by j-a

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I awaken in Jim's bed at 6023. db is in the other bed. I look over at the clock on the bedstead above her head. It's 9:25. Through the window I can see the sky out over Coll's house to the north. It's getting the light out. The brightness of the horizon fades toward the west. I want to continue sleeping on, but I know that db has a job she has to get to, so I struggle to awaken and get up, calling to her as I do, trying to awaken her. She doesn't want to awaken either. She mumbles almost incoherently that it can't be 9:25 already. I am already up and walking across the room before being fully awake. I look out the back window and agree. It's too dark in the west for it to be so late in the morning. Toward the north I see strange lights flashing beyond the horizon, lighting the cloudy sky. I walk over to the other window, doubting the time on my way across the room. I check the clock on the right side of my bedstead. It says 8:30, but I see it's stopped. But a third clock on the left side of the bedstead says 7:05 and its second hand is sweeping, so I decide that is the correct time. As I look across the top of Coll's house, I see a single firework explode small above the far horizon. Some kind of a celebration is going on in the distance. db, up now and staggering around the room, says "Maybe it's the northern lights." I don't tell her about the firework, but I make a mental note to tell her later. Maybe it's not morning, I suggest. Maybe it's becoming night. She doesn't know and says so. We puzzle as to what part of the day it is, trying to remember when we fell asleep. Did we go to bed at night yesterday, or did we doze off in a brief afternoon nap a few hours ago? We walk across the hall into Dianne's room to look out the windows on the other side of the house. The sky is dark over there. Heavy black clouds in the southwest counterbalance the gray ones to the north. Below them in the extreme west just above the horizon, the sun blazes in an intensity I have never known. "It's the evening," I report. "Look. The sun is going down." The beauty of it is astounding. CUT TO:

We are up on the hill above Rosedale St. We stop the car at the side of the road and get out, to watch the sunset between the houses. There is some past feeling of intimidation, that I don't want to be visible standing here, but it is only a vague remnant, a memory. It is no longer functional. I reconstruct the immediate past, how we get into car and hurry up here to catch the last moments of the sunset.


I Am Not From San Francisco

It seems that the city of San Francisco has managed, with the sanction of the Supreme Court, to copyright the name 'San Francisco' so that no one may use it on any manufactured item without the permission of the city of San Francisco. With the help of this right, San Francisco generates an annual surplus of $300 million. This is a ridiculous notion, that a city like San Francisco can own a name, especially a venerable name like San Francisco that has been in the public domain for so many years. San Francisco, any city, should not be allowed to claim rights to a public name. Names like San Francisco are public property. Anyone should be free to use them in any way they choose. Next, they'll be trying to tell writers that they can't use the name San Francisco without authorization. After all, writers using the name San Francisco, especially if they use it in a way that marks their work for marketing purposes, such as to denote that the writer is a native of San Francisco, could be interpreted to be using the name San Francisco as a trademark of sorts. I am not from San Francisco, so it hardly matters to me that the name San Francisco is restricted in its commercial application. But if I were a resident, I would make damn sure that I used the name San Francisco in the heading of every piece I wrote, as a matter of pride in the area where I lived, and out of principle, that no one could restrict me from fair use of a name like San Francisco, nor could they prevent me from using San Francisco as a designation of my residential status. If I were from San Francisco, I'd use the city name in such a way as to provoke a test case or make the sound of San Francisco so ridiculous as to force the city to relent. I'd call attention to the name San Francisco and to its pecuniary policy so much that San Francisco would begin to appear foolish in the eyes of Americans. But I am not from San Francisco, the city of restrictive usage, so I leave it to someone else to make San Francisco appear as ridiculous as it truly is. Ah, San Francisco, San Francisco, San Francisco. What would Saint Francis think of all of this? Hey, Cisco. Hey, Pancho. Let's went.


