Postscript Re: Sarah

All, Journal, Writing

I don’t mind saved drafts, they are vital to the writer’s journey to psychic wholeness; for the alchemy of maturity must be performed alone, in private; however, lately, I have been saving too many drafts in what I can only perceive as an attempt to avoid writing about what I have been meaning to write about: my Sarah – not Sarah, whose loan on my heart is long overdue and accruing fines (As evinced by my last two poems) but my Sarah: her doppelgänger ghost, whom I will always love. Because my Sarah never left. Yes, the Sarah who left a year ago is unknown to me – and I dead to her. It’s a ghost story all around.

But I have to tell it or my memories will be my Shutter Island, a personal abyss. But even the darkness of her ghost wasn’t always that dark. Just sad. Me walking up the hill alone, bringing back a bottle of tequila and a few IPAs, so I could hang out with her ghost and commiserate. Got shitty drunk and listened to the Lana Del Rey catalogue till I was gone enough to feel that both Lana and Sarah were here with me. It was just a girl’s night: a painfully sad, massively lonely, self-deluded girl’s night.

This was one of the stories I recounted in a long letter I wrote her, after I got sober alone here in the mountains. The handwritten letter ended up taking up most of a spiral notebook. I never sent it. Nor the letters I typed to her parents. I just couldn’t carry the truth to her: that I would always love her fiercely.

I couldn’t give her that gift in the face of being perceived as absolutely valueless by her: worthless. She never directly told me to get fucked, but that certainly would have been the kind thing to do. Go back and read some of my poems, it’s a fucking sad story. And she had the right to disown me in the end. She was justified – but not in her means. Still, I wanted her friendship, I wanted to be able to safely love her forever. But it was not safe for me. Is not. I still have the mind-mushing pills they gave me. A kind of break-in-case-of-emergency parachute, which I think I’ll never need, because I’ll never be writing her songs and sending them to her again like I did:

Baby baby come over
You know that I’m sober,
I know that we’re over

It’s a three hour drive, up the I-5, don’t say you’re tired,
I know you’re lyin… I know your line

No, I will never look to her again for an iota of love. But I wanted to. She knew. I told her repeatedly, when we last talked, in an emotionally strained tone of voice:

“It didn’t have to be like this!”

And it fucking didn’t.

Of course, forgiveness is accepting that the past could not have been any different. And I have accepted that Sarah did not wish to remain my friend; I have accepted that we are not friends – will not be friends. In fact, my animus toward her is that of the person who checked themselves into the psych hospital following her refusal to see me last Christmas after we had been apart five months…. But with Sarah, it is all my fault. And some people will never apologize because they will never feel they have anything to be sorry for in light of all you did to them.

And even if I were wrong and Sarah contacted me to tell me I am wrong and that she does care for me and wanted to mend the fence today or in seven years, I would politely tell her to get fucked. Because I am a gentleman. And I don’t fuck with people’s emotions.

So, in regards to Sarah, whatever matters to her in the world, whoever she is, I have no clue. In my subjective perception, she wore the mask I projected onto her from day one, and I never feel I got really far behind it, other than to see near the end that I was really out-gamed and that my mask was not a fit at all.

As a wise person once said, “Pick someone who will make a good ex.” Had I been cogent of this and other things, there would have been no Daniella, no Shannon, no Sarah. But it also ought be said that I was a better ex than I was a longterm partner for any of them. But, from 34 year old me, and from all the poems I have written to my formative loves: fuck you all. Srs fr fr.

My inner-child just high-fived me for that one… but hey. I really had no backbone hitherto. I can tell story after story of my putting up with things that I would have noped the fuck out on from three miles away today. I see you Shannon, not staying with me at my new apartment in the shores on my 27th birthday. Yes that was seven years ago. But fuck did that suck. And a ton of my actions in my relationships fucking sucked too. Where alcohol was always the common factor in my failings, perhaps the common factor in their’s was the vitriol I caused them to feel for me. I have no problem taking responsibility. I’ll take all the blame. I have.

Obviously this isn’t about Sarah. It’s about me.

But I would be lying if I told you my Sarah was not a big part of who I am. And I would be lying if I said my love for Sarah Sarah didn’t make me hate her fucking guts. But you would have had to miss her like me to know how that feels, you would have to love her like I do. And I don’t think anyone knows how deep that love runs.

I always carried the torch. For all of them. Two years after my first love of five years cheated on me and ghosted, I took her back, when, in Gatsbian fashion, I became financially successful in order to do so. The romance is not lost on me. But it was on her.

I carried the torch for all of them. The night Sarah and I met, I said to her, “I thought my story was over.” Sarah was the greatest thing that ever happened to me.

As had been Shannon and Daniella before her. In a way, it was all the same “eternal woman” I was seeking.

But with Sarah there was more magic because I was older. Fuck I loved her. The morning I woke up next to her, I said to myself, “Is this the girl you are gonna marry,” and it wasn’t a question. Sarah. Her hair. Her skin. Her spirit. The energy of her consciousness was my favorite I had ever encountered. Her skin.

I recall listening to countless plays of an incredibly poetic Yung Lean song titled ‘Agony’, which told his own story of recovering after a stay in the psyche ward. It felt like I wrote it.

“Isolation caved in,
I adore you, the sound of your skin”

I have it on now, and it still resounds – minus the “take a pill and go to sleep” part, though the pill would help me sleep – were I less inclined to smoke a QP a month of cannabis instead.

But Sarah. I told her in my letter that she would be the queen of my heart forever. I even have a kind of Jungian model of the space she occupies in the canon of my love, based on the four stages of anima development.

She is Mary. After her came Sophie, the goddess of wisdom, whom – instead of projecting – I have personified as Lore, my Self. Not that binary Jungian models for male and female contrasexual inner development are entirely valid in an emerging post-gender world, but my own anima (inner feminine) development seems to have followed a series of stages culminating in the individuation of the feminine in myself via a trans non-binary femme identify.

Further, I could not project love any further outward beyond Sarah. Where she ended I began.

Another anecdote from the unsent book letter I wrote Sarah was about how much I felt like her after she left, like I was her. Drinking ginger tea. She gave me the first admirable model I had ever known of how to be an independent human. This is so painful to even write. But fuck. I would just drink ginger tea and listen to Norwegian Wood because it reminded me of her.

There is so much more from this last year alone, but suffice to say, I feel sexy in my bike shorts because Sarah was sexy in her’s. And I evoke her spirit constantly in my conscious mind in myriad little ways. And even then, I find it so easy to pine for her. I feel sick to my stomach now. The silence kills. Alexa play “To Zion” by Trevor Hall.

So, do I think Sarah is “cool”, no. I think she is amazing, but she is not cool at all. She’s too cool for me.

Gah, what do I even do with all this. I guess now I decide whether to save it as a draft or to press the little publish button.

I fear I have been too callous, and my expression of love and gratitude too tame, but Jung said perfection lie in the tension of opposites.

And I’ll have to love Sarah for the rest of my life. I don’t think I will ever not miss her or hate her for it.

It’s so fucked but what can I do. I spent this year alone. I went through it all on my own, and only I’ll ever know the dark days of not having a single friend in the world to talk to. There were eight months in the mountains when I didn’t even have a car. I went fucking through it.

So excuse me if I have lost the will to project love outside again, but I have gained the ability to feel it within, from myself, and that’s worth as many fuck yous as my inner child feels entitled to.

And I hope I never feel the need to write about Sarah again for many years. As the sheer amount of emotional energy I have expended on my love for her has been enough for a lifetime. The letter was never meant to be sent. But this Postscript was.

And I really hope it helps me move on. Because the truth is, Sarah doesn’t know me either.

Pps. Found this today looking for something else:

God these two were Legend.

My Teddy, Myself

All, Childhood, Journal, life, MyFavoritez, Personal Mythology, Writing

I don’t have many childhood memories but I remember the book, and the bear.

The book was small, with rounded cardboard pages.

I must have read it a million times, though the ending made me so sad.

And today I can think of nothing else. I tried searching on google for it, as I have many times before, but I never find it.

I’m thinking of recreating it.

I have to have it. And the bear.

Oh the bear.

What a sad ending he had: in the book and in my life.

I remember coming across a meme awhile back that got me thinking of the bear and the book. For they were twine, with each other as well as with me.

The Meme

Of course, I am still emotionally attached. Or else I wouldn’t be sitting in the bath, writing this on my phone.

Back to the book: we’ll get to the fate of the bear at the end.

The book had thick cardboard pages, each with real life photographs of the teddy bear, documenting his journey as he begins to messily bake cookies – only bake isn’t the right word, for he never makes it that far.

