Believing long enough to get a Miracle (Charlie)

My morning was made beautiful by seeing that P had posted pictures of herself and Duchess Goldblatt on vacation. P is a very dear friend of the soul-level, mind-reading, telepathic sort, who I can tell anything and trust with my heart, even though we have probably spent less than twenty-four hours total in each others’ physical presence.

Some people in my day-to-day life find that connection unusual. What they find even more unusual is P and I having become acquainted because of our mutual devotion and service to Her Grace, The Duchess Goldblatt of Crooked Path, with whom neither of us has spent even twenty-four seconds in actual physical presence.

duchess goldblatt

Her Grace, The Duchess Goldblatt

The Duchess, you see, is a fictional character. Her Grace exists on Twitter, where she is the benevolent ruler of a sovereignty of loving, literary, literate dear ones longing for community of like minds and souls who affirm what is best in universes both corporeal and fictional. Like (I suspect) not a few of Her Grace’s devotees, when I was suffering, I was given comfort and offered support by this community; revealing the details would feel like a betrayal of privacy, so it will need to suffice to say that if not my actual life, at least my heart and soul, were saved by Her Grace and her followers.

They believe in MiracleCharlie.

I used to worry people would think me hubristic for naming myself MiracleCharlie. It had nothing to do with any delusional belief I possessed magical powers, rather, it started two decades ago when I did A Course in Miracles with a friend equally desperate to locate some logical cause/effect for the clusterfuck that was the reality of our day-to-day lives. I already had an AOL-user name based on my desire to be Dorothy Parker, but when I checked the availability of MiracleCharlie, certain it would already have been taken, to my surprise it was okayed. So, when I started Tweeting a few years ago, I carried the identity over without considering how pretentious or preposterous it might appear to others.

Now, I have learned, anyone who matters understands, like Duchess Goldblatt, MiracleCharlie represents the places and possibilities where all of my selves — fictional and in real life — exist. Now, I have learned,  anyone who matters understands we are all beautiful combinations of fictions and truths, reality is little more than a collective hunch (thank you Jane Wagner), and every moment of being is an exercise in choosing what of us is “real” today, a leftover piece of wisdom from my Course in Miracle days: We are in every second choosing between Love and Fear.

I love living in Duchess Goldblatt’s dominion, a serenity of souls whose collective hunch agrees that we are stronger in love, that there is a community of generous, passionate, romantic, dreaming, thoughtful, good beings who prove that no matter the trials and tribulations and traumas (and I am hardly a Pollyanna, I have days when I dive into those fears and wallow there), optimism is warranted, the world is a worthy,wonderful place to be where you can reach out and find a hand, someone to hold you, someone to trust.

Greene Bear & Rory couch 7-30-16 Greene's Bear & RoryBetter, the world is a worthy, wonderful place where you can be that hand and earn that trust. This week, as I type this, I am sharing my days and nights with two pups, Bear and Rhory, in the beautiful, love-filled home of a family of dear ones as they vacation. They trust me with their pups and their house and their privacy. I am deeply honored by this trust. I am also ecstatic to spend much of the week on their couch, with their dogs, reading and enjoying this worthy, wonderful world.

Better still, yesterday, someone I love very much, someone I admire and adore, someone who allows me all my fictions and truths and sees in them always my essence, always MiracleCharlie, blessed me with the honor of being her driver, companion, responsible party (she is — you can tell by that — a brave woman, a woman of great faith) as she underwent a medical procedure. What a blessing, to be given that gift, to hear and feel from a loved one, “I trust you to be there for me.”

Miracle. These gifts, being embraced by The Duchess Goldblatt, sharing in P’s life and joy, my friends sharing their homes and pups with me, my dear ones trusting me to care for them and hold them up when need be, my Mom and I becoming best friends and sharing secrets and snark, all miracles.

Listen, the thing, I wasn’t always MiracleCharlie. I’m still not always MiracleCharlie. There was a time I couldn’t be trusted to celebrate someone else’s vacation companion or joy, couldn’t be trusted with dogs or a house, or with secrets or to have someone’s (not even my own) back, and many, many times — years, decades even — when I lived in fear. I tried to end my life, more than once, and spent the years when I believed in one or another god praying to that one or another god to let me die before I woke.