I had a dream last night where I logged onto my e-mail server and it was taking an abnormally long time to download my mail (even for my server, which always seems to take a long, long time.) Finally, the process ended and the standard message box popped up with the message, "You have 2,123 new messages." Iíve had this "fear" in "real life" too, as a passing idea I have from time to time when I sit and wait for e-mail to transfer. What does it mean? Nothing, probably. Just free-floating anxiety finally finding a place to settle for a while.


I make plans, via elaborate daily schedule system that over the years I have honed into an effective and efficient e-machine.

I make plans, via elaborate daily schedule system that over the years I have honed into an effective and efficient e-machine.

I make plans...
I have become a first rate, top-of-the-line task scheduler.

(This was my forte when I worked for a living, establishing and maintaining schedule systems.)

But I never want to implement my plans.
(On the job, I always had people to do this for me.)

Each morning, or sometimes afternoon, or evening, when I awaken, I reformulate my daily list.

I make plans, things that need to be done, and then I go and do what I want to do. The purpose of the plans, I theorize, is to keep clear in my mind what I should be doing. (I never did like doing what I should.)

But every once in while, on an odd day here and there, I settle into the day determined to "accomplish" (please excuse the vulgarity) something, and I set about to do the plan, item after item.

In this way, things get done: I get them all done at once, after having scheduled the tasks, day after day, for weeks or months; and then I become depressed that I more typically am accomplishing nothing, an affect spurred by newly released programming I keep locked up in the prison of repression, that sense of production instilled in me by a basic tendency toward ratiocination and years and years of accomplishment in the capitalist world of industry.

Or else these tasks do not get done, list items expiring before I get to them, the need for doing them becoming moot. This is an ideal I live, from day to day, which I find it difficult to enjoy: I most often do not have to do anything and could, if I could only realize it, sit still in quiet meditation, instead of worrying about how much, or little, I am getting done.

I make lists and lists of ideas I have, to be written out, as my work, in a less rigid but similar way to my schedule system. This is my "work" (i.e., my writing and my art). But the lists accumulate, because I do not follow-up on them. And then, one day, I sit down and catch them up. It is better, to be, free, but it is necessary, to be, in control. This is my pathology.

I don't like to work this way, but I do. After I am caught up once again (notice the double entendre of the poignant phrase "caught up" ), I am happy, to be back "in control." This is what it is, planning, lists, an attempt to be in control of what I am, a thinking/imaging machine, when it is so much easier to be free, which I am, when I do not complete, but rather ignore, The Schedule.


Indian Giver Summer

I should be out cutting the grass on this nice fine autumn day instead of sitting inside at my computer playing mental games. I should be doing a lot of things...should...should...fuck you, by which I mean, fuck me, the super-ego bastard haunting me, never leaving me alone. Boldly, I refuse to feel, not, guilty, but I do. My mere protestation is a manifestation of the guilt.

It doesn't happen all that often, but when it does, it's prevalent, like it's going to go on forever, like I'm never going to return to the way I used to be. Now, I am beginning to return, after weeks, even months, if you count the vacation I took, which was more the same, more disguised, because it was summer and justifiable. I appreciate, being lazy, except for the guilt, postponing doing.

All the things I determine should be done. Guilt and its correlate, activity, fend off the expectation of being "required" to do something for a "living," when life is free, a gift, a given. I got away with something, by virtue of having been born, and now, what? I have to earn it? God is an Indian Giver? Productivity is a way of life I am programmed into, not by God, but humans.

Indian summer is a curse, a joke, we have learned to appreciate, perpetuated by a god we only want to think is personal, because we project our own distorted perception of reality onto skyless visages and thus come to believe we are controlled, demanded of, pushed and pulled, at last, in this modern world, substituting companies and corporations for the lack of control we want, to feel.

Spirituality is feeling, which deteriorates as winter nears. Every year I go through this same thing, transitioning between warmth when activity is natural without an artificial constraint established by planning and production schedules, ignored, and cooling atmospheres that twist in wind and then relent and then... Please, God, let it get cold, once and for all, or let it stay warm.

