Let It Be

Sometimes, the thing to do, is not to do.

And not to hold on.

Because, you see. Finally. You haven’t seen.

And, still, the places you’ve been, and the people you’ve known, you see, you’ve seen, as well as you could, and they you, as well as they could, and, truth: You’ve always been lucky.

Now, aren’t you tired of all this trying? Enough. Do some living, you’ve done enough dying. Get on with it.

Gotta go. I’m tired of feeling, tired of being broken, and my life is calling me.

 

 

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

ZeitBites: Eggs and Andys and Hollys and Dickory Docks

Monday Morning, December 7, 2015

sunset blvd gifI woke up this morning wishing one of you out there in the dark was here in the dark so I could just spit this all out really quickly and be done with it rather than having to blog it — and since MOST of my followers (for some reason) and hits come from European countries, I like to delude myself that my lack of having someone with whom to share my life (and my rantings and ravings) is to do with me having been born in the wrong country (or, in the wrong era, but that’s another blog — which I’m pretty sure I’ve already written somewhere but I’m old and wake up all night and I can’t remember these things, dammit) and so, it is a comfort, thinking of all of you over there who’d love me as I am, honor me and all that and Listen To Me. But until that time I get a passport renewed and money enough to sail (I’d sail, you know, rather than fly. Just seems more 1930s and, like I said, I was born in the wrong era — I did say that, didn’t I?) I’ll just have to blog all these fleeting, random thoughts I have.

(I know, you’re saying, “Have to? Maybe just shut-up, Charlie? Ever thought of that?” Yes. I have. But, I can’t really. You readers — European and non — and even those just clicking in because I have old tags saying DEREK HOUGH NAKED — are the closest I have to lovers, real companion type lovers, so, pretend you like this or remain silent — or, if you want to be truly like my past lovers, abandon me saying you never much enjoyed me in the first place and were just killing time until the kind of blog you wanted really came along.)

— but since you’re not here, here goes. Why did I get up at 5:55 a.m.?

  1. I have been tossing and semi-weird-waking since I lights-outed at 1:00 a.m.-ish with the half-fever worry that I needed to get the eggs out of the refrigerator and bring them to room temperature for today’s continuation of Christmas cookie baking. So—-
  2. — Christmas makes me think of Andy Williams because my Momma loved Andy Williams and it was really Christmas when she got out the Andy Christmas albums. And-My Momma worked in an egg factory which brings me back to the eggs at room temperature worry, plus —
  3. —I have been doing this odd thing where I wake at 2:22, 3:33, 4:44, 5:55 – and despite my lack of faith or belief in anything, this frequent waking I do and the feverish-fugue into which it puts me, triggers childhood fears and despite knowing it is completely impossible, I worry that if I go back to sleep, the next time I wake I will see 6:66 on the clock and the Baby Jesus will never be born because I have sinned. Thus —
  4. — I get out of bed to shake it off (and get the eggs out) and I weigh myself and I look awful and I think, “This is all your fault, Andy Williams, because you are Christmas and all that cookie baking and tasting yesterday is to blame for this weight this morning and FUCK YOU, ANDY!” Which —
  5. dallesandro and woodlawn

    Joe Dallesandro & Holly Woodlawn

    — Reminds me that Andy Warhol Superstar, Holly Woodlawn [click here], died yesterday. And I think, “Holly” – deck the halls with boughs of and all that. Weird. I miss Andy and his Superstars and the thrill of discovering them and all those connections and when I was away at theatre camp and introduced to Lou Reed’s music and — shit, Holly inspired Walk On the Wild Side and Joe Dallesandro — who I follow on Twitter — announced her death there yesterday and posted all those pics of his younger self. I miss my younger self. Joe was my first trade-crush, I think. He was so beautiful naked. dallesandro joe dallesandro warhol Why am I alone? Cause of porny crushes on beautiful naked guys for whom I will never be their type? Like —

  6. colby christmas

    Colby Keller coming down the chimney, down

    — Colby Keller. Oh, he did all those Christmas shots last year. Shit, I need to wake up and get busy on these cookies. Christmas. Andy. Williams. Warhol. Holly. Dallesandro. Colby. Get the eggs out. Jesus I look awful naked — JESUS? Did I actually worry this morning in some haze of old-man-back-pain-too-many-hours-on-my-feet-Christmas-cookie baking-frenzy-brainfade that Baby Jesus wouldn’t be born because my clock might say 6:66 if I committed the sin of going back to sleep. And, see —

  7. —  that whole sin thing, which in my egg-factory, Andy Williams Christmas, hallucinatory youth
    dallesandro rolling-stones-sti_3287029k

    Dallesandro’s dick on Rolling Stones album cover

    thing was conflated with wanting to hickory dickory with Joe Dallesandro who I discovered because the theatre camp bad influences (perfect influences) introduced me to Lou Reed and we talked out loud about wanting to fuck Mick Jagger and it was only years later I learned that the dick on the front of Sticky Fingers belonged to Joe Dallesandro and — art and porn — like Colby Keller Does America [CLICK HERE] is doing now and —

  8. — here I am, blogging.

