originally composed and published as facebook note, Saturday March 9, 2013, 3:02 am.
Back before I was famous, I used to work for Stephen Jules Rubin with a basically unpaid job (free movie tickets) as a Santa Fe Film Festival Screener. I think the festival was in the spring, so 'round about early January, Jules started to call the screeners and we would saunter in to grab a good-sized handful of movies, check them out carefully, and take them to our varioushomesteads to watch each and every one. At least once.
I loved that period of my life an awful lot, looking back on it. I had this super cool old adobe house o Agua Fria - the landlord was so fanatical about the garden that she did it all herself - and so other than feed ourselves and and take care of the cat, my girlfriend and I really had noting better to do than watch a Shit-Ton of independent shorts and features and drink beer and make comments about what we were watching. If a feature seemed particularly promising, I'd schedule that with a few shorts and we'd have friends over and make dinner and drink beer and just watch the wonders of independent cinema roll large in our rather sizable television screen.
Most of the stuff we saw fell into three categories - the good, the bad, and the ugly - but occasionally I would bear witness to something really extraordinary and beautiful. Such was the case with "Beat Angel," where a spoken word artist teamed up with a director to make a fantasitc little picture about Jack Kerouac returning to Earth as an angel and how he transforms lives with his words
I had been reading Jack Kerouac since I was fourteen, but one of the things that always struck was that something must be missing in the reading of Bat poetry that could only be found in the hearing. This idea was later confirmed for me in college when I would find myself under the tutelage of David Meltzer, a Beat poet, Beat historian, and jazz writer, who confirmed for me that the jazz bop prosody that was talked about in the books about Beat criticism. He mimicked the sounds of various wrtiers reading their reads - the differences, for example, between Allen Ginsburg and Gregory Corso, Jck Kerouac and Neal Csasady, and when I began to read those texts again I imagined myself on benzadrine and jazz and I'd put on jazz CDs and read them aloud to myself in my apartment on Haight Street. And there they made a kind of sense and a kind of rhythm that opened up new doors for me as writer of the kind of prose that just flows. (And then I became a journalist and tossed all that under the bus.)
Many different movies have tried to capture the Beat style and feeling, and I am reluctant to say that have not yet seen the new "On the Road" movie, but something about Beat Angel struck me as someone who was trying to execute the Real Deal in Beat poetry and prose. Played by Vincent Balestri, it occurred to me half-way through the film that perhaps the producer or director had just found this incredible poet and spoken word artist who could Jack so well that they just built this crazy movie around it so that they put this guy on film.
I took the film back to Jules and told him we without question had to screen it and that I would resign my wonderful film gig (unpaid, but free tickets) if we did not. Jules could see i was serious and put it in the accepted pile. He may have secretly gone home and watched it just to make sure, but the next thing I knew the film was scheduled and I was asked to write its film capsule for the Film Festival program.
I don't know what all I said in that piece - it may be in my computer right now, but I'm too lazy too look it up at the moment. I do know that one important thing I said was "the best description of Kerouac's writing style I've ever heard." Not all that exciting, right? But wait - there's more. At the screening, I (of course) got to meet the film-makers and I thanked them for making something so wonderful. They, in turn, thanked me for writing such nice things about them, and that was that until a few months later, when I received a package in the mail.
It was a copy of the Beat Angel DVD. I was a little sad, at first, because it probably meant they hadn't been picked up for distribution And then I turned the box over and there was my quote: "the best description of Kerouac's writing style I've ever heard" - and best of all, it was next to a pull-quote by David Amram, a music composer who had his heyday in the 1950 & 1960s as a Broadway composer but who also helped produce "Pull My Daisy," a 1959 film that was narrated by Jack Kerouac. Having met Amram once during a vacation in Fire Island, I knew that he actually *knew* Jack Kerouac, and that he seemed, when I met him, to really enjoy fielding my questions about him.
About two years ago, I came back to the States from an extended stay elsewhere, and I looked at everything I owned when I retrieved it from a storage unit in Albuquerque and I decided to get rid of everything and just go back to traveling. I pulled no punches and left no trace, and soon I had a whole lot of nothing and a lot less baggage. But life being what it is, I got off the road after about four months and made my way back home to New Mexico, And then I started to miss things - but mostly, I missed my books. Not mine, per se (I have a lot of copies left over from my self-publishing excursions) but the books of others, particularly friends or strong influences who were unknown to me but who felt like a part of my everyday philosophical lexicon.
Last week, I stepped into a bookstore in downtown Albuquerque to see what tey had for used stuff. I had decided to attempt to re-build my library only this time it would be different. It would be deliberate. Everything had to be GOOD and worthwhile of loaning to a friend and saying "My god, you haven't read this? You must read this." or even, perhaps worthy of reading again. And as I searched the stacks, I actually found a few books that had once been in my library, but something strange and out of place caught my eye and I just stared at it.
