Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

06 September, 2019

from Field Notes: millionaire whore's bath/ bad dreams

K√≤ng  (Nothingness)
I don't know if I've ever been so relieved to hear the sound of a toilet tank refill.

They turned off the water this past Tuesday for nonpayment. I've been without water before -- on the road and living out. I know how to ration and prioritize. I've learned to survive on very little. That doesn't scare me. And even with no water, we still had a roof over our heads. We still had a comfortable bed. We even had a supply of clean water for coffee and cooking, and two rain barrels of water we could use for gray water for non-potable purposes.  There was plenty of food and the ability to cook it. I knew we'd be ok until the snafu got fixed.

But I didn't like the idea of having to think like that... at home.

Most of the time when I'm off the road and at home I bounce between embracing everything I love about being home and feeling like a fraud. Over the years I've grown more accustomed to the domestic sphere; but I can't ever escape the sensation of being a baboon, lumbering around and trying really hard NOT to wreck the place. When they turned the water off --

I found myself wondering about the fleeting nature of high concepts like home and comfort.

It wasn't a question of panic. It was a question of being pissed off.  Pissed that I'd let it happen. Pissed that I wasn't being mindful. Pissed because, even when I was drinking, I made sure utility bills were paid... or at least, paid down. Pissed.

But sometimes being pissed doesn't help. Anger can be a powerful, but dangerous motivator. Being pissed... that's a paralytic.  And we didn't have time for that.

So, we rationed our clean water for us and for the dogs and cat. We had 6 gallons of clean water, which meant if we were careful, we could make it last more than long enough to get the bill paid.
 ____

Dream from the first night:

In the dream I was sitting around a fire in the middle of a dark, expansive wilderness. I've dreamed of this wilderness before, but not of this particular fire. Sitting around the fire with me were my dad, my grandfathers, Steve (my first ex-father-in-law). The other elders are there, too, but there are a lot of them and I can't make out their faces in the darkness. I'm holding my red Bybee coffee mug. It's warm and full of coffee. Dad, my grandfathers, and Steve were holding cups, too. The smell of coffee hugs the air, which is cool. Late autumn. I can't see any trees, but I know their limbs are almost stripped bare.

Looking down, I'm dressed in long sleeves for the weather. I'm wrapped in a blanket but can feel the chill of the night air on my fingers. My hands are covered with tattoos. The firelight makes it look like they are moving: the snake writhes under my sleeve and back down, a crow flies, fish swim. I think I can feel the tattoos moving up around my shoulders, up the back of my neck, and into my ears. No one is surprised by this. I'm not surprised by this either.

All at once there is a great wind and a stagecoach drawn by six white stallions rushes by. The horses eyes are lit with a fire that breaks the darkness ahead of them. I catch a hint of trees, the outline of houses, a trail I didn't know was there. None of my companions moved away from the road as the coach passed. Neither did I.

As it passed, I caught her scent and heard her laughter. I jumped up to follow her, but the darkness closed around the coach just as easily as it opened.

A voice -- not my dad's my grandfathers', or Steve's -- said YOU HAVE TO STAY. SHE HAS GONE AHEAD, AND YOU MAY NEVER BE READY TO FOLLOW.

___

I've taken more than my share of baths out of a sink. It's all about hitting the high -- and low spots.  I have to admit, though, that even I took pause when I used bottled water for a whore's bath. I doubt that Paris Hilton felt as fancy as I felt with my daily ration of wash water.


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24 February, 2018

Every day is a title fight: the last round

Everyday is a title fight, Mick Parsons
I haven't felt like blogging lately, at least in the vein that I normally do in this space. That's not to say I haven't been writing, because I have. And it's also not to say that there's lack of things to  expound upon and I haven't developed a case of apathy for the general state of the world. But I am aware that just having a blog, a slightly above average vocabulary, and a need to string words together just to feel like I'm not wasting space on the planet are not enough to drive me to comb through all of the comb-worthy things happening in the world to lay out my opinion on them. 

This could have something to do with the fact that I just turned 45, or with the fact that I recently got my 90 day chip from AA. 

AA, disease, Dante, sponsor, Virgil
From Inferno, Canto 29, engraving by Gustav Dore'
Part of the process, other than being able to sit in a room of other People Like Me and say "Hi, my name's Mick and I'm an alcoholic" is examining both the impacts and causal relationship of drinking in your life. It's taken me forever -- 90 days, actually -- to get a sponsor I trust enough to let be my sponsor... which is to say, I found someone whose experience and opinions I trust so that I can release myself into the life-long process called sobriety. 

My sponsor is the Virgil to my Dante in this journey. And yes, being in the process of maintaining my sobriety feels more like a circle of hell than a ring of paradise these days. Even though I've been really productive lately in my professional life and doing a pretty okay job of keeping my house in order, the fact it there isn't a day that I don't obsess over drinking... even if I'm just obsessing over not drinking.  

When you're not in recovery, or if you're not one of the 10% of the population with this particular allergy to alcohol, it sounds absurd. I know that. I also know it sounds equally absurd that as I am engaged in the process of my sobriety, I know that relapse is built into the disease. 

As Virgil says... my sponsor, that is ... it's never a question of IF we will relapse. It's a question of when. 