While he makes the dough, he keeps tasting it, adding more honey, more chocolate chips. But it’s not quite right, so he keeps tasting it.

Then, at the end, the baking sheet is empty and so too his mixing bowl. He had tasted all the dough there was. And he was sad. And I was sad.

I owned him; I loved him. I had the bear from the book. He was my best friend.

And for a child as lonely as I was, he was a loyal friend. I talked to him. He slept with me. I cuddled him, held him tightly, no doubt releasing oxytocin in my poor little body; for my childhood was not a happy one.

And I don’t know what happened to the book.

But I know what happened to the bear.

I was 12 or 13, maybe 14. He had been my best, my only friend, for years.

And we had moved, so many times – often in the middle of the night. There was an extended stay in a mouse-infested Travelodge. My mom set traps that safely caught the mice, and we released them. But then we had moved to a place I loved.

It was, to this day, practically the only place I remember of my early years. Not that it wasn’t without its striking tragedies, but my memoirs will one day give you an account of those. This was the less intense tragedy, but no less traumatizing. For it was the end of that place, and the end of my teddy bear and I.

My mom and I had found the place together. I loved it right away. It was big, multiple stories, there was a fireplace. A few years later, when we lived in a shabby apartment but a few blocks away, I would go there to be picked up by friends, still pretending I lived there.

I remember one day my dad got a satellite installed on the roof, to trade stocks.

Maybe it was my childhood intuition, but I came to him one day crying.

I told him that I didn’t wan’t to have to move, that I wanted to stay in this place and that I loved this place. He seemed secure in his response, told me, “come here.”

I followed him up the stairs and he removed a fireproof briefcase safe from his closet. He used the analog combination dial to open it, and inside he showed me a bunch of pure silver coins, which meant nothing to me, but he told me they were worth something and that we were fine.

It wasn’t long after we were evicted.

I was so upset. Upset is not even the word. I don’t even remember where we moved after, maybe Lamont, maybe Diamond, maybe Grand, I could give you a hometown tour of all the places we lived.

I just remember having to pack, and I took my teddy bear to the dumpster, where I stomped on him, yelled at him, and threw him inside.

And it’s one of my biggest regrets.

Not long after this incident, I began smoking pot, drinking. And looking back, that moment, when I threw him away, that was the end of my childhood.

And twenty years later, I’m only now starting to recover it, myself.

To my teddy, whom I loved dearer than anything in my childhood – who was always there for me – I am so sorry I abandoned you, and subsequently myself.

I think I’ll drive to K-Mart tonight and find you again, reincarnated in another.

On the way back home.

Alchemical Magic w a Spell for Liberation from Worry, Self-Doubt, and Fear.

All, Journal, Magic, Writing

“Cowards die many times before their deaths;
The valiant never taste of death but once.
Of all the wonders that I yet have heard.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear;
Seeing that death, a necessary end,
Will come when it will come.”
– Shakespeare, Julius Cesar

(Act II, Scene II, Line 32)

I forgot how much I just need to be in the dark, in the late of the night, sitting up, thinking on life: doing magic.

For writing is alchemical: it is a transformative means of reprogramming the self. What I am going to do here is magic.

Because when you study magic – not tricks (stage magic), but the ancient artifice, the craft of magic – you discover that it is a direct means of influencing The Will.

In fact, The ability to influence her own Will through her art is what gives the practitioner of magic her power, for she knows that mastery of the Self’s own Will IS mastery of the All.

You could think of the magician or the witch as someone training their own Jedi mind powers, their Will. And not for the purpose of moving lightsabers or lifting rocks, but to move the mountains standing in their way. It is an inner game. The bodhisattva knows how to play it. The Stoic knew how. So too the Jivanmukta.

Magic is the game of taking control of oneself by mythical means: meaning is the currency of magic. Meaning enables the magician to move from out of control into control: out of chaos, order. Magic is the bridge between the two. It is the integrating of new knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs. Through these powers, the center is found and returned to again and again on different levels.

Magic offers a means of attaining new truths. Magic is a messenger of synchronicity. It is the coyote I played hide and seek with behind the house today, and it is the new thoughts and attitudes reality has birthed within me tonight. And so, I cast spells using these magic symbols called letters to work with the energy of it all.

Long before the advent of modern language, one of the first tools of early humans was the stick. Used to draw things in the sand, it was the caveman’s magic wand, allowing him to communicate not only with others, but perhaps more importantly, with himself (The pen is my magic wand, as the guitar is John Mayer’s).

And history is so large we can imagine it all. So let’s go back in time to first magic wand: the stick. We see a young man, long ago, on the plains. He had an animal friend, a young coyote ancestor. And one day, the coyote was killed. So our friend sits alone that night, by the fire, in pain. And in his dejection, he picks up a stick and starts stretching in the dirt. A figure is soon formed out of an unconscious flow. He has drawn his coyote friend. And in this moment, he has become a symbol using animal. And the symbol does something to him, by means of the logos, the meaning behind it. And suddenly, he feels things about the coyote he did not know he felt. And those feelings change him, they become a part of his spirit. And he has discovered coyote magic. And it is only a lens, but he sees things almost as if from the perspective of the coyote now. And his world has grown bigger than the confines of his old pain. He has found meaning. Deeply personal, deeply powerful, and invaluable.

This is what the artist, the alchemist, the philosopher, and the seer do: they come to conclusions of greater value than their environment, than what they started with. It is an inner art, this artifice of birthing truths. One that allows the practitioner to fashion reality per her own lens. Perception is reality. And the wise one knows this. Their problems are problems of perception, and so, living in the matrix of self, the means of solving perceptual problems are beyond mere cognitive might. Thinking is the cause of their suffering in the first place, so a new level of thought must be reached.

In this way, magic can be thought of as the acts which enable us to transcend ourselves. They are almost shamanic in their nature, and very often are brought about via shamanic states of consciousness.

The magi / shaman / artist / practitioner is a creature imbued with the ability to will things into existence – even their own perceptions. Magic is only the means by which the necessary meaning we must integrate into ourselves is brought about and integrated, according to the purposes of our Will.

This all expressed, let’s practice some magic – now, by virtue of my tools (INTENTION, FLOW, SPELLing) I’ve already been practicing it this entire entry.

But let us go straight to the great work, the magnum opus:

I just no longer want to worry and stress about life. It’s too short. We all die. Memento-fucking-mori – remember that you will die. What now is worth stressing out over; it’s all going back to dust. We may as well be spirits. Only, the gods don’t die, so we are either braver than the gods or we are the gods. Either way is fine by me. The animal dies with grace. And humans are no different than animals, which is to say, we are no different than we were 100,000 years ago. Eat well, sleep well, work hard (hunt). Love. This is all you can do. You’ve spent years worrying, stressing out, the whole world seems to do it. Or we convince ourselves if we had X, Y, and Z, we wouldn’t stress out either. But we don’t have it because we are stressed out. Only we think we are stressed out because we don’t have it. When really, we are just addicted to worry by way of habit and have not even the strength to still ourselves. And why? Where came this lack of strength: weakness and hysteria by example. Mass neurosis. Ignorance. Shallowness. Fear. The world. You must be one who is in this world, but not of it, so much as you know you will not be “here” forever. But what a zoo. And it is. Only, let it be. People forget about death or render its omnipotent power impotent through religion. Be not one of them. Come to the gates now. Understand that in the everlasting book of time you are but a page. And no one cares if you are really happy. They may wish the best for you, but it’s your head game. If you succumb to it, to fear, and stress, and the dark magic of self-abuse and abandonment, they cannot save you. Love cannot save you. You can save you. Only you. But die to fear. Do it now. Let it go. Be as brave as the coyote, as noble as the sheep suffocating in its jaws. Both are no more or less important than you. Consciousness is relative to us all, and the coyote is in his head, the sheep in her’s, and you in yours. All experience hunger. All experience desire. All experience the feelings of having a body. Only, the sheep and coyote do not create their own hells. They live in a more natural reality. One in which life and death are just that, the way of life and death. So, they follow their instincts. And they live but for a minute of beauty – but it does not pass them. They receive and pursue the pleasure that is theirs. The raccoon does not deny himself his raccoon-ness on the basis of guilt or fear. Hell no, he just does it. And so to is your duty to be yourself. But there must be a deprogramming from all past thought patterns. Now is a day. The only one you really ever have. To waste it in worry is sad. Like some poor monkey in the zoo without his kind. He is missing them and he is depressed. Knows no other mode of thinking to free himself from this. Has no magic. Or maybe you’re a little runt of a Wolf, and your brothers beating up on you has made you fearful and passive, and you know no other way of feeling as good as your brothers do, in their dominance. And perhaps your chances of reproducing are lessened by your genetics. Well, life isn’t fair. But you are not wolf, you have a choice: let the stuff that has gotten you down for years of your life keep bringing you down for now and forever, or accept it and accept that society is always going to judge you for some things, and is always going to worship other things. The word sentence, as in a ‘prison sentence’ comes from the Latin ‘sentiere’, which means “to feel”. A sentence is merely an opinion. Live in your own truths. Don’t accept the opinions of others as your reality any longer. Know your own worth. Know your own validity. Know that despite failures and setbacks and mistakes, you are a damn good person who has done their all at the time, every time. Practice self-compassion. Love yourself like you love that lone coyote. Be secure. Let nothing ruffle your feathers. Let no sentence judge you for you, no person’s judgement summarize you. Whatever adversities you will face in life you will transform to your highest purpose and development. But there is nothing to develop into. Nothing to become. You are enough. Your existence has meaning, purpose, passion, desire. But arrive now: be here now. And stop negativity in its tracks. If you are tired in front of the mirror remind yourself you are tired and do not allow you to treason against yourself, because it is all a head game. The female alpha wolf knows who the alpha wolf is because he is the alpha wolf in his head. And there’s no need to fake anything. You are the living one. Full of gifts and kindness, but also a savage strength. And not one of anger but of peace. Simply care for yourself, do your best everyday, and plan for the future based only on what you can control. Worry not for what you can not. Be your best friend. But be more the that. Be at home in the world. Among 7.5 BILLION people alive today, do you really think your worries are that important that you are the center of the world, that your whole experience of reality need be made unpleasant because things aren’t the way you want them to be! Good god man, how you need to remember once and for all. This life is but a short gift. And the only place you’ll ever find it is in the Present. So, accept the world isn’t how you wished it was as a child, and let go of all the very unfeeling and unphilosophic opinions ever passed on to you by a world that values stupid, unimportant shit. You have a lot to be grateful for. See it. Experience it. The only way to transcend thought is in feeling. Feel good. Feel worthy. Feel grateful. Feel relaxed. Feel capable. Feel strong. Feel secure. Feel safe. Feel at ease. Even if the cause for worrying ever came your way, worrying wouldn’t help. Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want to happen. It’s a total alignment with failure. And the failure isn’t the result we cannot control but the attitude. The judgement. “Remove the judgement and you have removed the hurt (Marcus Aurelius); “Remove the thought, ‘I am hurt’ and you are no longer hurt.” Yes, Emperor, but we must also genuinely feel we are not hurt. Then we do not hurt. Denial solves nothing. So, you got hurt. So you had to do something difficult. Shall we pour our entire lives away as poor, suffering children who know no better. No, we must learn to be. To be here. Now. Still. Secure. Not there. Then. Restless. Insecure. Those are old ways you will no longer tolerate and perpetuate. The new way is a liberation of your soul in the knowledge of the impermanence of life and in the knowing that for what time you are here, you deserve to feel good. At peace. Secure. Present. Free from worry. Calm. Loved. Stable. Impenetrable. Strong. Worthy. Capable. And free. Liberated from all fear knowing you will pass the gates of death one day. And even then, you will not fear. The self-doubt is gone. Only the Self remains. Now go relax, freed from old patterns of attached fear. Go relax. Don’t think: BE. Try it. You deserve it. Go relax now – and know that you can return to the relaxed freedom of your liberated state at any time by simply remembering that you will die. So live while you are alive. Your days of merely existing are done. Live. Be. Breath. Trust. Calm. Strong. Love. Will. Safe. Secure. Worth it. So worth it.

Loomings: My Life and Dreams

All, Journal, life, Writing

I come here for pharmakon, the healing act of writing: I need it as I’m rediscovering myself as an adult, seeing my light and dark in their full brilliance. And, really, I just want to trust myself, that I will follow my inner voice.

Fear can make people do funny things. It’s made me forget myself, shy from deepest dreams, and do things I hate – for far. too. long.

This is the beauty of being overwhelmed. This is the beauty of feeling like you don’t want to carry on in this way. This is the call to go into the wild again; for, often, in our quest to stay within our comfort zones, we end up massively, painfully uncomfortable.

Anyone who has worked hard to pay their bills month in and month out, and has woken up miserable one day, and asked themselves, ‘Why the fuck am I doing this?’, knows exactly what I am talking about.

I am reminded of the opening to Moby Dick, in the appropriately titled first chapter, ‘Loomings’:

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely –having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

It is a damp, drizzly November in my soul.

And though I ran off “to sea” after high school by joining the Navy, it is surprising I – who loved ships and men and sailing as a child – ended up a fucking pale computer nerd rather than a salt-tanned sailor. But there is still time. I’m just ready to get out of my “comfort zone” – or perhaps it’s just changing. But this is no longer comfortable.

I have made myriad mistakes in life. In-fact, I have gotten very few things right.

Books. Writing. The Ocean. These are my original loves. These are the places where I am my own again. Where I am whole and home.

Frankly, the most challenging thing about these 2.5 years I’ve spent in the mountains has not been the isolation, but the people.

As a non-binary liberal, I’m just not in a place where I am very accepted, much less all that welcome.

Yet here I am. In my house full of books. Alone. And it almost works. But it doesn’t.

Perhaps if I didn’t work. If I were only writing. That would work. Only, I work – a ton – and way too hard, for way too little.

I ended up in the same trade as my father: building websites. And I fucking hate it. Firstly, spending an obscene amount of time hunched over a screen is not natural.

In the words of Mystic Mac (Connor McGregor), “Machines don’t use machines.”

He is speaking about the naturalness of using body weight or free weight exercises, which have made him a “machine”, like a Jaguar, lean and powerful, as opposed to the unnatural nature of using “machines” in the gym, which will never turn one into a true machine. So, “machines don’t use machines.”

And I think about that. How much I would love if the only time I sat at my desk was to write. Rather than the up till now arrangement where I spent long, unrewarding workdays staring at a screen, punching keys. It’s very 1984.

Society is, after all, an incredibly shrewd machine, designed to spit out the lowest paying work for you – and in exchange for all of your time, society gives you the bare basics: a roof, food. We: the grinding gears of capitalism. Ground up and spit out.

It’s called a “rat race” as a takeaway from a laboratory experiment, in which two rats race each other for a piece of cheese. But they have used so much energy, the cheese isn’t even really worth its calories.

Sound familiar?

Life can really be like this. How the fuck do we work for years sometimes with nothing to show for it? Bad decisions. Maybe. But it’s also just the system. You are racing against all the other rats for the same cheese.

And if you are, say, an artist, cheese may not even be your goal. Your art is. So, now you have another problem: time.

Only, the time equation is compounded with another: stress, discontentment; any artist not practicing their craft knows the reality of these feelings.

So, now you’re basically living a life that is very ill-suited to your nature, your temperament, and your talent. It may even be contrary to those things.

It hurts. Trust me.

And so, here we are.

I’ve wanted to just work through it. I’ve wanted to “beat this level,” so to speak.

And I still feel like I have to.

The New York Times has an interesting piece about escaping the office for hands on work, and one of the most interesting lines is this:

Matthew Crawford, a senior fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia and the author of the 2015 book “The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction,” sees good sense at work among those who leave office jobs for something more concrete-seeming. The reason? Much white-collar work has become similar to assembly-line work, comprising a series of mindless tasks.

Ding ding! Bingo.

The mindlessness of programming along with the mental bandwidth required simply just aren’t worth it. Then where is left my energy to write? I’m brain dead after. Forget time to read….

As was said of one person in the article above, who left graphic design for stone masonry, as he was being “driven mad by the monotony of moving fonts around on a screen and designing restaurant menus.”

“I was giving myself up all those years to this idea that graphic design was my only choice,” Mr. Kelley said. “I went to college for it. And it really emotionally brought me down.”

Brother, I get it. I suspect many people in desk jobs get it. I don’t want to escape a desk job, I want to escape the “oppressive computermatron.” I want to spend my time writing prose, not code.

I’m reminded of Jack London’s wonderful novel, Martin Eden, in which Martin, trying to become a writer, gets a job at a high volume laundry:

But there was little time in which to marvel.  All Martin’s consciousness was concentrated in the work.  Ceaselessly active, head and hand, an intelligent machine, all that constituted him a man was devoted to furnishing that intelligence.  There was no room in his brain for the universe and its mighty problems.  All the broad and spacious corridors of his mind were closed and hermetically sealed. 

