On the other hand . . . TBR and Charlie answers Sebastian . . .

This isn’t really the second post of the day, it’s my FIRST and it’s all about the books I need to read — but, I also need to address a few things because Sebastian wrote the first of his own entries this morning, the first of his de-Briefings series [CLICK HERE OR KEEP READING BELOW] and, well, I love Sebastian, honestly. Or; I honestly love Sebastian. Or; Oh, Sebastian. He says what I can’t – or, rather, wouldn’t, or, maybe, feel as if I ought not. On the other hand, I have to be careful not to let him take over and influence my thoughts and heart too much, too often, which is why it is best to give him his own de-Briefings posts as a release for his ranting venting irate furies.

I do think too much. I wonder . . .

And, perhaps, I do go on too long. I wander . . . and so, in answer to Sebastian, I will do my very best to keep this brief. As opposed to de-Brief. And keep an eye on where I’m going, because if one doesn’t know where one is going, then any road at all can get you there and that — never mind.

As regular readers know, my numbers fell precipitously into a mysterious hole last week, sending me into a frenzy of existential doubt and so many tears I was nearly punished by being drowned in them. I bounced back from the glitch and dip — meaning, my numbers rose again and I woke the other morning feeling all blessed and stuff. [READ THAT PERKY POST BY CLICKING HERE]

These downs and ups happen when you are dysthymic [CLICK HERE FOR MAYO CLINIC DEFINITION OF DYSTHYMIC DISORDER]. I’ve worked at overcoming my dysthymia, but it’s not really something one can cure. So, I have learned (mostly) to ride the mood-flow, be patient with the downs, and be vigilant during the ups. These adjustments have the benefit of staving off most of the manias and suicidal longings, but, too, create a wariness and caution in one’s life which has the effect of dulling things, and the danger of making one reluctant to plan or do or interact, because there are so many triggers out there in the real world.

For example, Friday night on my way to the CHER concert [CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT IT] — a wonderful evening and lovely part of my elongated birthday celebration — I drove through a neighborhood in which someone I loved love very much had once lived, or, still lives, not sure. We are somewhat rancourously — and that is carefully chosen as it originates from the root of rancid, that which has gone sour — out of touch. The acrid memories bubbled, the fermented sorrow of its hurt and surprise renewed by the scenery, by the drive, and I was gobsmacked because I had not thought to steel myself, being, as I was, on a CHER-up, and not expected to take that route. Such was my rapid declension into a low that my companion was moved to remark, “Are you okay?”

Yes. I would be. In that moment, no, I was not. In that moment I wanted to off with all the heads of those who had crossed me and caused me sorrow. It was all happening again, right then, you see, because a particular feature of my dysthymia is that when the moods and memories come, there is no wearing away of the sensations. Each time is as strong as the first. It is as if I am being beaten up by my own emotions.

I can hear some of you thinking, “We all have ups and downs, Charlie. get over yourself.” Well, 1) I LONG AGO got over myself and 2)comparing regular “ups and downs” to actual dysthymia is like comparing “feeling blue” to clinical depression, but 3) I get that if you have NOT had dysthymia or clinical depression, you probably CAN’T really “get” what it is like to struggle to live with them. And it is a struggle. And so, sometimes, it’s nice when someone DOES get it, to be able to say, “We’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

As in, Saturday, I was out grocery shopping and ran into an acquaintance of some years. He is a lovely fellow and we have never been close, not intimate, but, rather, we have many people in common, circles of knowing in common. He was always a big fan of my Want2Dish columns and my Facebook postings and rants, often commenting, and, too, challenging and correcting. He asked when I would be returning to Facebook, that I had a following and was missed. I told him I had a Twitter [here it is] and this blog, but he doesn’t follow either. I explained that Facebook had become just too much for me, its assaults by posts I wished not to see, and people whose activities I’d be better off not knowing about, and a level of self-promotion, self-importance, intolerance and venom I just couldn’t tolerate. He said:

“I get that. You always have felt things more intensely than most other people do.”

Yes. I do. Which is why it’s important for me NOT to let Sebastian take over my life with his passions, but, equally important that I sometimes let him have his head. The same kind of important it is for me to FORCE myself to leave my batcave, to go to the gym, to continue to try to cultivate friendships and relationships. To stay IN THE WORLD – thus, this blog.

Now, I promised I’d keep this short, which it already is NOT, so, to the titular topic at hand . . .


TBR April 6, 2014 These are the books staring at me, screaming at me to either FINISH reading them, or begin reading them. What is LESS clear, is that they rest on my laptop — which is also filled with a list off bookmarked articles and such I mean to read — and atop them is my Kindle, in which I am midway through two books and have a backlog of others bought and clamoring for attention.

All of which would be bad enough were it not for the fact that thanks to various websites and the Sunday New York Times, I also want the following books to add to these piles!


Click Book Pic For Link

Click Book Pic For Link

And too, THE EMPATHY EXAMS by Leslie Jamison, which was reviewed by Olivia Laing in NYT Book Review — Laing who wrote the remarkable Trip to Echo Spring — which I wrote about HERE [click me] — so, there’s that as well . . .

Leslie Jamison's THE EMPATHY EXAMS - click book pic for publisher site and write-up

Leslie Jamison’s THE EMPATHY EXAMS – click book pic for publisher site and write-up


Click on book pic to go to Penguin Publishing book site

Click on book pic to go to Penguin Publishing book site

And SHOTGUN LOVESONGS by Nickolas Butler

Click on book-pic for publisher's book site

Click on book-pic for publisher’s book site

And after all of those … my very favorite thing in the Book Review this week was the Bookend essay by Anna Holmes decrying the “should read” fascism of agents, editors, publicists, and critics in the world of literature. Which seemed not without irony in the New York Times Book Review … publishing and literature are a closed little world. But, truth is, the world we live in is MOSTLY a closed little world, full of arbitrary arbiters of what is and is not cool — and I, myself, was dissolving into devolution last week because I wasn’t getting enough hits, considering turning myself into a full-on porn-blog so you people would read and share me.

I feel things more than most people, you see. So, it hurt. Quite a lot. I’d be ever so much happier if I’d . . . never mind. I wouldn’t want to say anything else that was going to be plagiarized and stolen. Just remember, never jam today. Never.



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