I made it through. Dumb luck, mostly, and being loved, being needed, and choosing love often enough that I got through the nihility of bad choices and spiritual paralysis. Listen, what I’m saying is, there will still be dark days, I know this. But, when you have a life as beautiful as mine, when you are greeted in the morning by P’s vacation photos, and the knowledge that another friend might need you to deliver meds, or your Mom might need you to make her a special food she misses, or be the one she can swear with (or, at), and that there are years worth of laughs left to have with the dear sister you live with, and books being written (and read) by minions of The Duchess, and when you are lucky enough to live in a world and have had a lifetime during which marriage equality happened and Hillary Clinton is going to be the first female president; hey, Miracle. Every day.

Choose Love. MiracleCharlie did, name and choice maybe by accident, but here I am, going.

Love and Light, dear ones.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contentment: A story of just one Sunday in just one life

2:00a.m. Not getting up. Not yet. This aging thing makes sleeping until 4:00a.m. feel triumphant, although calling what I do in bed sleeping is the same sort of delusional leap as calling Donald Trump presidential. My night is a series of short, unsatisfying naps punctuated by efforts to determine the time from the amorphous glow of green-blur radiated by the bedside clock I bought five years ago — the one with extra-large digital display specially designed for the near-blind — without putting on my glasses because putting on my glasses somehow cues my body to full wakefulness.

2:45a.m. See 2:00a.m. plus a nagging feeling I will soon have to visit the bathroom.

3:15a.m. See 2:45a.m. plus the definite feeling that I really should go to the bathroom.

3:30a.m. See 3:15a.m. plus the suspicion the need to use the bathroom is waking me up.

3:40a.m. See 3:30a.m. plus a mad dash to the bathroom.

3:45-3:59a.m. Tossing and turning, checking and rechecking of nuclear-green blob of near numerals waiting to see a shape that looks like 4:00. Obsessively dwelling on how long it will be before my delaying of night peeing and natural decline in bladder control will result in a return to wetting the bed like I did as a child and wondering if my other youthful qualities like unbridled optimism and trusting in happy endings will also return or will this aging thing only result in adult diapers and disappointment?

4:00a.m. Glasses on. Rise and shine. Paradoxical Note: while this aging thing may make sleeping until 4:00a.m. feel like a triumph, it makes getting up at 4:00a.m. feel like a defeat. But, this aging thing and the serendipitous result of giving things up in order to get free of less than soul-affirming situations is that here I am in a spot where there isn’t anywhere I have to be, so, time can continue to be a big green undefined blob because it is unimportant. And I am lucky, because I can live this free-form life. So, live. Time for coffee. Made last night in my old-school, throwback, non-electric percHamilton, Jane The Excellent Lombardsolator. Since latest unexpected but ultimately beneficial downsizing and relocation requiring further economizing, have learned to love and appreciate the practices of my frugal forebears, like buying the cheapest coffee, preferably chicory infused, and slowly, steadily, patiently boiling it until it is diner-mud-strong. Delicious way to start the day. Even if the day’s start is what I used to call the night.

4:00a.m.-6:00a.m. Read current novel, Jane Hamilton’s The Excellent Lombards, which I am loving very much and which I got from library because Ann Patchett blurbed it. As a rule, I no longer fall for blurbs because I understand the pressure to get and to give them, but when Ann Patchett or Elizabeth McCracken blurb or talk about books, I believe them. This plot is particularly resonant for me because it features a brother and sister, very close in age, who are so close and soul-connected they believed themselves to be twins. I had that once with a sister.

july 24 2016 36:00a.m. Breakfast. We splurged on a pastry labeled “authentic French chocolate brioche” and it is delicious. I imagine it has been flown in from Paris as I place it on a plate that has been in my family since before I was born, a plate my aunt, Sissie, insisted I take when she was moving to her assisted living, final apartment, a plate I had in storage for years until we moved to this place, our own, and I use a fork I acquired (stole) on one of my trips to the pre-Marriott Algonquin Hotel, the hotel Sissie insisted I visit before I got too old to enjoy it, before it was too late, as it became for her. Surrounding myself with these echoes of the past — my own, my imagined, and stories borrowed from others — used to make me melancholy and achey of soul, but now, these spirit songs make me happy. How lucky am I to be able to imagine Paris? To have this plate and this fork? To have made those Algonquin trips? To have had my life so shaped by Sissie? I hear ethereal, intangible music of such beauty every day because of all of these memories and reminders.