I care, which. But one or the other. I don't want to die or freeze. I just want to be, free of the restraint, and doubt, and wavering mentality. Should I be outside cutting grass and raking leaves, even though I do not want, to be? Should I stay inside and work at what others think is futile spurious unnecessary production? I lie around at night and watch TV. Ah, there's a warm activity.


The only thing now that stands between me and "success" (or whatever) is my willingness to work at it. It might be argued that this has always been the case, a la a Tony Roberts type of philosophy; but this is not true, for me. My limiting factors have always been (probably in reverse order of importance):

1. a marked aversion to "networking," i.e., a magnified loathing/fear/anxiety of directly contacting people in person;

2. a propensity to put off doing what is not very easily done, and even some things which are easy, i.e., that which is consensually labeled as "lazy" (although I believe that laziness is a wisdom far beyond the consensual human world.)

But now, with the full implementation of electronic age devices, I have no excuses. The potential and the ease are right here in front of me, negating limitations, at least re e-publishers. E-mail overcomes the ponderous and trial-ridden paper submission process, and the net provides an ease of search for markets. No more running to the post office to determine correct (and expensive) postage and interacting with postal clerks who cannot, by virtue of their personality/occupation, ever really understand the soul of an artist and his distain for the prosaic world. No more...


I don't mind so much doing things for people, especially people I know, when they cannot do them for themselves. I do mind, however, that they will "use" me, asking me to do things out of their sense of "poor helpless little me" when they are perfectly capable of doing whatever it is that they want me to do. In this case, they may not know they are capable, they may truly feel helpless, but if I do what they want me to do, I am enabling their helplessness, which I may want to do (many people do), out of a need to feel superior, but I never want to do it consciously, and always I regret established patterns of behavior where I have fallen into a "helper" mode, when the activity I "help" with develops, as the helpee develops (but usually doesn't know it), long after the initial necessity for help wears off.

The thing to do is to teach others who feel they have become dependent on me how to be independent of me. But this can be a dedicated task in itself, and often I don't see the long-term value in it, when just doing what they want me to do, alone, by myself, can be immediately simpler and take less short-term time.

My own drive toward independence, always wanting to do everything myself, combined with my conscious attempt to devoid myself of hangers-on, results in (or derives from) my desire to be, alone, withdrawn. This is well documented elsewhere. I need not go into it here.


No one wants to read what I need to write.
And I don't want to write what everyone needs to read.
The discrepancy is off-putting, to the point of distraction.
I have to motivate myself, to remain productive.
If I cease writing, the pressure mounts.
It's the only way I have to express myself.
No one wants to hear what I need to say.
And I don't want to say what anyone needs to hear.
My art is a predicament: I must express, myself.
Yet my self is a part of the existence of others.


Boredom is a problem I encounter all the time when considering other people's writings. But that's my problem, not the writer's. I want to be well informed, to be apprised of what is in the heads of all kinds of people, but only if it comes naturally, easily, not if it requires the expenditure of more than cursory time. I've learned to speed-read for this reason, to scan through documents to find those gems that interest me. As for the disregarded words that writers write, and as for the writers' lives themselves as they are reflected in the words, I could usually care less; but as I say, that's my problem, not theirs.

Boredom is disaffection, a symptom of a dissociative split where the subject identifies with the remaining consciousness while repressing the dissociation; or, in other words, more simply, it is denial, in this case that the words have meaning, that another writer exists and creates artistic value that is seen to usurp the value of the person who is bored reading the words. We repress what hits too closely, and we (I, and others like me) fall into the habit of dismissing (the value of) others' lives as they are defined and explicated in their artistic efforts.

When you feel the "pangs" of "anxiety," it could be a signal that you have done something wrong, although the "wrong" could be a mere social faux-paux, and not a real mistake of lasting (karmic) value. Distinguishing between the former and the latter is the art of social survival and prosperity. Mistaking the former for the latter is the bane of anyone who would give free reign to intuition.

Conspiracy theory and paranoia are labels attributed to the products of insight behaviors that people want to dismiss. The behaviors could be crazy, or they could be sane. Often they are borderline, a disorder driving perceptions to the point of truth while the mechanisms of perception (perceivers) move on, as unable to distinguish between facts and fantasy as they are able to intuit an underlying truth, the mutual correspondence uniting those of us who do not know.