Here, the main character faces the same problem I now have.

But it was only at rare moments that Martin was able to think.  The house of thought was closed, its windows boarded up, and he was its shadowy caretaker.  He was a shadow. 

As his boss tells him:

“Rest.  You don’t know how tired you are.  Why, I’m that tired Sunday I can’t even read the papers.  I was sick once—typhoid.  In the hospital two months an’ a half.  Didn’t do a tap of work all that time.  It was beautiful.”

“It was beautiful,” he repeated dreamily, a minute later.

Oh, how I can relate. My own Yung Lean style breakdown early this year afforded me a similar escape from work.

But Martin Eden gets no escape, so he drinks:

He forgot, and lived again, and, living, he saw, in clear illumination, the beast he was making of himself—not by the drink, but by the work.  The drink was an effect, not a cause.  It followed inevitably upon the work, as the night follows upon the day.  Not by becoming a toil-beast could he win to the heights, was the message the whiskey whispered to him, and he nodded approbation.  The whiskey was wise.  It told secrets on itself.

And finally, he decides to chuck it in:

By God, I think you’re right!  Better a hobo than a beast of toil.  Why, man, you’ll live.  And that’s more than you ever did before.”

And he quits, resolved to go to sea:

At first, Martin had done nothing but rest.  He had slept a great deal, and spent long hours musing and thinking and doing nothing.  He was like one recovering from some terrible bout of hardship.  The first signs of reawakening came when he discovered more than languid interest in the daily paper.  Then he began to read again—light novels, and poetry; and after several days more he was head over heels in his long-neglected Fiske.  His splendid body and health made new vitality, and he possessed all the resiliency and rebound of youth.

Ruth showed her disappointment plainly when he announced that he was going to sea for another voyage as soon as he was well rested.

“Why do you want to do that?” she asked.

“Money,” was the answer.  “I’ll have to lay in a supply for my next attack on the editors.  Money is the sinews of war, in my case—money and patience.”

“But if all you wanted was money, why didn’t you stay in the laundry?”

“Because the laundry was making a beast of me.  Too much work of that sort drives to drink.”

She stared at him with horror in her eyes.

“Do you mean—?” she quavered.

It would have been easy for him to get out of it; but his natural impulse was for frankness, and he remembered his old resolve to be frank, no matter what happened.

“Yes,” he answered.  “Just that.  Several times.”

She shivered and drew away from him.

“No man that I have ever known did that—ever did that.”

“Then they never worked in the laundry at Shelly Hot Springs,” he laughed bitterly.  “Toil is a good thing.  It is necessary for human health, so all the preachers say, and Heaven knows I’ve never been afraid of it.  But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and the laundry up there is one of them.  And that’s why I’m going to sea one more voyage.  It will be my last, I think, for when I come back, I shall break into the magazines.  I am certain of it.”

She was silent, unsympathetic, and he watched her moodily, realizing how impossible it was for her to understand what he had been through.

“Some day I shall write it up—‘The Degradation of Toil’ or the ‘Psychology of Drink in the Working-class,’ or something like that for a title.”

Oh, yes, Jack London, I understand your Martin Eden well. Too well.

So, my desk job, programming, is my laundry, and the degradation of toil has taken its toll on me.

Only, I don’t see myself running off to sea. I moved here, to the mountains, to write. Only, two years supporting us before we broke up, and I worked a lot and wrote little. Now I have been alone four months, and there has been no big magic. Just more toil. More degradation.

But, alas, wherever you go there you are.

I have never lived anywhere two and a half years as an adult. And I don’t just want to run away; although, I miss my family deeply, having come to realize recently that I have not been there for them: the most important people in my life.

So, here I am. And it’s very uncomfortable.

I’m 33 and still figuring out how to make it work.

As part of my personal mythology, I have come to view technology as a kind of enslavement. An uncaring machine focused only on your output. As a futurist, I lean towards neo-Luddite views.

The Luddites arose in response to the rise of machines in factories in the early 19th century. Eccentric weaver Ned Ludd smashed his loom and became a folk hero. Other workers rose up, calling themselves “Luddites.” And soon factory owners were having Luddites shot, and military force finally stopped the movement.

So, a neo-Luddite, is one who is opposed to technology on moral grounds.

As someone who has wasted years of my life writing code, with nothing to show for my work, no freedom, I can’t help but feel pulled toward wanting to smash my own machines (When I had my breakdown, I did, in-fact, smash my laptop).

But the house of cards rose up again, and I am yet hounded via email and text, by my clients 7 days a week.

And I thought I could balance it. Thought I could just work hard, wake early, and write.

After having revisited Martin Eden, I feel like this goal of intellectual work / writing duality and balance is less and less realistic.

I only have so much bandwidth and the toil takes its toll. So, what am I to do?

Well, I’m here tonight, spending my Saturday night on this. This entry is an alchemical effort for me to see what I need to see.

It’s just so difficult to escape our own matrices. I thought I could gain healthy self-esteem by paying my bills. I thought I would gain my own respect and feel solid. But I feel like Bukowski, after ten arduous, soul-crushing years in the post office:

“I have one of two choices—stay in the post office and go crazy . . . or stay out here and play at writer and starve. I have decided to starve.”

I think there is something noble in that.

Of course, I have already starved. And it wasn’t easy, but I wasn’t losing my shit and smashing my laptop.

Of course, there is the question of living. I don’t think I want to go sleep on a park bench. That’s not what my soul needs.

But I need to do something to escape the laundry, the toil and the toll.

If I were less of an introvert, I would have taken up roommates long ago. I have a 3 bedroom and live alone, but I am not much for living with others. Especially having lived with others so much in my 20s.

Taking back the means of production by building a business makes sense, only, my last two business did not succeed – despite how much I believed in them and the countless hours I put into them. So, I returned to building websites. Only, you suddenly become an employee with multiple bosses. Pulled apart in all sorts of directions, with a 24 hour workload that never actually ends. There is no, “Okay boss, we completed the tile job.” No, websites are never done.

I do have a business I want to build, and perhaps this is my last chance to try and regain control of the machine. As one youtuber said, “You have to sacrifice to regain the means of production.”

Starting a business qualifies. Also, writing books. Only, there is no promise of recompense with books. Only a firm sense of destiny. Although, there is neither promise of success with a business.

My plan has been to build this business as a means to “own my time”.

And maybe I just need to go once more into the fray. Frankly, I’m not sure I have it in me. I have been basically building websites now for the last nine years.

And I’ve had my stories ready to write for the last six. And I only nearly have one finished. And there are far bigger, more exciting stories I have to tell.

So, what am I to do? Let it all fall down around me? I have done that. Seems to be a pattern after each of my breakups. I am not interested in repeating the past any further. I get it: I need to be by myself.

I’m just in pain over my work. The stress of it. Clients expecting me to jump on the phone and spend my Saturday working. Total bullshit. And I did it to myself. Because I wanted to pay my goddamn bills.

And really, money is the root of it. I have to work in accordance to my demands. And, as I have already said, I moved here to lower them. Only, it didn’t work. I couldn’t support S and the dogs by myself. But god did I try. She knows how hard I worked.

Only, I struggled. And struggle will end most modern relationships. It’s simply too easy to find someone else. And the world is larger than ever before. If we only had 10% of the current world’s population on earth today, we would still have more people on earth than we did in the 1700s. What I’m saying is: in three-hundred years, the world’s population has exploded tenfold.

So, I think that, existentially, we live in an incredibly challenging time of rapid change. Humans never had these problems. And change is so rapid today, that we cannot even imagine the world five-hundred years from now, or even fifty years from now. I grew up before cell-phones. Soon, the phone will dematerialize into the user, as the UI becomes a part of us. And inequality will only get worse. But the system seems to work. Give them cell-phones, cars, Netflix, legal weed, Amazon / Wal-Mart, and in exchange, they’ll give you most of their waking hours. This is most of us. And if you think you’re special or somehow outside of this, you may have had some advantages…

Where we are born and who our parents are determines much of our trajectory in life. I was born to poor parents and in no way intend to continue that cycle with my own potential children. But a lot of people do, they have kids in lives they don’t like, and they essentially relegate their offspring to similar fates.

If you think I’m being too fatalistic, I recommend you take a good hard look at the world and the different class strata. People are simply born on different levels. Not to say you can’t “rise” – you can, and you can certainly “fall,” but it takes much more work to rise than to fall.

