“Tilt your head and turn it towards the sun.” – Stars

“Waterfall goes softly to the sea. And I feel my hands are finally free. Oh, give me a chance so I can find the sea. One and one; one and one is me.” – Wheat

Well, well. Fancy meeting you here again.

So, I have been writing, despite lack of all evidence here. In fact, writing so much that it’s seemed a little overkill or OCD, even for me; writing writing writing. But it’s all been for myself; working on a story that must remain only mine, at least for now; chipping away at other ideas way too strange even to tell to you; circling and circling this amazingly strange and wonderful new ‘space’ I’ve discovered, like an overlay on the world I previously knew, all too well, but which was hidden from me by secret codes and handshakes I could only dream of.

Writing in my digital Bear, some, yes; mostly cataloging the recent past; trying to put down markers for future reference, remember the places where time moved too fast, so I have to play it back. Typing is good for that; I’m really fast at a keyboard, when I just need to catch the quickest thoughts as they go by the interpreter in a caffienated Rush.

But mostly writing in my paper notebooks — the slow(er) kind of writing; more introspective; more spatial; sometimes with associated sketches and arrows and scribbles for emphasis, or as substitutes for actual mediatation. I’m now on my third one, since I restarted that sporadic habit this fall, [a habit that stretches back at least 30-years; and maybe more like 35]. Not sure when that will wind down or if it will keep pace, but if I keep going at 10-12 pages on a good night, I’m going to need to start buying them in bulk.

But all of that is, pretty much, and as I said, another story; a story that would come well after +99 here. If ever; because it’s a story I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to tell. (Although, “ever” is so long, probably, that it’s foolish of me to assume that. Better to think that I will definitely tell it, just later than I think I might.) Alternately, it might just leak out in unexpected ways, like tears lately, or in the occasional, unanticipated slosh of an overfull mental bucket. We are not always as in control as we think, or would like. Sometimes ideas slip out like meeting an old friend in a new, unfamiliar place.

“Which one am I again?”


For years (I mean: years), I’ve looked out the windows at our mostly-wild landscape in this season and thought, “Fucking frozen winter hellscape. Surely this is what’s making me miserable. Surely it’s just because it’s [January].” [*insert name of current month here*]

Now I look out and think, “My god, where did all this beauty come from? Sure it’s cold — I mean, by The Old Gods is it ever cold! — but that’s part of the fun. It couldn’t be this astoundingly white and ice blue and a million shades of interleaving gray without the cold. And we need a good hard frost to kill off all the nasty bits. And it’s not all bad, needing an excuse to walk outside, to go babysit the stove in the studio six or sixteen times a day. Not all bad at all.”

It would be natural to assume that when I stopped writing here, it was because I stopped chasing the Muse; gave up on The OA. But it’s the opposite — because I was chasing her harder, farther, faster, more intently; the Wild Hunt howling in full throat for days at a time.

“This Is A State Of Grace.”

And, another bit of unexpected grace: as I pace my circles around our driveway circle, trying to keep my long, aging limbs moving even at the nadir of the solstice, I get to actually see the track of where I’ve been; literally how many laps made by footprints, captured in snow. Just like fingertips trailing across the wet surface of a just-thrown pot, or how I was, walking the beaches, as a sunburned, foolishly optimistic kid — completely unaware that not every landscape in my later life would automatically record the trace of my passing, like sand. I walk out on that 8º morning; or this -11º morning; and can see all the loops of yesterday’s walk; and the day before’s; and the day before’s. I need, right now, that reminder of the days passed; proof of progress through The Long Night. It is not optional; not a luxury. The count keeps me in rhythm; synced to the eternal Cloud; out of the ditch; away from the old edge of the old, goddamn Abyss.

So, like retracing those steps through the snow, I’ve been needing to write for only me; to figure out what the fuck is going on in here. I just kind of stumbled into moving the slider on the Public/Private control all the way up to 99. (Well, maybe 95; if you’ve been following me on Instagram — and you really should be following me on Instagram; I mean; I’m getting pretty good there — you know that I’ve been using it like a little microblog more; like shards of these longer arcs; excuses for another space to drop random-to-you-but-crucial-to-me lyrics; saying more with a photo than my brain (or courage) have been able to muster with full paragraphs.

I need to dance to TS with new earbuds in my studio in the early morning dark, while the stove kicks back up to an inferno from the embers. I needed to let my beard grow wild for a few more days, here in the mandatory winter “break”; to go out in the single digits and cut broken trees and haul next next year’s firewood; and play backyard lumberjack just to prove that I’m not yet fully broken or too far gone, both for the lumberjacking and the play. I needed to put on new strings and be amazed again at the sound this thing can make; I have played more guitar in the last month than in the previous five years combined. Maybe a lot more. I’ve got two or three new songs almost learned, to where I can go through them without having to think about it too hard. It is mesmerizing, like a self-cast magic trick, and so heartening to hear my own voice dare to sing. Again.