 

But, those lyrics:

It’s the holiday season
With the whoop-de-do and dickory dock
And don’t forget to hang up your sock
‘Cause just exactly at 12 o’clock
He’ll be coming down the chimney
Coming down the chimney
Coming down the chimney, down!

Tell me this: What the hell does dickory dock mean?! I mean, you are aware of what dick-docking is, correct? Were the Christmas tunes of Andy Williams that my mom played — over and over and over — sending me subliminal messages?

(According to the ever-reliable Yahoo Answers, “hickory, dickory, dock” means eight, nine, ten. From a British nursery rhyme. SEE, EUROPE AGAIN. Come on, Neville, FIND ME! Anyway, who knew? [CLICK HERE FOR YAHOO ANSWERS DICKORY DOCK INFO- NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH DICK-DOCKING INFO- LINKS FOR WHICH I  TRUST YOU CAN FIND ON YOUR OWN SHOULD YOU BE INTERESTED.])

And while I’m Zeit-bite blabbing: Is it just me, or have large eggs gotten smaller?

cookie dayLike I said, I spent yesterday making Christmas cookies. This effort required a $200 trip to the grocery store Saturday night, an $80 trip Sunday morning, and another $50 trip Sunday afternoon. So far. Now, after the baking of three kinds and the concoction and refrigeration of dough for a fourth —

(The New York Times Cookbook best chocolate chip cookie recipe EVER, which people ask me for all the time — not the recipe, the cookies, because most people are too lazy to do the weighing and waiting required — plus, I use a secret combination of six kinds of chocolate for the chips, chunks, pieces — so, there’s that) 

— with eight more varieties to go, I’ve already run out of storage containers and need a few more ingredients, one of which is butter — HOW DID I NOT GET ENOUGH BUTTER?

But, I swear, eggs have gotten smaller. Or, is this a trick of age? When I was a child — from age six to, I think, twelve — my mom worked in an egg factory. It was a simpler, kinder time, and Mommy would sometimes take various of us to work with her, and we would be allowed to do some of the jobs there. I did candling, which was the job my mom and her friend Helen alternated, a job no one wanted as it required hours of  standing in a cold, dark booth watching eggs roll by on an lit-from-below conveyor belt and plucking off those eggs with bloody or fetal yolks, tossing them into a waste-bucket which smelled. I also used what I called “the sucker”, a vacuum type affair egg candlingwhich picked up lots of eggs at once and fed them onto the belt that led to the candling booth. And, too, I packaged, which meant I stood at one of the chutes down which the eggs were rolled after the post-candling machine sorted them into sizes. I usually manned the extra-large or the small chutes. The large chute required a very skilled and speedy packager because the majority of eggs fell into that classification and handling the volume at that station — getting the eggs into cartons, getting the cartons into cases, moving the cases to yet another conveyor belt — turned me into Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory. It occurs to me now that the working conditions in that egg factory would not pass OSHA standards for adults today, let alone children, but I loved being there and feeling needed, important, useful.

And, I swear, those large eggs were bigger than the large eggs now. I tried (not very hard) to find information on-line about when standardized egg sizes changed in this country, if they changed, but all I managed to determine was this: What is considered large in the U.S. would be medium in Europe.

From this — it being Monday morning weigh-in, me being me, and without benefit of gastrointestinal parasite to help me maintain my recent hard-won slimness, and seeing my naked self in the mirror as I stepped on the scale this a.m. — I thought, “Well, I may be large in the U.S., but in Europe, I’m medium!” So, there. BUT THEN, me being me, I thought, “Well shit, I’m no Dallesandro in more ways than one, so if Large in the U.S. is only Medium in Europe, then my Average in Europe is probably small. DAMMMMMIT! I’ll never get a lover there either.”

And we’re back to where I started. All babble. No one to listen. Eggs. Cookies. Christmas. Andy. Warhol. Woodlawn. Dallesandro. Dick. None. I’m fat.

So, I’ll leave you with Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, with images of Holly and Joe and Edie, too.

And if you, like me, prefer something a little less safe for work and more Joe — well, it’s the holiday season — so, hang the holly or Joe is hung or something someone more clever than am I would say. This is Lou Reed again, Make Up — which is really just an excuse for naked Joe Dallesandro.

