WTF

Living in a world where that asshat can have a lead in any state, can garner even one vote, makes me want never to leave my room again. I have lived too long and I am ready to go. This is unbearable.

Waiting . . .

Wait: from the Old High German, wahten; to watch. To remain neglected for a time, in repose, inactive, in anticipation of an event. To attend upon, escort. To perform the duties of an attendant or servant, to supply the wants of a person.

I accepted an invitation and went to a “party” last night with a fellow, T, whose specialty is “consulting with new restaurants and bars, re: brand building and events” but, in the meantime, he waits on tables.

My career in food service was a brief and spectacular failure during my youthful run away from home to New Haven. Surprisingly, for a person who has spent most of his life morphing himself into shapes dictated by the wishes, whims, and whippings of others, I was a terrible waiter. I suspect my genetic predisposition toward sociopathic duplexity of crippling inferiority complex and delusional narcissism rendered me incapable of dealing with the dismissive and belittling behavior of many patrons; my final moments in food service had to do with outrunning members of the Yale football team at whom I had thrown a pizza after they Continue reading

Voting; It’s a lifelong commitment

hillaryclinton_2016_328x253-328-254Early voting begins today in Maryland, and so, sometime in the next few hours, I will cast my vote for Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States. I have voted for Ms. Clinton every time I could. I am thrilled to have this time, and another opportunity in 2020 to do so.

I first voted in 1984 for Walter Mondale. He was running against Ronald Reagan, who I thought then and continue to believe was a horror; he was at the forefront of the demonization of the poor and non-white, non-heterosexual, non-male, non-christian population, and his non-reaction to the AIDS epidemic disqualifies him for inclusion in any list of decent human beings.

Being a decent human being is the FIRST requirement of someone for whom I vote. And this election and the thirty-plus years slandering of Ms. Clinton has —  I confess — shaken my faith in the progress made since 1984, shaken my faith that everyone is at the core full of love and light. I have been near hermit-like to avoid evidence of the horrors being promulgated by the Republican party — yes, to me, they are each and every one responsible for this long descent into a standard-bearer whose trademark is bullying those non-white, non-straight, non-christian, etc, and spreading a level of hate and divisiveness not seen since Nazi Germany.

The echoes of this terror resulted in me becoming inordinately sensitive to everything anyone said. I withdrew from Twitter because Continue reading

Charlie Updates

october-2016

The Latest Selfie. Keeping track of myself in case I am actually fading away.

Update: five minutes after initial posting. Ugh. My memory — Please watch the video at the end of the post.

I’m busy exploring my deciduous essence; who and what I am has always been about desquamation, and never has the tearing away of the scales and the shedding of skins been more the primary characteristics of my being than in the last five years or so. One does worry, sometimes, that the affirmative reduction process has or is in danger of eliding into a pathological diminishment of self, until I’ve subtracted myself into non-being — but if spiritual cleansing works like dieting, not much chance of that, as the weight loss is going slower with the passing of time. Damn. I used to be able to drop twenty pounds with little effort. No more. Funny, keeping records on a phone app, watching my dieting/exercise progress, and wishing there was a like-spiritual app. Instead, I take selfies. Okay then, that, and updates on where I am (and am not) going.

TWITTER

It’s now been more than a week since I have opened Twitter. I wish I could parse for you the emotional or psychological or spiritual impetus for the retreat, but, I can’t, not really, except to say the Latin root of the word impetus means to attack/attack, and while the people I follow on Twitter are everything lovely, there was a process going on inside me the result of which was I felt discontent, covetousness, an isolate in another world where I didn’t really belong. These are my issues, they were caused by Continue reading

People like us . . .

I started singing along with record albums before I could read, and I started reading at five. I used singing along with albums (and, then, doing shows) as my way of trying to communicate what was in my head, my heart. I had to, because, somehow, early on, I became fearful of saying out loud what I felt. I somehow learned not to ask for what I needed/wanted because the “no” that was sure to come would humiliate me, and, too, people like us didn’t deserve anything anyway, so, Charlie, count yourself lucky you’ve got what you’ve got and don’t want for more. Or other.  Don’t ask. You know what was funny, all those years of wailing along, mostly alone in my room, I was always hoping someone would hear me, get me. I spent most of my adult life around and with people whose modus operandi was to ignore anyone’s needs but their own, people who punished you if you asked them for something other than what they were giving, people who operated always in control and revenge mode. Anyway, what? I’ve been trying to blog for days. I can’t quite. No, everything’s great. I don’t need anything. Really. I’m just going to play some songs.

Words Matter.

mommy-charlie-at-joannes-wedding-to-len

Fearful teen faggot me, terrified, barely able to make it through one day after another; that fear, returning now.

