Needless to say, my life is one big fuck up right now. Everything seems to be going to the shits. Well, not everything. Two significant parts of my life remain on track. My reading is prodigious right now. I am actively reading: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett, The Seventh Cross by Anna Seghers, Hiroshima by John Hersey, Blood’s a Rover by Harlan Ellison, and most of The New Yorker when it comes to the house most weeks. Yeah, you’re asking how do I keep track of it all. Well, I do, somehow. The other thing going on correctly right now is my next story. It had a working title of The Reluctant Father up until yesterday when I changed it to Canes. I working on Chapter 8 right now. It is a psycho-sexual family drama about a sixty-something gay widower and a young gay teen who has an unhealthy relationship with railroad locomotives. It’s not so much that they go fast, but exactly what happens if you’re standing in front of one when it’s going 50 mph.
So, what’s going on with the rest of my live? Well, you see we have this thirteen week old German Shepherd puppy that—although she belongs to my son—is my responsibility during the day because he works swing shift, comes home and stays up until three or four in the morning, doesn’t get up until one or one-thirty in the afternoon, and he leaves for work at two-fifteen so he can get to work an hour early so he can read the newspaper.
Then yesterday afternoon when he got up to eat his breakfast, his regular bowl was dirty because he’d used it for a snack the previous night, so, he got a bowl out of the cupboard. Now, these bowls are not cereal bowls; they’re more dessert sized, which means he has to keep the box of cereal and the jug of milk on the table so he can have a sizeable breakfast.
“Why didn’t you wash your bowl?” I asked foolishly.
“Oh, you know, I don’t do service work anymore. The house nigger should’ve cleaned it before I got up.”
Yeah, that’s his nickname for me.
The house nigger does the dishes, sweeps the floors, does the grocery shopping, and raises his mastuh’s dogs.
Plus, my knees are giving out on me, but the VA orthopedic surgeons won’t send me outside to get artificial knees because I weigh too much. I think I need to lose about another ten pounds. My bad knees are forcing me to decide whether I’m going to give up the idea of leaning how to play the guitar because I have to drive 27 miles to my lessons every Saturday. I know you’re thinking, “Oh, the poor old man has to drive TWENTY-SEVEN MILES and back for his guitar lessons. Well, if it’s all that far, maybe, he should give up his dream. Poor old man.”
Well, fuck, I drive down there and back and not surprisingly it takes me six days to recover (yeah, six days means I miss that day’s lesson) because unlike most people, I don’t have any cartilage in my knees. It’s all melted away and has been replaced with arthritis, but my orthopedic surgeon says I gotta walk to keep that synovial fluid sloshing around in there to cushion what I have left of my knees. If I don’t, then just maybe I won’t be able to walk at all. I’ll be lucky if they issue me one of those walkers with handle bars, a seat, and hand brakes. Worse? Well, I don’t want to think of worse because when the surgeon told me about what worse entails, I figured I’d better get out there and walk some more even if it makes my knees feel like dried dog shit on a hardwood floor.
And, of course, there’s the head or, rather, its contents, that collection of gray and white matter which is supposed to keep me on an even keel, but doesn’t. Sure, I take meds, I’ve been taking meds since April, 2008. But, now, I’ve been released by my local VA shrink and sent out to a vendor. An example of this vendor’s expertise in mental health meds is she prescribed Amantadine for my Essential Tremor. It’s a mild Parkinson’s drug given for tremor from that disorder, but one of its rather insidious side effects is narcolepsy. If I take that, I’ll be subjecting myself to my personal “My Own Private Idaho.” Just think of it, no more tremors, but going to sleep in a school zone and wiping out a street crossing full of first graders. Not my idea of fun. They do recommend not driving or operating heavy equipment if you take it. So, I’m not going to be taking that med. When she asks how I doing on it, I’ll let her know about the narcolepsy side effect. Probably, the worst thing about that side effect is that not only can it occur when you first start taking the med, but it can crop up years away. I wonder how many old people who’ve been given that drug and fall asleep while driving down the street and take out a sidewalk full of kids on their way to get Slurpees. It certainly won’t be me.
But, speaking of mental health, I’m in a general funk right now. Yesterday, I was ready to pack my bags and books and take a powder. I don’t know where I would’ve gone. Probably, a city where there is a VA Med Center where I could get treatment for my various ailments. And, of course, although I would’ve left a note, I wouldn’t say where I was going and I certainly would never come back. No, this house nigger was going to be a runaway and I wouldn’t give a fuck about whether my son could remember how to wash dishes.
Today? Well, today I listened to all of my Vangelis CDs and typed this blog, which dumped a whole lot of shit on you guys. I apologize, but you see I don’t have anyone else to dump on because my VA shrink won’t talk to me and my vendor shrink only speaks to veterans on Thursday’s. So, thank you for listening and sorry for the “N” word, but when you’re called it, it kind of sticks to you in not a very nice way.
Better go, time to feed the dogs or mastuh be mad.
I received an interesting comment (not a review, which I would’ve preferred, since it seemed to cover the whole story) on my recently completed five chapter story The Angel of Retribution. Since the comment was not totally flattering, I will refrain from revealing the user name associated with it.
I’ll save you the trouble of having to go look up the comment by quoting it: “Hmm (a half-smiling emoji added here) really bad writing great story though but I don’t really think u (yes, just the one vowel) are a writer but the story line was great but it was all over the place sorry.”
Three “buts,” no punctuation, admitted it was a great story and had a great story line, but the commenter obviously doesn’t like the art of digression. Maybe he/she (one can never tell which it is if you only have an avatar to go by) hasn’t read very much Swift, Sterne, or, for that matter, Prachett. I believe I’m basically a linear writer, but I do admit to periodic digressions.
