Friday, January 30, 2015

Faded Colors


In the late 1950s, Flynn met and courted the 15-year-old Beverly Aadland at the Hollywood Professional School, casting her in his final film, Cuban Rebel Girls (1959). According to Aadland, he planned to marry her and move to a new house in Jamaica but he died of a heart attack before this came to pass.
 I feel just Flynn looks in this picture today.  Oh. . . what happens to those who live romantic lives?  Romance is a disease, I think, perhaps genetic.  No matter how I try to discipline myself, I am always drawn back to a life of "texture," emotional and otherwise.  Of course, it always works out so perfectly. 


I like this picture of Flynn with Bridgette Bardot.  Good times, I'd say.


At least different times. 

Many, many years ago, I saw a picture of Flynn with a young girl at the Beverly Hills Hotel that I cannot find now no matter how hard I search.  Perhaps my memory is faulty, but I swear she is wearing a pair of heart shaped red sunglasses. 

I am disjointed today.  I went to bed early last night with a book.  I am sure I fell asleep before ten.  Woke at two-thirty with the worst case of heebeejeebees I may have ever had.  All the uncertainties of life were falling in on me like tall buildings in an earthquake.  I tried to find some zen, tried to meditate through it, but I hadn't a chance.  I got up and turned on a light in the living room so that it would ebb into the bedroom and keep me out of the absolute dark.  No good.  At three-thirty, I gave up.  There is medicine for this, I said.  Fuck it.  I took a Xanax. 

Sometimes it seems that Xanax has no effect on me whatsoever.  But last night, it did.  I felt it kick in as I lay there, and then. . . it was nine o'clock.  That's what the old clock on the wall said, though I could barely believe it.  Nor could I get out of bed.  No sir, I was putty.  Even now, as I sit with my third cup of coffee, nothing is quite making sense.  I've read the news.  There is a super bowl and Mitt Romney is running for president.  It could have been old news, I don't know.  I called my new secretary and told her I wouldn't be in until this afternoon.  I'm sure she was happy. 

Flynn was back in the gossip columns, back to work, and, by the beginning of 1944, back to marriage, this time to 20-year-old Nora Eddington, who had been working at the courthouse during Flynn’s trial. But Flynn’s career would never be the same. He became a caricature of his womanizing self: drunken, lecherous, and leering, even if somehow still handsome. He and Eddington had two children and evidently spent time hanging out with Rita Hayworth and Orsen Welles and looking tan and beautiful.


One story about him is titled "A Touch of Color in a Prosaic World."  But the color gets washed out, fades, and then is gone completely.  I thought we all wanted to grow up to be swashbucklers, but maybe I was wrong.  I most certainly was.  Some grew up wanting to be bankers and lawyers, doctors and engineers.  I don't think anyone ever asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  I don't know what I would have said, at least in the professional sense.  I knew, though, what I wanted to be.  It seemed so thrilling.  


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Helper



It takes me too long to learn life's lessons.  I can learn other things quicker than most people, but life's lessons. . . I don't know.  Here's a thing that just occurred to me.  If you do something for someone, they will want to forget it.  People don't like to feel in someone else's debt.  I knew this in an academic sense.  Take the case of poor old Sherwood Anderson.  He helped every writer I like with their careers in some way or other.  It was Anderson's letters of introduction that got Hemingway into the Paris scene.  That is how he got invited to Gertrude Stein's soirees.  How did Hemingway pay him back?  He said that Anderson was washed up and wrote "Torrents of Spring" as a put down of his style.  Faulkner did much the same.  So, O.K., I "knew" it, but it wasn't one of life's lessons.  Last night, though, lying in my bed in the dead of night. . . well. . . whatever.  I was just thinking of what I had done for people and what had happened since.  I've never had any money to lend, so that isn't it.  But it is the same thing, I guess.  Debt is debt and everybody wants to get away from it.  I just helped the girl in this picture get something she wanted to change her life.  Oh, she's happy enough right now, but in reviewing the history of such things in the dead of night. . . whatever. 

Let me help you here if you skimmed over that paragraph.  Your take-away should be that I am a helpful sort.  As they used to say. . . a good man to know. 

