18 January 2007

Somewhere to the Left

The insanity of it
Somewhere to the left
Of everything else
A moving target
A hole in the wall
A tunnel to nowhere
My head hurts
And my eyes aren’t tracking
Staring at nothing
Trying to make
Left of center
Come into focus
Everything shifts
And somewhere to the left
Of everywhere else
Becomes something

06 December 2006

Sleep Deprivation courtesy of Battlestar Galactica

I can’t believe I haven’t managed to post anything here about Battlestar Galactica. Hardly seems possible given the amount of time and emotion I’ve poured into this damn show at this point. A few months ago I finally gave in to the urgings/encouragements of multiple friends who would know who kept telling me I should really watch this show…and, holy shit! What a completely awesome, mind blowing (in so many ways), emotionally draining show! I haven’t enjoyed anything this much since I discovered Farscape…and I think BSG (eek!) outstrips Farscape by more than an insignificant margin. Even the guilt I feel admitting that doesn’t keep it from being absolutely true. This show pulls you in with the story, the characters, the ideas it explores and does all of this so well it literally takes my breath away. Watching these people deal with running for their lives, an implacable, insidious enemy, each other and their own individual crazinesses all somehow married to startlingly relevent social commentary and kick ass story telling is…indescribably fascinating. I feel like squee-ing all over the place whenever I think about it too much, which is far too often, really. Last week’s episode (“Unfinished Business”) had me bouncing all over the place and disturbing my cats (and probably my neighbors as well) with my random, extremely inarticulate emotional outbursts…my ability to form more than amorphous, often overly loud or enthusiastic expressions of emotion was seriously out of commision for that hour and at least 30 minutes past it…and it isn’t the first episode even of just this season that affected me like this. From the first minutes of the first episode of the first season ("33"), I have utterly surrendered any attempt to pull myself out of the ride, have, in fact, done everything in my power to keep myself strapped in as tight as possible.

I recognize that I’ve probably stepped way past the edge of reasonable when it comes to this show but I love this feeling and I don’t really care. I love being so completely taken in by a story, an exquisitely well-told story, that what happens to these characters frequently makes me cry or laugh or spend hours trying to work out why I love them so much. Why the hell should Starbuck, who is a deeply frakked (squee!) up individual make me so happy that she exists at all? I love her, and that’s it. Even (maybe especially) after an episode that highlights everything ugly and tragic about her. Maybe it’s the tragic part that endears her to me – I want so badly for her to work it out, to get to a point where she can be happy, whatever that looks like…and I don’t know that I believe she ever will. Starbuck is a tragedy and a truly beautiful one. But that’s the thing, she’s my favorite but she’s not the only character that I care this much about, that has me completely hooked on their experience of their journey. I want them all to find a way to become the people they could be and I don’t have any idea if that’s even possible for them.

All this…thought and emotion and anticipation and frustration…and I’m hyper-inspired all the time…so much so I can’t get to sleep because I can’t get my mind to stop turning over ideas and stories – not necessarily ideas and stories that are in any real way related to/dependent upon the BSG universe (though there is some of that too), just that, what I see and think about in connection to the show leads me into places in my mind that have been standing around scuffing their bored toes in the dirt for far too many months now. I’m pushed to consider perspectives which may not have occurred to me otherwise. I mean, is genocide of any sentient species ever justifiable (I think not) or are suicide bombings only incomprehensible because of which side of the coin you happen to inhabit (I think so…ick)? To think about what it means and why this or that thing could be said to be good or bad or indifferent and suddenly all this brain activity is churning up my creativity…and keeping me awake when I really need to be sleeping…except…well, I like it.

05 December 2006

Let's try growing up rather than out for awhile...

Almost forgot to pay my rent today…not sure what, exactly would happen if I didn’t drop the check in the box today but I’m not in any way eager to find out. I’m feeling a bit squitchy about it not hitting that box until today as it is…and I did it on purpose…money really sucks…or lack of money really sucks but I’d just as soon blame the whole idea of money the way I’m feeling about it at the moment. I still have this dread of giving some one a reason to do bad things to me…like every bad thing that has ever happened to me can in some way be traced back to something I did or didn’t do that I shouldn’t or should have done…or something. Sounds stupid when I put it that way but it still strikes me as at least somewhat true to my feelings on it. What a load of crap really! I couldn’t possibly believe in my heart-of-hearts that I bear that much responsibility for all the ills in my life, such as they’ve been…that’s just…silly or…megalomaniacal…maybe tomorrow this won’t seem like so much of a possibility.

I’ve spent the afternoon looking at real estate listings online again…I really, really feel like it’s time to buy myself a home. The paying rent thing is just getting old…and I’m getting to the point in my life (OMG 30!) where living paycheck to paycheck and owning nothing of any real value is beginning to not only be, but also to feel…counterproductive…and stupid. I think it probably also has something to do with my general impression that continuing to wait for my life to start is an exercise in self-punishment or delusion…or an attempt to escape from the realities of everyday life. Or maybe I've just been lazy.