Of course, I also tend not to use six, or greater, syllables because early in my writing education (yes, I took creative writing classes in college) I learned to use smaller words if they got the message across. Why confuse the reader by forcing them to have a dictionary handy? And, unlike Updike, et al, I don’t use foreign words. That’s just not my style, even if I do subscribe to “The New Yorker.” Speaking of which, does anybody know who decided to bring “outlier” into everyday spoken and written English? I remember when “fruition” came out of the closet back in the early 80’s, but now it seems to have gone dark, again.
Now, of course, we have to consider my response because, yes, I did respond: “Thank you for your comment. (Always! Thank a commenter no matter how much dirt they throw at you.) As for my writing, well, I prefer the quote from Cyril Connolly: ‘Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self. (by the way, that’s on my signature here) And, now, that you believe I am not a writer, I’m positive you shan’t be commenting on any of my other stories.”
I don’t know about that last sentence now that I’ve had time to think about it. Do you think “shan’t” was a little too strong? Maybe, I should have used “probably won’t.”
Of course, we do have to consider that I suffer from Type I Bipolar Disorder and am heavily medicated, which sometimes interferes with my thinking and my tendency to digress. Maybe, my mental illness is interfering with my ability to write stories. Maybe, I should just hang up my pencil and paper and concentrate on learning how to play jazz guitar. (I don’t know if I’ve said this before, but I found a local jazz guitarist who is giving me lessons on the mystical use of that instrument. Of course, it’s not like my playing is going anywhere because about the time I get good at it, I’ll probably be on my deathbed.)
Then, again, maybe my commenter needs to do a poll on whether I belong on this site if I am “not a writer.” Then he/she can submit his/her findings to the Admins and have me summarily ejected from this site. Or, he/she can submit his/her findings to me and I’ll message the Admins to have me and all of my material erased from this site.
Or, I can just continue writing for myself and realize that my commenter is not among my public.
FYI: I’ve finished the first 5 chapters of my next story, “The Reluctant Father.” (Imagine a sixty-something gay widower suddenly having a thirteen-year-old gay boy (with serious mental issues) thrust into his home out in the burbs.)
Or, as the poet John Lydgate wrote: “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
And, I think that just about covers the whole shebang.
I’m at a juncture in my writing where I seriously think I need to stop it. The problem is basically for the most part I write violent shit and I don’t like it.
I’m tired of having likeable characters die in the most horrible ways. For chissakes, how many assaults, rapes, and murders have to be written before I go down to the local sporting goods store and buy a pistol to blow my diseased brain out of my head? I suppose I could call my new therapist, but what the fuck will she do?
I try to throw marshmallows, but bricks leave my hand.
I tried to start a sequel to 319 about the remaining four boys in the house. But, I threw a brick and hit one of the boys; and, then the last he was seen crying on his bed with his pants and underwear around his ankles with blood and shit smeared across his butt and on the bedspread. After the police were called, he was found stuffed in the chest freezer in the pantry, near death from hypothermia.
All my other choices for the next story are also chock full ’o nuts, bricks, knives, guns, homophobes, and every other evil I can think of.
So, once The Angel of Retribution has finished posting, I’m going to concentrate on raising our new puppy. Sara, another purebred German Shepherd imported from Germany will be arriving sometime around the end of July/beginning of August. Plus, I’ll return to trying to learn how to play jazz guitar. I have to buy a new (or, refurbished used) guitar, but that shouldn’t cost over $500.
I’ve got to go now because my attention whore (purebred German Shepherd), Nana, is begging to go out and chase cats out of the backyard.
Maybe, after discussing my situation with my therapist, I can think about going back to writing. Or, possibly, she’ll just tell me to give it up until I can get the evil out of my mind. (Therapists really do not like patients who get suicidal.)
I realized this morning that I’m old. Not growing old, just old. This not to say I’ve reached the end of my creative cycle because there are still stories to tell. I have one story that is ready to be published, but I’ve lost contact with my editor (Sharon).
Such is life that I should still have stories to be published, but no editor to review them prior to publishing. I await contact with my prior editor to be reestablished, but so far I don’t think much is going to occur in that direction.
I have a new story coming out of my mind. It deals with a young boy who, after the death of his father, is sent to live with his grandfather (a retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant), and a retired Colonel, a Staff Sergeant, two Lance Corporals, and a Staff Sergeant who lives in the basement. In many ways it is the story of a young boy living with the horrors of military PTSD, while at the same time dealing with a budding interest in sex.
I’ll work on the story and hopefully reach some point of nexus where the story interconnects with its original premise.
Where, oh where, is my editor?
Back in October my VA shrink told me she could no longer see me long term. I was to be sent outside the VA. Well, my outside mental health provider took me off Seroquel and put me on Lithium in addition to my existing prescription for Valproic Acid (Depakote). As the Lithium dosage increased to a therapeutic level the tremors in my hands and arms increased until I could no longer hold my medication in the palm of my hand without it jumping out before I had a chance to put it in my mouth. I couldn’t hold a glass of water without the water sloshing out. But, the worse problem as far as I’m concerned is that I can no longer type without great effort. My fingers simply do not go where I tell them.
As a result, my story “A Love Story” will end at chapter thirteen. Future stories will be put on hold until such time that I can type sufficiently without having to stop and go back to fix some niggling error.
Unbeknownst to me, my shrink replied to my voice mail yesterday when I was at the restaurant and not expecting any calls. I suppose I should’ve set my phone to vibrate, but I didn’t. So, today I called her voice mail line and, shock to me, she actually answered. She wanted an explanation why I upped my Depakote intake from 1000 mg to 1500 mg. What could I say? So, I said I’ll have taken one form or another of valproic acid off and on for the past 10 years, as of April. I know the difference between 1000 mg of Depakote and 1500 mg. 1000 mg is on the edge of total mania and 1500 mg is like a warm blanket.