To rise, we need to establish a few things:

1. You will die, so don’t fear taking chances.

2. The means of production must be taken back from the masters (Meaning, you have to start a business or a means to produce something you can sell, rather than selling yourself or your time).

3. Your means must passively cover your expenses in order to free up your time to do what you love.

Imagine how many successes there are because select people were free to do what they loved… look at the bios of your favorite artistic heroes, there is even a classist ceiling there. The point isn’t that life is unfair, but that you need to give yourself the opportunity to succeed.

Look at my situation, I have tried and failed to give myself the opportunity to succeed as a writer. I’m still seeking out the opportunity. As any wage slave knows, you rent yourself out and do not own your own time, meaning, you don’t really own yourself. Hence, you have ‘masters’ (“clients” / “supervisors” ) and are not the master of yourself.

If you love what you are doing, this is not necessarily a problem. But if you loathe what you do, oh boy, you’re in some deep shit. And this is not a good place to be, because our time here is limited. The clock is running.

So, this the perfect time to think long and hard about dying:

Imagine you know you are dying. What do you want to do? Probably sure as shit not what you’re doing. You probably want to be with family, friends, lovers. Now imagine you’re dying and you never changed, never did what you loved. How much do you regret it, now that your time is up? ‘Immensely’ wouldn’t even begin to describe it. And if you could go back and change your life, you would.

But you can. There is yet still time.

So, what are you going to do Lawrence?

Well, once more into the fray.

I’ll put my heart and soul into the two difficult projects I have on my plate now and finish up with them (November)

I’ll beef up my portfolio and sell 2-3 large projects. (Dec-Feb).

I’ll then use a month to build the means of production to reclaim my time (AI based lead gen).

Provided this last step works, I’ll own my time.

From here, I need to decide where I am moving – the mountains are serving their purpose but it has been a self-imposed exile of sorts, and I miss my family.

I had been planning to move to LA, which I think will suit me, but I know it will only suit me provided I spend some time each month in San Diego as well.

This is big stuff but I have to see it in my mind’s eye. The third eye.

Where romantic love was once the impetus of my actions in life, those emotions have since been blunted in the face of knowing that no one can love me more than I love myself. And getting the relationship right with me will pave the way for any future romantic journeys.

My family is really important to me. And right now, I hear Churchill’s words:

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

A younger me would cast off the lines and “go to sea”, so to speak, but I owe myself my most dogged determination toward my vision. What I laid out above is not a new plan. It’s my vision, and I think it will work.

It just seems to me that there is something to being closer than you think.

There are going to be obstacles. There are still unknowns that need to be resolved.

There could be a setback or two. But I can’t throw in the towel. My first tattoo was ‘n.g.u.’: never give up. I can’t think that is without significant meaning. If I gave up on my vision, who would I be: I wouldn’t be me.

But I’ll be damned if I pass the time idly and am still a servant to the oppressive computermatron a year from now. I’m too damn old and life’s too damn short.

I just watched ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ again, a movie that is deep to my personal myth, as significant as is ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’.

One of the functions of myth is to teach us to survive, and how to live a life, and what to expect.

To me, the most poignant part of Benjamin Button is this scene:

For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. And if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

And I want to live a life I am proud of.

And if I find that I’m not, I want to have the courage to start all over again.

I know the big goals I have for my fiction. Those will not change. How I get there, however, may.

And I’m Here

All, Journal, Writing

I’m looking to simplify life; for, at thirty-one, I find life complex beyond need. 

In my quest to simplify life, what I am really after are my goals. 

I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older my priorities have changed. While writing has always been a thread of my life, from childhood to present, I didn’t always know I wanted to be a writer; sure, I was a consumate reader from an early age, having spent many school lunch hours in the library or on the steps, where I read everything that captured my fancy (Mostly stories involving sailing or the sea.), and yes, I was fortunate to have had teachers who encouraged me to write, which led me to join the Navy at 17 as a journalist, but I didn’t really know I was a writer until around age twenty-eight (Four years into this blog), when my stories began to germinate and develop within me. Up until that point, I had only wanted to be a writer – but at that point, I knew, I was a writer – and I was meant to be a writer. 

The next few years I would navigate a big breakup, take a year off (Which I spent in large solitude, my afternoons volunteering at the library, my evenings on the shore before sunset, my nights reading.), and finally, I would fall back into love, into life. 

And then, seven months ago, at age thirty one, I moved to the mountains, where I planned to write and support myself doing freelance web work.

My desk made its way into my study with the feet removed, and one-hundred square feet of bookcase was constructed, my books neatly arranged on the shelves.  

Only, I did not write. 

My days were spent working on web projects for small, unreliable clients, and, having had Sarah quit her job when we moved here, I struggled to support us, despite the decreased expenses of life in a small mountain town. 

As anyone who has struggled financially knows, it is neither pleasant nor tolerable; although, it is endurable – meaning, it can be survived. Only, I am not much for simply enduring life, merely  surviving. 

That said, I wanted more; I wanted to eat my cake and have it too; I didn’t want to feel small, invisible, obscure: I wanted to regain the financial success I had at twenty-four. 

So I built a new business, a user-experience consultancy. 

It failed. Months down the drain. 

I tried again; thinking my hypothesis flawed, I revamped my business to focus on niche markets I felt I knew; however, my additional months efforts were in vain, and I failed again. 

Not a very fun feeling. But endurable. 

What could I do? 

I carried on, stoically, resiliently, wanting to love all that was fated for me – not wanting to struggle against life. Not wanting to suffer. Not wanting to let another seven months pass without making progress as a serious fiction writer – a novelist – or at least a novella-ist

At this point, we kind of catch up to now. 

I have a good relationship. I am loved. I am healthy. I’ve got a great fucking haircut. But yeah, none of that is really everything. Everything is the books. 

I’ve admittedly never possessed the patience for delayed gratification; however, wanting to make a life as a serious novelist, one has to commit to a long road. 

Also, having failed at building myself a business with which I could support the ideas I had about the life I wanted for myself (Entrepreneur / writer with a house in the Palisades.), I have been forced to re-imagine the path for myself as a writer. Now, I’ve rebuilt my personal consulting site, and I am willing to take the long way round – meaning, I’m willing to take the journey to get there. 

What this all means is that I have my work cut out for me, and until I am a proper working writer, I will be working and writing – however long that may take. 

It’s not necessarily the dream I had of having another successful business, which would allow me to write in relative comfort, but it’s the dream I have of being a writer that I am committing to – comforts and securities be damned. 

That’s not to say I won’t have security: I’ll sure as hell have a lot more than I’ve had in the course of attempting to build two unsuccessful businesses. lol. 

In making this shift, I am giving up great for good. 

To eventually be great.

That is what I want. 

I want to focus on simple goals: x consulting hours a week, x pages a day, x workouts a week. 

I recognize the aforementioned goals may seem rather drab – as if I am attempting to quantify happiness in boxes that I’ll check off. But it’s all very simple to me. 

I want to write. I want the security to write. I want to be healthy. I want to have a social life where I am valued by people I admire. 

I just want to do good, feel good. Be good. And I don’t mind living a simple, quiet, and disciplined life in order to get there. 

I just wish this hadn’t all taken me so long to figure out. But it did. And I’m here. 

Short Fiction: The Exhumation (6 Min Read)

All, fiction, Flashfiction, short fiction, Short Stories, Sudden Fiction, Writing

He stood upon the beach beside the seawall, bent over in the cold, gray light of dawn, laboriously digging that endless pit again. 

His hairless, sinewy fingers were painfully fixed around the smooth, well-worn handle of the old wooden shovel, which felt burdensome and awkward in his grip; each scoop of the dark, wet sand straining his tired, underdeveloped shoulders. 

As he dug, the waves crashed softly upon the shore, rolling and receding fifty paces before him, their sound dampened in the thick salt-laden fog. 

The pace at which he dug the wet sand brought forth large beads of sweat on his forehead that rolled down his temples, onto his cheeks, tickling his tanned face. 

He paused briefly to wipe his brow, anxiously aware that some awful, terrible doom had led him there, to a destiny from which he could not escape; although, from which he could awake – as he did every day following the same dream. 

It was only by coincidence, however, that he began to ponder the dream during his waking hours; for, like most people, he never considered dreams to be anything more than a mystery – a strange phantasm of the mind that required no more probing than ones own inner spirituality; his dreams merely were

That was, until he read about the body of a drowned swimmer found by a jogger in the early morning on a remote stretch of Maine coastline.

He came across the story while reading news at his desk one morning, a habit that ineffectually served to distract him from his work as a systems administrator in a large data center – a job he loathed, for he wanted nothing else but to be a writer. 