In last two weeks, two people I care about very much, people in my recovery community, have relapsed. They both struggle hard with their addictions... for them it's drugs and not booze, but the disease is fundamentally the same. The most recent of them relapsed on his 90th day of sobriety. It's hard for me not to think about that in terms of the dumb luck that's kept me sober for 90 days. Dumb luck or faith, depending on what day it is, how I feel, and how I feel about myself. Today it feels like dumb luck. Tomorrow, with any luck, I'll still be sober and feel differently about it.

Part of being sober means I feel things differently... which is to say more. One of the reasons I drink is that I get really worn out on feeling things. Working in homeless outreach and seeing what people go through, or what they put themselves through, or what they have no control over, hurts my heart. It makes me angry when politicians and some so-called religious folk dismiss, ignore, and erase the suffering of people. School shootings make me scared for my friends who are teachers, for kids, and for their parents. That people place the need to own a death machine over the lives of children enrages me. That Kentucky's governor can only dismiss violence by blaming video games, only to commit economic violence upon teachers and students in the name of a balanced budget deepens my mistrust of governments, of institutions, and of people in positions of power. 

There's so much to write about, but I'm not convinced that being one more blogger in the blogosphere makes a damn bit of difference. I'm not sure this is a time for bloggers. But I know it is a time for poets and artists. That's one arena where the fight is and that's where I'm going to be... and yes, some of it will get posted here. It's not like I'm going anywhere. I'm just shifting my process and step work to something more productive.

I've written before that everyday is a title fight. And it is. I've written before about fighting my demons, and I'm sure I'll write more. But no one talks about the fact that we end up fighting our angels, too. And contrary to popular belief, angels and demons aren't always on opposing sides. Sometimes they tag team. And sometimes faith wins. Other times it's dumb luck. Because we're just people, and flawed, though, it's sometimes damn hard to tell the difference.


But the fight goes on, anyway.

024.Jacob Wrestles with the Angel.jpg
By Gustav Dore'





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15 December, 2015

Being a fish along the dirty, sacred river; or piscean mind puzzles


I've been fighting the wallpaper in the dining room. I promised this time last year that we would tackle the project. Neither of us are sure exactly how long the dingy, annoying stuff has been stuck to the walls, but since the house has only had 3 owners and WE didn't do it, it at least narrows the field. Our initial impulse is to blame the most immediate former owners, the Beamus's. Amanda's been living in this house for about 10 years and whenever we run across something that is rigged, rushed, or done incorrectly, it almost always traces back to them. We curse them regularly.

The wallpaper appears to pre-date them, however, so we cannot curse their name. This time.

Removing wallpaper is a frustratingly slow process. Having never done it before, and having only an abstract notion of how to do it, naturally I did research first. What I found quickly was there is no one correct way to strip the awful stuff; there is, in fact, a host of moderately successful DIY methods that no one can make up their minds about. There are manufactured chemicals, of course. Then there's the diluted fabric softener method*, the vinegar water method**, the patch and paint method***, and the dynamite method+. All of those (except the dynamite method, though my impressions are hypothetical) pale in comparison to using a steamer.

The work is still tedious, but it moves faster. Unlike the first day, when I wasn't entirely sure we would ever be able to finish it, I can see a tangible time line -- though a much longer one than I originally thought. ++

I've also been working on the technical aspects of podcasting. The talking part is easy. Finding news is
even easier, although I have to rebuild my credibility as someone news sources need to talk to.+++  I'm not too worried about it, though I am anxious to record. There are some real stories going on that need to be told and told better than they are being told now. The advantage of the podcast is that I can dig as much as I like and tell the story that insists itself instead of being beholden to mediocre editors.

Teaching myself the technical aspects of podcasting and remembering how sound recording equipment works has kept the prospect of actually DOING the podcast in the abstract -- much in the way that spending a year talking about how great the dining room will look once the wallpaper is gone and it's painted kept the project in the abstract.

Abstract is easy for me.  I could spend all day, everyday, lost in the visionary mist of the abstract. I lose track of time. I lose track of myself. I imagine, if there is a Heaven,it feels something like that. Within the realm of abstract thought there are no creative delays. Creation is as simple as letting go of the interior time clock and seeing what happens.

Delving into the abstract is the work of poets, sages, and visionaries. Genius^, however, is the ability to manifest those abstract thoughts into tangible life -- into the now. The wallpaper will come down and the paint will go up. I'm preparing a podcast that will come out soon, as a test to see if the feed will work. In addition, there are poems to write, a chapbook -- Cortez Eating the Sun -- to prepare and publish under the banner of Dirty River Press, next semester's classes to prepare for, and query letters to write.

Push.

_______________________________________________________
*1 part liquid fabric softener and 4 parts warm water in a spray bottle. In theory, after you shred the paper (scratch a bunch of holes in the surface plastic with this nifty tool.) the fabric softener will loosen the glue. Mostly I find that getting it wet does the same thing, sans the chemical clean smell.
** Vinegar and warm water. See above.
*** This entails covering each seem with Spackle and painting over it. While this seemed less tedious, I had images of newly painted walls peeling. 
+I have threatened to do this. Amanda is not on board with this one. Yet.
++If you have to remove wallpaper, and if dynamite is not an option, skip all the above methods and get a steamer. You will thank yourself.
+++Thanks again, LEO WEEKLY, for being one more job that believed I was good enough to fuck but not good enough to marry.
^ Genius, as it is classically understood, is not a personal adjective. A person is not a genius. The work brought about is an act of Genius.