What I’ve found most exciting about all this is that, I can really imagine owning my own home and there are places out there that I can afford without having to draw the strings in too terribly tight. I haven’t gone to see any of these affordable places yet (yikes! They could be awful! What do I do then??)…mostly because I don’t want to buy anything, or look at anything until I spend some time educating myself as much as possible getting a clearer picture of what is actually reasonable/possible. As I look, I’m building a list of the things I think I’ll have to insist on and realizing that there are a lot more in that category than there are things in the wiggle room file. I mean, this is a big frakking deal, no kidding, but for the first time in my life it doesn’t seem like an insurmountable thing. The idea itself feels possible and that’s surprisingly refreshing.

04 December 2006

Mr. Smart

Looking back on it now…I’d expect to like him less, you know? And I really don’t, even though I no longer want to be with him. So many of the things I admired about him from the beginning still ring true, even after all this time and without the verging on hero-worship I felt for him at the time. I feel like I have a more realistic perspective on the guy now and, that said; my view on him is still fairly rosy. There are a few things that pop to mind, that I remember and that I say any time I try to describe him to some one new, who never knew him in the first place. He’s like the calm center of the universe – wherever he is, whoever he’s with, that’s just the role he takes. He’s…calming…which is very strange because he’s also easily the most fanatic, most radical, person when it comes to his basic beliefs that I’ve ever met. There is no doubt in my mind that he’s capable of killing some one and an equal lack of doubt that he would ever intentionally do something to hurt anyone he cares for…it’s just not fathomable. The man had the best eyes – blue and clear but the best thing about them wasn’t the eyes themselves, it was the way the corners would crinkle up when he smiled…it was priceless to see that smile with those eyes. His legs were great…and his hands…oh, those hands.

He was, and I imagine still must be, smart and funny and kind and generous and utterly driven by his own, chosen star. He was a fanatic but he never tried to convince anyone else that he was right or that they were wrong. He’d talk about his faith with anyone who’d ask but he never forced some one to listen if they didn’t want to hear it. He’d buy a round with his last $20 and never showed the slightest hesitation or regret or angst about it. He was the world’s biggest mooch but somehow managed to do it without ever seeming to ask too much…and he really didn’t. I wish words were enough to really describe the guy. He gave the best hugs – he’d pull you in and hug you with his whole attention, his whole body, he was the king of the casual touch and the gentlemanly gestures that never came off as a play for approval or admiration. And something about him pushed every positive button I’ve ever had – emotionally and physically. The room, any room, was better for his presence in it, period. This is true to this day for me, at least I imagine it must be. I still smile when I think of him. The energy he’d bring made everything around him somehow better.

All this is true, to my mind, and still, if I’d ever really been with him, I think I may have ended up hating him. I used to say (and yes, feel) that everything I loved most about him – his faith, his freedom, his generosity, his absolute grasp of what actually mattered and what didn’t…all those things together ultimately made him a man I don’t feel I could have lived with…and that strikes me more as a failing in myself than anything lacking in him. As much as I admired that he’d take his rent money and go to Mexico for a weekend and fuck the consequences…to try to live with that…not something I was prepared to do when my own sense of temporal security would be the constant trade-off for honoring his higher ideals. He’d have had to change too much and I liked him the way he was, I wouldn’t have changed anything…and I think it’s interesting that he seemed to be looking to be changed. He drank too much and for really bad, or what seemed to me to be unhealthy reasons, he was desperately unhappy in a lot of ways… The last time I saw him, he was neatly groomed, not at all rumpled and different in a way I know I wouldn’t have pushed him to become. I’d have kept the wild hair and rumpled clothes and the rampant generosity. When I knew him, he was searching, always searching and longing for a connection, a family…a life that was as much a dream as a possibility. I hope he’s found that…I hope being a father and a husband is everything he dreamed it could be and I hope he’s found the life he longed for with so much passion.

For my part, he remains a reminder to me of what I value, what I admire and equal parts what I want and what I don’t want in a partner. I want to feel the way he made me feel again, I want it like I can taste it sometimes and I fear it too. If partnered I am ever to be, I hope whoever it is does half as much for a room and for me while he’s at it.

03 December 2006

Hidden Doors

I had a conversation w/Jen today about what I like about writing…or more, what I get out of spending my time writing. It’s worth remembering so I’m writing it down in case I manage to forget about it again. I find writing, under the ‘right’ circumstances, absolutely absorbing. I can lose hours and hours to it when everything is flowing well and, when I come out of it, I’m exhausted but also sort of elated at the same time. I think I was trying to explain why I don’t do this more often but what I ended up with was – why the hell don’t I do this more often? If the point is to do what you love, and I love to write, why do I resist it so consistently? It absorbs me in much the same way reading or watching a great movie/television show can only much more enjoyably, engagingly so. I love that sense that the rest of the world has disappeared for a space of time – that feeling of living so entirely in my own head that almost anything could have happened outside and I wouldn’t have noticed. It’s the one thing I’ve experienced that encourages me to believe in the idea that we really might be the creators of our own universe. It’s the same feeling when you’ve been entirely focused on a particular idea or problem and you come out of it and feel that slight disconnect with the world around you for a moment or two before things go back to normal. Like remembering to breathe again only more…and less…and definitively so. I do this often enough, given the right set of circumstances, even without the writing...I’ve lost hours that I’ve never yet regretted like this…and I can’t really say what I was doing or thinking or being in those hours except that I remember them as those times in which being myself stopped being an idea and just…was. What I find interesting about it is that, once you’re out of it, you can’t really get back…like, that was your moment with the divine for the day and asking for more is a bit past presumptuous…writing taps into that feeling for me…course, writing isn’t always a reliable path either – sometimes it’s all I can do to string any words together in any kind of coherent fashion. And sometimes I don’t manage it at all.