Later. I have cookies to make and more loneliness to explore. Cuz, you know, this isn’t Europe and I am large and not large and I sleep alone and it is up to me to make sure we all avoid the 666 which will keep the Baby Jesus from being born. I mean, I guess I really do miss feeling useful, needed, important, like I did as a child, carefully handling those eggs, watching them roll by, looking for the flaws, looking for the bloody yolks, watching how few were extra large or extra small, so many larges. Ha, large. What does that even mean? Jesus. I mean — Baby Jesus? Shit. I wish Colby Keller was coming my way. So to speak. I think – maybe – I need a nap.

(Yes, I know, you are saying: CHARLIE, REALLY, SHUT UP!)

Part 3: Existential Cozies, Comforts, and Joys

Well my little hall-deckers, if Christmas it must be, then the Yuletide ought always to be like last night! Maybe there is, after all, something to this keeping an account of my cozies, comforts, and joys. So, Part 3.

MEGAN HILTY

andrea and charlie

Me and my Andrea between shows. Big drinkers; me with a coffee, Andrea with a Coke. Yep. Whoo-freaking-hoo!

Big fan. First saw Ms. Hilty as Galinda in Wicked. Next saw Ms. Hilty as Doralee in 9 to 5: The Musical. Next, became rabid fan of Smash, founding member of Team Ivy. Then, my dear Andrea birthday-surprised me earlier this year with tickets to see Ms. Hilty in concert at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre. And then AGAIN, a few weeks ago, Andrea surprised me with tickets to see Ms. Hilty’s Christmas Concert at the Kennedy Center for last night’s 7:30 show. It was only yesterday afternoon that Andrea told me she had gotten tickets NOT ONLY to the 7:30, but, also, the 9:30. And so, the two of us, front row, aisle, house right — for the first show, somehow, despite it being sold out, we were the only people in the front row, and for the second show, the only OTHER person in the front row was a yawning, unkempt looking fellow in aisle seat, house left. I don’t know HOW Andrea gets these amazing seats, but, uhm, she always does.

About Ms. Hilty. Wow, the last time I saw her, my birthday concert (yes, MY BIRTHDAY concert), she was quite preggers. She delivered the girl-child, Viola, three months ago, and is back, better than ever. She can belt with the best of them but she is also able to quietly croon you to tears. She invests each song with its beginning, middle, end, telling the story with an expressiveness of voice and emotional depth I think is rarely equalled among current singers and Broadway performers. She really is a treasure. Listen to this — which she did last night in an arrangement of mostly guitar (as played by her husband, Brian Gallagher, more below).

And, MOST OF ALL, the relationship between Megan and her husband, Brian Gallagher, who plays guitar and sings with her during these concert appearances, is so freaking beautiful. I want to be one of them. The love they share just radiates from the stage, envelops you in its warmth and fairy-tale goodness. Ms. Hilty sang the song A Place Called Home from the Broadway musical version of A Christmas Carol, and she started weeping just introducing it and speaking of having found “the love of her life” and having a child. Not only was she crying, but as she sang it, so did Mr. Gallagher weep. Both shows. It wasn’t performance, it was life, and love, and so much Light on stage. Great show. If you’ve a chance to share some time with these people, you really ought to. And for me, being there last night (BOTH SHOWS!) with them and Andrea, so much comfort and joy.

COMFORTS, JOYS … quickies

  • And gas is really cheap right now, which is great, as I will soon be returning to Aftermath — where I love to be, which bucolic setting is twenty minutes from the gym. So, cheap gas is good.
  • And, thanks to a niece, found Starbucks Christmas Blend Keurig Cups for 8-something a box. This is a VERY good thing. I know it’s ridiculous, but I don’t think I could function without a Keurig.
  • And I have discovered (thank you TwitterLiterati) the Agatha Raisin mysteries by M.C. Beaton. Delightful fun. Happiness.
ford penis necklace

Tom Ford $800 Penis Necklace

  • And Tom Ford is selling what appears to be a gold phallic symbol. [See New York magazine article here.]  How cool is an $800 dick necklace? I’ll tell you how cool — Bill Donohue of the Catholic League [click here for the fucking moron] is upset about it. And, an idiot. I mean, who even THOUGHT this was supposed to look like a cross? I mean, now, every time I see a nicely arranged set of male genitalia, I’m going to connect it even more vigorously to my memories of my catholic youth — those years when my knees were hardened and trained to the tasks and sacraments for which the catholic church so lovingly prepared me. Thank you to the catholics for making me so good at so many things involving being on my knees … speaking of which ….
  • And, at the gym yesterday, a really good-looking guy came on to me in the showers. I have no idea why someone as good-looking as he was would come on to someone like me, I didn’t see any mistletoe hanging on the shower head — but — without going into details — this was not another one of my hallucinations. He actually, really and truly, did come on to me. I did not reciprocate nor respond except to politely indicate the gym-showers were not a location where I intended to frolic. Truth, I am still snotty and unwell — this cold thing — and it would have been not just dangerously undignified (and, possibly, illegal?) to fool around there but, too, I’d have been spreading cold germs. But, you know, HOPE —

