oh FIDDLE DEE DEE!!!…my head might just EXPLODE…

Today I celebrate my 18th. I think I might just EXPLODE from the pressure.

Oh fiddle-dee-dee, I am losing my head!

Oh fiddle-dee-dee, I am losing my head!

I stopped smoking at midnight, Sunday, June 9, making this the 18th full day I will live without a cigarette. It will also mark the 18th full day I will live without having had a decent night of sleep. It will also mark the 18th day in which I have been unable to write a “real” blog entry. “REAL” meaning – to me – an entry constructed after the models of Montaigne, Dorothy Parker, Joan Didion, Fran Lebowitz, David Rakoff, Christopher Hitchens. Now PLEASE – I KNOW I have NEVER come close to achieving the glory of even the least of their work; but they are my models, that to which I aspire.

Unfortunately, without nicotine, I seem even less able to approach their level than I was before. Sometimes completing one coherent on-topic paragraph is all I can manage in a day’s work. To actually compose an entire piece, with a beginning, middle, end, and sub-textual heft, levels of meaning, and rhythms and flowing syntax: FORGET IT.

Add to this, the SCOTUS decision of yesterday to gut the Voting Rights Act, and the possibility that they might, today, set LGBT rights back AGAIN, not to mention the goings on in Texas where my new idol, Senator Wendy Davis tried to stand up to the bullies in that state with a filibuster the bullies then tried to bully down – well, my head just might explode!

Which leads me to the Video of the Day. There is something profoundly disturbing about this video. But also irresistible. Profoundly disturbing and irresistible PRETTY MUCH sums up the history of EVERYTHING in life to which I have been attracted, including cigarettes and men out of my league. So, enjoy – I mean, who hasn’t – at some point – wanted to watch Maria vonTrapp, Scarlett O’Hara, Eliza Doolittle, Ilsa Lund, and Dorothy Gale EXPLODE?!

If SCOTUS doesn’t do the right thing today, the next head you see exploding will be MINE. Or, maybe I’ll just have a cigarette. After all, I’m eighteen today.

I want a cute relationship.

I want a cute relationship.

I get it. Really I do. And I’ve been on both sides. But it gets really tiresome NOT being enough. And it gets really tiresome NOT being loved the way you would like by the people you would like. And it gets even MORE exhausting, being where ever you are needed, always saying yes, and then . . . you know the rest. I love you all, truly, but I’m exhausted by this role.

. . . 3rd Sunday in June. . .it’s national drunk-driving into telephone poles day . . .

In celebration of Fathers Day – or, as I like to call it – “Drive into a telephone pole and kill yourself” day – I consider being a Daddy to a MUCH YOUNGER man – New York Magazine says it is ON TREND – shit, finally the world catches up with me and I’m too nicotine deprived to actually FUNCTION…read on.

Sunday again…

Since last Sunday, the 2nd Sunday in June, the day I quit smoking, I have not written ONE DECENT SENTENCE.

When I decided to quit, I worried about gaining weight. I haven’t. But I haven’t LOST any either.

I also worried that I would become unbearably grouchy. I’m not. I have it on good authority. I am, however, prone to … Continue reading

…smoke gets in your eyes…2nd Sunday in June…Part 6…

Oh childhood. You didn’t need an i.d. to buy cigarettes when I started smoking, which is a good thing since I was eleven years old. I loved smoking. I was extremely good at it from my first inhale and I did it until my mid-thirties.

Then, I quit for ten years.

Then, somewhere in my forties, life got complicated and stressful and I started dreaming of smoking, until, one day, meaning to have just one, I took up the habit again.smoking

Tomorrow I am quitting. It’s ridiculously expensive. It’s deleterious to my health which seems doubly idiotic when I haven’t any health insurance. I’m tired of coughing myself awake when I sleep. And I’m tired of being enslaved to one more thing over which it feels as if I have no control.

This wasn’t a considered decision. Yesterday, in my car, heading for a graduation and for no apparent reason I began having the sort of difficulty breathing that comes from terror. Stress attacked me and stayed in my chest all day long. My breaths were shallow, at best, and though there wasn’t any pain, there also was little oxygen. I hid it. Mostly. Most of the day.

But I had already, there, in the car, decided: this pack and a half I have left are the end. I told everyone who would listen so that I might have better odds of success.

I will quit on the second Sunday in June. I will quit because I can. I will quit because there are so many other things wearing me away over which I’ve absolutely no control. I will quit because I need a new perspective. I need my life to change. Again. Here is the window through which I most frequently am glancing.

window 2

The view is small. It allows little light in. It’s mostly blocked. I am locked away in a batcave, mostly alone, looking out onto a tiny, little, limited world where there seems to be nothing and no one waiting for me.

Here is the view I crave.

window

The view is wide. There is a world out there full of ebbs and tides and the possibility of journey, full of everything and everyone who recognize the light in me.

(P.S. I deserved better. You know that.)

…blue…2nd Sunday in June…part 5…

I can remember being a very young child, first or second grade, and asking one of the nuns with whom I spent so much time, “But why is blue blue?” She didn’t understand, at first, what I was asking; perhaps because I didn’t really understand what I was asking. Eventually we both understood the question: How was the concept of blue arrived at and who called it blue?

She was a nun. She told me God had done it.blue 4

I wasn’t satisfied with that – even then, to me, it seemed to dodge the question, or, rather, to make all questions irrelevant – but she was a nun and I was a good Catholic boy, expected to grow into the first American Pope. I went on my way. But it was one of the first times I recall being conscious of the fact that if I wanted answers to the questions that bothered me, chances were there was no one who had them. I would have to find them myself.