o'hara frank6:30a.m. Catching up with my backlog of New Yorker Magazine issues has triggered my poetry jones. From the stacks on the windowsill and nightstand by my bed I choose Frank O’Hara: Selected Poems: A New Selection Edited by Mark Ford. I don’t do investigative, interpretive reading this morning; instead, I dive into and wallow in Mr. O’Hara’s soul-words, reading many poems, quickly, merging his and my memory songs. My first Frank O’Hara was bought for me when I was an adolescent by Sissie, my literary mentor, from Learmont Books, my first independent bookstore, a two-storied, mezzanined treasure trove opened in Frederick by two transplanted New York City gay men who recognized in me a like and looking-for-kind spirit and guided me toward books and authors I should know.

8:30a.m. Time to read the New York Times on-line — which is a gift from a marvelous friend. While I love basking in the echoes of what once was, I also cherish the now and the magic of gaining entry to or information about almost anything in the wide, wide world with the clicks of a few buttons. When I was the child who first ate off that heirloom breakfast plate and heard Sissie’s tales of the Algonquin Round Table and met Mr. Learmont and Frank O’Hara, managing to get a New York Times (or a copy of O’Hara, or a new Streisand album, or, an old Streisand album) in Frederick was a near supernatural feat. Now, everything is mine for the searching on my laptop, a banquet unto gluttony! Speaking of which, the Book Review section persuades me to go to my library account and reserve Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sypmathizer and Robert Kolker’s Lost Girls. Another modern-on-line miracle: reserving library books from home in an instant! I truly do love this life I am living.

july 24 2016 19:30a.m. It’s time to put the kale on. My sister — the one with whom I once believed myself twinned — is on her annual jaunt to Duck. She usually entertains Mommy on Sundays, so I am filling in today. When I spent my Thursday with Momma, I told her I’d be making a new recipe for chicken salad and asked what else she’d like. She did her Mommy thing, “Oh Charlie, I don’t care.” Wait for it. Within a few minutes she placed an order for corn on the cob and kale. I wanted fresh tomatoes, so we went to our favorite orchard stand where she also found some peaches and a strawberry-rhubarb pie she thought would be nice. $50 later we were back in the car. I made the chicken salad yesterday morning when I woke at 3:30a.m. Now, the kale goes on to cook all day, and I shuck the corn to soak it in water until it is time for the fast boil.

10:00a.m. Time to finish the cleaning I started Friday night after returning from two weeks of dog & house-sitting during which I’d stopped in briefly here at my new home to check on the sister, so I’ve gotten behind on domestic chores. After tackling living room, dining area, kitchen, and sister’s room Friday night, today is bathroom attack. It wasn’t properly cleaned before we moved in and with my busy house/pet sit schedule, this is my first chance for a real scrubbing. I make my own cleaning solution using tea tree oil, lemon juice/essence, and vinegar which I use for a first pass and daily wipe-downs. I follow up with a manufactured product in shades of neon-green and blue and by the time I am done, the bathroom is clean enough to sup in. I guess I could also say my kitchen is clean enough to pee in, but that doesn’t make much sense, does it? I love cleaning. I do a little every day.

July 24 2016 511:30a.m. I stack the books I got for Mommy. She very much enjoys reading but is almost blind (I guess she can never tell what time it is when she wakes up in the middle of the night, either.) and new large print books are ridiculously expensive so I regularly visit the library discard shelves and a Girl Scout Used Book Store which both offer hardbacks for one dollar, paperbacks for fifty cents. The Girl Scouts had ten possibilities this week. I re-donate the ones she rejects and too, the ones she finishes. I feel some guilt the authors and publishers aren’t benefitting from these re-readings, but I can’t afford $35 a book and I figure books are read repeatedly from library purchases, right?

11:40a.m. Me time. Catching up on backlog of New York magazines. Oh no. An article titled Publishing Can Break Your Heart [click here] about author, Helen DeWitt, of whom I’ve never heard, and her possibly great novel, The Last Samurai, of which I’ve never heard and now, OF COURSE, must add to my ToBeRead stack. I go to library on-line. DAMN. They don’t have it. Now I am going to have to do my used bookstore search thing until I find it. OH LIFE! WHY?!?! Hahaha, this is probably a good thing because I now have ten books on hold at library, some of which are yet to be released, but, if history is any indication, most of these will become available for pick-up at the same time or within days of each other. Why am I blogging? I should be reading.

