Tag Archives: happiness

My Brave New World In South Carolina

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A Brave New World
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Hey Maude, me again! Upbeat? Well, I do find a more perfected joy in building on the Internet, as I've told you before. It's not in the same range as a book, but the creative juices can certainly flow, and perhaps a couple of books will follow. I have added a suite of new powerful features to my web toolbox, and am busy learning the programming skills so that I can offer these to potential clients. THAT makes me happy, and today's been a good day. Those two letters I wrote just now are the first of any sort of lengthy communication I've written in quite some time. That also made me feel good, despite the despressing nature of the writing.

Very soon now I have to leave for the hospital to return this huge jug of acetic acid-spiked 24-hours worth of urine sampling. Will let you know the results of all the tests whenever I hear from the doctor, what a week or so, I dunno. Meanwhile, keep a soft spot in your heart for me. I'm not all sad, it just seems sadness is the most relevant of my psychological features. The burden of strong achievement is not the stuff of candy canes and daffodils, although I've been fortunate to have enjoyed a lion's share of both. I simply live large and live in the extremes, so my bursts of joy are as booming and infectious as my sadness is merely dull. Nuff said.

Am hoping I land this girl's softball league account that's within reach. My contact is on the board of directors which will be meeting this Thursday. I'm excited about that. How about Anna? Will she be joining leagues any time soon? She's still a mite young I suppose, but I read they start them young these days for any competive edge their parents and trainers can muster, if talent shows itself early on.

Will get around to putting up some more Fripp pictures requiring your help soon I reckon, but I usually just work in a certain direction riding pure inertia until the winds change (or I get bored and switch gears) and I'm off in some other direction for a spell. That's both the pleasure and the flaw of working home alone without deadlines and imposed structures to obey. Anything goes. Especially if one has grandiose ambitions with so much always to do, and nothing done today is wasted time since it is already on the very long list of things to do anywaze...

We haven't made any solid plans for Boston yet, but I'm aware that we should get on the stick if we don't want to find ourselves without reservations. Ok. How's your December shaping up?

Long beards and red sox, teasing jolly old saint nix and laughing all the way to my brave, new world in South Carolina...

Gabriel

P.S. Did Karen EVER get a laptop, and an Email account???

Generation Of Feathers And Stripes

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Hiding In Plain Sight
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I watched a presentation on PBS on depression and one interviewed therapist said that people who suffer from depression actually have a very accurate picture of themselves and the world around them. It's the one's who are happy who are deluding themselves. I thought this in terms of hammers and nails, since it's the happy people who tell you that you aren't normal and to cheer up and all that crap.

Ever since then, when I get down or frustrated or whatever I just think, "HEY, I'M THE ONE BEING REALISTIC. YOU, GET THAT SILLY GRIN OFF YOUR FACE. YOU'RE MISERABLE. FACE FACTS. I DID."

It is also notable that the depressed compatriots among us who really know what's going on are given medication to stop them from being realistic! I'm not sure where to even GO with this line of thinking but all of it really disturbs me. Although, it pains me to think that the people who use recreational drugs to "escape" reality probably have a real handle on things and those who choose not to escape are really messed up, or else are a major part of the problem since they are the backbone of the existing power structure they protect and serve.

But undiluted self-interest is as bogus as the converse. So the paradox remains. Is the algebra of happiness a reality marked by self-interest, or is the algebra of reality simply the starting gate for all unhappiness. In others words, might thinkers always think themselves into unhappiness, despite any slant given to the freedom of individuality? After all, paradoxes like nature, abhor a vacuum, a generation of feathers and stripes, and the Washington Redskins name…
I also think that other people don't mind that certain folks are miserable. They just don't want to have to deal with it so if you hold it in and suffer your pain all by yourself, that's okay. However, if your bucket of pain gets full and you shoot up a post office, it's a problem. Some say vent it in low dosages. Better to play ball, sweat it out, just punch a wall now and then or kick all the unwelcome guests out of your house if they're spiking your misery index than to shop the ammo section of the local K-Mart and saunter off to happy hunting grounds. Seriously, people. Take guns away from whackos. But ask yourself why we have so many whackos diabolically sporting around these days as opposed to the 1950s, or do we?

Have statistics been skewed beyond the recognition of right and wrong in an era when happiness has fewer and fewer takers?

On the other hand, how realistic is it for one to EVER think oneself responsible for the dingbats and wingnuts of the whole stinking world, moonlighting on some pedestal, self-annointed, as some holy roller savior of billions, pocketing millions, or maybe not even a dime, but nevertheless fainting and feigning lockjawed over that brother's keeper line of reasoning? Steve Taylor often has said he could care less for ANYBODY save his own small circle of friends and his family. Worth noting. Hence, a generally happy outlook because he has relieved himself of a responsibility no one can shoulder realistically anyhow. Smart approach as a starting point.