Or maybe it is that I am a sucker for a pretty girl.  Could be.  Yesterday, a rep came to my office trying to get me to buy her product for the company.  Oh. . . she was a pretty rep, odd looking in some ways but sweeter than apple butter.  I called one of my people into the office to listen to the pitch.  She and I are a bit of a mess together and she brings out the weird in me with her approbation. And so, after a little bit of serious discourse, things took a left turn.  And oh, the rep seemed to like it.  Indeed, she said so.  Was that heat I was feeling, I wondered, and was that a whiff of suddenly pumping estrogen?  I could smell the not too subtle aroma, I thought.  Her eyes were bright and alarmed with something akin to joy.  No?  I was almost sure of it.  When we reached our natural denouement, however, she wasn't willing to leave.  And we began round two.  Oh, I like you guys, she said.  I will come back here again and again.  I've never been to a company like this before.  Well, I said, it may be limited to my office.  I don't think you'll find this atmosphere around the company in general.  He's just sprayed roach crazy said my friend.  She meant it as a compliment, I believed.  The lovely rep was squirming with something easily confused with delight.  And then came the second denouement. And still she stayed.  No sir, she wasn't budging.  And she began to talk about herself.  She had come to this state to be a dancer.  She danced professionally for awhile, but it wasn't paying well enough, so she took this job.  What sort of dancing did you do, I asked.  Oh. . . it wasn't pole dancing, she proclaimed so that I had to protest that was not what I meant.  She told us where she lived and what she did for fun, then she invited herself to go to cocktails with a group of us next Thursday.  Of course I won't come, she said, and I was a little disappointed. And then, the hours having slipped past, it was really time for all of us to go. 

When it was all over, I was spent.  I walked over to my friend's office in a bit and asked her if I was crazy or was that girl giving off something.  Oh, she said, she was alright.  My friend has seen this happen before.  She looked at me and laughed.  And so, feeling quite the man, I started back to my office when it occurred to me--Hey! I yelled running back.  She really was a pole dancer, wasn't she? I mean she was just dancing and dancing in there for the money, huh?  I think so, said my friend.  It really would be a lot of money. 

In case you skimmed over that part too, the take-away is that I am a bit obtuse when it comes to women.  But I'm always eager to help them out.  That's a fact.  You can read all about it. 

We'll see how that works out with my new friend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Blase



“By the time you swear you're his,
Shivering and sighing.
And he vows his passion is,
Infinite, undying.
Lady make note of this --
One of you is lying.” 
― Dorothy Parker

I'm in "a mood," but not for writing.  The sun is slowly rising.  I'm tired, and uninspired. . . . There was a better generation (or two) at this than mine.  There was something fine about them.  For me, they are "The Better Generation." 

You're deep just like a chasm
You've no, enthusiasm
You're tired and uninspired
You're blase
Your day is one of leisure
In which you search for pleasure
You're bored when you're adored
You're blase
While reaching for the moon
And the stars up in the sky
The simple things of normal life
Are slowly passing by
You sleep, the sun is shining
You wake, its time for dining
There's nothing new for you to do
You're blase
While reaching for the moon
And the stars up in the sky
The simple things of normal life
Are slowly passing by
You sleep, the sun is shining
You wake, its time for dining
There's nothing new for you to do
You're blase
Blase

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Breaking Routine



After the gym, I usually go to the grocery store, then I go home, shower and cook, etc.  You know this already.  Last night, though, when I finished at the gym, there was still a haunting light left in the wintry sky.  I wanted to be in that for awhile.  And so it was decided.  I would put on my sweater and drive to the store where the fabric was on sale in a strip mall on a busy highway way out on the poorer side of town where the upscale businesses give way to tattoo parlors and loan shops and bargain mattress stores and small used car lots and even a titty bar.  The fabric shop sits on the borderland between the two.  I drove through a development I rarely see, a Disney/Stepford Wives sort of mixed usage place that goes on and on and on with manicured lawns and shrubbed buildings and restaurants on the lake.  The sky was big and far away and the light made everything strange and new.  And then suddenly, just like that (a snap of the fingers), the roadside lost its manicure, the houses their classic colors, and a neighborhood of bunny hutch houses with low rooflines and carports and sandspur yards littered with faded children's toys and tires and old cars took its place.  I had gone a wrong way, in part, had taken a turn that led me away from the fabric store instead of toward it.  The roads in Pleasantville were confusing, all looking the same, laid out in curved grids without signs so that it is possible to drive in circles, all roads leading back to what they call "The Centre." 

I was recalling a conversation I had earlier in the day at the factory.  One of my pals was telling me that he had stayed up and watched about three hours of the t.v. show "Cops" on the weekend.  Were you drinking, I asked him?  Of course, he said.  How else do you watch three hours of something like that?  He told me about one episode where the policeman pulled a fellow over for some driving offense.  Maybe his tag had expired.  I don't remember.  But he had a concealed pistol in the car.  He told the cop about it.  Why do you have that, asked the cop, and the fellow said it was for his personal protection.   The police officer said that it was fine, that he was allowed to have a concealed weapon as long as he had a permit.  The thing was, said the cop, he didn't see how he could have a concealed weapons permit since he had a felony conviction.  Well, you got me there, said the convicted felon, but man, I mean. . . who isn't a convicted felon?  My buddy laughed at this punch line.  But I know what the fellow with the pistol meant.  I was driving through a neighborhood where everyone went to jail sometime for something.  I grew up in a place like this, a place where the offices of government are nothing more than unknown, unnamable abstractions, where the law is just something against you.  When you are there, right there in the guts of it, you realize how impossible it is to ever govern anyone, how irrational legislation about how people must behave can be.  Here there are cultural codes and ways of being that have nothing to do with how you might think life should be lived.  There was not a house here without illegal weapons, few without illegal drugs, many with luxury items bought from a very questionable source. 