I needed, these last weeks which have felt like months, to make a list of Important Things To Do Today and then studiously ignore it, for, instead, playing snippets of songs into Voice Memos on my new iPhone, or putting together new Lego sets with Pixel, or continuously not going down to load salt into the softener barrel in the basement.

At least, that’s what I *think* I needed. It seemed to work out OK. I’ll be “behind” again in April, and May, and probably in March, but maybe it’s time to take a good hard look at what that really means, and who the dreamer is who keeps indulging in that particular self-cast nightmare, anyways.

Because I really have no idea.

I’m trying to find new friends; trying to start this massive book about ancient Rome; {down, autocorrect! I’ll decide if “ancient” gets a capital A; not you!}; trying to at least think about sorting this almost-done year’s receipts, so I’m not stuck fiddling with paper on a gorgeous day in Spring, like I have been every year since I first tried to be legit about selling pottery in this world.


So: I used to wake up, nearly every damn day, and think, “Fuck, another damn day.” That is literally, exactly what I would think. That and/or worse. I am almost more ashamed to admit it than I am compelled to admit it. So there; now you know.

Now I wake up and think, “Wow, another day. I want to do everything today. How am I going to choose? How will I fit it all in?” And this is no little fling; no temporary {in}sanity injected into the norm; it’s been that way for months now. Months. “I’m doing better than I ever was.”

Somehow, the help pulled me out of the Abyss. And then, as if that wasn’t enough for one year, I somehow also slipped the hangman’s noose; given a reprieve from my choice of execution, where I’d hung, gasping, for years. I’m still gawking at that combination of circumstances; struggling to fit it into a coherent view of the universe; marveling at it. That kind of fortune deserves reverence; vast appreciation. I will try not to get greedy. I will try not to want too much more.

And if this new state (of grace) does turn out to be temporary — if the Abyss drags me back into its gravity; if the noose sneaks back around my neck in some new, unanticipated form — then I feel the urgent, desperate need to use this time, right now, to lay down new patterns; new circles in the snow, which, hopefully, will bring me back here, if and when I get lost again. So I’be been screaming my way into new anti-patterns; going FILDI at as many things as I can juggle at once; doing the opposite of almost everything I used to do, aside from the cores of being a decent Dad, and crossing off my chores, and not blowing out my back, and eating and sleeping, at least occasionally, well.

The contrast — between Old Me and New Me — is sometimes dizzying; inscrutable joy (as if I’m drunk without ever having been drunk) alternating with profound confusion (as if I woke up in someone else’s body, and need to learn how these fingers and legs work). An almost-daily twist of regret and mourning for everything I lost while I was lost; for who I could be or would have become by now if not for all that. (With recognition of what Maron said, about that immediate tendency to blame yourself for not knowing then what you suddenly know now, and how that’s fruitless. I get that. I respect that, and grant myself that pass. But still — that guy I used to be was a stubborn fucking idiot sometimes, wasn’t he? I hated that guy. I wouldn’t blame you if you hated him, at least sometimes, too.)

Been thinking that it’s like the thing that I killed and left in that shallow roadside grave was not The Dream, but the *me* who stumbled through trying to kill it from, oh, let’s say 2007 to mid-2017. That’s a long fucking decade to be lost. That’s a critical mistake, to think that I could strip off that skein of hope and live without it, like Peter Pan without his shadow.

“Just because I’m losing, doesn’t mean that I’m lost. Doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I deserved; no better and no worse.”

So: sorry for the delay; sorry for the future delays; sorry for being sorry. You know what I mean. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” So much has happened that I would have liked to also capture and track and share here — it seems deeply crazy that I wrote a blog post on the morning of my sale and completely forgot about it until I friend just reminded me of it the other day, so thoughtfully sending me a screenshot of it on his device, to prove to me that these words I put on my screen actually do go out into the world, and to other minds, sometimes. Weird how often I forget that, amongst the dark and the notice. I read it again yesterday (or was it the day before the day before that? I lose track…) and it was actually good; and also good that that was only 20 days ago and feels like 20 weeks. And I don’t actually mean “deeply crazy” like crazy, but deeply weird; like unbelievably strange. Like my internal sense of time passing has warped to match the contours of this new terrain; this strange, unmapped place where I’ve no desire to waste time, to get past it, to skip ahead via video games and televised sports or drama, and instead want to either be soaking up every moment — often listening to music as much and deeply and in ways I haven’t since I was literally a teenager — or asleep, refueling for the next charge into the unknown.

