064--> One of these days I'm going to stop futzing around and get back into a productive state--one of these days. This extremely unfocused state of mind wouldn't be so bad if I could still smoke pot.
In a sense, doing things, all of the various projects, even art, is a mentality to get past, to be beyond. You want to do most things to get them done, to have them over with. But they pile up and bog you down.
I forget this attitude. I get all of these ideas and images that I must bring into existence--and then they're done, each specific one; but in my mind they go on, as the completed end of a long list yet unexpressed.
I tend to think of these projects as burdens, certainly when they're not yet completed, but even when they're done. (Art is never finished, only abandoned.) They become confused with that other category:
Tasks that must be done repetitively, like mowing the lawn, trimming the hedges, sweeping the carpet... It's all one big "must do" weight bearing down on me, intermixed with boring obligation.
I've got to get this idea separated out: some of the things I want to do, the most important things, are one-time shots. Art motive in general is repetitive, but each specific project is discrete--to be done.
It's this sense of wanting to be done that bugs me, because I don't want to finish something, I want to finish everything. I've got to change this attitude, and I know how to do it, but I don't. This is next:
You write a short piece or create a discrete image; you put it into the "done" category; and you move on. Each piece becomes a part of the past. The value lies in the act of doing, not in the finished work.
This is what I do. This is who I am. I am not the evidence you see of what it is I've done. I am what I am doing, right now. This is why I feel so unfulfilled when I'm not working, because I am nothing then (now).
So I've got to get back to work, but with a different attitude. I've got to forget about my "accomplishments" and concentrate on the process. Day in, day out, I create an ongoing art that is my life.
This person who stares back at me from the mirror is not who I am. I like the way this guy looks, with his full beard and long hair, like some aging Willie Nelson, hippie/biker dude. And I especially like the idea that other people see me this way all the time. But when I don't see the actual image in front of me, I don't feel like him. I don't even feel like the adult that he is. I feel more like a kid who's playing at this game of life. I guess that's a good thing, to feel so young and vulnerable, not at all the jaded, crusty outlaw look-alike that I guess I really am. Life is strange, when you separate the appearances out from the internal reality. It's almost like I'm two different people but don't know it most of the time. Everyone else knows this strange guy that I hardly ever realize I am.
Today is oppressive, the worst of the summer so far. The air is thick and heavy and I can hardly breathe. I got up at three in the afternoon after having gone to bed at eight in the morning. My back aches from the humidity. I walk around barely able to move. And the sad (or happy) thing is that I love this kind of weather, despite the physical discomfort. Something about the hot sticky summer appeals to my basic nature. It's a kind of altered reality, like the atmosphere of In the Heat of the Night. It's different, as if I'd taken acid last spring and it's taken that long to come on so that I'd forgotten all about it. (I actually did that several times, taken a hit of acid and then forgotten until an hour later when I found myself stoned out of my mind in an inappropriate situation realizing that I shouldn't have gone out in the social world, but remained squirreled away safe at home.) I wish I could do that now. But the past is past, and this is the present, and although it's presenting me with a feeling of alteration, it's not enough altered for my taste. It never is, any more. This same old state of mind goes on forever now. Nothing is new. Everything is as it's always been for quite a while, summer, winter. Only the relative temperature changes, and with it my motivation; but beneath it, the sense of sameness persists.
Last week, when Cheney said "Go fuck yourself" to Leahy, his message wasn't meant only for Leahy. It was meant for all liberals. The Vice President of this nation told all liberal citizens to go fuck themselves. All of you who know me know what my response to that is.
I went over to my brother's for dinner today. When I got there, Joyce was outside planting flowers, after having spread six large bags of oak mulch (which smelled very much like it had manure mixed into it). My brother had recently constructed the flower beds in front of the house with landscaping timbers, so I mentioned to him that I needed to get some railroad ties to replace the ones in front of my house that were rotting away. I was leading up to asking him to drive me out to Home Depot in his truck to pick them up when he said that there were two of them over at the fire hall that they tore out. So we went over and got them. He left them in his truck and said he'd bring them over tomorrow.