SPEAKING OF HOT MEN … Russell Tovey is cheating on me …

russell tovey nude looking

Russell Tovey on top of the home-wrecker and fantasy-killer, Jonathan Groff

Andrea broke it to me last night that she’d seen a preview for Season 2 of HBO’s Looking and it seems as if Russell Tovey — who I claimed as my own YEARS ago when he was in The History Boys on Broadway — is continuing — in the plotline — to have sex with Jonathan Groff’s character. I am not happy about this. And, clearly, the universe and all the demons of hell sent after me because of my lapsed catholicism and ever-increasing atheism (wait, that doesn’t make sense, well, so what) have conspired to torture me because this morning, Russell is everywhere. He posted this one of himself:

Tovey, Russell Dec 2014

Tovey by Turner

CLICK HERE FOR the website Cocktails and Cocktalk, and a whole series of new hot Tovey photos.

And, as if that wasn’t enough to get me all … well, whatever it is a man my age (who, I hasten to add, was COME ON TO in the showers yesterday — WHILE NAKED) gets, then, I was assaulted by this photo to the left in my Twitter TL. An entire new set of Tovey photos. Dear god (in whom I do not believe) STOP!

SPEAKING OF GOD … final comfort and joy of the day …

Andrea. My dear, dear Andrea, she who allows me stays at Aftermath with her dear, dear Judah, yes, Andrea is a Pastor. Pastor Andrea. A person of the cloth.

I know, right? I can hear many of you exclaiming — as did my family and some other friends when I spoke of Andrea and they inquired as to details — “How is a Pastor friends with you?”

Well, here’s how. In a life you meet/have a very few people — if you are lucky, and I am INCREDIBLY lucky in this way — who “get” you. These people see you, who you are, at the soul, at the source, at the center of your Love and Light. They don’t judge you, they don’t try to change you, they don’t forgive or accept, they don’t have to — they KNOW you. They never see anything but the Love and the Light. If I believed in God — and when I did believe in God — it was that sort of seeing I thought defined God. My complicated cosmology didn’t have room for sin or hell or right or wrong — but, rather, had space only for the aim of seeing only the Love and Light at the source, at the core. Not saying there aren’t people who behave in heinous ways, saying, instead, the job of a God — the job, I think, of everyone, all life — is to believe PAST all of the heinous, to believe that — ultimately — the Love and the Light, no matter how distorted they may become, are all that are. All That Is, the truth of the Love and the Light. Everything else is illusion, temporary, words, labels, not important.

How does Andrea stay my friend? Because for Andrea, that is all there is. Andrea is what anyone who wants to do God’s work should be, a person who works always to live in and see in others that core of Love and Light, and believes in it — no matter how those others parse it or fuck it up or hurt themselves and others or fail at life — Andrea sees and encourages and cultivates and BELIEVES in the Love and the Light.

That’s faith. Faith. That’s God. And I am incredibly blessed and comforted and cozied and joyed and un-deserving of having found this late in life (although I hasten to add I was come on to when naked in the shower yesterday by a very attractive much younger man — ARE YOU LISTENING RUSSELL TOVEY?) a friend, a dear one, a treasure, like Andrea. Andrea, a Pastor who doesn’t measure me by whether or not I profess to believe in God; Andrea, who doesn’t measure me at all except by the glow of my Love and Light, and finds me to be friend-worthy. I love her. So much.

Here’s wishing all of you have an Andrea and such blessings as do I to count, and, my dears, at least one who sees your Love and Light like Andrea sees mine.

Love and Light kids.

 

 

 

My suggestions for what constitutes a #GoodFriday …

Good Friday? I’ll be the judge of that.

Now, one would assume that a faith that calls the day on which the character who sings the eleven o’clock number is costumed in a crown of thorns, beaten, scourged and stabbed before being nailed to a cross to bleed out a “good day” would LOGICALLY appear to be a faith custom made for a fellow boasting my temperament and inclinations, but one would be wrong. Still, not a total loss this weekend — “Orphan Black” season 2 [CLICK HERE]is happening. 

As an infant, I was bound in a white sacramental sheath and sacrificed into the papist cult. Like many of the lambs sold into the faith before (and after) me I was early on handed over to the en-habited crones whose role it was to indoctrinate the children in the doctrines of the faith, persuading by book, crook, and wickedly-aimed eraser and ruler left hook, the catechismic dogma and creeds of the roman catholic sect.

