctory news piece, somewhere on the internet, that called him brilliant, a singular talent, perhaps even the voice of his generation. Then another story, then another. Then a tribute. Then another. And on and on. I had no idea who this guy was, but as I saw more and more articles about him I crossed the intrigue threshold and checked him out. Here’s an article from The New Yorker that kinda put it in a nutshell  – click here. I was still with the ex at that time. She was somewhat aghast at my choosing to research two guys with serious mental illnesses in the quest of better understanding my own. That perspective still baffles me to this day. I mean, mental illness? Who better to ask then one who knows? I don’t like the idea of “descent into madness”. I just don’t. It seems to be right at home in a Lovecraft or Stephen King story, but it the real world . . . ? Not so much. Not for me anyway. I’m open to being wrong about that. But this is 2018, deep into the depraved depths of the Trump era. Look around, who’s mad? I’m not talking about the orange elephant in the room; the one with the coat of many price tags. He’s too easy. Start looking toward the sycophants, psycho-phants, whatever, in the Republican party. What the fuck is up with those people anyway? And the White Supremacists? I reckon that if you want to be seen as superior you might want to act in some way that might indicate your qualifications for superiority. Right? Besides, from a mystical perspective ain’t none of us particularly superior. Which is the way I like it.

“Rarely are there big heroic choices that will settle matters once and for all. The smallest positive step is probably the right one. Try not to argue. If you’re right, you don’t need to argue. If you’re wrong, it won’t help. If you’re okay, things will be okay. If you’re not okay, nothing else matters.”  ~  Mark Vonnegut

We need snow. That’s all there is to it. I’m ready, and the forecast from the National Weather Service looks promising. Whatever. This morning’s clouds will do just fine, for me, for now. Having a gray sky will suffice. I love gray skies, for a day or two. We shall see.  I just stepped out to the car. I can see the mountains from there. Quite a pretty morning. I’m taking a down day today. That’s all there is to it. As for the mental illness stuff I was just yakking about, I feel okay this morning. Anxiety is running high. Depression not within the comfort range, but there ya have it. You don’t get to pick and choose. As long as I have both cat and cozy I’ll be right fine to move through the day, or to sit still and watch it, or . . . oh, whatever. Yeh, that works.

Peace out, y’all. Goof gloriously.

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