12:30p.m. Message from a dear one I met on Twitter and fell in friend-crush-love with in real life, who is about to go out-of-electronic touch for a while. During our brief exchange we discover we LOVE yet another author-in-common, this love and this message, this connection, again, marveling at how full is my life. And, the wonders of Twitter. From which I am taking a break(ish) because the political crap is exhausting (and frightening) me.

1:00p.m. Call Mommy to ask what time she’d like to be picked up. Four. Because her Orioles are playing and she wants to watch the game, there, in her room at Record Street, where she can rant and rail and rave at the players and coaches.

machado, manny

Mother’s crush: Manny

1:15p.m. I head to gym. If only Mommy had wanted to spend the entire afternoon with us instead of with Manny Machado (Not that I blame her? But no question where I got my — uhm — desire to waste time with the cocky, swarthy types. Hahaha.) I could have delayed my return to workout routine another day. Alas, I seriously need regular exercise because since May’s upending eviction notification, the ensuing search panic, the purging, packing, and moving, the busy pet/house-sitting summer schedule, the return (continuation?) of my digestive(?) illness, and, too, my low-grade (well, some days it was pretty damn HIGH-to-HUGE-grade) depression and existential angst exacerbated by the uproar, I have not been eating as healthily as I might, not weighing myself, and not gymming as I ought. So, here I am, going to the gym. Dammit.

3:45p.m. Picking up Mommy at Record Street after two hours of gym work. I did it. I had to force myself to stay on that elliptical and finish all those sets of chest and leg works, but I did it. And, yes, we said 4:00pm, but, Mommy knows I continue to operate by my theatre-days motto, “If you’re not fifteen minutes early, you’re late.” So she comes down to the lobby early and on those occasions when I arrive at the actual appointed time, she asks me why I am late.

4:00p.m.-6:30p.m. Mommy, sister, and I finish watching the Orioles game. They win in the bottom of the ninth. Mommy is overjoyed. Sister and I are relieved. We watch old black and white episodes of Gunsmoke until dinner time. We have a delicious dinner. We have a lot of fun. We gorge on strawberry-rhubarb drowning in vanilla ice cream. Mommy gives me hell for getting too many books for her. I give her hell for giving me hell instead of just saying thank-you. Sister intervenes and explains that I check the Large Print sales outlets all the time and they only rarely have new books so I get a lot when I can so she doesn’t run out. Mommy says okay. Not, mind you, thank you, but, okay. I come by my curmudgeonliness honestly, people.

6:30p.m. I take Mommy back to Record Street. Every time I go there — EVERY — TIME — I am both grateful that it exists to take care of my Mom, and stunned and surprised again that both she and Sissie, two such very different people who influenced and raised me in such very different ways, who loved the father I never knew in such very different ways, knew him so differently, have both loved and known me so differently; Me,Charlie, who looks so much like that father I never knew; Me, Charlie, who was seventeen months old when he died, who stayed behind and decades later took and takes such care of two women he loved so much. Lots of different. Lots of the same. Lots of decades to figure out how often what you think is different turns out to be, ultimately, the same.

Me, Charlie who drives back to this apartment I share with my sister, heats up some of the percolated coffee, settles in for a bit of trash television, heads to my room by 9 to read some more Jane Hamilton, and starts dropping off to sleep shortly thereafter.

9:30p.m. I put in my earplugs, reduce the pillow stack from seven to two, turn out the light, and marvel at this contentment, this quiet satisfaction I have won without ever having starred on Broadway or had a book published or married or made millions or managed fame. I marvel, having recently read a biography of Mary Martin, who did star on Broadway, published a book (or two or three), married (twice), made millions, and was famous for much of her life, and I mentioned her to a younger guy I was seeing and he had absolutely no idea who she was, had heard of none of her shows, had never seen Peter Pan, and I realize, at long last, everyone is forgotten, everyone is unknown by most people, everyone is on their own, finally alone, here we all are going, doing the best we can. We Love the best we can. We make Light the best we can.