My nephew Jay wasn't home when I was there. He'd called to say that he was going swimming in the Yough with a friend of his. He arrived home shortly before I left this evening. On the way home, I heard on the radio that a kid had drown in the Yough just south of where Jay had been swimming. [The following Thursday, I will read an lj journal entry of a girl who knew the guy who drowned. Coincidence? Probably. But I can help but read some kind of significance into the correspondence.]
My brother dropped the railroad ties off this afternoon, so I began to rip up the old ones, thinking I'd get started on the project, not really planning to finish it. But an hour later, I had the new ones in place. Everything went just right, except for the oppressive humidity that almost stopped me several times. But now I'm back inside with the high-speed fan blowing directly on me and I feel fine.
I went out shopping, despite feelings that the world was not so welcoming a place today, or that I was out-of-sync with it. First stop: the bank. The cash machines were not working. I had to go inside. Second stop: food store to check out vitamins on sale two for one. They didn't have anything I needed. Third stop: Blockbuster: I forgot my card. Fourth stop: CVS, also for vitamins. Their vitamins also turned out to be on sale two for one. Again, they didn't have what I needed. I headed on down Beulah Rd. toward the Foodland store, thinking that maybe it was a waste of time, because so far I'm four for four on things not going in my favor. But the world turned by the time I got to the store, and everything went okay. Still, overall, I should have stayed at home. I'm getting the idea that I should be staying at home a lot more. I'm out too much.
I awaken this morning with the same idea I had yesterday, that I'm out too much, spending too much money. My various art projects and the recent beer and wine making has cost me several hundred dollars. I should be more cautious about how much money I'm spending.
This beer and wine making kick that I've been on for the last month or so has been something that I've needed to get beyond for a long time. It's been a goal of mine for the last several years, on a list that had me waiting until summer so that I didn't have to artificially heat the batches to keep it fermenting; and I'd let each past summer pass without doing it. But now it's done. Maybe now I can cross those items (making beer and mead) off the list permanently.
Like many of the things I plan to do, this has been a kind of art. But I don't drink the wine, and I seldom drink the beer. The wine sits in bottles as a testament to the art of the past. But now it's time to get back to a different kind of art, the visual art that I've been neglecting, and the writing projects that I've all but put aside.
Doubt has been the culprit here, that sneaky bit of self-ignored psychology that creeps in ahead of the full-blown syndrome when everything seems to be going fine and tries to upset my delicately balanced life. Long before I crash into an oblivion of ennui, I have these all but unconscious inklings that hint at a lack of a sense of self-worth. I doubt my purpose in life, or any one of the mini-purposes with which I fill my days. I doubt my ability to write, or to produce a quality visual art, despite all evidence to the contrary. I stop doing what I typically do when I am most productive, temporarily, I think. I rationalize that I'm just taking a short vacation. I tell myself that I'll be getting back to work any day now. But time drags on and I don't get back to it in a full production mode for weeks and sometimes months. Meanwhile I try to convince myself that I have no need to worry.
But worry is the next stage, if the syndrome will escalate. And I'm beginning to feel a little bit of nagging now, that something is wrong beneath the summer affect that makes everything seem so right. Am I spending too much money? Is there a future time shortly ahead that will cause me to regret not hedging every single resource against even harder times? Probably, everything is all right and the affect I am suffering from is cued entirely from inner motives. I doubt that there is any problem here at all. But it is doubt nonetheless.
One of these days, in the very far future I hope, I'm going to go to sleep and have a dream that I'll remain in forever, never again to awaken. Is that the way it's going to happen? I wonder.
In the film Moscow on the Hudson, Robin Williams is followed by a guy who he thinks might be the KGB or the CIA. It turns out, as the guy says, that he's G-A-Y. Williams says, with a breathe of relief, that, no, he isn't gay. The guy says something like "Oh. I thought we had a moment back there."
This is the way it is: People think they have moments with other people, but really what they experience is a moment with themselves, when they project what they want a person to be and/or how they want a person to make them feel onto someone else and think that the other person in some way injects a feeling into them, when the feeling actually originates within their own self/personality. It's a form of denial and projection. It's not real in a "real world" sense. We are, always, our own best lovers, and either we are good at projecting it onto others, or we are left alone. Which condition is better is a matter of debate. On one hand, we live with the illusion that we are loved because we instill in someone else that sense of love we feel for ourselves, but project away. On the other hand, we recognize the reality of the situation and realize that we are forever alone, no matter whom we are with. In this case, we had better learn to love ourselves, because it's all we have, really.
