Forwarded by the multitalented Jen Wainz and her partner Deb:
I have begun to worry and thought I’d put my concerns out into the darkness of the internet. For isn’t a problem shared a problem cut in half?
So here’s my trouble: you know when you suddenly enter darkness or are thrown into pitch black, that, all you can see is blackness? But, if you wait, and shapes begin to appear? You begin to see the outlines of things—chairs, lamps, bookshelves or, if coutside, garbage bins or the boats by the water. This return of vision, night vision I suppose it is, calms your pounding heart. It gives you a sense of orientation, control and power that you can now negotiate your way through the area.
But lately, when I am in my own darkened rooms or other inky places, I’ve noticed flickers, shapes of things that are not apart of the normal landscape. They do not evolve out of the darkness into chairs, garbage cans even rats. In fact, they do not evolve at all. No matter how much I blink my eyes or command them to focus, my orbs refuse to bring me clarity. As if this wasn’t fretful enough. But what I find even more worrisome is that lately even in the bright of day I am seeing flickers of forms, movements of some things dark, unclearly shapened, things that should not be there in my rooms or even in the questionable environs I find myself in.
I will be honest. I am heavily medicated. I’ve wondered if this visual aberration wasn’t a side effect of one of the various neurological drugs I must take. But the seeing of things not there is not listed in the copious side effects on the small-print inserts that come with my prescriptions. When I mentioned my concern to Dr. Panchek, he barely glanced up from my chart. He merely snapped it shut and moved the conversation on to how I liked my new abode.
“Rats,” I said. “There are rats in the alley outside my window.”
“And how do you know they are there?” Dr. Panchek asked. I knew what he meant. How could I tell the difference between real and imagined was what he was getting at.
“By the bites,” I said and left it at that.
to be continued…
Insomnia. Runs in the family. As do other maladies.
Currently I am doing what artists do, trying to cover the bills. This need has lead me or rather driven me to every conceivable kind of work. I’ve cleaned alligator meat as well as toilets, washed dishes, cleaned toilets again, then houses, cat sat and did I mention cleaning toilets? There are all these theories of the artist as a cultural threat, a subversive. I don’t know what I think about that. Perhaps I am too busy like most artists just trying to pay my bills and not get evicted. The occasional wealthy lover helps, but then that brings its own can of worms (those I’ve never cleaned. Not yet.) Maybe this notion of being a social threat has to do with too many of us sucking up all the food stamps, as though we were able to even get them. I got them when I was in Boston. They gave me about $40 a month. In San Francisco, I had to stand in about a block-long line, then go through a metal detector, then wait with hundreds of other indigents for about eight hours, be treated like scum by the worker and finally get rejected. Or maybe artists are a threat to society because we are draining the free health clinics (the ones that are left) of all their services. I’ve used them in Boulder, Colorado, Boston, Massachusetts, North of Boston and San Francisco,California. I sat for hours in crowded waiting rooms. When finally called, it was not unusual for the staff to talk to me (it always seemed incredibly loudly) right in the waiting room about very private health matters. Privacy really is a privilege. Or maybe this idea of the artist as a social threat comes from the times when they cut off my electricity (or when I couldn’t pay for heating oil) and I used candles to light my room or I kept the gas jets going on my stove to stay warm. Maybe us artists have caught too many places on fire so that’s why we’re considered dangerous. We’re pyromaniacs. So, the next time you see what looks like an artist —some broke-ass, worn-down-shoed motherfucker—slouching your way, you better run. Because we might rob you because we’ve just been rejected for food stamps, take a chunk out of you because we’re hungry or we just might burn down your place to try to get warm.
Along with Wickie and some friends, I am in the process of instituting a fixed time each day to work on “onerous tasks.” For me, this particularly includes my creative work, which I’d rather chew my arm off than do when I don’t have an external threat/impending deadline/whatevra. I especially rarely want to work on creative projects alone, without constraints, something most filmmakers I know dream of doing 24/7. Anyhow, I am getting together with one or more fellow sufferers for an hour each morning to get cracking on these human-company-required-or-it-ain’t-gonna-happen types of tasks. Today I storyboarded the SHIT out of a music video I am working on. Did the whole thing! One hour is so much more productive than four.
My apologies for the delay in getting this up. I got bogged down writing a blog on ergodic literature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ergodic_literature). Hope to get that to you later.
These are my recent radio meanders: since my iBook stopped accessing Pirate Cat Radio (http://www.piratecatradio.com/), I’ve been listening to Vegan Freak Radio (http://veganfreakradio.com/). Simultaneously, I been trying to find an anarchist podcast /radio show. I found Under the Pavement (http://www.underthepavement.org/) out of Manchester, England. But, so far, I’ve not heard any news from them, only some music some of which horrified me as it was bad almost American disco. In fact, I think it was both American and disco although they did have some good stuff in there too. No news or interviews yet. I can’t say this is their fault as they are only every other week and 8 hours later than my time zone. Am currently listening to Radical Radio (http://radicalradio.org/). I can already feel my eyes (and my mind) glazing over. Even though I was once a member of Line of March, a Marxist-Leninist organization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Communist_Movement), even then (the 1980’s), I was never really able to understand what the fuck people were talking about or keep my attention away from just wanting just slit my throat, get high, or just generally kill myself. Not that I have self-destructive tendencies. I just turned off Radical Radio and will turn back to Vegan Freak. I can listen to it (and do) for hours on end. I can actually do this since I am a latecomer to the podcast and have lots of back episodes to cycle through. Because of their podcast as well as some zine I seem to have recycled (FUCK!), I am aiming my brain towards the SHAC 7 (shac7.com/index.htm). What the hell is that mess all about?