These women were virtuoso viragoes. Before I was seven they had me convinced that my “highest second-grade IQ in the state of Maryland” was a “message from god, he has a very special plan for you and you mustn’t disappoint him or your family, meaning all of us in your community of faith” and, apparently, I was destined to become the first American pope. The following year the termagants instructed that I should be sent away — tuition free — to a Jesuit boarding school that I might fulfill my holy destiny, but, unlike Rosemary, my Mother was not about to hand her baby over, and her terror of letting me go saved me from being sent away and losing my man-on-man virginity before puberty hit.

In effect, for all practical intents and purposes, I as good as left the church a few years later when I read Portnoy’s Complaint. While I knew I could never be jewish, I recognized the guilt and the familial periphrastic malevolence of the hero’s life, and Roth — unlike the adherents to the holy sees holy shit — taught me something practical: how to masturbate. Now there was a sacrament I could wrap myself — or, at least, my hand — around, though it would be many years before I fucked a piece of liver — but that’s another story and this is Friday, no meat.

And not just any Friday, but Good Friday. What the fuck is so good about it?

Turns out the “good” is likely a derivation of the archaic root of the word meaning “holy” — still, faith built around a celebration of the day when some masochist volunteers to suffer and die so — supposedly — you don’t have to? Except, uhm, YOU DO. I mean, if that Jesus fellow had hit that high note in Gethsemane (and believe me, I did when I played the role) and bit it afterward and the result was that we then had only to chew on him on Sundays to avoid feeling pain and sorrow and — you know — LIFE, then, okay, sign me up.

SUPERSTAR

Yeah, that’s me on the cross — I have a hard time getting off. It took two apostles.

But that’s not the deal with this churchy shit. This churchy shit is all about white men wielding power over everyone else, the bastardization (and I meant to use that word) of actual tenets of truth and light and love into controlling fictions meant to keep the peasants in servitude and fear.

Fuck that shit. Power ballads or not, I refuse to be intimidated by your dogma. Although, I think catma would be a better word – I like dogs.

So, yeah. N0. Good Friday as far as I am concerned would need to include some meat (no liver, please) and all of the people who have ever annoyed me being thorn-crowned and nailed to little-crosses of their own — I have a list should anyone be interested.

Thought not. So, guess I’ll read and wait for Good Saturday – which really is tomorrow, because Orphan Black returns at last with the brilliant and Emmy-robbed Tatiana Maslany. Not to mention Jordan Gavaris, who would be my boyfriend were I not already in a committed imaginary relationship with Russell Tovey. I have it on good authority that Jordan’s ass [CLICK HERE FOR ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY ARTICLE] is featured in the Season 2 opener.

Gavaris, Jordan 1 Gavaris, Jordan 2 Gavaris, Jordan 3

Now THAT is a Good Day.

But, no worries, Russell, I still love you MOST.

Tovey, Russell Mar 2014 ass

Tovey, Russell Mar 2014 2

Looking 6 KISS

Tovey, Groff Looking 3

Tovey, Groff Looking 1

My BOYFRIEND, Russell Tovey

My BOYFRIEND, Russell Tovey

My lover, Russell Tovey, after one more satisfying and exhausting session of passionate sex

My lover, Russell Tovey, after one more satisfying and exhausting session of passionate sex

Love You

w2d charlieDon’t worry. I’m fine.

When posts like last night’s “FUCK YOU” go up, there are sometimes concerned missives inquiring as to what has happened, am I okay, who did what.

The answers are always; Nothing of real import; yes, I’m fine; and no one who matters did much of anything.

Last night was about a posting I read to which I will not give any more publicity or energy except to say it was about a hater and denier of the humanity of others. And, as is so often the case, it was hate speech being promulgated and preached by someone who claimed to be godly and pious and all that bullshit rot citing the usual ridiculous sources as foundation for their hate.

So, since I was hanging with the very VERY vocal Sebastian last night (he always shows up after a couple of glasses of wine) and he was egging me on, I started in with the GIFs to announce my moral outrage.

BUT KIDS – in real life, every day life, with the real, actual people I see and with whom I interact (or, don’t interact, even) I no longer have those sorts of rages nor hold those sorts of grudges. I have worked very hard NOT to have judgment, or, to check my privilege and arrogance when I DO begin to judge so that I might remember to recognize it as MY problem, mine alone. angel light wings

When I begin to feel anger at someone, or feel victimized, abandoned, betrayed, etcetera; I take some deep breaths and tell Sebastian to go away. I remind myself of the people in my life who have dealt anger at me, who have accused me of betrayal and victimizing and abandonment and etcetera and I remember to remember that almost always people are doing the best they can with what they have.

