I love to sit and watch storms from our balcony. It’s perfect. Sixth Floor. Still get to see plenty of the ground below and ahead and above, the sky. It is a perfect retreat from harm. Sheltered, you can watch with unlimited fascination the immense power this storm demonstrates to those below. And feel its indifference toward us.
I wonder if that would make a good metaphor for writing. But it’s somewhat convoluted and I don’t have the energy for that now. It’s been a long long day. Very hot and humid. And it’s nice to just sit around and chill for a bit. Kind of lazy. For a change. A different rhythm altogether.
That’s what it’s all about, really.
Everything has a rhythm. And rhythm is closely tied to Mathematics. What keeps the universe together, after all? But then we have out own internal rhythm. And for some it is different. It is not what is considered normal. It’s considered abnormal. But these are relative terms. Rather, we should say, each person’s rhythm is different. Especially when it comes to how the brain operates.
But rhythm is a complex word.
It would be interesting for a mathematician to come up with a formula that explains Bipolar Disorder, or Depression. How would she do that? The variables involved seem infinite. How does she account for the idiosyncrasies which are standard features of these disorders? And yet, there must be a way to account for these variables. Because that’s what Mathematics does — Ah, Mathematics. This, coming from someone who still uses her fingers to count!
Inherent in rhythm, however, is another type of variability. Its capacity for accidents. And sometimes these accidents produce marvelous things: Art, Music, Writing, Scientific Discoveries, to name a few.
Martin Luther King, I hear, suffered from Depression and referred to it as a tool which fueled his rhetoric. Kay Redfield Jamison wrote a book, Touched With Fire, about Artists whose names are familiar today who suffered from Depression and Bipolar Disorder. I’m surprised that this has not been studied more carefully and fully. Some say there is no connection between creativity and Divine Madness. There are those who are successful artists who do not suffer from this disease and still produce works of Art. However, none come to mind quickly — unlike with the other. Robert Schumann, the composer, suffered from Bipolar Disorder, and his creative output was influenced by his Depressive and Hypomanic episodes. Keats, Shelley, Lord Byron — the English 18th century poets, The Romantics — all suffered from Bipolar Disorder. Van Gogh, of course.
Ironically, the Romantics poets wrote about their illnesses — their tempers — even though they didn’t possess the terms we use today to describe them. And we would do well to read their thoughts to further our understanding of this disorder.
Well, I may be a vegetable, I said. That may be so, I said. But I am a happy vegetable.
Who can argue that?
The conversation was long overdue:
That was a huge mat, I said to Ozzie. Ozzie was grooming Aristophanes, the dog I rescued when I was in Greece, and which now calls her home, his home. He did not like men, she said. I have these images of him in my head of being beaten by multiple men. The one who abandoned him was about 25.
So he really needs a lot of special emotional care. Very high strung. Still thinks and behaves like a puppy. I can’t imagine him just all laid back. But I can. That’s because Ozzie has worked miracles with these dogs.
Jenna was — you could see her ribs popping out — starved when Ozzie got her. Jenna now eats whatever she can get a hold of — yet she’s not fat. She is a compulsive eater. Because she has been accustomed to not knowing where and when her next meal is going to come from.
And Aristophanes is afraid of men. He has his men trust issues. So you must appeal to him intellectually. Behavior Modification. Continual Positive Reinforcement. (He’s very smart!) Now if only he could bring me my coffee from the deck! Wouldn’t that be awesome?
I say to Ozzie:
Ozzie, I just want you to know that I will be checking out for the next couple of days. So don’t expect much from me in the way of concrete performance. I may appear to you like a Zombie. But I can assure you I am not.
THE END (for now)
Brute force, obviously, doesn’t work.
SEX FROM HELL — A Topic Explored On Even Days
4:00 AM — On A Moonless Night.
The crack of dawn has arrived. It is 5:07 AM and the sky is a very dark shade of blue. I can see Mikey more clearly now. Before he was shrouded in a shadow. I am trying to think of the the color I am really seeing here through my paints. There is a certain shade of blue. Not Prussian. Something else. Very, very dark. The darkest blue, perhaps. (I am so bad with details!)
OUR BEST FRIEND, THE DOG
They’re up when the birds are. They’re up at midnight. They’re up at 9 PM. And they never get mad at us for living life that way. They love us unconditionally.
When we harm them, we harm our ourselves. Being cruel to an animal is where I draw the line. You know, if it’s a person, they have a chance of defending themselves. But to be cruel to an animal that is below us is simply unacceptable!
We hear the first symphony of the birds. The sky is kind of gray and a discordant sound emerges from their mouths. Nothing seems to be in sync. And then there is a silence. Moments later, the second symphony begins, and this is a bit more harmonious. This symphony has several movements, each becoming more harmonious as day breaks, waiting for the first glimpse of the Sun.
I woke early. 5:30 AM. The weather forecast was wrong again. Supposed to be sunny. Cloudy instead. Still I sat in the canvas chair for hours. I probably could have sat there all day, just like my Buddha. I could have. But I realized there was one thing that could stir me enough to get up — the scent of a rose.
I really have no idea what I’m going to talk about. I have been going through ideas all morning, trying to determine which one to choose, and I can’t seem to get plugged into any of them!
A bit frustrating.
I could talk about the weather.
It’s cloudy today and supposed to hit 80 degrees, but it sure doesn’t feel like that now. I am wearing a wool shirt, over a long sleeved t-shirt and am comfortable outside. The forecast did not predict rain, but it sure looks like rain from the North.