In this case, the sad eyed prophet is the delusional one who frets over the world's problems UNREAListically, injuring himself in the process. But undiluted self-interest is as bogus as the converse. So the paradox remains. Is the algebra of happiness a reality marked by self-interest, or is the algebra of reality simply the starting gate for all unhappiness. In others words, might thinkers always think themselves into unhappiness, despite any slant given to the freedom of individuality? After all, paradoxes like nature, abhor a vacuum, a generation of feathers and stripes, and the Washington Redskins name...

Reality On The Ground

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Love The Stigma
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Dateline February 24, 1997

On the other hand, how realistic is it for one to EVER think oneself responsible for the dingbats and wingnuts of the whole stinking world, moonlighting on some pedestal, self-annointed or otherwise, as some holy roller savior of billions, pocketing millions, or maybe not a dime, but nevertheless fainting and feigning lockjawed over that brother's keeper line of reasoning? Steve Taylor often has said he couldn't care less for ANYBODY save his small circle of friends and his family. Hence, a generally happy outlook because he has relieved himself of a responsibility no one can shoulder realistically anyhow. Worth noting he is a young man, actually a whippersnapper, a young whippersnapper, so mileage may vary as he navigates down the wavy line.

In this case, the sad-eyed prophet is the delusional one who frets over the world's problems UNREAListically, injuring himself in the process. But undiluted self-interest is as bogus as the converse. So the paradox remains. Is the algebra of happiness a reality marked by self-interest, or is the algebra of reality simply the starting gate for all unhappiness. In others words, might thinkers always think themselves into unhappiness, despite any slant given to the freedom of individuality? After all, paradoxes like nature abhor a vacuum...

Thanks for the gratifying input, Landry. Made peace with Tim this weekend, partied with him after chasing around northern VA all afternoon and early evening looking for a batting cage with Steve and Sue. He's got a new place up in NW, a rather typical sparsely furnitured male group house with Tim in the basement stocked with his own kitchenette and private entrance, paying less money than he was doing here according to Steve. I was so blitzed by the time we got there I don't even remember where it was, but it was near U Street, 11th, maybe. The lad's finally hit the big cheese without the safety net of parents or parental surrogates. It was good to see him. Below is an excerpt I wrote just last week in response to a query from Peter Burris, another early but now somewhat distanced while still supportive pal of Tim's...

As I said, I wanted to write this narrative because that's what writers do, they write. I write. I detect and analyze every detail of my life. This may not make me a healthy well-adjusted personality (recalling our recent exchange on that topic), but then I gave up on that flimflam years ago, and simply embrace the spirit that drives me. Some might see it as evil incarnate, or barely functional escapism. Others just don't care.
Peter remarks, "I am curious, but not pushy—do you envision ever becoming friends with Tim again in your life-time? God knows, you saved his life and I don't know anyone in his circle who doesn't thank you and Sue for doing so. If nothing else, that gratitude is heartfelt every time I see Tim alive."

I will express my opinions on this matter within the context of the Dollhouse Fevers serial. In fact, you are the primary cause of the serial. You were the first to write me for details, perspective on what happened, and I wanted to give you a clear unambiguous assessment of the whole event, those details directly leading up to, and those details only peripherally inclined, that made the January 2 Dollhouse coup a necessity. Eight parts. I'll resend the first two tonight, and include my commentary on your EVIL piece. Hopefully I will write the third installment this weekend. And may the force be with you to RECEIVE, and thus read ALL. Meanwhile, keep the faith Peter. I don't know how we saved Tim's life. He paid his own way, but then he paid for his own departure as well. A little hint at the future: I'm not angry at Tim in the traditional sense. I was just frustrated that my mark on him was as shallow as warm backwash in a cold beer can. His influence on me was greater than my influence on him. THAT was not a good thing...

Namely, I've cut back drastically on my alcohol intake, although my eating habits have not diminished so I really haven't followed in your path enough to boast a substantial weight loss. Meanwhile just keeping busy, feeling better about life. Have not heard a peep from Jennifer, but I didn't expect too much from her, even after I e-mailed a couple of times alerting her that I hadn't found a Johnny Cash CD she left without, and then again when I did find and subsequently send it back by post. But anywaze, while painful as the event might seem at first glance, it was good riddance purge of all clutter and ingratitude that kept me in high spirits, and now that Tim and I have at least reconciled to a degree, I have nothing to gain by pressing anger in any direction. As I said, I wanted to write this narrative because that's what writers do, they write. I write. I detect and analyze every detail of my life. This may not make me a healthy well-adjusted personality (recalling our recent exchange on that topic), but then I gave up on that flimflam years ago, and simply embrace the spirit that drives me. Some might see it as evil incarnate, or barely functional escapism. Others just don't care.