Out on the highway, the big lights were lighting up against the brilliant sky.  Traffic was spare.  People were home from work now.  It was a Monday night.  No one was shopping.  I pulled into the big, empty parking lot at the far end of the large, linear shopping plaza with its high end box stores selling electronics and athletic equipment and linens and kitchenware, all with recognizable names that I cannot remember.  I stepped out of the car and looked west across the nothingness into a very distant horizon unobstructed by buildings or trees, simply empty space full of blues and pinks and purples, the faint wisps of skinny flamingo colored clouds incredibly far away making me hollow and sad somehow--perhaps not sad exactly but lonely, but that isn't quite it, either.  It was more the knowledge of being alone and realizing right then why we do the things we do, why we have patterns and routines, why we repeat them over and over again until we no longer need to think or be surprised or feel.  Outside of that there was only this strange smallness you know cannot counter that other, that infinite, beautiful thing that is without thought or feeling or caring. 

I stood there for a while thinking how long this was taking me.  I would go inside and buy the cloth and then would be surprised at how much it cost even on sale, and I would wonder if I would ever use it enough to make the purchase worthwhile, and then outside, back in the car, night having fallen so that there was no sky and no horizon, only the lights of businesses and the headlights of cars, I would regret it all and wish I was already home, showered and cooking as always, feeding the cat and getting ready to settle in for the night.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Exhaustion, Beauty, Love, and the Horror of the Everyday World



I have a tendency to worry about some things.  About everything, really.  A lot.  I mean, pretty much all the time.  Worrying about everything all the time can be exhausting.  I am exhausted much of the time.  Most.  Pretty much all the time.  If I don't worry, though, I've learned that things fall apart.  Most things, anyway.  Everything. 

Last night, I took a Xanax before bed.  I woke in the night and thought how wonderfully I was sleeping.  Just before I fell back to sleep, I remembered the Xanax. 

Still, this morning I'm exhausted.  I think it is time for a trip to the sleep clinic.  I am sure of it.  I will sleep with a mechanical device that will force air down my throat.  Maybe I'll get another one for sexual pleasure.  Wait, no. . . that would be weird.  But if I'm going to sleep with a mechanical mask, I'm surely not going to be sleeping with a woman, too. . . unless she wears one also.  Jesus, I want to make a picture of that. 

Yesterday, the blind model stood me up.  I was glad.  The day was the most gorgeous in recent memory, and I was creatively exhausted from the night before, that on top of my usual daily exhaustion.  Rather than spending the most beautiful day inside a dark studio, I went to brunch at an Italian restaurant off the Boulevard.  Oh. . . I'd just eaten there the night before with the beautiful Puerto Rican model, but when we walked into our usual haunt, it was packed, so we came to sit outside in the hot sun and cold air and eat frittatas and pressed bread in olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  I'd not had brunch there before.  The same bartender who had waited on us the previous night came out with menus.  You're back, she said.  So are you, I grinned.  Some days are just too beautiful, and this was one.  I was dreading the shoot, but when I texted the model, I got no response. I decided I'd try once more.  Nothing.  Alright, I told my buddy, let's take a long, slow stroll.  There was nothing like this day for air and light, and we poked around the little alleyways and hidden gardens off the Boulevard.  It's like Carmel, my buddy said, and it was true.  The places were filled with small spice shops and shops specializing in olive oils.  The thick bougainvillea that climbed the old brick walls were in spectacular bloom.  We stopped often just to talk along the way. 

