About Kick Me: Diary 4/25 to 4/30/21

{4/25/21}  Weight 213.6 at 6:15 am.

Playing around on the Internet, I took a look at my “Recent Poems” on my blog, and the first one there made me catch my breath.  Here it is:

Out of Touch

I see myself in her, this girl of six,

Her dirty fingers grubbing in the dirt.

A yellow car putt-putts around the mound

She calls El Rocko. Crumpled foil must be

The motor home that stands where once my house

Burned down and killed the devils, Mom and Dad.

That must be right ‘cause there’s the hill behind us.

The laughing girl is whirled away by wind

While I hold down my hair to keep it neat,

And shun the rain that is her seldom joy.

I haven’t touched the earth since I was six

And now I don’t know how without her help.

Am I not a child of this age of rage?

When, how, why did the earth grow strange?

I tweeted a link to the “Recent Poems” with this poem spread over three tweets (might have been better to screen-capture to put it into one tweet).  @AWorldOutOfMind said “That is both very good and very dark.”  I have received no other comments, which is pretty disappointing, but Twitter is like that.

Watching this video about Biden’s announcement of “troop withdrawal” from Afghanistan was a deeply disturbing experience.  It might be a bit over the top to say, as was my first impulse, “We are the new Nazis, and there is no one to stop us.”  But it’s too damn close to the truth, even after the former guy.  I retweeted the link with the comment:

This is devastating, it’s so much worse than I thought!  The “announced withdrawal” amounts to, “No, we’re not leaving after all, forget the May deadline.”  Many thanks, Richard

So, from a high to a low in three hours.  Not that I’m particularly depressed about it.  After a nap and a few chocolate chip cookies from the toaster oven, life is good.

In bed before the nap, or maybe last night before sleep (memory is a funny thing), I wrote this:  “Matter is mostly empty space” is a misleading metaphor.  About the most that can be claimed for this is that atoms are not full of atoms, so are “empty” in that restricted sense.

My thinking was that atoms (and so, “matter”) are not empty because you can’t put more atoms, or even subatomic particles, in the “empty” part; the metaphor is based on the old “solar system” model of atoms.  It was pragmatic thinking about the original metaphor that led to this insight (if the word applies).

Old men (moi) love to look at young women because we can’t do much more than look.  Yes, I know this is disgusting (see a previous diary entry, “Disgust”).  One of my current throbs is Debby Ryan, “Jessie” on the Disney Channel.  She is gorgeous, of course, but her contralto voice is the frosting.

Knowing that I am disgusting, why would I put this on my blog?  Because it’s true, and I want truth in my writing and in my reading.

But why this and why now?  The least complicated answer is that the TV show was on just before I wrote.

I suppose the truest answer is that it’s all about mood and self image, in ways that I can’t readily express.  It was an impulse that I acceded to, without hesitation; perhaps springing from self-hate or bravado.  Or self-pity, a constant hazard these days.

Oscars tonight.  It’s irritating that I haven’t seen any of the movies, but I’ll likely enjoy it anyway, as I always do.  Pablo will be here, probably.

I feel caught in a slow-motion drama regarding my son.  Tomorrow I intend to search for him on Google one last time, then call a private investigator to find him.  I’ve been fitfully working on this for five years; my last sight of him was when he was eleven and he’s now twenty-five.  Hope and terror mixed.

{4/26/21}  Weight 214.4 at 4:15 am.

Worst Oscars ever.  No emcee, least clips ever, “In Memoriam” badly edited and too fast, presentation order mixed up stupidly, time wasted on “Oscar Trivia” stunt, Glenn Close cringe—nuff said.

On the plus side, Pablo was here to watch it with me, so I had somebody to whine to.  He made chicken curry for dinner, which was nice, though I have morning-after dishes to wash.  As for the winners, I hadn’t seen any of the movies, so I didn’t care much; I was interested in Nomadland because of advertising, so I was further interested when it won big awards, and I’ll see it eventually, if I live so long.