I tried to explain that 1000 mg wasn’t doing me any good. I needed the extra 500 mg to calm my mind. It doesn’t do my creativity much good, but hell what’s creativity compared to a total wonky state of mind. Sometimes, wonky equals trying to stop a 240,000 lb. locomotive going 50 mph with your measly body. Likely as not, you’re going to be sucked under the locomotive and end up being mangled into unrecognizable bits by the traction motors. She said she knew that I’ve been taking valproic acid for long time and probably felt a certain amount of mental security in the dulling effects of 1500 mg has on my mind which was a good thing.
So, I’ve been approved to take 1500 mg of Depakote for the foreseeable future. What does this have on my creative function? Well, it’s been dampened a bit. At least the new book has been written up through Chapter 10, so I have a cushion to produce more chapters until the reserve catches up to me. Chapter 11 has been started and looks good to the end. Chapter 12 is a bit fuzzy, but I think I can resolve the inherent airiness to my writing to come up with another chapter. Of course, if I run out of ideas, I can always drop 500 mg of Depakote until I’m able to progress through the book. It’s not a good choice, but what the hell, I’m not going anywhere, certainly not down to the railroads tracks or the river beyond. The last thing on my mind is doing a Virginia Woolf in the Skykomish River.
Okay, it’s been five days since my last entry. I increased the Depakote dosage to 1,500 mg at bedtime and I called my shrink to inform her of such action. To those who might be worried, I am not wonky anymore. My mind has entered that dead state of drugged submission. Unfortunately, my new book has ground to a halt at ten chapters.
I don’t know if you can imagine not having any creative abilities, but that’s what happens when you choose to be drugged vs. being totally wonky. When I was wonky (i.e., not taking mind numbing drugs) I was writing around a chapter every three days and it was some good stuff, too. Now, I’ve hit a wall and it’s called sanity. To continue with the new book, I will have to write in a sane state of mind, which can be quite difficult when you’re used to being totally wonky.
Tonight, I was at the local Mexican restaurant sitting by myself at a table for two next to a table for four. I was drinking one of my favorite single malt Scotches, 10 year old Laphroaig, with a glass of Bohemia Mexican cerveza as a chaser (it has the body to stand up against any single malt Scotch whisky other than Modelo Especial). For those of you who are not aware of single malt Scotch, Laphroaig it is the premier Islay single malt Scotch; although, I’ve heard that the distillers at Ardbeg will differ with that opinion. (Quite frankly, Ardbeg is very good, only it’s not as good as Laphroaig. And, Laphroaig is officially one of Prince of Wale’s Scotches. Hey, anyone who’s willing to walk around in a skirt, certainly has to be trusted on his opinion of excellent Scotch whisky.)
Anyway, at the other table there were three gentlemen of questionable sexuality. I’m not saying they were gay, though their talk certainly bordered on a close relationship not likely found among “best buds” of the heterosexual persuasion. I don’t know, maybe two men can talk of sharing a bed in a purely heterosexual context is okay, but I have yet to encounter such a male-to-male heterosexual relationship. Plus, they seemed quite content in their mutual relationship.
For observational purposes, one gentleman was tall like me (I’m 6’5”) and had a comparable overhanging middle-aged gut, though his was not as pronounced or overhanging as mine. Hey, I don’t have anyone to look good for. His “partner”, although admittedingly older, was shorter and not as full amidships. Their “local” guest (who kept trying to get them to stay the night), was quite handsome, in a middle-aged sort of way. Okay. I admit it, he was attractive; but, since I’ve been medicinally castrated since 2003, who am I to say who is cute.
Finally, when I’d had sufficient Scotch, I got up, arranged my attire to leave, and proceeded to the cash register. But, before I left the immediate vicinity of the two tables, the partner of the taller gentleman said, “Have a good evening.”
Fuck! What was I going to say to this other than, “You, too.” How lame can you get, but what else could I say? He was with the other guy and I was certainly not looking forward to spending the night with a man I hardly knew. Plus, I had to get home to let Nana out to go pee and feed her at 7:30. I had responsibilities and they did not include this gentleman from downriver.
You have to understand being Bipolar is basically an extreme state of mind. A month or so ago I was taking 1,500 mg of Depakote as a mood stabilizer, plus 400 mg of Seroquel, also reported to be a mood stabilizer. My shrink decided that, maybe, I could reduce my intake of Depakote until I was taking Zero mg’s and relying on the 400 mg of Seroquel to stabilize my mind. Unfortunately, when I hit Zero my mind went wonky and I was hallucinating to the extreme.
So, I backed off and got her permission to take 1,000 mg of Depakote to stabilize my mental processes. Everything was going great until a couple days ago when I went wonky, again. How could I tell my mind went to hell? Well, I went with my son to his appointment with his shrink and, at the clinic, I found myself walking three feet from the railing overlooking the first floor. I was, truly, considering doing a header. That’s serious wonky. I don’t get suicidal that often anymore, but there at that clinic I was definitely going wonky.
So, I’ve increased my meds to where I’m now taking 1,500 mg of Depakote. I know it’s a chickenshit response to a possible suicidal occurrence, but, quite frankly, in my current state of mind I’m not interested in going the death route to permanent mental stability. That’s totally, fucking wonky.
God, I totally hate being Bipolar. It’s either I’m drugged out of my mind or walking on the edge of totally out of mind on wonky shit. Quite frankly, I do not like being suicidal and I know that only occurs when I’m off drugs. For those who think they can control the wonky shit, I can only say I hope you have your life situation set up such that someone will come into your life before you begin to rot from succeeding at the final solution.