Only, he hadn’t any real ideas for stories, as nothing had heretofore captured his mind and compelled him to begin writing – until he came across the news story of the jogger discovering a body on the beach; that day, he decided: he would begin writing his first story. 

Driving home that night, he thought about the plot:

A man dreams repeatedly of digging on the beach in the early morning hours, and thinks nothing of it. Then, years later, he comes across a news story of a body that has just been exhumed from the beach near his house, and, while reading the story, his memories and his guilt return to him. 

What does he do? 

Does he turn himself in? 

Is his DNA found? 

He didn’t have answers but he felt the story burning inside him, demanding to be told. 

And so, that night, he announced to his wife Tara, that he would begin writing at once; his mornings were to be spent alone in his study, looking out his bay windows upon the bright, blue Pacific. 

This routine took. Soon, he had written about the dream, he had written about the news story, but the words stopped there. He was unable to pick the story up where his dream and the news story left off. And yet, he was still consumed with finishing what he started – more than ever. 

So, unable to write for lack of palpable inspiration, he began taking long morning walks along the shore near his home, where, barefoot, he would scout-out remote spots, where he would sit and imagine his character digging on the beach. 

Only, it wasn’t like his dreams: he was not digging, there was no fog. 

He imagined his story a film, needing the scene to be just so, in order that he might get into his character’s head; for the story needed to be understood to be finished – yet the dream had always simply left him digging, listening to the hush of the waves, peering through the fog.

Thus he began checking the NOAA website, keeping abreast of any shift in weather that might give him the right morning conditions.

Two months later, he saw a heavy coastal fog forecast. His shovel lay against the front gate, at the ready. 

He set his alarm for early the next morning; however, due to his excitement, he was unable to sleep – not a wink. All night he lay in bed thinking of the dream, deliciously, excitedly. 

As 5:45 rolled around, he quietly dressed, his wife still asleep when he left home and found himself enveloped in a thick April morning fog. 

The grey misty morning was a comfort to him. In it he felt serene, full of the peace of a man who knowingly follows his destiny. 

Grabbing the shovel on the way out, he trotted gaily toward the shore, like a fisherman headed for high tide. 

Walking quickly along the beach nearest the seawall, he arrived in fifteen minutes and stuck his shovel in the sand, where he was to perform his artistic ritual. Pausing for a moment, he surveyed his dig site, amazed that the foggy, gray dawn matched perfect his dream. 

Then he dug passionately, excitedly, clumsily. 

His progress was at first slow, but his pace increased as he continued. Each shovel-full of sand seemed to invigorate him, and his grip tightened on the smooth wood handle as his unpracticed-heaving grew more burdensome the deeper he dug; the weight of the heavy, wet sand now making his shoulders burn. 

He began to sweat, his clip matching the cadence of the rolling waves, his shovel, – the digging itself – now seeming to make the soft crashing sound he heard emanating from the shoreline ahead of him. 

His head began to itch. He kept shoveling. Sweat beaded and gathered at his hairline; however, he could not stop digging to wipe his brow, as he had in the dream; it was as if he feared waking up now; it was as if he needed to see it through to finish the story. His shoulders burned. His sweat itched. The waves rolled. The fog hung. 

He kept digging, madly now, and did not hear her approach. His bent figure, standing in the large hole he had dug, operated violently yet rhythmically, like an oil derrick pumping for ore. 

When she addressed him, he heard perhaps nothing at first, then his wife’s voice trying to wake him from his foggy dream, trying to steal him away from his destiny. 

Then she yelled, screamed, “Michael!”

He immediately twisted around, the momentum of the shovel driving his body toward her, its blunt steel edge striking her across the head with a dull thwack. 

His eyes widened and he dropped the shovel near in-sync with her body, which had gone limp and fallen to the sand without a sound.

He stretched his aching arms beside him and looked distantly upon his wife’s distorted face, as if in a dream. 

##

Author’s note: 

I am going to be publishing more short stories here, which I could not be happier to do. If you enjoy, please subscribe and share. Thank You – LB

Welcome to The Woods

All, Journal, Writing

Four weeks and two days ago, I left the city that never loved me; for I had to leave: I had to fall deeper, further into love – and closer to a pattern of life befitting a serious writer. 

Sarah, life partner and best friend she is, naturally loved the idea of living in the woods for a year with me. It was, after all, our idea. 

But it wasn’t our first idea; we were planning to move to LA – only fate would have it otherwise, and our plans would change just a week before we were slated to take up residence in a cheap AirBNB in LA for two weeks (Giving us enough time to find a permanent residence).

It was a solid plan, but it just didn’t feel right. 

So, sitting in bed together, as we are now, Sarah doing her thing, me mine, we began to discuss the idea of somewhere not LA. 

Price was a big factor. Frankly, we wanted a home. 

A day or two before, I had looked on Craigslist at homes in a handful of rural Midwest cities. The prices made me swoon; however – besides the fact I had already done the Midwest – I knew it wasn’t in the cards. Call it inner voice. As I said to Sarah last night, all my biggest mistakes have been the result of listening to other people. Today, I listen to me. Fuck you. 

So we zoomed out on google maps in bed that evening: looking first in South LA, then east toward Nevada, then north to the Oregon border, until finally – after the longest thirty minutes of our life – we landed on a small Califonia mountain town, and then something magical happened: we got excited. 

Why? I don’t know. It was just the right place. Something inside us felt calm. Just the way it feels to be here this evening, looking out our bedroom across the deck and onto the National Forest. 

We came here from a small apartment where we had barely managed to stay together through the newness of our relationship. We truthfully were barely sure of what we were doing. 

But we did it. 

We drove up on a Friday to see the place, returning directly to pack our entire apartment on the following Saturday, and then, four Sundays ago, we towed our car behind a uhaul up here, which was an adventure in itself. 

We blew a tire. We had to stop to load a double stainless fridge into the uhaul in 110 degree heat, and we had barely slept for two days. 

Our relationship was road tested on the trip up. Lord knows it had been battle tested in the city where we met. In that tiny apartment. Those fucked up people. That city. San-dago: you fucking overhyped transplant filled millennial shithole. 

Needless to say, we are happier here. Much. 

Sarah quit her job. I got my writing room. And we both get to call the first true house we have ever lived in together, home.  

It has been an incredible experience these four weeks, full of stories I will be sharing soon in the form of a collection of non-fiction episodes published here. 

This weekend we will be hosting the first of a series of guests scheduled to visit us, and we look forward to firing up the BBQ, looking up at the stars, and thinking back on the darkest nights. Nights when moving to the woods to write novels was only a dream. Nights when we had nothing but each other and a dream. 

And LA, it will still be there. Waiting for me to arrive. Waiting for my stories. Waiting on the day when we take up part time residence – our cabin here waiting for us. Because we live in the woods now. Because this is home. 

Non-Fiction 

All, Journal, Writing

If I had to choose between writing and sex, I’d choose pen over penis eight days a week. Why I’ve gone with such a seemingly daft metaphor, I know all too clearly; for my writing is growing into as compulsory an act as masturbating was for me at fifteen, only I’ve no Portnoy’s Complaint  – quite the contrary in fact; if I don’t write, I’ll be riddled with guilt, which in many ways I am, owing to the fact that my fiction remains less than fiction: it’s fairy dust. And until I dedicate myself to the the four manuscripts living rent free in my head, that’s all it will ever be. I don’t have to search long and hard to discover there exists no more tragic fact about me. 

I am, however, working to remedy this; only, I need be honest with myself: if I have one regret about my previous entry, it’s that I veiled my feelings in prose, which can be incredibly false. Not that I intended to do so, only I did nonetheless. And it was false because I wrote of courage and becoming oneself, and the undeniability of my identity as a writer – without talking about the pain. 

The pain being almost the central fact of my existence; precisely what’s got me up in bed, writing this word by word at three thirty am. My how incredibly angst ridden I am. 

At thirty one, I’ve managed to fortify myself with world class skills in a technical field I care naught for. I have actually failed in my field as a result of my lack of passion (That or fate). 

Wanting – needing – to write desperately, I have two options: take a high paying job, or make a go at the one thing I have been successful with in a related field. Of course there is always a third option. I’ll get to that.

As passionless as I am about the business of moneymaking, which every adult knows is all consuming, it’s my passion as a writer that haunts me. Then there are the excuses: If I was single. If I had committed myself to writing fiction at a younger age. If I had financial independence. 

Same shit countless frauds like me probably say to themselves. And I feel a fraud. Absofuckknglutely. 