Lying in bed this early, early morning, I got to thinking about Don’t Tell God, one of the novels I wrote while on “the long vacation” (prison) and wanting to publish it.  It’s “the novel about the pervert,” so I am in serious doubt about it.  The problem is, almost all the novels I’ve worked on fall into the same category.  Free Books, Free Love is the exception, but it’s one of the least complete; probably that’s what I should work on, starting with junking the whole “Granny Jan sleeps with studly younger man” section.  Stick her with a sexless old age, i.e., like mine, and give her a friend other than Albert.  Or something.  I’d really like to expand Harold’s part, poor thing.  Alas, alack, it’s all handwritten, and the Prison Diary dictation languishes.

Wandering through my blog and Twitter, rereading yet again “You Need an Angle,” regretting that my “emphasis added” at one point had been lost in the transfer to WordPress, a thought ripens that had budded yesterday:  why publish?  I’m probably reaching more people, more readers, every day, day after day, as long as I keep posting, than I would by killing trees to get my words into the beloved format of a “real book.”

Found three or four Fritz Perls videos on YouTube, watched one, “What Is Gestalt Therapy?”  About 30 minutes long.  It was interesting, but the people were so grim-faced and laughter generally sounded nervous so that it was almost depressing.  Except for that, not much different than what I expected, and I was not encouraged to watch more, though I expect to at another time.

There’s also a lot of Alan Watts, and others.  It’s hard to see how I can fit much of this into “my busy schedule.”

“A thing isn’t valuable because it lasts.”  The quote is from Avengers: Age of Ultron, spoken by Paul Bettany as the Vision.  An experience isn’t valuable because it creates memories.  I’m telling myself this because I looked at my notes from the last Hemlock Club meeting (a fancy name for meeting Nog for four hours).  I didn’t want to write up the meeting for the blog, in part because our discussion was more personal than usual—but not that personal.  So?

So I’m going to “cherry pick,” surely a better approach than what I’ve been doing:

I gave Nog this quote to read:

“The story is told that one day while [Bertrand] Russell and [Alfred North] Whitehead were still collaborating on Principia Mathematica, Whitehead remarked to Russell, ‘You know, Bertie, there are two kinds of people in the world—the simple-minded and the muddle-headed.  I am muddle-headed; you, Bertie, are simple-minded.’

“The muddle-headed look at the complexities of things and write obscurely; the simple-minded cultivate clear and distinct ideas but miss the complex depths of sheer matters of fact.”

It’s from my “Bleak Philosophy” essay, q.v. for source.  I had tried to explain it to him previously and made a hash of it, so this was to “complete the gestalt.”  We discussed bird flight and song because of the Mourning doves and Rock doves flitting about.  He asked if I knew of Gary Snyder and I mentioned Turtle Island, and we got onto Plato’s cave, none of which strikes any sparks for me now.

Nog quoted Kermit the Frog:  “It’s not easy being green.”  I wrote that down, but what does it mean?  I mentioned the Goethe quote that I got by way of John Burroughs, no longer a household name, about when people can’t have science and art, they should be allowed the popular religion.  Then we moved on to the Tao Te Ching, and I read him a quote from Lin Yutang, from The Wisdom of China and India—I had copied it into my “Words” notebook so I’ll always have it available; I’ll copy it here:

“Briefly the ideas are:  the rhythm of life, the unity of all world and human phenomena, the importance of keeping the original simplicity of human nature, the danger of overgovernment and interference with the simple life of the people, the doctrine of wu-wei or ‘inaction,’ which is better interpreted as ‘non-interference’ and is the exact equivalent of laissez-faire, the pervading influence of the spirit, the lessons of humility, quietude and calm, and the folly of force, of pride, and of self-assertion.  All these will be understood if one understands the rhythm of life.  It is profound and clear, mystic and practical.”  p. 580.