On the book front, I have Thirteen Stories by Eudora Welty (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eudora_Welty) on my chair (not that I’ve read them). “Why I Live at the P.O.,” comes highly recommended. I have managed to eke my way through a few more pages of China Miéville’s (http://wwwhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_Mieville) Perdido Station. That brings me up to page 313, leaving me only approximately 400 pages to go. At this rate, I’ll finish it in about five years. ARGH!!!! But a greater accomplishment than completing Perdido is my ability to place an accent over the “e” in China’s last name. This is no small feat, especially since I have now launched Monstre Sacré my “handyman to the damned” service. More will be revealed on this at a later date.
My recent music interests have veered into The Residents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Residents) then stumbled across Lou Reed’s (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lou_Reed) newest release (I think) Hudson River Wind Meditations. This last one, a huge departure for Reed, is great to listen to late at night. It started to feel like the soundtrack to some crazed slasher movie, although I might be a rarity in making this connection to this “new age” effort of Reed’s as I find most things menacing.
There are many more things I could dive into, as I suffer from obsessions, but I have to get this fucking up.
Jed and I have been madly (and I don’t use the word loosely) producing Fugue State, my work-in-progress. A staged reading which Jed directed, this project just premiered to sold-out audiences here in San Francisco. Now, we’re at it again, doing a two-night run at The Garage aka 975 Howard (ttp://www.975howard.com/) here in SF. The dates for our encore run are Weds. and Thurs. July 30 and 31st at 8 p.m. If you’re in the ‘hood check us out especially since the more people we get to show up the more we can pay everyone! Tix are cheap: $15 and $10 at the door. We’ll also be showcasing parts of Fugue State at the SF Fringe Festival in September. So check out their website once we’re closer to that date: http://www.sffringe.org/.
Jed was also busy working with Rocco a.k.a. Katastrophe on Homemade Superheroes. An amazing one-time show, according to SFStation.com Homemade Superheroes “draws a parallel between the double life of a super hero to the experience of a transperson.” Jed did an incredible job on the animation for the project which was synced to Rocco’s styling lyrics.
That’ll do it for now.
Last summer I applied for a grant through the Queer Cultural Center (http://queerculturalcenter.org). Per usual, I need money. My project was to bring to life some of my characters from Fugue State my novel-in-progress. The impetus behind my application was lack of funds, the usual artist/writers state of affairs. I hadn’t really thought about the project much. Actually, I heard someone at the required grant meeting, say that’s what they were going to do. Sounded good and fundable. So I submitted my grant thinking that if I got the money, I’d pull something together for Queer Fest which was the venue for the grant. Well, in lieu of a grant, I was offered AIRspace, an artist-in-residency. On that day, last November, when I said yes I had no idea I’d be entering the writer’s fifth circle of hell…
Back in the dark and muffled sounds. Am practicing what was suggested: a period of stillness that has a length of about a half hour, then directly to writing. I am usually anchored in a tiredness that I am more familiar with than any other person, place of thing in my life. Oh well. It is as though I have to be plugged into because in there somewhere is the sourcing for my work. Speed in every machination you can apply here: methedrine, caffeine, excessive work, adrenalized relationships have merely postponed or rather suspended my return to…this. Perhaps I am just in a long, deep lifelong droop. Answer seems to be surrender into it which is like a giving way to quicksand. Perhaps this is why, as a kid, I was obsessed with and terrified by movie and TV scenes in which characters stumbled into quicksand. I’d study how they got out (not that they ever did or at least rarely). Holding onto branches, desperately grasping at ropes thrown to them. “Don’t struggle, don’t fight it,” I heard someone or something tell me. So, except for two pots of black tea a day, I don’t. I just sink. Into the still, heavy, thickness. Eyes barely open. I am half there in the dark. A pair of eyes, in a body. Staring out. Like all the other creatures in here. Some friendly, most not. Predatory, but still. Half dimmed. Until something or someone of interest enters into our range of vision. Then, we’ll see.
Yo. To mention the hour is unnecessary as it is late, late, late. I’m downloading any podcast that is even close to being anarchist. Want to get Under the Pavement, a UK radio station with a podcast, but no luck with the download. I always get seduced into thinking that this time, things will be different, that I’ll get ahead. Usually it is some grant or something that Ive applied for and didn’t get, but really it is just that ridiculous and evil American myth of class mobility that I’ve looped into. My partner always says that it it such a big myth in this country, the idea of class mobility that in Europe people have a very different idea about it. Basically, most Europeans have a clearer understanding that whatever class you’re in, that’s the one you’ll stay in. I am lucky because, so far, I’ve remain pretty broke which keeps me searching for radical podcasts at 3 a.m. so that I can listen to them and feel sane. My favorite podcast right now (other than Veganfreak Radio) is The Angry Hippie podcast. You can find him on iTunes. As I was downloading random radical political podcasts, ones I am new to, I suddenly noticed that little yellow ball spinning next to the Angry Hippie podcast. I was signaling that he has a new one out. Thank fucking god. Now I can lay in bed and listen to him rant-and drag my fevered brain out of some stupid American myth.