In a D&D metaphor, I just keep coming back up to the surface base camp with one strange, powerful, dauntingly beautiful artifact after another; mystified that they’d been lying under the surface, just beneath our feet, all that time, while I obliviously sleepwalked through years, staring at my feet yet missing the fact of all that ground/earth/substance beneath; immune to the idea of things both seen and unseen. Now it’s like I’m rolling natural 18’s and 20’s most days of the week, with the occasional, paltry 9 not being against anything fatal; all my bad rolls now seem recoverable, with a little rest and some extra spellbook study.

As my new brain has gradually ramped up to cruising speed (I hope), my attention has sometimes gone fractal; trying to be everywhere at once; and so (or, maybe, in spite of this) my writing has gone way, way deeper than even I was expecting. I am using the tricks and tools that I developed here on the blog, back in the way-gone of Oct and Nov (with you as volunteer audience to help me learn them), to burrow, now, down where no audience should go; at least, not yet. If I keep writing myself to sleep each night, instead of watching TV or reading The New Yorker, I’m a little scared of where that might lead. Is it possible to learn too much about yourself, scribbling out one word at a time?

And I don’t mean for that suggestion of unseen words to be tantalizing — assuming you like and maybe even value them, at least a little — or a promise of future quantity and quality, it does feel a lot like being out there in the snow, geared up and trying to have fun without cutting my leg off: sawing up raw materials that will fuel as-yet-Unknown future work, once the requisite time for seasoning is complete… Who knows what might happen in a sufficiently-warmed room in 2019? With an infinitely malleable material like clay — or words — or thoughts — and enough serotonin to keep from getting stuck in another bad series of loops; and, with any more luck — although I know I can’t ask for, and shouldn’t ever expect, any more than I’ve already, recently had — it seems like possibly just about anything could happen. Just about.

And that’s kind of the essence of hope, isn’t it? Of dreams? Not expecting, not counting on them, but allowing them?

I don’t know what else I can tell you about all this, today. Rewiring a brain from scratch is hard work. Labor intensive. Non-linear. Hard to estimate how much time and money it might take to complete the job. Hard to show evidence of past work in the “finished” product.

It’d be nice to have wrapped the year with that ‘final’ +99 post; the one I’ve been thinking about, and hinting at, for months. But I still seem only vaguely closer to writing it; it might need next year’s firewood to fully combust. So yeah, sure, that would have been nice, but nice is not always worth chasing. Trying to fit my actual life, day by day, hour by hour, to the harsh geometry of arbitrary calendars feels like Old-Me thinking. For the sake of what? A very shallow riff on a joyless joke? Like: look at me, I hit a numerological deadline! Yay. Yeah, maybe that kind of thinking was always more part of the problem than part of the solution. Whereas dropping that quote-unquote important post on some random day in January (or June) (or next January) feels much more humane; more in tune with the human I actually am. And this human still needs all the help he can get.

“So it goes.”

So 2017 was the first year in a long time that I didn’t hate. Well, that’s not strictly true: I hated the first seven months of it, as usual. That’s why I ( finally ) went to get help. And then, like the punch in a fairytale, the help, somehow, magically… helped. The last five months — those were really good. Intense, wild, brave, scary-good, but so much better.

“My castle crumbled overnight. I brought a knife to a gunfight. They took the crown, but I’m alright. All the liars are calling me one. Nobody’s heard from me for months. I’m doing better than I’ve ever was.” — TS

Thanks, Taylor. Sincerely, and from the greatest depths I can plumb. This music, your music, has helped me more in the last year than I could say in a thousand blog posts. You are an incarnation of The OA. I am unerringly grateful.

So August through December has been like a renaissance. A new way of writing, a new language of thinking, an almost — at times — brand new way of looking at… well, fucking everything. I don’t know how else to put that. And sorry, but the F-bomb there is necessary; like so many seemingly unnecessary things.

I am humbled by that newness, where I’d truly believed there was no room left for anything that wasn’t old. Brought low in my dominion of self; to where I can now bow to the full New Year moon as I pass by, in the sub-zero snow walk to feed the stove. I am so much less than I’d insisted, and so much more, now, than I’d hoped.

And since I couldn’t have predicted any of this, a year ago — since I failed completely to see any of it coming — I am officially out of the prediction business. I will, instead, make small, contained goals. I will try to keep my To Do lists short and on point (with everything else dumped into appropriately labeled containers, minus expectations and guilt: Someday Maybe; If You Feel Like It; Rainy Day Insanity). I will try to be open to each new bend in the road, each new curveball from outer space, and each new opportunity to indulge in another Oxford comma, or not.

I will just try.

“There’s glitter on the floor after the party.”