Bad times. All of the usual. Nothing new worth writing about.
Need to regroup, big time. Back to basics. Withdraw and recon.


I don't get it. Why would anyone want to do what everyone else is doing, in art or in life? If it's a matter of money, okay. I can understand that. But for the sake of art, to write in the style of another in popular and all but ubiquitous formats. Why? To be like everybody else? It's the herd instinct.


Unless you're in pain, the present is always the happiest time.
The past can be as miserable as it can get, fraught with sorrow.
The future can be dismal, although usually it's a misperception.
But in a now state, no one can hurt you, if you will not allow it.
Past and future belong to someone else, but now belongs to you.



Life is an experiment, in identity. I am what I choose, to be. Each year, each epoch, creates circumstances I relate to as environment/experience. I intentionally change myself, to see, what I will become. I call it self-improvement, but it's a more subtle method. I am never myself, until I become it, again, but then, again, I change, to understand what I no longer have remained. In a state of periodic flux I am numerous identities, a tremendous switching network, trying to remember pasts when I was someone else, fleeting moments/images of better/worse times when I am, more or less successful.


Self-esteem is a difficult concept. You can have both low self-esteem and high self-esteem, in different areas of your life, and even within the same area. For example, you may feel very good about yourself and confident of your abilities in your work while you feel very badly and lack self-confidence in your social life; or you can feel good about the way you handle a certain aspect of your job and badly about another aspect. Divergent patterns may develop in quite specific areas. For example, you may be highly self-regarding in terms of your stamp collection, but think of yourself a total loser when it comes to your ability to deal with cats.

We may hurry through our daily lives hardly thinking at all about our feelings toward ourselves and our abilities and disabilities, but we are continually plagued by self-doubts that lurk just beneath the surface, controlling us. They guide us toward specific types of behavior and away from other types, so that we think we prefer doing what we do, when in fact the exact opposite might be true, we might prefer to do what we avoid, but are too afraid to do it.

Unconsciously, to the purpose of our self-esteem, we gravitate toward what we feel we are good at, all along secretly wishing we were good at something else, when all it would take to be good at what we really want to be good at would be to see how it is we make ourselves bad at it via our doubts and fears.

You never know what you don't know until you learn it. Most others don't know that you don't know it either. But if you think you know something, especially by virtue of having received a formal education, people assume that you do know it, even if you never learned it. We walk around as a species that thinks it knows far more than it actually does.

Everyone celebrates Amelia Aerhart in the same way they celebrate Charles Lindbergh. But did anyone ever consider that maybe she could have gotten lost because she wasn't really so good a pilot? I'm being sarcastic. I know she had a navigator with her. But then, maybe he wasn't so good a navigator, and if he wasn't, then maybe she wasn't so good a judge of people to have chosen him, which means, in her chosen profession, she may not have been so good at a secondary skill necessary for being such a hot-shot pilot. What I'm trying to say here is, being famous for something is maybe not so "cracked up" as it's supposed to be.


It used to be that I could focus on one primary activity: my journal, with pastiches and projects as mere offshoots of it; a unitary purpose. That had been my "work," and my "home" concerns were done as afterthoughts, or they were abandoned until they just had to be done, when I would abandon writing in order to attend to more basic needs. This allowed me a duality of purpose which, although I didn't like it much, still it focused me, one way or the other, a schizoid orientation.

But now, as "work" has expanded into psychology, websites, and all the concerns related to becoming more public, I have lost my focus. I need to get it back, via a discipline, and a new, concise procedure. I've been through this before. As a matter of fact, as I think of it, I go through it yearly. It's an annual pattern, with multiple subsets, mini-patterns, reconstructions of procedures to keep them fresh, so as to prevent my "work" from stagnating. Motivation is so difficult.


1. I know that this statement, in itself, is insulting to women, but that's just a sympathetic reaction on my part. [back]

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