I can’t explain why it is that I have never been comfortable accepting received wisdom, nor why I have always been suspicious that many tenets and beliefs are illusions supported by specious confirmation bias. I’ve been developing my own cosmology since before I knew what a cosmology was. Years later, in my early twenties, I wrote a long and Continue reading

…BANG!…2nd Sunday in June…part 4…

I was hit.

I don’t suppose it was terribly dramatic, and compared to most of the rest of the world’s problems, it was nothing but a ding. But, there it is. I was hit. Here’s the damage.

Car hit edit

Scratches. Rear side-light popped. Dents. Estimate, over $1000. I was backing out of a parking space. Really slowly, as is my way. She was backing out of a parking space. Really fast. She was a teenager. Long story short, everyone thought it was everyone else’s fault. In the end, no one meant to do it, and perhaps, perhaps, there was some carelessness, some lack of attention being paid but . . . that’s life. Nobody wanted to involve insurance. Everyone gets screwed by body shops and dealers.

I know it’s a small thing. Honestly. But $1000 is a lot of money to me. A LOT. And, see, it’s coming on the second Sunday in June and I’m not nominated for a Tony Award and I haven’t been to New York in forever and I haven’t had much luck with my submissions or freelance attempts lately and I received anonymous hate-missive telling me about myself and I’m feeling a tiny bit discouraged.

AND THE DREAMS ARE BACK. All last night I was trapped in this dystopian world of Junecollapse. Everyone in it was someone I have known from real life and about whom I have been mistaken. It was this combination of “THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY” and “THE HUNGER GAMES” because I kept having to dodge and duck these unexpected hits from these people.

It was awful. I kept waking up. Each time I thought, “thank goodness, it’s over” but then, BANG, right back into it. I was hit. Perhaps there was some carelessness involved. Perhaps there was a lack of attention being paid. Perhaps it is about my proclivity – or, even, my genetic predisposition – toward an inability to recognize manipulative psychos until I’m beaten about the head, bloodied and near death in a boat, far out at sea, having my personality and persona pillaged and exploited.

Whatever it is. Or was. There is damage. And no insurance. And far more than $1000 in cost.

…frustrations…2nd Sunday in June…part 3…

I write every day. Even those days when what I am writing feels as if it is destined to become a trunk piece, I write it. What’s a “trunk piece”? Well, when musical theatre writers have songs they end up cutting or not using, they tuck them away, and sometimes, later, use them (or parts of them) for other purposes or shows. They save them in the metaphorical “trunk” – and being a musical theatre nerd, I borrowed the term for my writing that ends up not being part of larger projects.plot outline

Trouble is, I’ve got this massive collection of trunk pieces and very little real product. I mean, I have one finished novel in which I can’t seem to interest an agent. I don’t think it’s perfect, but I do think it’s quite good. I say this because I’ve let some people read it, and while I admit that there have been a few people who have read it – or didn’t finish reading it – and didn’t ever comment (which sort of sucked, honestly) – the only actual “literary” person who’s read it, a professor of literature and editor, said the following:

“The stuff i loved:

* your writing style. it’s effortless. i was truly absorbed in it — an experience that’s become increasingly rare for me as i advance further in the world of “reading as forced labor.” i’d over-praise it but don’t want to gild the lily. it was just beautiful.
* the general structure. the stories are unpacked with the same kind of sloppy contained-ness of the moving boxes that crowd Libertytown — a little here, a little there, with an accidentally-packed-the-soup-ladle-with-the-linens-but-that-reminds-me.. tone. i realized there was organization but it didn’t smack in the face with its own smug tidiness. and i thought, about halfway through, that a second read would probably deepen the experience, as i could then trace how all the little through-lines are laid. just a further thought about structure: i really can’t stand novels that are tightly woven, like they were laid out using Quicken. neatly-balanced checkbooks. [inevitably written by MFAs.] i like having some debt at the end of the reading experience — for instance, the tidbit about Matthew (possibly? maybe not?) lying to his mother about Continue reading

SMASH-ed hopes…the second sunday of june…part 2…

The Tony Awards are like the gay Superbowl. Sorry to be a cliché, but it’s true. Musical Theatre is the national gay pass-time. And in my little world, I am the Howard Cosell of Tony coverage and trivia.tony award

I have had a Tony Awards party every year for as long as I can recall. In 2007, or, as I like to call it – the year of “Grey Gardens” – I served hors d’oeuvres in cat food cans. I can get carried away. This year, someone else is having the party. And I am okay with that.

You see, my life has changed and this will be the first year in more than a decade that I have not seen any of the nominated shows or performances. I miss New York. Terribly. But that’s another story for another time.

greygardenswallpaper800

And from what I have heard of the nominated musical scores, I don’t think this really would have been my year anyway. Nothing from “Kinky Boots” nor “Matilda” – fine as some of those songs are – has the heft and emotional depth (as far as I’m concerned) as “Grey Gardens” numbers like “Will You” and “Another Winter in a Summer Town.” Or, even, songs from the late, lamented “SMASH” – like “Second Hand, White Baby Grand” and “Don’t Forget Me” and “They Just Keep Moving the Line.”

In fact, one of the reasons I loved “SMASH” so much- even with its inconsistencies and impossibilities and seeming lack of knowledge (sometimes) about the actual producing of a musical – well – it made me feel like I was in New York. It gave me a weekly dose of BROADWAY MUSICAL MAGIC. Yes, too, it had some great Broadway songs – gorgeous and powerful like “THEY JUST KEEP MOVING THE LINE” – which kicks the shit out of most Broadway ballads this year. Listen again:

Matilda. The Musical.

Matilda. The Musical.

Ironically, in 2007, “Grey Gardens” lost Continue reading