My Love and Light might not have been shared and shone in the way I dreamed as a child, not in the way Sissie and Mommy and even Daddy might have imagined and wanted for me, but damn, I can rest my head at night and sleep well, having saved those dishes and mementos and morals and memories I gathered through life, kept them around me, making a full and unique life that could be lived by no one other than me, and I have made others’ lives richer, made others believe in their own paths, given others enough Love and Light to make my being here worthwhile. And I’m okay with that.

So at the end of one Sunday in one life, with a smile on my face, I go to sleep.

Letting Go (Part Four) Being Alone

Blanched: A Haiku

I sleep alone. I

always have. Rarely have I

been lonely alone.

 

thomas, marlo THAT GIRLI like being alone. Almost.

I have nearly always slept alone. Perhaps it was early childhood obsession with Marlo Thomas as Anne Marie, Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards, and Valerie Harper as Rhoda Morgenstern, or it may have been the example of my sister, JoAnne, leaving the tiny area outside which no family member had ever dared venture to brave Philadelphia for the glamorous life of the single city-woman in the 1970s, or, quite probably — like every other major decision about who I am and what I love and how I live — I was influenced by the example of my aunt, Frances, who we called Sissie, who never in her adult life had a romantic relationship. Or, maybe it was just dumb good-luck (or, good dumb-luck?), but I’m fundamentally a quirky character, able to and worthy of love, but with a storyline requiring a room of my own.

And, as I said, I like being alone. Mostly.

There was a time when I ached with wanting to be part of a couple. A romantic couple. Or, I thought I did. Somehow,  this yearning to create union resulted in misunderstanding my way into primary relationships where the attraction was the absence of romance as culturally defined; I and my partners (for lack of a better word — for, in most instances, these were not partners in the way society defines partner) were most often  consumed by a lie (or delusion or disorder) which complicated our connection resulting in a disastrous, messy ending. When one half of a duo fantasizes the possibility of a Bronte-esque love story in which the mismatch of physical attractions (age, sexual apparatus) or social situation (age, status, title) is overcome by the intensity of the soul connection, you’ve got the makings of a Lifetime-movie-tragedy about unhinged obsession, not a love story.

(There is another discussion about surviving the hell of constantly disappointing someone who professes to love you just as you are, all the while criticizing every detail of that “are”, but I am not yet evolved enough to tell it in personal essay format without bitterness, so it must wait.)

In retrospect — which seems to be where I am living lately — it seems I have spent the last decade in recovery. I quit smoking. Twice. I reduced my wine intake from a bottle (or more) a night to a glass or two a week, or month. I lost thirty pounds. Three times. I started exercising. And I have — by and large — stopped investing belief in the opinions of people and cultural groups who want me to contort myself into their normative boxes.

At least in my case, said recovery required a near total withdraw from society, real life and virtual.

This has left me a lot of free time and energy. And space. In general, plenty of room and opportunity for that mid-life upending (it’s not always a crisis, darlings) thing which compels some to pilot a sleek sporty vehicle, climb an impossible mountain, train for a marathon, or lust for all those sorts of people one never braved pursuing in one’s youth; it’s been called a second adolescence, but I find such labeling to be as dismissive as I do assumptions about gender, race, age, and sexuality, so, I like to think of the navigation of this complex maze of memory, discovery, and delights as the Great Letting Go.

And I am navigating it alone. Mostly.

As has almost always been the case with me, I am experiencing this life stage in ways unlike most of my cohort — most of the world, even. I’ve no desire for a little red Corvette, no Everest trek, and I’m content with reasonable visits to the gym absent triathlons or long distance running. I will admit to a healthy interest in the sort of men I would never have considered approaching in my youth, a fascination with the availability to me of the sort of sexual adventuring I would never have considered possible outside of onanistic fantasy.

But, that said, this life I live is unlike the lives of others I know, and is foreign, or confusing, or terrifying, or, even, repugnant, to some of the people with whom I am very close.

In life, there is a place of discovery you can reach where it becomes clear that most of those things you thought were done to hurt you had only the effect you permitted them, that most of those people against whom you held grudges were also doing the best they could, and their “evil” was mostly about the energy you invested in believing in hate.