We passed a girl with a dog.  I didn't notice the dog so much, but my buddy said something about adoption.  She was trying to find the dog a home.  I was sure his interest in the dog was marginal though he gets all of his from the pound.  My interest in the dog was nil.  She was a young, gorgeous blond wearing thin black leggings that looked like oil paint.  I had to turn away.  But my buddy kept talking and talking.  Good for him, I thought, knowing I couldn't turn back around.  I gazed at the oncoming crowd of people crossing the street, looking right across the park where families with children played.  After a few minutes, I turned back and said put a sign on the dog that says ten dollars.  Someone will buy it for five right away.  A woman who was looking at the dog with her husband said that's true, and they both shook their heads at the wisdom in that.  But it was not that I was thinking of, and now I was done for as I followed the lines of her thighs where they met so seemingly perfectly.  Jesus, why do they do that?  I knew why, but it wasn't for the right reasons.  I brought my eyes up to meet her gaze.  You are probably right, she said.  Oh, yes, I know I am I said grinning.  She grinned back knowingly and then sweetly giggled.  There are things that overpower all the other beauty in the world, I thought, that take that beauty and make it its own.  She, I thought, was the embodiment of the day, of the frittatas on the square in the cool air and the warm sun, of the perfectly blue skies and of all the bougainvillea climbing brick walls in tiny, hidden places.  I would never get over this, I knew, the ache it always made me feel in every attachment of my body.  Some people must never feel it or feel it but not so strongly, but for me. . . it is like the first and best experience you've ever had, a perfect chocolate soufflĂ© mixed with heroin and ecstasy or the first time you got drunk and ate White Castle hamburgers by the dozen.  Those are not right, though, not close at all, for all the sensations of seeing that and looking into those eyes and hearing the giggle, all of that has the feeling and hope of love, long and everlasting and never, ever dying as in some impossible movie with a sailboat and the moon on the water and the balmy tropical air of Tahiti just beyond. 

Oops.  I lost myself there for a moment.  But there you go--the agony and the ecstasy. 

It is back to the factory today, back to the life denying chores and blank fluorescent lights and prefab matching furniture and white, sterile walls.  I will try to do one thing or maybe two, and I will try to sneak out early, but for what, I barely know.  The day will still have already passed and before me will lie the gym and the grocery store and the making of dinner and the feeding of the cat and then, exhausted, I will sit with my dinner in front of the television and watch one of those shows "on demand," and then I will go to the big computer and work on some pictures while I listen to music too late into the night. 

And somewhere out there is a girl with blonde hair and blue eyes and a sweet giggle who knows the world was made for her.  I'll take refuge in the thought, however, that she is not, that such things are never real.  As the old saying goes, somewhere there is some guy sick to death of that.  That may be true, but I know something else.  That guy ain't nothing like me.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Another Night Spent



I went searching for studio things yesterday.  I went to a wall covering store to look for cheap wallpaper.  I don't suppose there is such a thing.  Then I went to a fabric store.  Beautiful fabrics are much cheaper than wallpaper.  How can this be?  But it is.  Do people ever use cloth to cover their walls?  My studio walls will be clothed instead of papered, I can tell you.  I bought a twelve foot piece yesterday and shot with it last night.  I'll see in the next few days how that turned out. 

But I am spent.  I shot again last night with my new favorite person.  We were in the studio for five hours, then we went to dinner for we were both ready to pass out.  The cashews I had in the studio didn't do enough to counter the flagons of wine and liquor that was consumed in the course of the evening.  And so a late dinner at a beautiful Italian restaurant with bread and olive oil, caprese salad, lasagna, and some wonderful chicken/pasta/oil/wine concoction with black olives and capers and red peppers.  I don't know what it was called because neither of us could read the menu.  Just know what you want, I said.  Don't bother looking at the menu, just decide what you want.  They will have it.  I want something cheesy with beef, she said.  I can't imagine they will have anything like that here, I said.  Lasagne?  Oh. . . I hadn't thought of that.  I would never think to order lasagne.  And more wine, of course.  She is so beautiful and young and sweet and we were getting the usual looks.  They think I must have hired you for the night, I told her.  She was not rebuffed but giggled and looked happy.  Maybe women like to be thought of that way sometimes on an imaginary night when everything is out of the norm.  And so we sat and drank and talked and man could that skinny girl eat.  I truly have a good time with you, she said.  I enjoy your company.  Of course you do, I replied.  This is like some exotic dream compared to your daily existence.  You come to the studio and make up stories and try to make art, and it is like nothing else you do, not like work and school and hanging out with your friends, and I take you to an expensive restaurant that isn't like Houlihan's where some dumb boy would take you on a big night out.  Here there is the light and a good bar and perfect food served well, and you are young and everyone notices you and you think about how you want to live and decide right now to make some changes in your life because now it seems like a good direction.  Yes, she says, that is why I haven't dated for a long time now.  Everybody I know seems so negative and they all have problems and they do dumb things.  They don't try to be happy it seems, and they are losers who have given up.  I don't want that. What do you want? I ask.  I want someone who wants what I want, who understands that I have to study and who isn't going to tell me no, let's go out, who will study, too, someone who has ambition and wants to get ahead.  I want to be successful, she said, not just make money, but to be a successful person, someone who is happy.  That's the right thing, I said.  You are pretty wise for a twelve year old.  My mother kicked me out of the house when I was eighteen, she said, and I've been on my own since.  She said this with a straight back and a determined look about her and punctuated the statement with a sudden nod of the head.  She seemed something from a '30s movie, a girl determined and sweet.  That was it exactly. 