This is dense and obscure, and we didn’t really talk about it.  Nog said he’s living in the crate that his rickshaw came in; I told him of Thoreau’s recommendation that people live in boxes, though I didn’t mention that HDT didn’t do it himself.  I talked of my attraction to “fringey stuff” like General Semantics (Korzybski) and Gestalt Therapy (Fritz Perls), and said that “I might have done better in a world without books.”  Nog said, “When you can’t hug a tree, hug a treehugger.”  He’s rather casual about the whole COVID thing.  I talked about “my book problem,” which will be familiar to readers of my diary here.  And this concludes the HC meeting report.

I am in a low spot again.  How tiresome I am, very lethargic.  I’ve been feeling nauseated for hours while not finding the release of vomiting.  I slept from about 7:30 pm to 10:30, which is going to screw up my sleep tonight.  I’m thinking I’ll just watch a movie, then go to bed and see what happens.  I never ate dinner.

{4/27/21}  Weight 209.8 at 6:50 am.

I didn’t watch a movie, I was too sleepy.  I read a little of Writing Down the Bones.

I not only slept well last night, I’ve been sleeping literally all day today, up to about 4:00 pm.  Very lethargic, slightly nauseated, though I managed to eat breakfast and dinner.  Expecting a gain in the morning because I was surely dehydrated.  Too lethargic for much TV or Internet, watched about an hour of Jimmy Dore’s live feed.  Anti-nausea pills have helped.  I’m still not up to par.

I’m guessing a reaction to the second COVID shot is behind this.

{4/28/21}  Weight 209.0 at 6:30 am.

The weight loss is nice, but I’d rather be well again.

{4/29/21}  Weight 209.2 at 6:45 am.

Feeling better, but not 100%.

Watched a movie, In America, that had two charming girls, a bland mother, and an annoying father, with Djimon Honsou as an intimidating neighbor in New York.  So-so.

Dead phone this morning.

These days I think a lot about dying.

{4/30/21}  Weight 209.8 at 6:15 am.  This gain is annoying because all I ate yesterday was my standard breakfast (no dessert), mini cherry pie for lunch, and two small bean-and-cheese burritos for dinner, again no dessert.

Watched a DVD, Nói, in which the eponym is a feckless and humorless young man whom everybody likes for no apparent reason.  Set in Iceland, full of snow.  It’s billed as a coming-of-age story, and I suppose it qualifies; but it’s a bore from beginning to end.  Icelandic, I guess, with subtitles.  At least Nói wasn’t bullied—a cliché avoided, but the movie could have used a little more conflict.

I feel back to normal this morning, though not exactly energetic.

I’m rereading Anne Lamott:  Bird by Bird:  Some Instructions on Writing and Life and not enjoying it much, if at all, though it’s certainly “readable.”  A page of quotes from this book form the start of a set of pages I typed while in prison and reread often since, so I’m not expecting any particularly startling news.

I haven’t been working on anything while I’ve been sick, but I want to review/reread Kick Me to make whatever minor changes are required to put it in “readable” shape for Nog.  I last worked on the file two years ago.

Well I didn’t reread KM, but I did search for the markers I left (for later review) and reviewed and mostly deleted what was marked.  I also deleted the longest chapter in the book, about “the worst day of my life,” which described in exhausting detail the day I was released from prison—I’ve never felt good about the chapter; what I’ll finally decide about it I can’t guess right now.

I’m pretty sure that the book is terrible, but I also know that I can’t be objective about it.  I could try to read it tomorrow, but I’m not going to.  I’ll almost certainly read it after I give it to Nog.

I have almost $2,000 over the funds I need before my next Social Security deposit.  I’ll never have a better time to buy a car—except that I don’t know what Social Security and Medicare will do.  The roughly $600 that was deposited to my account is correct, but their thinking is still incorrect and I’m thinking that Medicare B from 12/1/20 to 5/1/21 is going to eat up that $600 again, or more, if I can even get them to understand how they’re screwing up.  So, nothing is really solved (I received a letter from them dated 4/27).

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