It was a copy of Beat Angel. New in the box and unopened - it might've been MY COPY of Beat Angel, for all I knew (out-pf-towners - New Mexico is huge in land but tiny in population and that kinda thing just happens here.) I flipped it over and looked at the back and saw my quote - and I realized that a part of me had come home again.
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Monday, February 11, 2013
So it all started back in late August of last year, 2011, when I was driving back and forth between my job in downtown Albuquerque and my girlfriend's house in Rio Rancho, on 2nd, passing Low Spirits everyday. I had an Interlock in my car, then as now, so I couldn't exactly stop in for a drink, but I did stop in a few times to check the place out. And it was a real beauty of a bar and performance space. I began to dream a little bit, thinking about how cool it might be to get ahold of this space for a night and produce a show with my dad performing, maybe even invite up a few of his friends to play. I could just see it - a chance to bring my dad to Albuquerque and show all my friends my weird cowboy poet dad.
I did a little checking around and found out that the venue was owned by an old friend - Joe Anderson, so getting a chance to produce a night there wasn't all that far fetched. True, Jerry might not be that much of a draw, but if I were to book him on a Wednesday night, expectations wouldn't be all that high and we could have ourselves a time of it.
Things accelerated a bit further in September when I was asked to produce the Alibi's 20th Anniversary Party pretty much out of the blue. I knew hardly anyone and I had no idea about either venue or talent. A venue cropped up - the Effex Nightclub - so it seemed clear that I would have to do a DJ thing. I scrounged around on my contacts in facebook and found a DJ crew called Foundation Industries and called them up and voila! Instant party. FI has about twenty participants who handled everything from DJ to PA and decorations AND they street-teamed the event and all told we had about 500 people show up to the event. I was up until almost five in the morning and we had a great time.
I started thinking about my birthday - it was about five months away, but still - and thinking that maybe I could somehow pull off a mid-winter event with my dad playing. My dad plays country songs, Americana kinda stuff, it's sorta embarrassing, it's so hokey, but it's the music I grew up with and I couldn't think of anything more I wanted to hear on my birthday. I just thought about asking all my friends to show up and listening to him play and I was all sentimental about it.
At some point, I spoke with Joe Anderson and told him what I wanted to do. He said if I got forty or fifty people to show up mid-week drinking, he'd be completely satisfied. That was around the first of the year. I hadn't yet finalized anything with him, and I mentioned it to Joey, one of the people that runs the Sister bar next to the Alibi. He was totally into it and suggested that we get the Saltine Ramblers to headline. I called my dad and told him to mark his calender for the 20th and he said he would. It seemed like things were moving forward and all I'd have to do was invite people.
About two weeks ago, however, the Saltine Ramblers had to bow out because they got a paying gig somewhere. Joey suggested that I find other acts to round out the bill and the fact is, I just don't know many bands in Albuquerque so I started to wonder if it made any sense to do it at all.
Then last week, I decided to take a day off and go see my Dad in Cerrillos, the small community outside Santa Fe where he lives. We met for lunch in a place called the Hollar, and just seeing him, I realized how much I missed him. Growing up with my dad was something of an adventure - he was a musician and silversmith and a poet and he always had weird stories to tell and strange objects to show me - he was sorta like a walking/talking show and tell. I started going to his gigs when I was about twelve and grew up listening to him play the guitar at home, and while I was still dubious about this event we had scheduled, I really wanted to hear him play again because, after all, you never know...
I have been plagued by fear of the death of my parents since sometime in Thailand - both my step-father and my mother have been such an integral part of my life that I have a hard time imagining my life without either of them. When I think about when I fear this time - which seems like it's rushing towards me at breakneck speeds - I don't really think about how we are now - each of us in our own separate lives - but what it was like when I was young, when the three of us were a unit, living together. The memories from those times are mostly very good - we had music and good times and good friends and good food, and when my mother and step-father got divorced in 1997, I wept for weeks because I just felt orphaned and abandoned in a way that I had never known before.
I got over it, eventually. In fact, I got to a point where I sort've operated as if I'd never had a family before, particularly when my mom split Santa Fe for point back east and then Romania. By then, I was in Providence, then San Francisco, then Seattle, clinging to whatever relationships I had at the time as my family. But something happened when I came back to Santa Fe in 2003 - my step-father and I re-kindled and I felt like he was just so important to me. By the time I split again in 2009, he was just about the most important person to me, and when I came back in 2012, I really felt like time was running out and that we needed to spend time together.