We are each, I think, our own angel, the ones we imagine are just our ways of reminding ourselves to use our wings of Love and Light. But, here’s the thing; sometimes it is dark and that’s okay too.

Love You.

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 . . .

MY TBR PILE

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!

THE OPPOSITE OF LONELINESS by Marina Keegan

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

And A MAN CAME OUT OF A DOOR IN THE MOUNTAIN by Adrianne Harun

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.

 

 

… insomnia … oh well … there’s always Betty Buckley for lullabyes …

For reasons of no import at all, I cannot sleep. And I have – once more – resorted to the carnival of the past, the reverie of “before” and so … YouTube and the music of then … enjoy.

This is Patti LuPone and Kurt Peterson singing Endless Delights from the original cast recording of The Baker’s Wife. God, I LOVE this song. The first time I heard it I was – either 17 or 18 – and living a life of debauchery and my own sort of endless delights. I was spending a night with a group of my theatrical friends. Oh, the times we had. And we were all spending a night in someone’s townhouse, and I was – not unusually for me at the time – smoked up, drunk, and Black Beauty-ed into a sort of coma when a dear one said, “You’re going to love this.” And he played for me the album of The Baker’s Wife, which I had never heard. I was in love with the score and Patti LuPone, and while I was so fucked up I somehow burned a hole through my yellow overalls (yes, yellow overalls) and into my thigh WITHOUT NOTICING until the next day, I remember EVERY WORD of this album. LOL. It was, indeed, a time of Endless Delights.

In case you don’t know – The Baker’s Wife is the failed treasure from which came the often sung (to death) song, Meadowlark. Miss Patti LuPone does it here.

I have loved me many a Meadowlark, and like any theatre obsessive, I have REPEATEDLY thought it the story of MY life – which is what makes it a great song, it connects to something universal we have all felt – and oh dear – don’t get me started – so, here you go. Some other Meadowlark‘s for you.

First, a really rare version, the amazing and glorious and why isn’t she one of the famous divas like the Misses Buckley and LuPone? Miss Judy Kuhn. Her “Ahh, just when I thought my heart was finally numb…” around 4:20 is simply heartbreaking.

And, though this song makes NO SENSE WHATSOEVER as a duet, who can resist Betsy Wolfe and Lindsay Mendez – TOGETHER? Not me, that’s for damn sure.

Too, Sara Ramirez’s version is interesting. She is far more aggressive than most. There is a foundation of anger in her rendition – as if she is furious at the universe for putting her in this position. I find that a fascinating and smart take. I like it. A lot. Though I think the anger compromises the heartbreak that needs to be present at the end of the song when the dichotomy of the new love and passion versus the old love and comfort, the ache of the choice, the knowing that she is killing the king . . . so to speak . . . that is lost. But still . . . I get it.

And finally, my very most favorite … so incredibly gorgeous. Miss Betty Buckley. First, there is the instrument that is her voice – which is gorgeously unique in tonality and inflection and articulation and that pitch – so amazingly, piercingly, fantastically right where it should be. And with all of that, there is then her interpretation. She is THERE in every moment; she plays EVERY character; she doesn’t just sing songs, she LIVES them and not just her voice but her entire being – her body, her face, her SOUL, the ESSENCE of who she is is lent to the song and the story – SHE IS TRANSFORMED by the story and thus, transforms us. There are so many brilliant, breath-taking, make you gasp moments during this number – which I have had the privilege of seeing live – that I dasn’t begin to point out where you ought to especially attend – ATTEND TO EVERY SECOND. But, from the “Fly with me” at 1:59 through the “Every time I heard that part, I cried” at 2:39, Miss Buckley delivers more emotional arc and color than most actors bring to entire roles in two hour plays and films. She is transcendent. She is magic. Watching Miss Betty Buckley singing a song is like attending four years of acting school – not one false moment. She is all truth, she channels emotion from that place of Love and Light where it is born. This is musical theatre. This is acting. This is finding your Light and letting it shine and sharing it. This is Love. This is Life. This is as close to believing in God as I am ever likely to come – because if there was a God, She would sing Truth and Love like Betty Buckley.

Now, I am going to try to sleep.

Sunday briefs … or, sweatpants, actually …

I need to get a grip – TOO MANY THINGS GETTING MY GRIP! Breathe.

Coke homophobia

I need to get a grip. Therefore, I am NOT heading out for a New York Times today. I have huge piles of un-read magazines and New York Times I have not yet read dating back to … never mind. I’m going to DEAL with this backlog.