I was just thinking about writers who have influenced me. And even though I have read Classical and English and American literature while at the University, my favorite writer is a contemporary one — the one who lived with the guy who wrote Catcher In The Rye, JD — a book I have picked up twice and never been able to finish. I hear it’s about his breakdown, but I just can’t follow the route of his disintegration, the disintegration of his psyche. And yet, Salinger produced an American Classic.
Well he lived with a woman who was much younger than him for a number of years who was a talented columnist. I remember reading her columns when I was about her age, and marveled at her ease with the language. Simple and clear. This is not to say that she did not follow Classical Principles when she wrote. After all, who is more simple than Plato? And yet to try and read him leaves you scratching your head. So simplicity comes in various forms. I personally like fluidity and the simplest language possible.
For me, that represents the ideal.
But hidden behind that simplicity is a larger truth. Something that lights up our mind. And beckons us to respond: Why, yes!
Ask big questions.
Imagine an 8 year old asking —during a tour of the church with the priest —what would happen if God died. Instead of engaging me in a theological argument, he dismissed my question and told me not to think that way. God never dies, he said. But that answer was not satisfactory. It ignited Doubt in me immediately. I did not accept his response as appropriate. The question was clear enough. Now was the time for discussion, and not the disintegration of an 8 year old.
Yep. That’s just one episode that was influential throughout the rest of my life.
It’s amazing how intelligent children are.
They certainly don’t get enough credit for it!
(I can’t believe what just happened. I went to publish my post and WordPress said I was not authorized. This is the kind of crap I don’t like!)
It was about books. The Extinction of Books. I predict they will not be extinct because as we speak people are writing them everywhere. The Things We Could Not Say On The Internet, The Things We Did Not Say On The Internet.
Something about wondering how far I would have progressed if I had been encouraged to write as a child. And that’s when I brought Andy in:
(I suppose that’s why or just that when Andrew was 5 I bought him a sketch book and you should see where he is at 23.)
Instead I felt neglected as a child. It was as though my mother didn’t love me. She did. She just didn’t understand me. And I just don’t know. I’ll always keep on wondering whether she loved me, or not. But since she died — It’s hard to get over that.
And something about Ann Arbor. When I could’ve moved there but didn’t.
So as you can see my instant recall is not very good.
But for some reason I remember the tags!
This is a significant photo. It shows German officers standing before the Parthenon, smiling, in that powerful Aegean sun. They were an odd bunch. Those Germans. Evidence emerges of bizarre behavior and thinking, twists and turns of the Nazi psyche.
Connoisseurs of Antiquity
It’s Monday. But it feels like Friday. Actually, it doesn’t feel like any day at all.
Time is Infinite. Unlimited.
Today could be a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
But it feels like a Friday. And midnight is only an hour away, and even here in Rockville, you can see a modest collection of stars in the sky.
I don’t know why I like Buddha so much, but I do. I think it’s because of his pose. It’s serene. And I also know if I were to live to the age of 90, I would still sit cross-legged. It’s the most conducive pose for meditation. The trunk of the body rests on the buttocks. The arms hang. Some are shrouded. Others are clearly defined.
My appeal for Buddha took hold of me when I was a teenager. He appealed to me. Something clicked inside. I knew the Crucifix was too dramatic for me. You must embrace pain when you are a Christian. And I thought: I already feel enough pain. What I need to feel is good. So looking at Buddha and reading about him made me feel good, even though I did not understand the philosophy well. It still confuses me, but I like it that way. I prefer the way I feel when I am with Buddha. Serenity spreads.
Then I’m jarred back to a reality I really know nothing about. I am looking at a position that came through LinkedIn. And I’m going: Man, who can do all of that stuff? Definitely not me. And so that makes me feel out of touch … in a way. I can clearly observe standards even though I cannot meet the requirements of the position. Also, I’d like to know who does. Cause I’d like to meet that person!
I am so far away from you all. I am in another world.
It has been incredibly warm here today. In the 80s! And it’s still early Spring. Monday there is a frost advisory. So in a way, that makes days like today more precious. They are fleeting. But when they come through, behold, how staggering they are!
Anyway, it looks like rain tonight.
It has been incredibly interesting —how shall I put it? — visiting blogs? I see that I have had some visitors, so I have gone to see who they are, read their stuff, and all I can really say is that is an interesting community. For it is a community. And this is what they do best: explain their experiences using words. When you walk amongst them … you kind of find where you are on the spectrum of those with similar disorders and experiences.
(I don’t know what I was saying just now. I just know I drifted off while I was writing and wrote — automatically? —damn.)
I am surrounded by so much pollen. Thankfully it doesn’t bother me. But you can see it collect on your car and other objects outside. It is incredibly humid. I am surrounded by trees in an urban – suburban setting. Urban. Suburban. Whatever you want to call it. But it’s like a hybrid of the two. Really, neither one. It has a public transportation system, but if you have been accustomed to driving looks daunting to a driver. There are bus stops linking the surrounding communities that are on obscure streets, wooded, and with no sidewalks to protect the pedestrian from the road. It’s amazing the bus drivers do not miss this stop, for it is tucked away, too much so, for my tastes. It’s not like you’re in Chicago and you don’t want to drive downtown. There are numerous ways to get there on safe and efficient public transportation.
This here feels Neolithic.