I find myself inspired lately for brief flashes and then I think about it too closely and it’s gone – like the inspiration is being almost deliberately short-circuited between my emotions and my head. I think of all the obstacles rather than the inspiration to create and that’s it, I’m done…and I hate it. The door literally slams shut in a room with no windows…and a trapdoor I can’t believe I’ll ever find.

09 October 2006

Where are my voices?

I hear about characters whispering to their writers…I mean, I hear that it happens to other writers. My characters never talk to me. They live and breath and exist as their own, independent beings…they even have stories about where they came from and why they’re where they are now…they just don’t share their thoughts with me. I imagine they have dinner parties where they sit around and debate my existence in that sort of pretentious, intellectual way that suggests by it's very tone the pointlessness of the conversation. They're not really interested, it's just something to talk about that doesn't involve anything that matters. I'm left feeling like the obnoxious cousin nobody actually wants to invite to the wedding…the traffic jam you didn’t spot in time to avoid…the anger storm there’s no escaping from. You know, whatever it is you’d avoid if you could and you endure because you don’t have a more appealing option. Doesn’t ruin your life, you barely notice as it takes a little bit of the joy out of each day, bit by bit until finally, it’s just that little bit you couldn’t stand to lose…and you barely notice it’s passing. You’re left looking around, wondering when the world turned grey and everything started to taste like unvarnished chicken, when the music became one long ride in the elevator. That day when you either give in to the monotony of it or find the balls to do something…else. What can you say? The day I made that choice, was the day all my choices…paused and shifted direction. Oh, I was talking about how my characters ignore me…and I got distracted. There might be something to that, you think? Anyway, the day that last bit got sucked away and I made my choice, the world, my world…became. All this, and my characters still won’t talk to me. I wonder sometimes if they’ve all just reached their elevators and I forgot to notice…or maybe I have…and that’s the point.

04 September 2006

Or something like it...

Nearly 4:00 am and I need to get to sleep…my schedule by choice but not fitted to practicality…especially when one must work for a living…if…maybe when…I can live by my words…things will be different…I will live by my terms rather than by those of others. I hate the thought of being normal but I look around and I really, really am. I was thinking earlier about “Long Way Round” again and what I found so moving about it and what I remember now is that I was struck most by how people seem to be basically pretty good – they’ll go out of their way to help some one if they can…my cynical side says they did it because there were cameras and this was their chance to be on television or in the movies but I can’t quite believe that people out on the steppes in Asia really give a shit about the movies…I don’t know what to believe at this point and I suspect it’s up to me to take whatever meaning I find in it and leave the rest alone. Like so much, it comes right back down to faith…faith in my understanding of what I’ve seen. Going with my first impression rather than thinking it to death. If I could get this voice, this low voice, that is constantly murmuring to me beneath the surface to shut up about these things, I might be able to go on faith more often…or maybe not…maybe not ever…I just don’t know. So much seems to depend on my internal dialogue matching up with what the outside world throws at me. I wonder, what would be so bad about being wrong? Or naïve? I mean, who cares, really? I do, evidently…or at least that murmuring voice insists that I must. So, is it me? Is it that I don’t want to appear to be credulous? What would be so bad in that? I can’t even say except that it sort of smacks of…something less than intelligence. Do I think less of people for being trusting or faithful or naïve? Not really, at least I don’t think I do. It occurs to me I’ve spent these past many years, aware that what I believe I feel isn’t always what I actually feel so I’ve learned not to trust myself and that strikes me now as something of tragedy. If I can’t know myself, what can I know? And how much does it ultimately matter in any case? Life keeps moving relentlessly forward whatever is going on inside my head or not, whether I am what I believe I am doesn’t really signify. Perhaps I should take a leaf from the philosophy that holds one should behave as though something is true, without reference to the actual truth of it. Do this long enough, and it may become true, assuming it wasn’t so to begin with…so, what does that mean? What does that indicate about the truth? Only that there is no such thing, not really. There isn’t any comfort in that either – if nothing is true, is all we ever see a mask pretending to be so? And if that’s all there is, doesn’t that sort of meet the need for truth anyway? I don’t know, and I wish I did…but I’m not convinced knowing would help in any case so why mess with it at all? We’re back to behaving as though we believe something to be true and damn the rest…what’s the worst that could happen? Life will move relentlessly onward with no reference to my preference about it. So, if the point is to live and let the rest take care of itself…why resist that? And yet I do.