When we had finished, the restaurant was emptying.  The air outside had grown cold, colder than we were prepared for, and so we walked quickly back to the studio and gathered our things.  I was spent and just wanted to crawl into bed.  I'm going to bring you things next time I come, she said.  I'm going to bring the wine and I'm going to buy some clothes to shoot in.  Oh, no, I said, you don't have to do that.  Bring the clothes if you want, but. . . .  She stopped me.  No, I like to pay my way.  Jesus Christ, I thought.  She is unbelievable.  She wanted to come back again soon. 

When I got home, I thought about the big ice cubes sitting in the off-gassing trays in my freezer, and I thought it would be wrong not to try one.  I sat down and turned on the television just in time to see the opening of Austin City Limits, and the guest was Ryan Adams.  I wanted to go to bed, but I had to watch this.  Thirty minutes of music and then an interview.  And then it was clear that he has brain damage.  No kidding.  If you see that interview, you will see someone who has seriously fucked up his mind.  It isn't weird, it is infantile.  He doesn't even seem to be able to string together a coherent sentence.  He seems to have the brain of a scared nine year old.  I don't think we can expect any more good music from Retarded Adams.  Perhaps it is because his wife, Mandy Moore, is divorcing him.  It is a shame, really.  I enjoyed so much of his music long ago. 

And when that was over around midnight, I brushed my teeth and turned off the lights.  Oy, though, I have another shoot in the very early afternoon.  Where will I find the energy?  I am totally shot.  How did I do this in the past?  What fueled me?  Fear, I guess, and desire.  And a taste for the bizarre.  I shoot with a blind girl today.  I'm not kidding.  I have to go to her house and pick her up.  What can I say?  I am curious and she is sweet.  I was supposed to shoot with her before I went to the hospital, and when I cancelled she texted me all the time to see how I was and to give me advice and support.  I will make beautiful pictures of her. 

I guess someone will tell her that they are.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Neutron Bombs and Fairy Tales



This freaks me out less than this.


I don't think that is true of most of the people I come into contact with on a daily basis.  Both images come from online papers this morning, the first from the New York Times, the second from CNN.  One illustrates a review of a book about fairy tales and the power they maintain over human consciousness.  The other is about the proliferation of nuclear weapons.  The adventures of fairy tales are not scary to me at all.  Even as a kid, I thought I could escape anything, that I would be smarter or faster or luckier than the wolf.  I felt that I had some degree of control.  The other thing, though. . . no way.  It is a reality beyond hope.  


Let us get away from that now.  It was simply the chilling part of my morning.  I took leave from work yesterday and did little.  I had to clean the house before the wrecking crew came, then left the house to them and went to the gym.  When I came home, the house was clean and fresh and the weekend had begun.  I made lunch, took a shower, then a nap.  Woke up, read, and then my buddy brought me an ice tray that makes the big cubes for a cocktail glass.  It is red and soft and made in China.  Plenty of off-gassing, I said.  It is definitely toxic.  Perhaps I can line it with something, I wondered.  Coconut oil, he said.  Hmm.  I was thinking more like plastic wrap.  We are going to look for ceramic holders.  We'd feel better.  Then I left to meet someone at the studio, someone with whom I'd shot before who needed a favor.  O.K.  I'm just the sort of fellow for that.  I didn't want to go as I've been feeling ill, but I had a scotch and put on a game face.  I took the bottle with me.  Oh. . . she liked the scotch.  This is really smooth, she said.  Yep, I said, it's white boy scotch.  Ain't like that J&B shit your boys mix with coke.  Ha, she laughed.  Ain't.  She was brought by a posse, sort of, her boyfriend and two women who were introduced as his relatives but who weren't that, exactly.  The bottom of the car scraped on the parking lot when they pulled up.  Tearing up your car, I said.  Oh, we're gonna get a new one in a couple of years, said the driver.  I was thinking this was going to be a mess.  The women were serious black hillbillies.  The one introduced as someone's mother looked to be around 60 with short bleach blonde hair.  She had metal in her lips and nose.  The other was her true daughter.  They wondered if they could come in and see the place.  Sure, I said.  Are you ready to shoot.  The mother looked at me with real inquisitive eyes.  She turned to her "son" and said, I want a picture of my clit ring, but I ain't bathed.  Whoa, I thought to myself with tremendous force.  Whoa.  Things were weird right from the start, but life is like that if you let it be and I have a knack for that.  They looked around and talked for a long, long time, and I wondered what was going to happen.  And just then they said they were leaving.  How are you two getting home, I asked.  I guess we'll have to take the bus, they said.  Where do you live?  Downtown.  I'll take you home, I said.  The model was hitting the scotch hard already.  I was watching my bottle disappear.  I haven't had this much fun in a long time, she said.  I haven't been drunk for months.  And boy, she was getting there fast enough.  It didn't take long until it was impossible to shoot, each of her two eyes staring at a different planet.  I don't think she's going to make you dinner tonight, I told her boy.  He agreed about that.  I said we had plenty of good pictures and should call it a night, so I packed them into the car and headed out beyond town to a place I was hoping I wouldn't get lost.  Thanks.  It was fun, she said.  Of course.  