I’m still waiting for a referral from the agency that handles outside referrals for the VA to see a psychiatric or psychological professional because my VA psychiatrist said she can no longer see me long-term, per VA directive. The agency that sets up appointments called me before Thanksgiving to say they would find someone (probably an ARNP) to handle my case. They said that I would be authorized to see that person for only four visits. The interesting thing about this is that I’ve been seeing my VA psychiatrist once every six months, but the agency that does the outside referrals only authorizes visits to occur in a four-month period. So, the outside provider will have to send in a document that is called an SAR to request additional visits after the four-month limit has expired.
I’ve dealt with this before with my outside dermatologist who sent in the required SAR, except that agency sent me a letter stating I was not eligible to see an outside dermatologist. I had to send my Primary an e-mail requesting she initiate a referral to the Dermatology Clinic at the Seattle VA Medical Center for another total body scan because I have had two cancerous lesions removed already by the outside provider I’ve been seeing. Now, the Dermatology Clinic at the Seattle VA Medical Center has a process called nurse triage of referrals and this process takes a minimum of 30 days. Then their representative calls and says they will not be able to see me for three to four more months, but would I like to see an outside provider; to which I say “Yes.” Then they notify the agency that handles outside referrals that I need to see an outside dermatologist. A week later, a representative calls me to say that they have received a referral from the Dermatology Department at the Seattle Medical Center stating that I am eligible to see an outside provider. They ask if I have a specific provider in mind and I state that it would be nice if I could see the provider that I have been seeing for the past two years. They take the information and inform me that another representative of their agency will call me with appointment details in five to seven days. They, also, ask if it would be alright to leave a detailed message on my voice mail.
In my current situation, with a referral to an outside psychiatric/psychological professional it’s been more than five to seven days waiting for the agency to contact me. I suppose sometime next week I will have to call them, again, and ask if they’ve found an outside psychiatric/psychological professional to treat me, since the VA refuses to treatment on a long-term basis. I do not expect a positive answer when I call because the people you call are not the people who make the appointments. They have filter people to sort out the real crazy Vets who attempt to placate them with meaningless drivel.
It’s been a week since I completely stopped taking Depakote to maintain my sanity and completely relying on Seroquel (an atypical antipsychotic) to take up the slack. Quite frankly, I think I’m going a bit wonky, but I think I’ll have to do a bit of self-monitoring to make sure. That’s interesting isn’t it, the VA hasn’t provided an outside psychiatric/psychological professional to treat me, so I have to rely on self-cognitive therapies. No worry because I’ve been through extensive cognitive behavioral therapy in the past, so I should no how to treat myself. First Rule: Do Not Stop Taking the Medicine That Isn’t Working Because It Will Only Make You Worse. Second Rule: Call Your Psychiatrist ASAP To Get Permission to Go Back on the Mood Stabilizer. Yes, I think I’m going wonky.
On the other hand, I’ve been making great progress with the new book. I’ve already come up with a suitable title for it and I’ve pulled in a character from 319. Actually, I think I’m going to have fun with this because it deals with a lot of psychological issues I’ve had to deal with myself. I think I’m going to have fun with one character who is gay and the other who might not be, but who may feel a responsibility to provide sexual services to the other if only to ensure their continuing friendship. I know this is rather vague, but at least I don’t think anyone is going to die in this story. Honest, I don’t like killing of characters, but sometimes there is no other choice.
Yes, there’s no doubt about this, I’m definitely going wonky. Trust me, it’s not fun being nutso. At least I’m not suicidal; that’s a definite bummer. No, it’s definitely wonky time here.
Nana is stretched out across the sofa and I’m listening to the George Harrison song “Wah-Wah” sung by Eric Clapton, et. al., on the “Concert for George Harrison” album.
Yes, I’m definitely going wonky.
Tonight, I started the first chapter of a new story. The working title is “The Black Scandinavian.” The lead character, Troy, comes from the last chapter of “319 Winesap Lane.” Yes, that book is finished, although two chapters remain to be published. (hint, hint, Sharon!) Many of my readers probably will not like the last chapter, but I will not let the cat out of the bag today.
Troy has an identity problem, which is identified in the last chapter of “319.” I won’t reveal it now because, well, it’s a bit of a stretch for me as a writer and some may not feel I should impinge on the obvious cultural appropriation. But, the psychological manifestation in Troy’s mind leads him into lots of situations, many of which are not pleasant. Whether or not Troy comes out at the end of the story in a correct frame of mind will depend on a number of factors, many of which have yet to be imagined on my part. The story will take place in the boroughs of New York City; a city I have often wished to live in.
On the home front, my son has finally gone back to work after being on paid administrative leave from his job for four months. It’s nice to be back to normal.
Guitar lessons on hold because I’ll be having cataract surgery sometime in the next month or two. I won’t be having it at the VA medical center because they have no regard for their patients. Going in for a 11:00 a.m. appointment and not being seen until I left in a huff at 3:00 p.m. is simply not right. They agreed to arrange for me to be seen by an outside ophthalmologist. As best as I can forecast, I won’t be able to start guitar lessons until January or February.
Nana is still spinning; actually, she’s in a spinning fit right now as I’m writing this. Of course, most of it is due to boredom—after all, German Shepherd Dogs are the third smartest canine, behind Border Collies and Standard Poodles—but with one owner who’s manic-depressive and the other who is medicated for anger management issues, it’s a wonder she hasn’t run away from home. Now that we’re approaching the solstice, I have to take her out into the backyard to pee on a leash, otherwise she’ll turn it into dark playtime and I’ll end up having to go out with a flashlight, treat, and leash to get her back into the house. I suppose the worst part of it is she selectively listens to what I say. She listens to my son better, but he’s not here and I have to do what I have to.