I have achieved that place. But I have to work every day to live in the belief that everyone — not just those I love deeply, admire, and wish to be with, but also those whose words and behaviors are horrifying and offensive to me — is made of the same basic building blocks of Love & Light. Sometimes, real life and events make that very difficult.

Fear takes over.

When it does, I begin to doubt all my choices. I begin to doubt all my relationships. The cacophony of existential questioning drowns out the good sense of my aunt, Sissie, who always said, “You only need to worry about what you do, what anyone else does is not in your control and isn’t about you, the only thing about you is what you do with what you’re given.” And, the Duchess Goldblatt, who said, “When we count our losses, we turn the balance sheet over to see what’s been gained, you and I.”

So, the fear of late, this contagion of doubt brought on by the news, politics, world anger and striking out, the broiling, bubbling hate being broadcast and campaigned, in combination with forgetting Sissie’s words and feeling I am somehow less than and have sinned because some folks on Twitter seem to love me less than they once did (silliness) and some folks in real life seem to want me less than they once (or, a few times) did, and my life-long, nagging-to-debilitating suspicion I am a temporary stop on any journey, a compromise until something (or, someone) better comes along, a fraud who when discovered will be discarded; those fears have left me forgetting to turn over the balance sheet to see what’s been gained.

Here, where I am, going, what’s been gained? Like Anne Marie, Mary Richards, Rhoda Morgenstern, JoAnne, and Sissie, and, too, the Duchess, I can exist in this Charlie, this brilliant character I am, as who I am, myself. I appreciate and often thrive on the Love & Light of your reflections, but, the center of any of us is who we are without the reflections of others, who we are when we go to bed, quietly, alone.

And so sometimes, I am here, where I am going, in retreat from the noise and the Twitter and the family gatherings and the being out and about, to renew myself, to remind myself, to remember myself, and to be the self who Sissie and Her Grace hold in their hearts. And yes, now, Sissie and Her Grace cannot physically hold me, do not speak to me in real life presence, but they are — their love is — representative of what I’ve gained, in this life, the confidence and Love & Light enough to know I can be and am happy, here, where I am going.

Often (and never) alone.

 

Tuesday … only Tuesday?

CoffeeIt’s one of those “give me more coffee” days combined with “I can’t drink any more coffee, my stomach is a mess” mornings, and, uhm, well. Ugh.

Time is moving very slowly. My stomach is at it again, off and on. This has been going on for more than a year now and is quite tiresome. There seems no rhyme or reason to the flarings up, and new added feature, in the past week I have twice been wakened in the middle of the night by the physical urge to vomit. Oh, hoorah. I have managed not to do so, but my sleep is disturbed. Long, short: again, today, going on about two hours of actual sleep, and there is odd-thought-morphing from the waking-fever dreams by which I was tormented last night which now elide into real-life and I am in a half-doze state and doing my dazed, not quite focused thing.

I am, then, now, here where I am staying with a darling, ancient dog who is having trouble lifting her hind quarters from resting position, who looks at me with some confusion and sense of betrayal, as if I have aged her, as if I have exhausted her body, and I smile each time, and I wait, patiently, and I say, “Tess, I am having those sorts of aches and exhaustions my own self. I get it. No one will put me down either.”

All of this which-ness is making me so longing and achey for my dear Sissie, who died twelve years ago. I keep having these, “Oh, I need to tell Sissie –” moments; mental-spiritual urges to share with her, involuntary, habit, striking before I remember she is not here. And then, the echo, the aftermath of the urge: I cry. I am sick with wanting to talk to her. Honestly, I feel like it is a symptom of this whatever illness I have that no one seems able to define.

Brideshead originalIt is manifesting now in this desire to find someone with whom to read on a roof, all Bridesheady and unspoken sort of quiet sort of erotic sort of inevitable sort of here we are and here it is and we won’t talk about it because it will ruin it sort of Sebastian and Charles sort of thing. You know, just the sort of disaster I have thought romantic my whole life? Ha.

We all know how these things turn out, Charles. Let’s not.

gif bonnie and clyde

Really, not. Again.

bonnie shot

Good day, dears. Keep away from the news. I know I am. Maybe some day I will sign back on to Twitter or other social media or read a paper, but right now, nope.

Love and light, kids.

… it’s 1183 and …

I’ve turned it all off again. I’ve lost the will, again. What a desolation.