On the highway home, I had a text.  Meet us at Blue Moon Squared.  It is your kind of place.  I've been there often even though they hadn't, and I was down for a strong beer.  It was the place where every guy has short hair and a beard.  I was only mildly disappointed.  But the bar did not serve food. There was a sushi truck outside, so I tried to order something.  It would be twenty-five minutes, they said, and I told them never mind.  Back inside I had another beer, then hunger took over which was a good thing for it has been my stomach that has not felt well.  I walked into a sushi bar in the same plaza and they kicked me out.  Closed now, a mean looking man said.  After ten.  I looked.  It was.  It was after ten, but not by much.  The place was packed.  I thought that it was stupid not to whip me up something quickly as I would be gone before most of the people in the restaurant, but what could I do?  

At home, I whipped up something quick.  A can of Amy's split pea soup and some cold chicken thighs.  Mmm.  I must have been drunk, though, for it was as if somebody bumped my elbow from behind.  The soup went everywhere.  There is nothing like cleaning up split pea soup when you are hungry and drunk.  I managed a half-assed job and put on another can to heat.  I think I ate.  I woke up around one with a championship middleweight fight in progress.  

I woke up in the dark.  It was five.  What was that?  Strange sounds like a possum giving birth or being eaten by some sort of constrictor.  I couldn't get up to see.  It went on and on.  Then I heard a kitten cry.  That is what it sounded like anyway.  I remembered my cat had gone out when I was cleaning up the split pea soup.  I didn't think I had let her back in.  Shit.  I turned on the outside light and looked through the blinds.  Nothing that I could see.  The sounds had stopped.  What the fuck?  I was thirsty but the kitchen was too far away.  I fell back into bed and began drifting back to sleep when the sounds began again.  It definitely was birth or death.  I got up again and opened the bedroom door.  I heard a weird sound close to my ear and jumped back.  Then I heard it again.  It wasn't close to my ear, though, it was my ear.  The atmospheric pressure was dropping and my ears were popping and cracking.  Jesus Christ.  I went back to bed wondering if the cat would be there in the morning.  The wind began to blow and I could hear the branches crackling.  The sound of jetliners rumbled in the heavy atmosphere.  I was paralyzed and terrified off and on, sleeping, waking.  I got out of bed late.  Very, very late.  

The cat was at the door.  

Things have returned to normal, I think.  There is strong coffee and the nibbles and kisses of the warm cat on top of my feet.  The sky is gray and misty and the wind comes in scary waves shaking the trees outside.  I feel healthy and whole, more so than I have for a couple days.  The Gilbertos are making music and I am ready for breakfast.  

It all begins again.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

Creepiness, Slow Light, and Identifying Fiends



I need to calm down.  I need to sit still and rest.  I am having some sort of anxiety attack that has lasted days and days.  Tonight, a Xanax and some music.  I may have a case of something.  Perhaps I'm fighting off some virus.  Whatever it is, there is nothing like good, complete rest to take care of things.  I would rather say there is nothing like complete care to help you rest, but that is not an option unless I check myself into a clinic.  I am an isolate and must rely on myself.  There are times when that is good and times when it isn't so much.  And it isn't that there are not people who care about me.  There are, and for that, I am incredibly thankful.  That is different, though, than someone who wants to prop your feet up and wrap you in a blanket and bring you things where you royally lie like some defunct potentate. 

But what the fuck.  The world does not understand me as I wish to be understood anyway.  Yesterday a flash mob formed in my office.  This happens quite often and the madness lasts for perhaps twenty minutes or so.  It is a phenomena, really, a spontaneous release of emotion that is a break from the workaday world.   And usually people are pretty hilarious.  My new secretary brought something into the office for me to look at as we all went nuts, and I asked her to have a seat.  We were talking about weird shit as usual, something about the writers who wrote "Green Acres" being on acid, and the fact that it was a spinoff from a terribly mundane show, "Petticoat Junction" that opened with three sisters skinny dipping in the water tank that served as the town's drinking water, that being the only interesting part of the show.

"That's kinda creepy," she said.  It was the second time she had used the word.  She is young, of course, but I couldn't let it pass. 