Last week my shrink informed that, per VA directive, I am not to see her on a long-term basis, so she’s arranging me to see an outside shrink. She asked if I’d be willing to do video conferencing with the new shrink. I said I’d prefer a face-to-face visit, but would be willing to try it on my laptop. Also, she’s weaning me off Depakote because the Seroquel I’m taking as an antipsychotic can also aid in mood stabilization. It’ll be interesting to see if I go nuts without the Depakote. Been there, done that, and it wasn’t fun. Nutso is not a good state of mind.
Well, it’s official. I have now entered old age.
Last Thursday, I went to the VA medical center in Seattle to see an ophthalmologist about a previous bleeder on my left retina. Luckily, there was no evidence that it had re-occurred. Unfortunately, the cataract in my right eye has worsened to where it is now operable and I will be going under the knife sometime next month.
During the past couple months, I’ve had a esophageal barium exam and a laryngoscopy to determine why I’m having a tickling sensation in my throat and larynx. The technical term is globus. I was worried I might have throat cancer, but that was ruled out by both examinations.
The shrink is cutting back my Depakote dosage in favor of an increase in the Seroquel dosage, which is supposed to be an effective substitute to bipolar treatment. I’ll be returning to see her next month to report on how the decrease in Depakote/increase in Seroquel is working out. As far as I’m concerned everything is going okay, except for the continued tremor I’m experiencing in my arms and hands. The shrink says it is called essential tremor, but quite frankly I do not consider it to be essential to my life and I think it’s time to get rid of it.
I was going to start jazz guitar lessons next month, but with cataract surgery on my eyes occurring over the next two to three months, I probably won’t be able to begin lessons until sometime in February. In the meantime, I’ll continue trying to teach myself with lessons I found on the web. I’m particularly interested in adapting boogie woogie to guitar. There is at least one song (Guitar Boogie by Arthur Smith),
but I want to figure out how other songs can be arranged in the boogie woogie style. Most boogie woogie is played on the piano because you can lay down a bass rhythm with the left hand while playing a treble line with your right hand.
or, the very talented Luca Sestak (at fourteen):
If I wasn’t troubled enough, the IRS finally accepted an installment payment plan proposed by the firm I hired to resolve my $30,000+ tax debt. I should have it all paid off in about five years.
Finally, with all this occurring in my life I should still have Chapter 24 of 319 Winesap Lane completed in the next few weeks. (hope, hope, hope!)
So much going on I can only wish I can keep up.
Today I am sixty-eight. The highlight of the day my son and I went to our local Mexican-American restaurant where I had four chilled Cuervo Traditional Tequilas and two Corona Light Cervezas, an order of shredded beef Taquitos Rancheros with rice and whole pinto beans, and a Chocolate Mud Pie to celebrate my birthday. I didn’t tell them it was my birthday because I wasn’t interested in wearing the sombrero and having the servers singing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish.
My writing is focused on my 319 Winesap Lane series. At this point in time Geoff is still celibate as a near elder gay man, Jerry seems to be coming out of his cloud of TBI, Erik is at the school for the blind and will soon be adopted by Geoff, Jamie has a boyfriend named Curt, Billy has acquired a boyfriend named Per, and one of the twins has been isolated from his brother.
My other stories that are “On Hold” will remain there for the time being due my diminished creative capacity. I’d like to do more, but there is only so much that I’m able to create in that direction.
I’m struggling with the bipolar disorder as I attempt to learn how to play jazz guitar on a cheap Yamaha acoustic. I have an $800 Epiphone Les Paul that I want to trade-in on an inexpensive Fender Telecaster. Of course, I’m going to have to go back to taking lessons. Since we live in East Snohomish County, I’ll have to find a teacher closer to the urban areas in the I-5 corridor. That will, of course, mean I will have to concentrate on my driving to overcome the attention deficit I have as a result of bipolar disorder.
Of course, I could just teach myself. It’s been done before, but in all those cases it was accomplished by people much younger than myself. It’s not that I don’t have the tools, it’s that I think I could do better under the tutelage of an experienced instructor. It’s one thing to learn major and minor scales, jazz chord progressions, arpeggios, and innovations on tunes on my own, but to do all that with an experienced instructor who is willing to work with an ol’ fogey who is trying to relive his younger years when he had the chance to be something with a different instruments (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, and bassoon), but stopped learning when he reached a wall and fearing being seen as incapable stopped all lessons and all chances of improvement sounds like a better idea.
I’ve been reading a collection of Ernest Hemingway’s first forty-nine short stories and I finally came to “Wine of Wyoming.” I suppose it’s a nice short story, except for the French dialogue of which there is quite too much. Two of the characters in the story are from France and, of course, speak French quite a bit, even though much of it is broken. But, enough of it is illegible to someone who does not, nor never has, spoken the language of France, Quebec, French Guiana, and other foreign outposts of the Parisian language.
I didn’t take French in high school. For some reason I don’t remember, I took Latin, an interesting language, but unless you’re going to the southern valleys of Switzerland where the populace speaks dialects of Vulgar Latin, it’s rather useless. Then in my one attempt at college I decided to take German, but that wasn’t going anywhere because the instructor came into the room on the first day speaking German. There were a lot of us up at his desk withdrawing from the class.
Why hadn’t I taken French? Is was the foreign language of the elite? I wasn’t anywhere near that class; they lived across the highway and over the far ridge. Maybe, if I had taken French in high school, things might have turned out differently, but speculation in that direction is futile at this moment in my life. I was lower middle class and the most I could expect was a dream of the impossible.