I need to get a grip. I am in mourning because this Wednesday is the FINALE of AMERICAN HORROR STORY: COVEN and I will now have to wait none months for new Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters deliciousness from Ryan Murphy. PLEASE KILL ME!

I need to get a grip. I have been eating in a less than optimally healthy way and slacking on gym visits; on a steady decline since Thanksgiving, blaming holiday season, snow and depression. Enough.  Therefore, once I finish this Chocolate Fudge Pop-Tart (box) – which will be today – I “take care of your body” ways. Back to daily gym and good-bye to sugar, flour, gluten, chips, cookies. carbs and Slim Jims; I will miss you all. It’s been fun.

I need to get a grip. I got a question from someone, a request, actually, for some advice, about faith, about not believing in god, about how to recover from not being loved the way you thought you were/wanted to be. I’ve been working on a response – carefully working – but it becomes increasingly difficult for me; ME, who spent DECADES being a sort of “go-to” person for those in need of therapy who couldn’t afford a therapist; ME, whose office and days and life were filled up with people needing a safe place to talk or be; ME, who put his own stuff and needs on hold to tend to the stuff and needs of everyone else; ME, yeah, that ME, now has a hard time advising, counseling, answering. Lots of reasons, not the least of which is, often, what I sort of understood before and eventually came to see with terrifying clarity is, the people doing the asking all too often are not seeking an answer to the “questions” they are posing or a solution to their “problems” – but, really and rather, they are looking to develop what amount to tactics for deluding themselves into “happiness” and “acceptance” that fits into this ridiculous pseudo-reality we’ve all made in which “happiness” has to do with conforming to idiotic and un-achievable economic, romantic, socio-cultural standards. I can’t pretend to care about that shit anymore. And I can’t encourage people to do things to conform to it. It is now IMPOSSIBLE for me not to say, “You see that what you want is brainwashed bogus bullshit you’ve swallowed without really examining, right?”

So, grip. Yeah. And brief. I meant not to go over 500 words and so – I SHUT UP and offer a few videos worth seeing. Two to make you think. One to make you really think. Happy Sunday.

…the new york chronicle … prologue part 2 … home again, home again, 250 miles away …

My home is 250 miles away from where I live. So, what does “living” mean? A soul-mate takes me on the MegaBus to Manhattan to remind me.

NYC megabus

I am a creature of habit. Nothing like beginning a blog post with a cliche, eh? But, I am.

Example: In my primary residence —

(doesn’t that sound fancy? But I’ve a lot of house and dog sitting regulars with whom I am quite close, in addition to a foundational “feeling” that there is a home base waiting for me to build it and so, it feels as if I am – in many ways – un-moored – but that is another blog and and I FEEL you saying, “Why are your tangents and asides PARAGRAPHS long?” So, back to the story – which isn’t really the story but the intro to a story … and now this is so long I need to separate it visually and … oh dear . . . )

— the kitchen trashcan is at the northern end of the kitchen island and opens by means of foot pedal. The result of my nearly chronic need for (not to say “addiction to) habituation is that here, where I am house-sitting, here, at a home I know quite well, here, when I have gone to deposit something in the trashcan I have repeatedly walked to the northern end of this kitchen island and readied my foot to press the pedal to open the lid of the trashcan. Which, here in this house, does not reside at the north end of the kitchen island. Here, in this house, there is a bag arrangement/attachment on the cabinet door beneath the sink.

I laugh now, every time I do this . . . or something like it; occurrences which are not infrequent and which I have been doing my entire life – but, again, more later. I offer this story now as illustration both of the degree to which my pathological need for order has physically manifested as well as my awareness of said pathology. And too, to make you aware of the anxiety I feel whenever I am doing something outside of my daily, regular routine.

A trip to New York requires getting there. Getting there from here, the going, is not particularly problematic, and while trains are the most comfortable mode of transport, they are ridiculously pricey and require getting to the station and parking costs and all of that. My preferred mode has of late been the MegaBus which departs from White Marsh Mall. One parks in the West Lot. The bus comes – and while some have complained of it being always late – usually on time or near enough, you get on, you sit, and some three and a half to four hours later, you arrive on 28th Street in Manhattan. Sweeter still, it’s quite cheap.

Not only had my pal Cody bought the theatre tickets for “BIG FISH: THE MUSICAL”‘s final show (more later), he had also bought our Megabus tickets. He had taken care of everything. I cannot tell you the warmth and happiness by which I was caressed when living that sentence: “He had taken care of everything.” So, on the night of the 28th, Cody and my sister both arrived here where I am Judah-visiting to prep for our four in the morning departure to catch the six thirty a.m. MegaBus.