"That is a concept that was born around the turn of the century," I said.  "There was not much that was creepy back then.  Certain worms or insects, maybe, but not people.  Don't get me wrong. . . there were fiends, but you could recognize them at a glance.  No, the whole idea of creepiness is something new.  You can't say 'old guy' without throwing in the word creepy now unless you have asked him if he's had his din-din.  It is the uncritical criticizing that marks a generation." 

I wanted to tell her to watch "Pretty Baby" in the original release, but you can't find that anywhere now.  It's too creepy.  It is just creepy when other people don't subscribe to the mundane ideas of the group. 

We live in some extended high school realm. 

In Scotland, though, scientists have slowed down light.  No shit.  They shot it through some sort of mask and slowed it down.  Apparently that happens in nature when light passes through something like water, but when it leaves that medium, it speeds back up.  Not this time.  After it left the mask, it stayed slow.  Slow light.  God knows, that is something we need these days.  The world is in much need of a slower light. 

Though I must say. . . its kinda creepy. 

Speaking of which--Bob Dylan has done an interview with AARP Magazine--at hisrequest.  He is releasing a new album of standards, and I guess he is a businessman who knows the market.  But seriously, I hate that shit.  I've never been an agist.  I've never limited my friendship to an age group.  I've never let my tastes be formed by my some bracketed time.  Standards are classics not just because they are old.  But I know what my secretary might say about old Bob--c-r-e-e-p-y


I'd have to tell her, though, that he does look a bit like a fiend.  The mustache is a dead giveaway.

Oh. . . but I probably did look creepy yesterday wearing my double-denim.  Ho!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Double-Denim


Yesterday I wore double-denim--a denim shirt and jeans.  It was a bold move, I think.  I couldn't tell if I looked like a casual Andy Griffith or something else.  Everyone agreed that I needed black jeans to go with the shirt.  It is good to get the group's opinions.  What can you do? 

I found this photograph on the photographer Mark Tucker's twitter page.  It is a color picture that was floating around the internet that Tucker post-produced, I think. 


This is pretty much how cool I felt myself in double-denim.  In truth, this looks like my father did at the end of his life.  That is how people used to look after sixty.  It is a creepy picture that haunts me.  Oh, those ravages of time.  Perhaps it was better he was spared all that.  

But the picture got me thinking.  It is inevitable that we identify the person with who they were at the end of his/her life.  Not what they were, but what they become.  How do you think of Warren Beatty, for instance?  Or Jessica Lange?  Oh, sure, they may have been beautiful once, but not like someone who is currently in her twenties or in his early thirties.  

This Elvis picture, though. . . it is causing me nightmares.  I think the shirt is half of it.  My father always wore such shirts.  That is how he wore his hair.  

I can't reconcile myself to this whole life thing at all.  I have tried, but it makes no sense to me.  I am vain and self-obsessed, I guess, a powerfully bad combination.  I've tried not to be.  I've really tried.  But if this picture can cause me so much agony. . . I mean, really. . . what' the use?  

I don't even like black jeans.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Curmudgeon Redux



When you don't know what to write about. . . start with a blazing picture.  That's my advice.  You can read all about it in my forthcoming book, "Blog Success on a Budget: An Idiot's Guide." 

Rule #1: gather all your resources. 

Wait. . . that was from my other book, "How to be a Millionaire." 

I know this because rule #2 is: go where the millionaires go.

That is under the "How to Marry a Millionaire" chapter.  These things are just common sense. 

Last night, Bahama talked about how to be a good president.  His advice is a lot like mine. 

Rule #1: Get elected.
Rule #2: Twice

That one left them howling. 

I didn't watch the speech, actually, but I read about it this morning.  Apparently he wants students to have a free community college education in Cuba.  A lot of the kids will be coming from charter schools if Gov. Cuomo has his way.  He's all for the non-public school that uses public funds but can pay teachers little and do much of anything they want.  He will be all for it until the School for Muslim Kids opens.  He'll say he's for it, of course, or at least not against it.  You can't say you are against Muslims.  But gradually his position on charter schools will "evolve."  And that's O.K. if you are a follower of Emerson who so infamously said, "Consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds."  And truly, who doesn't want to evolve? 

We certainly have as a culture.  I read that parents are now being investigated and threatened with losing their children for letting them play outside unsupervised.  I think the next logical step is to arrest parents who have sexual activities in the house where children live.  Think about it.  How could such a thing have ever been considered "normal"?  One day you'll look back on all this sex stuff and just wonder what was wrong with people. 

Homosexuals will be safe, of course.  No kids. 

Meanwhile, we are going ahead with the Keystone project even as the Yellowstone River is being polluted by a similar pipeline.  Who has a problem with that?  One percent of the world's population is about to own half of its stuff.  It's all good. 