Unbeknownst to me and my parents, I was, even then, bipolar to the extreme. My dream going into high school was to enlist in the Army after graduation and go to the Defense Mapping School and become a cartographer. I like maps so much that I can read them like someone might read a book. A number of years ago I read that people who are so intrigued with maps may fall in the autism spectrum, possibly being identified as being afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve taken a few online tests and for what it’s worth my scores always point in that direction.
In the end, I decided not to try to read “Wine of Wyoming” after a few pages. The French simply was too much to figure out. It got in the way of reading the story for what the story was about. That’s the thing about French in American literature. I don’t read Updike because he’s always throwing in bits and pieces of French to intellectually challenge his readers. To me he was a pompous Francophile who belonged in the nearest wastebasket. To others he was a pompous homophobe. Not having read enough of him, I cannot attest to that affirmation.
I’ve decided that my next reading project will be a total reread of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. From my memory of him back before I suffered a massive nervous breakdown in 2004, he was a great read.
lt's taken a bit of time, but I've finally been able to pull all my teeth with a some rusty pliers and get this story going again.
Due to my diminished mental state I do not know when Chapter 19 will be out, but at least there is enough material pending for that chapter.
I’ve been suffering with writer’s block for a few months now, but slowly the creative juices are beginning to unclog and flow once again. Most of this block can be attributed to my recent bout with increased arthritic inflammation in my left knee. My PC sent me to x-ray and the radiologists diagnosed pseudo-gout. My PC who isn’t an MD, but an ARNP, did not accept this diagnosis because she had no knowledge of this affliction. She decided I was suffering from regular ol’ gout because my uric acid level was nearly one full point over the threshold. At what point do you question the medical knowledge of a nurse practitioner over a medical doctor?
The telling symptoms of my knee WERE NOT swelling, warmth, or redness, which would be consistent with gout, but was just pain, often excruciating, wake me up in the night pain.
Having had knee pain in varying degrees since childhood, I knew what to do to help lessen the impact of this latest bout. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to all the standard NSAIDs. The only one my body can tolerate is aspirin, which, interestingly, can compound the effects of gout. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.
Well, I got an appointment with an orthopedic resident who—with the affirmation of her attending—said arthritis is spreading throughout my knee. I suppose this was inevitable. Bad knees can go only so long until they attract the attention of the arthritic god of old age. An orthopedic surgeon I saw in 1971 said I had ninety-year-old knees; I was twenty-two at the time. So, I guess it’s back to self-treatment as I know it and when the knees and fingers (new symptoms) get too back I’ll try to get back to orthopedics.
The good side of all this is I slowly getting back to writing. 319 Winesap Lane, Chapter 18, is coming along, slowly, ever so slowly. Two new boys have come to the home and Billy has encountered a problem with an upper classman.
My new project, which will not be published until it is complete or at least complete through Section One, has the working title of The Faggot. It is a sci-fi story of a homosexual man who is transported to a planet that is lacking a male prostitute to service the needs of the men who desire the sexual services that only another man can provide. Interestingly, the faggot is also available to women of the village who desire sex with a man other than their spouse. There is, also, a harlot to service the heterosexual needs of men and homosexual needs of women. The interpersonal possibilities of the characters are endless.
Let’s get this straight right from the beginning. I am suffering from a writer’s block. I’ve had these before and they’ve passed in time, but somehow I feel that this time it’s terminal. In fact, I don’t know the process of moving from Signature Author to Classic Author, but this very well maybe the time for such a transition.
I’ve tried to work on 319 and The GMOs, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything there.
So, I’ve done the only thing that a failed writer can do. I’ve turned to reading and, in my case, I’m reading short stories by Ernest Hemingway. I never read much of Hemingway other than The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea, but I recently purchased a collection of Hemingway’s first 49 short stories and they seem to be hitting a nerve.
Tonight, I read “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (I always thought it was a novel, but its just a long short story) and in between the lines there was another story that kept trying to come out. It concerns a transsexual by the name of Sara Jean and her friend Billy. Sara Jean is raised by liberal parents who accept their son Steven James is genetically programmed to be a girl and do everything they can to support her decision to go through the process of becoming fully female. Billy, her lifelong friend, is seen at the hospital where Sara Jean is having her penis surgically modified into a clitoris and a urinary outlet; and, after her testicles are removed a process of vaginoplasty opens a pseudo vagina between her testicles and anus. He, along with her parents, know what is occurring down the hall and through the doors clearly signed “No Admittance – Hospital Personnel Only.”
I don’t know if or when a story will come from this idea, but it’s there and that’s all I can hope for at the present time.
I haven’t been working on the next chapter for 319 because I have been working on a possible short story for another site during the past week. I know I should be working on 319, but I’m focused on this other story. It involves a young teen who decides to run away from home, hoping to connect with his uncle in Fresno, California. The only problem is that he hasn’t quite figured out how he is going to get in contact with his uncle.
And, then a favorite song comes up:
That’s the problem with being a Type 1 Bipolar. You just never known when something will come up that does or doesn’t have anything to do with your narrative (or train of thought). As I think I said in an entry before this, I read a collection of John O’Hara’s New York stories. It was interesting because he doesn’t give character movements in his dialogues. In other words, it’s just straight dialogue that you might encounter in a play or movie script. In other words, you set the scene, add the characters, and go with the script (or dialogue). For many writers, they want to provide movement for the speakers, but in traditional fiction writers (as in literature) there is not movement added. You leave it up to the reader to imagine how the speakers are moving within the scene.