I have tried to hold on to my fundamental belief that EVERYONE — no matter how heinous I find their words, beliefs, and behaviors — has at the center the same spark of Love and Light which motivates and illuminates those people I love and admire; but this election season has time and again challenged me to sustain that belief.

Not only have I been appalled by the rhetoric, the ignorance, the embrace of hate, misogyny, xenophobia, racism, homophobia, transphobia, schoolyard bullying, bloviating bigotry, threats and intimidation and concentrated disinformation, deceit, distortion, and meant-to-induce violence lies and propaganda, but, too, it has triggered me.

I can’t sleep. I can’t look at Twitter. I can’t watch the news. I am scared. Not in a grown-up way, but in the same way I was as a child, as a young person, in school, in my community, where I had early on been labeled faggot, and was regularly abused, accosted, assaulted, and in danger. And it wasn’t just those actual attacks, it was the culture of casual and accepted homophobia and ignorance practiced by my family, my church, the society at large. Now, Tr*mpists have been given permission to express again, to embrace again, to encourage again all of these kinds of hates.

And I am having trouble trusting the world. I am having trouble trusting anything. Words matter. They almost killed me as a child, a few times, and made my life well into my twenties a daily hell and terror. Words matter. They did kill Matthew Shepard. Words matter. I want to be able to trust the world again, to get on Twitter again, to watch the news again. He must not win. That he can get this close means all the work I thought we’d accomplished, had so much less effect than I’d hoped.

That he can get this close makes me that terrified 13-year-old again, afraid that the love I feel is reason enough for people to want to crucify me. I. Cannot. Cope.

FOOD: Sunday; Showing Up for Swiss Steak

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The finished Day-Long Swiss-Steak, lightly sauced. There is a large bowl of more sauce to be ladled like gravy over the meat and mashed potatoes. For some reason I seem not to have taken a pic of that!

It’s my sixth day of cold-turkey Twitter hiatus. I haven’t logged in. I have no idea what’s going on in that world I’ve been living in. I’m not sure what this means or why I felt I had to exit there, which is the reason I can’t go back. I miss the people, my Twitterati, my connection, but I am wondering if maybe I am just not meant to be connected to the world, to anyone, really. There is so much of me no one knows, and, well, I want to be held in ways no one really can — I think I am re-parenting me in a way. Not that my parenting was flawed in the first place, far from it. And so, here, a story about my Mom, and a recipe. Love and Light whoever you are out there. Sorry if you came here looking for naked Dylan O’Brien, those days seem to be long gone.

I got to host Momma for Sunday dinner. Unexpectedly.

This is worlds more complicated than it sounds since seeing Momma requires driving to the Home for the Aged (that’s what they call it, have called it, since the 1800s) and getting her and her walker from her third floor residence, down the historic front steps, into the car, and then from the car and into my apartment which requires either a long sidewalk trek and a flight up to the front door of my building and down a flight into my apartment, or, an alternate shorter roll across the lawn where tree roots and damp patches lurk. Too, of late, Momma has begun to forget she’s being picked up and so not been waiting at the front door, signed out, I.D. necklaced and ready, or, has fallen asleep in her chair, book on her lap. Because of this, she’s instructed me to call before I come. So, on Sunday, once I realized I should bring her over for dinner, I spoke to her on the phone to say I would be done at the gym between 3:30-4:00 and would call her to let her know.

Well, I called. No answer.

I try not to panic anymore. She is 88. Too, my sister had Continue reading

Reading: Florida-crazy and Love-crazy worlds …

 

charlie-oct-2016-1I haven’t been on Twitter in five days, which may well be the longest I have not checked in there since I started Tweeting however many years ago that was. For me, Twitter was a method of replacing InRealLife interactions, a place I came closer to being the me and living the life I had long imagined. Except, I didn’t really do that, did I? I live with a foundational loneliness (we all do, I know) that I don’t think can be assuaged, and, for reasons for which no one but myself is to blame, when that distraction from the loneliness and sense of failure stops working, there is an almost chemical surge of disappointment and sorrow, the pain of, “Shit, I’ve done it again — I am, still, after all, alone and who I am/was/will ever be.”  Twitter was starting to make me feel that way. Again. It was sort of like being on Grindr or Tinder and swiped over. And over. And over. Over and over. I am relatively certain I will return to Twitter — it was where I got a lot of my “what to read” information, but I was also sure I’d reactivate my Facebook some day and it’s been five years (I think) so, who knows? I can’t go back until I am not in a place where I am looking to Twitter and the people on it for unfair and unreasonable amounts of affirmation — which is what I need to take care of for myself. Maybe my new glasses will help. We’ll see. Or, I’ll see — way better than I did before I got these new glasses. Which is a lovely thing. And great, because now that I am (temporarily, I think) off Twitter, I have even more time to read. So, here I am, going.

razor-girlRAZOR GIRL, Carl Hiaasen, hardcover, 333 pages, Knopf  Seems I read a Carl Hiaasen novel every three years or so; 2010 was Star Island; 2013 was Strip Tease, and now, 2016, Razor Girl.