Living in Albuquerque hasn't made that easy. It's only a short drive to Santa Fe but it's light year's away, and the whole focus since August has been on paying back my gambling debt to my mom and spending time with Melody, the love of my life, who has made the loneliness of this world more bearable to me. And it really has been lonely, living here, for reasons I can't quite get my head around. It just feels in some ways like I have reached the twilight of my life and that all the mistakes I've ever made are coming home to roost. I feel extremely distanced from both my past and from my dreams. And the future just seems like something that will lead me to the inevitable crawl of death, but before that will came the pain of being alone and without family to rely on.
Still uncertain about whether or not there could be a party or whether there should be one, last week I decided to take a day off and go see both my parents. I felt depressed, as I often have since the winter started, and got a late start to the day, heading up around 11:30. I met my dad at the Holler Restaurant and it was great to see him. We talked about this and that, and then we headed over to his shop at the Madrid School House. It was hard for me to be there...it used to be that I'd go out and see him a couple of times a month but what with my full-time job and everything, I just haven't had the time, and I started to again get the feeling that time was running short and that there was going to come a time very soon when I would be without him and I would be lost and sad that he wasn't around. I mentioned the party to him again, and told him that we had lost the headliner and that maybe it wasn't going to happen after all but that I'd still like to see him on my birthday and he told me that it was no problem. I went and saw my mom and I felt kinda weird about that - she's just gotten back from Thailand and there's been strangeness about her return...
In my heart of hearts, I sorta wish I could just end the current saga I am in the middle of - working for the Alibi, living in Albuquerque, paying off the debt I owe my mom...it's been an interesting year, but also a sad one, as I've come face to face with what it's like to be living in a city on the decline (Albuquerque) in a state that's on the decline (New Mexico) and knowing full well that if I had any other option to go elsewhere, I would take it, but I've been taking the high road and trying to make sure I deal with what I owe before I leave again. There's something just really depressing about New Mexico to me - I don't have any clue if my life would be better elsewhere but it always seems like it would be, when I have the ability to dream, and lately my dreams don't feel so good about what I even used to love about this place, since it's all so sad and strange.
My girlfriend Melody just called. It seems that the two of us have a bacterial infection in our privates from all the sex we've been having. She's been complaining that my dick is chafed. She asked me if I'd noticed that her coozy was dry. I told her I hadn't noticed. She asked me if I cared whether or not she was wet enough for sexual congress before I just stuck it in there. I think she was trying to be funny. But it all just seemed sad somehow. Like everything does lately, and you know, I have meds for all that and I thought it was all okay, my sadness, but things just got out of control the other day. Let me explain.
Right before I left Santa Fe and started listening to the record, I ran into my friend Nick Frost and we had coffee at the Better Day Coffee Shop. I mentioned to him that we were thinking about throwing a party for my birthday but that I just didn't think that my dad and I could fill a room and he smiled. "I just have a hard time thinking about you being unable to fill a room," he said. And at that point I realized, You know what? I'd let Sister book that event and I'd just call everyone I knew and maybe only forty or fifty people would show up, but my dad would play and we'd have a good old time like the good old days and it would all be worth it.
When I was at the shop, with my dad, he gave me three new albums that he put together while I was in Thailand, and one in particular caught my attention as I drove home. It's "La Esquina del Viento" (in the corner of the wind) and as I listened to it, I thought about growing up with him and listening to all those old songs and by about song three, I was sobbing hysterically. There's a song on there called "Honey on the Tongue" which he wrote for my sister Rachel's wedding and I first hear it there and I cried then when I heard it. It goes like this, "One day I claimed my right and ran away. Not a worry, not a care. I just left 'em standing there. Was it really only yesterday? I just remember I was young. The night were longer than and anyway, life was honey on the tongue." And I was just bawling at that point, crying about how I feel so middle-aged and useless and like I'd done all the wrong things and have nothing to show for my life on this planet, no career, no wife, no children, nothing, and how my parents are aging and they'll be gone soon and there will be no one around to remember that I was young once too and I had dreams and I almost made some of them work but I failed so often and it's just lucky that I'm not in a home some where, but maybe it would be better that I was since I'm such a failure of a person and basically, I had to pull over at some point and call him, crying hysterically about the record, telling him it was just beautiful and I was so grateful to have him in my life and that I was so glad he'd been in my life for such a long time.
That was all on a Wednesday. I arrived back in Albuquerque feeling great, and I sought out Joey from Sister to tell him that we had to have the party. He wasn't at the club and I sought him out the next day, but he was lukewarm and non-committal about it, which was weird because by this time I really felt like it was necessary to try and do it. I gave him a couple of the records and he said he would see what he could do. And it was all feeling like it wasn't going to happen and I started to feel really sad, but then I ran into Joey on the Friday and he said that we could do it, we just needed another act, and I started hunting around for someone else and then I called my dad to talk to him about it.