Oh, yeah, I forgot, sometimes life goes awry and you never quite know where you're going to turn up:
You see, I'm in a melancholy mood and I don't know where I'm going from here.
Anyway, I’m almost finished with this other story, which may be published on this other site, or if there are problems, I’ll just throw it up on GA and got with what may come. You see, I’m at an age where new stories are few and far between. I have to admit that the creative juices are running low and soon there will become a time when I will no longer be able to come up with anything original. Sorry, with my age and mental illness, there isn’t much more than I can do.
My son just served me two “special” brownies.
And, so, I sit here with two fourteen-year-old gay boys who don’t quite know where to go when they’re alone for some close interpersonal time.
So, I go forward and take two fourteen-year-old boys to the point where love blossoms.
As you can see life in mental illness is sometimes not quite want you want.
Okay, let’s get this clear from the beginning, “I am inebriated.” I have had a double shot of Laphroiag single malt Scotch liquor (it’s one of Prince Charles’ favorite Scotch single malts), an Estrella Jalisco cervesca, two Harvey’s hot buttered rums, a Dos Equis draught, and two double shots of Cazadores Añejo tequila. In the process of becoming inebriated I had a chicken enchilada, a chicken tostada, and a third of a Chicken Milenesa (deep fried chicken breast).
I have had, as usual on weekend visits to our favorite Mexican-American restaurant, the Ixtapa in Sultan, WA, a deep conversation with my son about our recently departed wife (on my part) and mother (on my son’s part). She was a very disturbed person who never admitted her insanity to others. It was never her fault that she was not quite the good mother or good wife. She, as most neurotics would admit, was a perfect person. She is gone now, at least from the letter I received from the VA that said a check they had sent to her had been returned indicating that the addressee was “deceased”.
I sit here writing this entry to my blog on GA while my son supposedly has crashed onto his bed for the night after too much alcohol (he had two double Cazadores margaritas), two hot buttered rums, a Negra Modelo, and two double shots of Don Julio Añejo tequila).
Nana, our nine-month-old German Shepherd is lying on the sofa looking at me as I write this. In the past two weeks since we have had our X-mas tree, she has been a very naughty puppy. So far, she has partially eaten one very special handmade ornament.
(If you will excuse me, but I’ve been away for twenty minutes while Nana was outside supposedly to take care off a physiological need, but didn’t seem to need to do anything other than to run around and chase her tail.)
Nana has a problem. She chases her tail and captures it on occasion. She has a definite curl in the end of it due to chewing on said object. I looked online and discovered that some German Shepherds have a predilection for chasing their tails. It seems that inbreeding has produced a fault in some genetic lines that causes some German Shepherds to chase their tails to the point where it is similar to the human condition known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and, is some instances, can be treated with medications that treat human OCD patients. We have, as yet, not gone expense of treating Nana’s OCD. Hey, she’s an altered bitch, so why should we go to the expense. We’ve got a whirling Dervish German Shepherd; what more could one ask for?
I’ve been reading a Penguin Classic collection of the New York stories of John O’Hara. Why is he important, you ask? Well, he is acknowledged as being one of the few writers of fiction to be able to write dialog as it is spoken by real people and, at the time of his death, was the most published author of short stories in The New Yorker magazine, which I consider to be quite an accomplishment. (Have you ever listened to Stephen Bishop singing, “On and On”? It’s playing right now; it’s one of my favorite songs and I thought you might enjoy it. If you want to listen to it, go to:
While I was reading John O’Hara’s collections of short stories I couldn’t stop thinking of all the missed opportunities I had in my own life of writing the kind of stories that are published in The New Yorker. You see, I consider myself to be a failed fiction writer. I don’t know how many stories I have left to write for GA, but I don’t think there are very many. Creativity wains and there are not enough hormones to keep producing the kind of stories I want to create.
Tonight at the Ixtapa, I saw a young boy, probably in his late teens, who I thought I’d seen somewhere online. He was across the restaurant so I couldn’t get a good look him, but from a distance I could tell his was slender, but not skinny. His brown hair hung over his forehead, but not into his eyes. His slender, boney fingers handled his smartphone with the expertise you would expect from a boy of his age. In many ways, I saw in him the beauty only a teenage boy can exude to those who look for that in a boy. To my regret, I couldn’t keep my eyes off him to the point where my son looked to where I was looking to see what was catching my eye. I don’t think he appreciated the beauty I saw.
I suspect there won’t be an update to 319 until after Christmas because I can’t write while I’m watching Nana, who has her attention focused on the X-mas tree. (Did you know X-mas is a valid abbreviation for Christmas? Well, it is. It’s in the Greek.)
In my playlist, which delves back many decades, “Fernando” by ABBA just came up. If you’re interested, try:
If all goes according to the Constitution, Donald Trump will become the 45th President of these the Divided States of America on Friday, January 20, 2017.
I suppose by the following Monday the order will go out to either the Army Corps of Engineers or some other government entity to begin construction on the Great Wall of America. When we threaten to bomb major cities in Mexico for not being forthcoming with the funds to cover the project is open to speculation because how else will we make them pay for it?
When can we expect our troops to come home from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan? Will they come home before our troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Syria, and Turkey? When will our troops be coming home from Europe?
If Putin asks for Alaska back, will Trump’s minions be able to negotiate a reasonable settlement based on the original price paid, plus interest, in lieu of armed invasion with tactical nuclear weapons?
If North Korea launches an all-out attack on South Korea, will we go back to help them? Or, will we settle for no more Samsung or LG appliances and cell phones? If a nuclear armed missile from a North Korean submarine obliterates much of Los Angeles, what will the President tweet?
When Iran annexes Iraq, will we care? When they send a nuclear armed missile targeted on downtown Tel Aviv, will we care?