O.K.  I don't think the picture is going to make up for this writing.  What?  Me?  I probably just didn't get enough sleep.  I seem to have a problem with everything.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Almost Experience



When the boring repetitiveness seeps into your life, what will your writing be like?  If you write about your life, I mean.  If you are a gamer, perhaps you would write great works of sci fi or wonderfully insightful religious tracts.  But for the writer who writes about his experiences in the world. . . well, he'd better get up off the couch and go forth into the world. 

That is what I thought all weekend long.  I thought about it a lot.  I sat at my computer and looked up things that might help me.  There is Cuba, of course, and the dream of Thailand.  But those are far away, and I remembered that I had passed up a trip to Sundance this week.  I had planned to go.  I am without explanation.  There is something terribly wrong with me, I guess.  But in looking things up on the computer, I got enamored of the pictures on the screen which lead me to look at photography things, and I began thinking of the pictures I wanted to make.  I looked at cameras and gear and some of the weird shit I needed to process images the way I wanted to process them, and then I got avaricious and wanted to bid on a Hasselblad camera on eBay and a very expensive Kodak 305mm portrait lens (pretty rare) for the 8x10 camera I don't use but think I would if I had that lens.  I pulled out some of the camera gear laying around the house and held in my hand a tiny miracle, the Olympus XA film camera, the smallest and one of the best film cameras ever made.  Not having been used for years, the camera was hopelessly dead.  I needed to go to the camera store and buy a battery.  But first I had to look up some other things, props for the studio, vintage things, and of course I needed to look at wallpaper.  The days wore on, but sometimes I managed to get out for a bit as the afternoon waned. 

Not good for writing. 

One day, I went to the gym.  The afternoon was sunny, so after I worked out, I went to lie by the pool. 


I don't mean to say that life is bad.  It isn't.  I am just not living the writing life.  I could write about the lifeguard and how she came over to talk and what she said, about my wondering if she were doing what I hoped she was doing or simply checking to see if I was healthy enough to lie poolside, but that writing would come off wrong in some way, I feel.  People never believe me when I tell the truth about some things.  Sometimes truth is too unbelievable for people to comprehend.  They resent such truths, and so they become private truths that can only be told to those who have seen it firsthand and can testify to the facts they have witnessed.  Selah.

After the pool, and after eating a very, very late lunch, and after a long shower, I did make it out into the world one day.  I visited two vintage clothing stores and found things I could use in the studio.  At one store, the girls were young and model-ly and I had them hold up pieces to see the sizing.  I wanted to ask them to come to the studio, of course, but that would not be appropriate.  At least it didn't feel that way.  They will be there, I thought.  They will always be there.  And then at the camera store, in the parking lot, I looked through the big windows of the building next door into the ballet studio.  Young girls in black leotards and leggings were standing straight, hands above their heads, bending left, then right.  I wondered how I could ever ask to photograph them, thought of how wonderful my pictures of them would be, thought of the way I'd shoot, the tonalities and the light.  And then I thought of the mothers who had brought them.  I could never do it, I thought, though I knew I should. 

The camera store did not have the battery I needed, so I returned to the car and sat for a moment to check for messages and sip from the glass of scotch that I had poured at home to help settle my stomach after lunch.  The sun was going down.  The light on the dancers was warm and inviting. 

That night, I got a text from one of the mother's of a young girl I used to shoot with.  We shot together for many months and I got to know her parents, would go to their house for dinner and drinks.  You might remember that I helped her sign with an agency. . . and that was the last I saw of her.  That was a couple years ago now, but the mother was anxious to have me over to dinner with her and her husband this weekend.  I wrote her back and said I would not be able to make it this weekend, that I was all booked up, but that she might tell her daughter to come shoot with me sometime and we could all go out for dinner afterwards.  It was late at night and we were texting back and forth like kids, really.  She said she needed to go to bed and goodnight, but being in my cups I offered that she was invited to come shoot, too, as I remembered her telling me things and showing me old photographs of herself as a model that obviated her desire.  "Come, "I said.  "You will have fun." 

Then she wrote something that woke me:  "You are such a hypnotist, aren't you?" 

I thought about the incredible truths that I can't tell that are true nonetheless, and I was pretty certain she was right. 

"You will be thinking of this when you go to bed," I wrote.  "It is o.k.  It will be fun.  I'm an artist and we will make beautiful things.  Lie down and think about it.  You will want to and you will come." 

"Of course I will," she said.  "Sweet dreams." 

In the end, though, it was I who lay in bed and thought of images and how they seduce.  I saw the pictures I wanted to take, saw them as clearly as if they had already been made.  It is a danger, though, to live in your head.  It is time to go into the world and live.