Makes sense that a batshit crazy state like Florida would be the setting for novels whose characters are defined by personality disorders. There is a surfeit of quirky, kinky, kooky unto clinically idiosyncratic characters jostling for the crazy crown. Many of them commit or pay for violence to others as casually as ordering at a fast food drive-thru window.

Why is it then that Mr. Hiaasen manages to make me laugh? His writing is fleet, his gift for capturing type in a few brief sentences phenomenal, and his intricate plotting full of surprises, including gobsmacking moments of tenderness and insight.

This is redneck noir at its best and Continue reading

Reading: Man, Booker, WTF?

Fair warning and full disclosure, I am in a full-blown, full-on mean reds episode, feeling attacked, unloved, unseen, alone, abandoned, belittled, beknighted, befuddled, certain I am going to end my life on the streets, mortified and still unable to face how easy I am to walk away from, turn away from, and so, I am especially self-pitying right now, furious about what I’ve lost, what’s been taken, and what I’ve fucked up, both my pair of sneakers are falling apart, my bullet-shake-maker blew up, I haven’t lost enough weight quickly enough on this diet, I think I’m leaving Twitter, I don’t have any house/pet-sitting bookings in October/November which means I don’t have any private time, and I am just fucking exhausted being me and feeling sad about how being me exhausts other people and so … you’ve been warned. When in this mood and further disappointed by books — which are my solace and my strength, I can get pretty testy.

I live a smallish life, an increasing amount of my happiness has to do with my interaction with the books I read. Literature means a great deal to me. I revere authors and follow them the way others iconize Brangelina and sports figures. So, each year, the announcement of the Man Booker fiction longlist and National Book Award nominees are big events for me. I am excited when there are books on those lists I’ve already read, even more, when there are books there I have loved and championed.

When the opposite is true — when there are books which were buzzy-industry-pushed and heralded by insidery-critic-y-MFA-emperor’s-new-clothes-crowd that I found to be less than great, even annoyingly un-great (if you want to go Tr*mpian about it), I am flummoxed and, in some cases, pissed off. I find it, what’s the word? DEPLORABLE.

So, this year has been something of a drag. First of all, Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You, [I WROTE ABOUT IT HERE] should win both Booker and NBA. It was at least on the longlist for NBA, but Continue reading

Reading: On the Rebound: What to Read After Ann Patchett

Catching up on the six books I’ve read since my last bookblog. What these reads have in common was having been recommended by either IRL lit pals or virtual/bloggy/TwitLit types or by nominating committees. I listened to what they said. And here we are, going.

It was September 27th when last I book blogged and Ann Patchett’s Commonwealth [click here] had left me sated but worried; after one has been pleasured by the gifts of a brilliant author, pity the rebound books to which one turns saying, “Well, they’re not Ann Patchett, but a person’s got to read something.”

This time my strategy was to begin by heading to my backlist, those books published at least a decade ago which have been recommended to be but to which I’ve not gotten round. I also thought it would be wise to switch from the literary fiction genre and, too, to cross the pond, thereby starting with a British mystery originally published in 1944.

THE CASE OF THE GILDED FLY, Edmund Crispin, hardback, originally published 1944, 237 pages  This is the first in a series of what have been called “classic murder mysteries” featuring the Oxford don Gervase Fen, an erudite, sardonic amateur detective, sort of Miss Marple on steroids and gin. Edmund Crispin is a pseudonym used by Robert Bruce Montgomery, a composer who wrote film scores including ones for the comedic Carry On series and the inexplicable The Brides of Fu Manchu. It was short and fast and quite self-consciously clever, terribly wink and sniggle, aren’t we all witty, wink, wink, let’s have a quick tipple what say? It’s clear Crispin enjoyed having the genre and readers on. Plot: theatre company. Not nice actress murdered. Everyone had a reason. Locked room sort of vibe. But the plot was its own sort of in-joke and I did have a bit of trouble keeping the many characters clear, and I had to look up quite a few unfamiliar words and references, which always delights me. That said, I read it over three days and wish I’d saved it for a snowy afternoon, I think it would have gone down more smoothly that way. Will I read another in the series? Good question. I think if I could find used library copies I might add them to my Great Sphinx of Giza sized TBR wonder-pile, but getting them plucked from there and into my hands? Not sure. Continue reading