When President Trump signs the bill making same-sex marriage illegal throughout the country, will we care?
How will President Trump convince GM, Ford, and Dodge to stop making their vehicles in Canada and Mexico? Will he force them with retaliatory legislation?
Just some thoughts based on the words of the upcoming, new President of these the Divided States of America.
This morning I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my left ear by Mohs surgery. Since I'm allergic to all analgesics other than aspirin and the clinic I went to didn't prescribe a pain killer, I'm taking my aspirin and living with the pain. But, as the discharge paper said, it will get better day by day.
The next chapter of WWW is progressing. We may actually be coming to a finalization of the story.
319 is approaching an on hold status unless I can figure a way to get chapter 6 to go from 2300 words to something more.
I think I'll go have a lie down and hope tomorrow is a better day.
Oh, if anyone asks, Windows 10 is a piece of shit and Outlook isn't much better. (Is it just me or has anyone else noticed they no longer receive emails from certain contacts, even when those contacts are on your safe list?)
I really don’t know where this is going. I’m out of words to put into my current stories and so I resort to listening to music. My choice tonight is Bob Dylan. I could have chosen The Beatles, Eric Clapton, or The Travelling Wilburys, but I didn’t. I’m not really into modern music because there seems to be no logic to the available choices. Music can go only so far until it starts to repeat itself.
If anything, I’m at a loss to what might happen in the future. My only point of reference at this moment in time is the removal of the bit of cancer on my left ear on January 29 and my next appointment with my psychiatrist on October 4. My legs and feet are swollen so much that I can barely bend my knees to put on my socks. My feet are so swollen that walking is somewhat difficult. Looking on Google, I might be in the early stages of heart failure. My father died of stage 4 prostate cancer compounded by congestive heart failure. He was 52 when he died, I’m 67. That he was an alcoholic probably went a long way to contributing to his death. Technically, I’m still an alcoholic.
At this point in time I am suffering from a significant level of depression. I’ve been here before and know what it feels like. It’s debilitating in its overall effect upon my psyche and day to day life. There are many things I’d like to do, but I can’t. The only positive thing in my life at this moment in time is my first Social Security check being deposited in my bank account in December. With any luck, I’ll be able to begin traveling in 2018 or 2019. I look forward to taking a train trip, even if it is only as far as Chicago.
I will continue to attempt to keep adding to the stories that I am posting to GA, but for all intents and purposes I cannot promise future if additions will be posted in any convenient timeframe. That is as much as I can promise at this time.
Yesterday was my sixty-seventh birthday. I got a free B-52 at the Ixtapa in Sultan; plus, I had two shots of Oban single malt Scotch. As birthdays go, it was tolerable.
For all that happened yesterday, I’m bored with life; due to changes in my meds I’ve gained over 30 lbs. in the past year; my cataracts are worsening to the point where I get a new prescription every six months; I've got skin cancer on my ear; I can’t drive more than a couple miles to the grocery store and definitely not out on the highway at highway speeds because being bipolar makes me too inattentive to keep track of what I’m doing; and, more importantly, it’s harder to write.
I think I just don’t give a shit anymore. Somethings just aren't all that important.
Just got a call from the dermatology clinic where I had the latest biopsy on my left ear. The pathology report came back today and it's a squamous cell carcinoma. They'll be scheduling with the VA as to whether they or the VA will do the surgery. They will be recommending one of their Mohs qualified surgeons handle the procedure. They VA will probably say that I should have my ear whacked off just to save a few bucks.
Life moves on, as I've got a lot of writing to do, a dog to house train, and a hot summer coming on.
As far as I am concerned the only sure therapy to a psychologically troubled mind is to have a productive hobby and to practice it on a regular basis. Medicinally, I am stable with an effective mood stabilizer and an anti-depressant specifically developed to treat depression associated with bipolar disorder.
That leaves my hobby which is writing. I’ve tried to learn how to play the guitar, even to the point of buying one for $800 (actually getting it on sale for $400), but that’s basically a non-starter. At this point in time I have a series (William Walter Williams) that has begun to be published. Another series (319 Winesap Lane) is written up to Chapter 6 and will start to be published soon as I get through Chapter 6 and into Chapter 7.
A new story came to me over the weekend. It is a sci-fi story that takes place in the future on a distant planet. The leading character, John Quincy Allerman, colloquially known as Allerman, awakes in a forest totally unaware as to who, what, or where he is. He follows a path that leads him to a community of fellow humans who immediately identify him as “The Faggot”, which in this society is not a derogatory phrase. In fact, he will serve the community in much the same way the “The Harlot” does her duty, only he will service men who desire the company of a man in the way only a faggot can. There are so many places this story can go that I’m sure it will keep me preoccupied for many months. I’ve finished Chapter 1 and am working Chapter 2.
For the past week I’ve been wavering over putting GA on the backburner for the foreseeable future. My mental state is in a total disarray since Rambo bit me and my son had to put him down. Plus, my son has his own mental issues to consider. In effect, we’re both a couple of crazies trying to make do with life.
But, I have a series of stories that may save me. One deals with a boy who was sold by his parents into sexual slavery when he was six. Dabeagle helped me a lot with New York State’s policies and procedures on foster care, but I don’t know if I want to publish due to its sensitive subject matter. That story has two subsequent stories, but neither of them have been written further than generalized plotting. Of course, there is 319 to work on. I have five and a half chapters, but they are not in any condition close to publishing mostly due to formatting issues.
We took Nana in for her 3 month checkup and she’s now 25 lbs. of bouncing German Shepherd puppy. What’s nice is that she likes to snuggle. The other night she actually climbed up and lay in my lap for about 10 minutes. Very calming for a troubled mind.