Three years ago I went through a terrible breakup and simultaneously nearly died of blood poisoning, which I had contracted on a business trip (Misery is strippers and steaks with insurance industry execs in Ohio). After that I smoked some DMT, took some LSD (God no not at the same time!), and awoke fully to myself being a writer. And I was in some ways for a time. I allowed myself the freedom to fall into dire financial straits, and I slept around like a nihilist pig; however, when I was sober I spent my time reading more novels than I had since I was fourteen (Having read non-fiction almost exclusively for years). I also amassed a personal library that can be said to belong only to a writer, owing both to its copious volume and eclectic contents (My tastes I will not comment on). 

During this period of freedom and bacchanalia, I also began to spend much more time alone and in nature – more than I had since a child. I filled a few journals cover to cover, and I got to know myself in ways I never had. This blog also served me well – as a kind of cloud drive to upload all of the new software my consciousness was running on. 

Of course, I wouldn’t be Lawrence Black if I didn’t find love again. Talk about a whirlwind [love]. It’s not unlike what I imagine heroin or some mind numbing opiate to be like: blindingly comforting and then you wake up months later wondering what the fuck happened, and suddenly you remember yourself and begin facing how much you lost touch with You in trying to please the muse. This I am most guilty of. 

I want it all. Fuck me. Unfortunately there are only twenty four goddamn hours in a day, and I certainly do not possess the bandwidth to write code and push pixels all day long, in addition to writing. As Stephen King writes in On Writing: life is not a support system for art – it’s the other way around. 

This I am figuring out how to arrange – no matter how much pluck and daring it requires. Lord knows – well, in this case, my girlfriend knows – that I am committed to my art above all. And by my art, I mean my inner peace. The shit that allows me to stay sane. 

So, what will Lawrence do next? 

I know this much: I will be honest. Not thinking about what some heartless or shallow ex who may reads this thinks of my life. I’m done with that ego mindfuck. If I am to be, I am to be honest about my life in my own writing. 

In ten days I may be living in a cabin in the woods, or I may be crashing on a floor or a couch. Fuck if I care either way. All I know is that I must write. Because not writing fiction is killing me. And I can’t write any more fiction here. 

– Oh yeah, that third option. Well, I may be doing menial technical work but I need my mental bandwidth for greater things, and I know a place with cheap cabins.

Reimagining 

All, Journal, MyFavoritez, Poetry, Timeless Truths, Writing

Have the courage to stop the world and start over at two am,
While the night is still and your days may yet be seized;
Have the courage to use your dreams as metaphors for the things you truly want:
Reimagining your life as one does who has become brave enough to see heroes as peers rather than role models


David Foster Wallace, (Whom, like Kerouac, I cannot really read for fear of going insane) said something to Rolling Stone’s David Lipsky about how of course in the end, we end up becoming ourselves. The statement was about growing up and the futility of our parent’s worries about who we will become in light of the inevitability of who we ultimately are. 

I find it deeply calming to reflect on this – the idea that we end up becoming ourselves; it reminds me that I am becoming who I was meant to be – not just despite my mistakes, but because of them. 

Without this, this idea that I am becoming myself, then it’s all a waste (Funny how I once thought I couldn’t fail at anything); however, I trust life: it has taken me this far, given me this clear a picture; and finally, at thirty one, I’m beginning to feel that there is a pattern to my life, one in which I am destined for certain things and bound to suffer in vain pursuit of others. And it has been in my failures, in vain pursuits, that I have discovered the futility of following roads not meant for me. 

I suppose I feel there is simply no longer any escaping or denying who I am. Lord knows I tried. Heaven fuck I tried Bunny, Mousie. 

Thankfully it is not dreams of soul and passion that have perished but merely the ideas my ego had concocted to give myself some false importance at not doing the thing I was born to do. If I am being obtuse it’s simply my way of not wanting to outline what it’s like to spend ten thousand hours on a diversion. Not that the time invested will go unused, just that it’s no more than financial potential. But the goal of my life was never about just money. And perhaps that’s where I betrayed myself…. Trails off

Life is a great, grand adventure – in which I am the hero. And true, I’m not a very likable one. But no plausible hero is – at least none capable of inspiring me. Commonplace is the contentment that fills the days of the bourgeois; however, there shall be no longer the air of quiet desperation in my hours; I banish despair from my bones. Simply in writing, simply in reflecting –  in trusting life, and in being honest with myself. Simply in reimagining myself to be who I wish. 

Because you can also fail at what you don’t want.  

Ruminating 

All, Journal, Personal Mythology, Writing

Knowing now what I do, I face extrordinary dilemmas. 

The knowing I refer to, being the fact that all is possible within the governing laws of order and chaos. For even kings are subject to the laws of  nature. 

The dilemma being the fact that time and tide wait for no man. But ’tis better to set a false course than none at all; however, best to make sure. 

So that’s what I’m thinking about. 

Courses, possibilities, the call of distant stars; measuring that which is best to reach. 

Thirty is such an age when men may do these things; at least, for me, I have never before weighed possibilities out against the sands of time, as I now do. 

Age. The clock continues to strike, moving closer to midnight on some dreams than others. 

I can always be forty and build businesses – striving for the empire in which I can catch my reflection in the mirror and say fuck you, I made it to those who never thought I would. 

I can always be forty and American. It’s thirty that flees, reminding me, as I near closer thirty one, that I cannot dig these days back out. 

These are the years. 

There’s just something inherent within the power of choice I have today, telling me to choose wisely. Reminding me I want XYandZ in the coming years more than I want ABandC. 

I rounded out my previous entry with words on eating cake and having it too, but a man must know what brioche is – lest he spend his days chasing bread. 

I heard something in my twenties once to the effect of: how a man spends his days is how he spends his life. These are my days, this my life; am I chasing bread or baking brioche?

I had, until recently, a great and terrible freedom: no wife and no kids. Great for I had no ties, and terrible for I yearned for them. And, while I do not at present have a wife, I do have something akin to one. Thus, the terrible longing for a dearest friend is again over, but the other side of the coin shines light on new great and terrible truths. Great because I have ties – terrible for they are not yet bound. The second part, the fear, owing to the fact that I did not buy my wife as an established man does. She loves me for me alone, but I must make sure she knows what she is bargaining for. When a woman imagines marrying a writer, I do not think she imagines the verb inherent to the noun. Perhaps I ought come with a disclaimer: whiskey: yes, dinner parties: hopefully (Thankfully, the latter is still within reach). 

At the library where I work as a part time volunteer, there is a man who strikes me as very nice. Myself, being a writer, have of course invented – or at least invented in this moment – a story about him, for I do not know him well. The story goes, this nice man, being smart and more interesting than most, wanted to be a writer – he fancied himself so. Only, he did something else. Maybe a long romance, maybe a career in engineering, maybe both. Only, neither worked out beyond maintaining his lifestyle, which is to say, the quality of life he felt owed. So, at thirty nine or maybe forty two, he left the job, lost the girl, maybe a year of despondency ensued, but then he got smart and honest about who he was. So, he took up his library position, and started writing on those days off. And maybe he even wrote in the mornings too, only that didn’t last given the resistance of middle age to new habits. But just maybe he finished his book. Let’s say he did. So, he sends it to publishers, enclosed in the bright lavender envelope all the pipe-dream directed writing books tell you to use. Only, the book was no good. Watching 10 seasons of Law And Order in his thirties dulled his characterizations, and his story, about a guy who walked away from it all at thirty to write, was uninteresting at best. So tonight he lumbers into his apartment bed, bleary eyed from Netflix, and he tells himself, at fifty, I shall travel. 

Just maybe; it is certainly not an unbelievable tale. 

Thankfully, I am thirty – but still, the tale, albeit fictional, is not unrelatable for me. It’s a cautionary myth, concocted in my own head to remind me that time is the most precious asset I have. 

So I am here, writing and ruminating on the truest course toward the brightest star. 

Unfortunately, I’ve never been much for seeking or following parental advice, and the men I wish I could seek the counsel of, my grandfathers, are as stone dead today as they were upon my birth, which may in itself be telling, for the men in my family, excepting my father at sixty-odd years, have not been long for this world. Not to say I do not feel I am, but as much as I pine to one day be a grandfather, I’m not yearning for my seventies, nor am I excited about life much beyond the coming few decades, which, given my genealogical research, may be all I have left, making thirty middle aged for me, and deeper relating myself to the relic of a writer tale, which I mythologized above. 

Like I said, I am facing extrordinary dilemmas. Life is not one of those choose your own adventure stories in which all avenues may be explored without the immovable, chronological weight of time. 