These myths have been shattered in the 20th century, with not a small amount of credit due the beat writers. But old classicist blowhards like Gore Vidal still mutter against this straightforward approach on occasion.
Despite the recent furies, seven weeks is not all that long for a major spat like we had, it was good to discover only this past Saturday that Tim had indeed landed exactly where we would have wanted him, upon his own two feet accepting responsibility for himself. But I had to laugh girl when you wrote your REAL MEN DON'T KEEP JOURNALS piece. You wrote:

"I don't think you can use an historical perspective when it comes to journal writing. It's not at all like evolution or losing our opposing thumbs. If Tom Jefferson referred to himself in a distant and cold manner, well that's his problem; he was always tough to get along with anyhow (specially on slave-buying day when he couldn't get his point-of-views in order). If there is a reason that men may not keep as personal journals, it would have more to do with negative (and positive) socialization, not history. "

This, I believe, is a nonsensical line of reasoning, Landry. Most male writers and military men kept journals. They simply didn't publish them because they exploited other avenues of fame and fortune. Hiding behind fictional novels in public, writers massaged themselves with the idea that journals were supposedly more private. While true that women found their niche in publishing journals, most men writers felt superior in their false assessments that private thoughts and dialectical exercises were better kept private, suggesting by default that artistic writing should not reveal itself in the first person, and if so, was somehow inferior, lacking objectivity, and a whole lotta other mush. These myths have been shattered in the 20th century, with not a small amount of credit due the beat writers. But old classicist blowhards like Gore Vidal still mutter against this straightforward approach on occasion. Other than that singular remark, Landry, I thought your piece worthy of itself.

Zenith

(For George Rounthwaite)

I fly the bottom line like a spicy old gnat
woozy from post-Germanic stagefright
unmounting your governing body with the same flair
along the decided ridges of a glimpsed scarlet swimsuit
as I might if I were to straighten my hair with curlers
or roll up a newspaper to swat the dog
who just pissed on my appetite,
as I do this outside of habit,
suffering like a fixed whisper through hooking
wind tunnels of time, bouncing off
corrosive walls of unknown fragrances
imagining myself trapped in a microwave oven
forging deep contours into my handwriting
living in a jar of unforgivable battleships
floating hard cocks and polite whistles
among the wet, zenith waning.

I’m afraid I’ve procrastinated
teaching myself happiness without just cause.

Having started this swipe at all things accelerated
first with a bang then that accomplished whimper of mine,
I have stopped, started again overcautiously, stopped again,
scorched the soldiers of my fingertips, sculpted tiny industrial
elephants with toothaches storming my ear wax,
and lived to laugh about it while gaining weight
unlike coy women who disrobe for Christmas dollars,
fretted each word as if I were counting beads of the rosary,
even though I have never done that sort of thing
not being catholic or ridiculous while I write maggots
into the sky’s distorted huge and spongy apostolic succession,
re-filtrating every grounds of mutual respect with acrimony,
the world with me, here, not at its swirling epicenter
but along the frays of its weatherbeaten dust jacket,
deliberately unpersuaded as to what to put in
and what to leave out of this reforging
a retooling of friendship once quite
the vocabulary of need.

Of course all of this thinking and thinking about thinking
led ultimately to overpostulating the whole of what
memories and what urges I keep in pockets
lined with the rash and rescind
toward you, my friend.

Far astray the garden of youth, I am
faced with rallying back like a long distance
echo still stammering a single quote
from Kierkegaard under which
the flag of my soul
flickers gently—

“…the poet who wants to transcend himself
but gets only as far as religious longing,
not piety as such…”

Thus is, and always has been
his unchecked swarm of needs
buzzing around inside my gut
and my head, and to obey
that nature I first laugh & flirt

I have no choice but to spring forth
like a foul-toothed mantis
spew everything I know of us
within parameters of earnest friendship. Perhaps
you will not be forced to concur with early 20th century
German critic who once summed up his side of the argument
with the crushing dictum that still tastes like chicken...

“Geist auf Brod geschmiert ist Schmalz”
(Mind smeared on bread is lard).

Letter not meant to reintroduce
hardshelled polemics
into our man to boy tongue,
for that leads only to eventual ruin,
but I think for clarity, honesty, and foundation,
an assault of the past not only necessary but rational,
still unclear of extent your stroke has debilitated,
sorry for estrangement to wife and boys
no wish to aggravate your recovery,
thick patches of irritating weeds,
spurs and dandelions
wherever you find them in this glib landscape
of a remembered past whose nostalgic tone
may get lost in translation under brittle
cover of stale paragraphs
bibliophilia my escape...