Before I became free, like everyone else, I depended upon a family for support, in particular upon my mother. (My father's support was optional and token. He would have kicked me out of the house a long time earlier).
Then there was a time when I was perfectly mobile, with a backpack filled with all of the possessions I needed, a 7'x7' nylon tent, and enough money to survive when I couldn't manage to find the plants and animals to live on.
Then, later, there was a time when all of my possessions were contained in a Dodge Tradesman three-quarter ton van. I lived in rented apartments and worked at low paying jobs, but I was free to depart any time I wished.
Then I made the big mistake of buying a house. This was inevitable, because people who are insecure must vest their security in something substantial. But I guess I could have vested it in the money I was saving.
Actually, I did this, in that I was investing it. And a vestige of that still exists to this day, but not so much as before, since I no longer have a steady income and must rely on interest rates that Bush has lowered to nearly nothing.
Thus, my security has been significantly shifted back toward my house, which, the mortgage paid off, provides me with a certain amount of security, since they can't take it away from me without drawn out legal procedures.
But money, though it is in shorter supply, is still my primary security. Though this is a somewhat typical neurosis, it is neurosis nonetheless. From time to time I still have dreams that indicate the nature of the problem:
I'm on a bus, heading into the city. My mother happens to be on the same bus, but we are not together. I have a large proportion of my possessions with me, in various bags and in a huge, six-foot long (coffin-like) box [death anxiety]. I'm having a problem keeping all of this stuff together and it's spreading itself around the bus. I'm leaving home, setting out on my own, and I'm feeling quite insecure about it and wishing I did not have to go. When we get into town, all of my stuff is piled up on the street outside a store next to the last bus stop. I figure I'll put it all in bus depot lockers until I can figure out where I'm going to live. But I'm having problems gathering it all together, and I certainly can't carry it all, so I'm wondering how I'm going to get it the ten or so blocks to the Port Authority building. I find that I can collapse the knapsacks, each of which contains very little, and pack them all into one, along with a lot of miscellaneous stuff and, if I carry that knapsack on my back, that leaves only the big box to carry. Four young guys come along. They're playing around, jostling each other. They stand behind two of my boxes (previously there was only one) that are standing upright on the sidewalk in front of a bench. They begin pushing at the boxes, threatening to topple them over and spill the contents out onto the sidewalk and into the street. I push back on the boxes, both to keep them upright and to return the guys' threat. I push the boxes over onto the guys, forcing them back onto the bench and pinning them beneath the boxes. Then, I pull the boxes off of them, one at a time, indicating that I mean them no harm, that I'm just protecting my property. This is the threat I feel: that people will upset my possessions and leave me in this dark (it's night in the dream) world without means of support. I don't feel any particular ill will toward people, but if they act to threaten my security, they're going to suffer an attack. In this sense, fuck George Bush. He's a likable sort of guy under benign circumstances, but I need to get him packed into one of my coffin-boxes before it's too late.
I get these ideas that I think are so outlandish that I end up considering myself to be a misanthropic rebel. And then I encounter the same ideas echoed within the mainstream society:
Hackers gather in New York City at the fifth annual Hackers on Planet Earth conference to discuss all the little ways that the government and corporations are turning technology against the people.
Doctors at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion described his coma as self-induced. "It looked voluntary to us," explained Doctor Spumken. "Sometimes we see guys who are just trying to beat the system. You know - free intravenous meals, don't have to work, sponge baths. But we can usually weed them out with tickling. This guy had a lot of self-control."
Bunter later changed his mind back to his original views, noting that he had been right all along. Still, it was a first, and Bunter has been asked to give inspirational talks to corporations on the subject of pretending to embrace change.
Never mind how the government is betraying its citizens, violating their privacy rights and giving their money to the corporations. Consider how the citizens are betraying their government. If this administration survives, if Bush is re-elected, then it will prove that Americans are incapable of learning a lesson from history. Remember Nixon? This guy makes him look like an amateur.