Of course, showering and going to bed at eleven-ish, knowing I had to waken at three-fifteen-ish meant I would barely sleep. Which, I didn’t. Lots of waking and paranoia that when I ought to wake, I wouldn’t. That we’d get lost or break down on way to White Marsh and miss the bus. That . . . on and on with the “what ifs”  of disaster and plan flaws and what next.

We got up. Cody, too, who I have known since he was a child and who – frequently – accused me of responsibility for much of his own crazy – had not slept either, paranoid about waking/missing/alternatives/what if.

We met in the upstairs hallway at four a.m. and we were wearing outfits almost identical. Jeans. Blue-ish sweater over black and white un-tucked Oxford button-down shirts. J’accuse, indeed. And odder still, as we left the house, both of us bag and backpack free, having determined we would not take anything that could not fit in our pockets, we headed toward our cars and both looked at the other and said, “Who’s driving?” Neither of us had our keys. Neither of us had directions. Maybe we SHOULD worry about things.

Long story (750 words already, or, as I have been told by an editor, “450 words more than anyone reads – over 300 is masturbation, EDIT, CHARLIE, EDIT! Fuck editing.) long however; determined Cody would drive, went into house to get his keys, determined we needed my GPS, returned to house to get my keys, my GPS has a smashed screen (and yet another blog-tale) and Cody – frustrated by my inability to find directions through crushed screen – used his phone and – boom, boom – we made it to White Marsh West MegaBus Parking Lot an hour before the bus.

In the rain. With no umbrellas. Needing to stand in line to guarantee early entrance to bus so we could sit together. Bus early. Got on. Sat together near the stairs on the second level (Cody, on return trip, informed me he hated sitting near stairs. I always sit near stairs on bus because at their bottom are both the doors to the restroom and the exit door – but on way home we sat further back) and the bus took off and we were in New York City twenty minutes ahead of schedule.

I am crazy and a creature of habit and habituation and paranoia and worry and what if and what next about ALMOST everything in my life but when it comes to New York City, I am home.

New York City is my trash can at the north end of the kitchen island habituated comfort zone. In my head and heart, in my soul, in the matter of which I am made by whatever force in the universe makes things – I am home in New York City.

NYC 1940s

I am never afraid there. I always know where I’m going or trust that where ever I am heading – even if I don’t know where that is – is where I am meant to be. I am free of doubt there. I am free of fear there. I am filled with Charlie there. In New York City, I am the Charlie I always meant to be, always think I am. I am never REALLY Charlie anywhere else but there.

It’s always been that way. Despite the fact that I was born in Frederick, 250 miles away from Manhattan, from the moment I heard about “New York” – as a child – something at the center of me sang and knew – BELIEVED – understood – that was me, that was where I belonged, that was where I was Charlie.

NYC Times Square

I am a creature of habit, some of those habits seemingly inculcated, implanted in me before my birth. It was my dear Aunt Frances, Sissie, who recognized that New York City was my home and first took me there and too, Sissie who first saw me, really saw me in that connected to the soul empathic way. I seek those kinds of loves and connections out. I flourish and blossom with those people. Like Sissie, Cody too connects with me there, and – as I said – I am a creature of habit, and so it makes perfect sense that for the first time since Sissie took me there as a boy, the next person to plan and take care of everything in taking me to New York City would be another soul-mate, dear Cody.

Aside – tangent – but not really; Sissie died ten years ago. It feels like yesterday. It has only been in the last three months that I have realized how I had for the last ten years been worshipping and living in a draining death-cult in which Sissie was one of a holy trinity of the gone, the dearly departed. It was only in the last three months that I realized I had been trained since before I had rational actual memory to genuflect at the altar of the missing, to create a ghost presence with which the living could never compete. It was only in the past three months that I realized I had – perhaps – just perhaps – missed parts of a life I might have LIVED because I held so tightly onto things that never were or had DIED – and so, it was only in the past three months that I have been able to have Sissie again, by finally, FINALLY, letting her go.

And when I let her go, my life started to change. I don’t know where it’s going now – and for a creature of habit, like me, that is not an easy thing. But I do know that there is space inside me where there was none before. There is a level of acceptance and forgiveness – of myself – and the courage to experiment and expand and explore that had been gone before.

Ironically, because of another death, I have learned to let go of so many things and so much loss and death and sorrow that there is now room for LIFE again.

And soul-mates hear that. Know that. And so, Cody, of course, for Christmas 2013, took me home.

My pal and genius, loving, amazing Christmas gift-giver, Cody and that's me - the old one with the COOL glasses - having after show-pre-show dinner at Sardi's in NYC.

My pal and genius, loving, amazing Christmas gift-giver, Cody and that’s me – the old one with the COOL glasses – having after show-pre-show dinner at Sardi’s in NYC.

(…to be continued…)