One of them — who had not previously bothered to share his real name with me — reached out to me, in a panic, the middle of the night, to tell me he wanted to shoot himself. Of course, I went. I have loved men before who have shot themselves. Such is my taste. Now, this one has a name and has been (for now) saved and is back on the meds  I didn’t know he needed to be on, so didn’t know he’d gone off, and all is well. But, we won’t be having sex anymore, because now I am his counselor, now we know names, now, instead of the sating of physical urges, we have become exactly what I did not want; real to each other.

streetcar Blanche and paper boy -named-desire-vivien-leighI am, it seems, the modern, virtual reality Blanche. Only now, it’s the paperboys doing the luring to Tarantula Arms.

 

Another, he sought me, wooed me, for two days (a forever length on this particular app) and then, when finally I said yes, he disappeared, blocked me. It had all been one of those cruel jokes about which one reads.

This had been shortly after another who lured me, promising he would meet me and give me a dream-like, orgasmic thrill if only first I’d vote for him in a contest where in order to register one volunteered one’s credit card information for identification purposes only. I laughed (as much as one can via texting) and asked, “Am I really that repugnant and desperate looking you think I’d fall for something like this? And, fool you, I don’t even HAVE a credit card. So, who’s the silly ass now?”

Before I turned it off, feeling foolish and ancient and sad, I “spoke” to another there, one with whom I have chatted at great length, who has chatted with me at great length, to let him know I was disappearing, not blocking him. On-line we’ve an easy repartee, a connection and commonalities, but, in real life, it turns out we go to the same gym and on the occasions when we see each other there, we have never spoken one word, despite being nearly naked next to one another in sauna, and fully naked across from one another in showers, curtains left part-open, but neither of us willing to make the reach across that breach, that rupture left when the imagined self must manifest into the actual shape of truth of corporeal being. I explained to him — because he is quite sweet and kind — that I am better imagined, just these words. I made a joke about our ages and my failures as a human being and my location, now, it seems, firmly registered at some mythical Tarantula Arms and he replied, “I think whatever else you may think you’ve done, I am certain you have never been guilty of deliberate cruelty.”

Which made me, of course, want to fall in love. That he recognized Mr. Williams and oh, my dears, well, this real world here, it is too much, yes? I am shuffling from one to another relative and caretaker, looking for a place to be, riding this particular streetcar to too many sad destinations for far too long. So, I have turned it all off again and I am hoping for the best, but fearing we are all savages, knives out, ready to destroy when we’ve so much to love for.

 

 

This, about my absence.

UPDATE NOTE: I’ve gotten a couple of questions about my book appreciations; haven’t been up to doing the long-forms, but I do post short notes about what I read on my Pinterest, here: https://www.pinterest.com/parkercws/reading-read-2016/

I apologize about my absence.

I — like everyone else in the world who has any empathy at all — am having a difficult time maintaining balance in the face of the goings on in the world.

This world uproar, sorrow, fear, pain, makes everything in one’s own life seem somehow scarier and bigger and harder. I know this is silly. I know how lucky I am.

But …

I have been trying for a month to write a new blog entry. About sleeping alone. About being happy alone. About living outside the lines of the conventions of culturally approved adulthood. I can’t seem to do this to my satisfaction.

During that month I moved.

I have spent five nights in the new place. The rest of the time I have been house/pet sitting.

I have read twelve books.

I am going to watch Gilda tonight.

For dinner I am having a can of bargain brand ravioli cooked on a gas range that costs more than I have made in the last five years, in a home where every pan is Le Creuset, meaning, the sauce pan in which I am cooking my seventy-five cent can of ravioli costs more than I am paid for a week of house-sitting.

I have been stood up twice.

I have lost names. Had my poor-person insurance rejected by all in the specialist field I need within thirty miles. I have twice driven to a home where I am not currently living before remembering I am not living there.

I am an old gay man and old gay men are not very popular.

Twitter has upset me.

So, I have been avoiding Twitter. And people. Because I feel an obligation to see the bright side — I mean, I want to see the bright side and count my blessings and take ownership of my choices, how my life is — because this experience, what I do with it, it is mine, no one else is responsible.

But, I can’t — right now — today — be as upbeat as I’d like. And I’m feeling sort of lonely and unseen and laughed at and second-choice and disposable and — well, I’ll be back. Brighter.