Unlike the Duke Ellington record, which I now have gotten up to replay the A side of four times, my thirties are a one way ticket. No B side, no telling Sam to play it again. Like the beer I picked up tonight, it’s one and done. Thankfully, the beer is 22 ounces, and my thirties  ten years long. Only, I know I can’t be thirty six and be making a first go at sending off that lavender envelope. I know my story in the pulsings of my blood, and that’s not how it goes. 

There is another, well-known, mythologized tale of the would be writer. It’s the tale of the guy who always had that great screenplay or novel in him, but there was always an excuse. The timing was just never right to write. But then finally, it was, he had the desk and library (Ahem, both my library and my desk are absolute tits – thank you very much). Only, when he sat down to write, it was all in vain. His dreams were perhaps more of the noun and less of the verb – more dinner parties for ten than whiskey for one. 

Of course, as all real (See: published) writers will tell you, the timing is never right. The time to write is now and every goddamn day you consume oxygen on this bloody planet. Unfortunately most wannabes want the lifestyle rather than the life. 

I am reminded of the ancient words, imploring me to be rather than to seem. 

Only, it’s all very meta now; I write yes, but I am no different than one who writes Harlequin novels; it’s all masturbation and no nipple biting. I write about writing, yet I do not write as a writer does, I merely find secondhand outlet. And it’s all very tiring and unsatisfying. 

So, I’ll lumber off to slumber, knowing that at thirty one, I’ll be a writer. 

Weighing My Conscience

All, Journal, Writing

It is nice to be writing tonight; lately, I’ve been writing more out of compulsion and less out of habit, thus it’s felt more the product of requirement rather than inspirement, which to me is a constant.

I am always the writer.

This is who I am.

I am first and foremost Lawrence Black the writer – all else is a distant second: son, brother, lover, friend – everything else is secondary to the verb I enjoy most. This thing, it’s me. And I loathe myself for not making it my one love. I loathe myself for valuing love and success and accomplishment and satisfaction to the thing I was born to do.

I am the Peter Pan of the pen game, a lost boy, full of pixie dust; however, unlike Peter Pan, I do grow up – and I am.

Thirty. Fuck me. I am not looking to be that thirty five year old working on his “novel”. Fuck me.

So, this thing calls; the muse pulls and commands me to abide, which I happily do tonight. Only, this is not enough.

I remember reading Thomas Wolfe’s Of Time and The River last year, which is essentially a quasi-autobiography in which Wolfe details his – or rather Eugene Gant’s – journey from boy to writer. Something akin to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, in which Joyce, as Stephen Dedalus, finally wanders off in exile, declaring: “I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

For what is the soul but a smithy, a forge, in which I, in my twenties, founded the basis upon which I now write: loves and dreams and holding on and letting go.

For it is me: I live this life essentially alone; yes, I have Sarah – the woman whom I love and I am making this life with – but nothing is promised.

I find it simply mind blowing that humans, the singular species capable of altruism, can be so survivalist in their relationships; however, I suppose the question answers itself in my existence.

We had to get here somehow. So we broke a few hearts on the way to this omelette, just a few eggs; the strongest surely survive. I have.

I just can’t shake the weight of fate from my shoulders, the sense of who I am. My pesonal sense of destiny. The singular force stronger than my own will.

It’s the one thing that has kept me going: the idea that I, Lawrence dot Black, am a person who must become himself. In the too-apt, almost cliche, words of Abraham Maslow: “A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write, if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself. What a man can be, he must be.”

So I am here, “Shakespearing” – as I like to refer to it, and as I did prior to leaving Sarah in our bed to come out on the balcony and write tonight.

It drives me fucking crazy to be thirty. I’m like an atomic bomb waiting to go off. I am nothing but unborn potential, and it’s maddening. You can’t imagine being me, knowing your ego is misunderstood and but a foreshadow of what is to come. Maddening.

But this sense of destiny calms me: the certainty that this will all make sense one day, it is a fantastic balm. But it doesn’t make it any more comfortable.

It’s no less maddening to know you will one day be great than to hope; for neither is a tangible feeling, just the lust. The lust for the life you were born for. I felt it at thirty; a fire in my belly began to smolder, burning deep and hot as hunger. Only, I knew; I learned that there was no way my life could have been any different. I wouldn’t have the depth I do, nor the curiosity “to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

I think art – good art – is as required as good sex. At least, in the human psyche, the alternatives are absolutely damnable – causing us to focus on the things that don’t matter, rather than that which does. And I wonder about this thing, the analogousness of the two: art and sex. For both surely exist for the sake of one another, as the painter must paint, seeking the deepest artistic purpose for which he was born, so too must he find his deepest biological purpose in his art. And he finds the cause for each in each other. In art, he finds love, and in love, art.

It’s an intense thing to know yourself. But when you know what makes you tick, so too must you wind the watch and tune each gear to its proper movement.

And tonight, I feel the proper coordinates aligning within me; I feel the pulsings of my blood in my keystrokes; I can feel my feet striking their proper path in the sands of time, bearing down on a due course to oblivion, leading me toward the desire to feel more and more alive each day before I die.

Is this not what we want, to feel more alive.

I do.

There are persons and places and things to which, when I am connected most to, I feel most alive. Sex, writing, solitude – yes, the soul needs its intercourse too. And perhaps this is what writing gives me: the ability to get fucked good and hard by my passions.

I’m sure the preceding only makes sense to artists, but it is solely for myself to whom I write. This is all one giant letter to my soul, begging Peter Pan to come out and play.

He must.

If I am to be at peace with myself, I must.

But it’s not feeling less alive, that we seek in solitude and together, it is feeling less lonely, which we truly desire.

I have always connected deeply to the following words of David Wallace:

“Fiction is one of the few experiences where loneliness can be both confronted and relieved. Drugs, movies where stuff blows up, loud parties — all these chase away loneliness by making me forget my name’s Dave and I live in a one-by-one box of bone no other party can penetrate or know. Fiction, poetry, music, really deep serious sex, and, in various ways, religion — these are the places (for me) where loneliness is countenanced, stared down, transfigured, treated.”

I relate so deeply to this.

I have always been rather lonely. These words strike my heart as a smith does a hammer to the forge. Ding, ding, ding. Hot sparks. Truth, ringing loud and clear in the soul – as it always does.

If I am ever to be known, if I am ever to be less lonely, if my lover and my family and friends are ever to know me, I must write.

Period.

Dramatics aside, this is my truth.

No one, not even my exes, will ever know me without my work.

Without my giving a body to my soul, I will forever be a lost boy.

But this is not sad. This fact is a relief. This fact is balm, for it is part of my sense of destiny.

I am Lawrence Black, the writer. But I do not write as writers do. Yes, I do have a body to my work: TBD, 12FEB, HH, ATS, all these stories have been born and live within me. But it is so lonely to alone know them. It is so lonely to alone know myself.

Thirty years old, and I and my stories so unknown; although, I know it truly, that I could not have been any quicker to bloom. As a novelist in my twenties, I would have been an arrogant, talentless snot.

Osmosis. Absorption. The reading has been, and is, as important as the writing.

I refrain from naming names, only I will: Aurelius, Hugo, Steinbeck, Emerson, Shakespeare, Dickens, these men are brothers to me. I do not care of their existence for vanities, how they looked or how great their beards or homes were, these are mere facades, which I care no more for then the bearded God of my youth. I care only for their works. All else is secondary.

But age, the time and pressure and form giving way to me, remains a weight.

Thirty. Please, please let me become.

Do not give way to vanities, to comforts. To the things that do not matter.

My stories, the shaping of unborn consciences, are of paramount importance to my own.

And it kills me not to gestate them daily; for I am fairly formed and they wait.

And I, for what?

Deadlines. Well, eventually there will be no more. But some must be set. Internally.

So, I wrote this tonight: to kindle the fire beneath my own ass. For no one else will. It is me. I must write, I must become, I must level up in this game of life, giving no weight to consciences not aligned with my own. Those who may make a stranger of me as freely as one would a friend, must be weighed duly. And I suppose it is my own conscience that I weigh tonight, for it is heavy.

Heavy with the weight of my stories, but also heavy with the weight of sapphire stone, and houses, and cars, and boats, and things for which only my ego cares. But I must have both; for I refuse to believe my path must follow another, that I am unable to have my brioche and eat it too.

So I reconcile. I write and I remind myself that I am Lawrence Black, and that in due time, all will be.

For I know. In my heart of hearts, I know. They do not, but I do.