And he said, "Oh, I talked to Lucille and we can't do it on the 20th. That's the night her bi-polar cousin is going to appear on the new episode of "Hoarders" and we have to find a hotel to watch it in since neither of us has cable."
I got off the phone and I started to cry...by myself at first and I went and hid in my office. I sent email to Carl, my boss, telling him I didn't think I would make it through the day and he came by and I told him what my dad had told me. Does it make any sense for a full-grown man to fall apart when their dad won't play their birthday party? Hell, does it make any sense for a 43-year-old man to want to throw a birthday party for themselves at all? I sent email to my sister explaining the situation, and just when I thought I had it together, I left my office and got as far as Molly's office, where I fell on her couch and started to sob hysterically.
I mean - doesn't anyone care that life is short? Doesn't anyone care that the ones who love you and sing your praises are the ones you should take care of? I would've paid him to play if it would've made a difference...
Friday night I got hella drunk. I started with a couple of beers at Sister, then went upstairs to the Anodyne and had a couple of beers there. I came back downstairs to the office and thought I had my head together but I started crying again, so I went back upstairs and had a couple of Colorado Bulldogs with some random strangers and then I drank this weird shot thing. At some point, I called my dad, utterly hysterical, asking him if he knew how little time left we all have and how I was trying to figure out a way to honor him and bring us all together...and who am I, really, to think that someone that isn't even married to my mom and hasn't been for fifteen years still wants to hang out with me on my birthday. He was telling me that he wanted to do the gig but that the Hoarders thing was important to Lucille, but I was quite honestly beyond reason, something snapped when he told me the first time around that my birthday conflicted with a stupid television show, it was like, it was like being confirmed on some mean gross level inside myself that I wasn't worth anything, never had been, and at 43, you'd think I'd be over such things, but I'm not....
And why not? Because deep down inside, I'm sickly insecure. My life didn't turn out the way I wanted it to and in the meantime, I'm thinking about being alone all the time and thinking about my elders dying and thinking about never making anything right and I'm suicidal half the time (it's more true than anyone knows, I really feel like offing myself a good lot of the time, life just feels so overwhelming to me in the pain department no matter how good things are going) and every once in awhile I come up with these little bright spots to make it all feel like it turned out okay after all...and I just felt slayed. Bumped by Hoarders. Are you fucking kidding me?
My phone died in the middle of our conversation, which was really just me saying, "do you realized we're both going to die soon?" and I went back to my office at the Alibi and plugged in my phone and wrote something on Facebook about how "today was the worst day of my life and I just wanted a noose around my neck." And I calmed down a bit. And I went back to the Anodyne. And then the phone rang and it was my friend Soren from high school and I told him the whole thing, crying the whole time, hysterical, and at some point a friend saw the post on Facebook, my friend Erik and he called me also, and eventually, Melody came to get me and took me home and I hid in my bed all day Saturday and then all day Sunday.
Friday night I told Melody that I couldn't stand to work anymore. I was going to quit my job at the Alibi because I was tired of trying to be somewhere everyday and trying to keep it together when the reality of the situation was that I was completely messed up and in need of even more therapy than I currently get, which is three times a week in one way or another. But it's not therapy I need - it's family, and a feeling (which I don't have, at all) that my life turned out the way it was supposed to instead of being some half-cocked made-up excuse of a life where everyone turns out to be mean and no one really cares about you for very long.
At some point, I wrote to Canton and asked him to please consider playing a birthday party for me. I think that was before I got drunk, because I got a text from him today telling me that he would play for me on March the 1st. I also called Shawna Tillberg before I got blasted, crying hysterically...you know, I just want people to understand, I shouldn't even write because it brings up so many feelings, I should really just never talk to that guy again because his ways just created so much pain in my life, in my sister's life, in my mother's life, and it's always over the same shit but I really thought that if I gave him his due, and let him play a fucking show that he'd show up for me.
I really am too sensitive to live in this world. Shawna told me, "No one should have the power to make you feel this way - not even your father," but so many people have had this power over me in my life. If you knew how it hurt right now, still, on Monday, a pain in my GUT so deep and painful.
I just wish I'd never even considered trying to get him to play a party for me. I had such grand illusions about bringing people together and having a good time. But it all just fell on my head and I just feel so fucking sad.
Posted by by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw at 3:53 PM
Sunday, February 03, 2013
Got an email from a friend of mine today outlining years of abuse that I heaped upon her which made me a bad friend in her eyes. I had written asking why she was no longer speaking to me and if there was anything we could do to repair the damage, but it seems unlikely.
You spend years a patient not so well medicated and your personality sorta zooms from one extreme to another. Throw in copious amount of alcohol and drugs and you also get a really self-centered person who makes random calls to friends at all hours of the day or night looking for help. That was me for many years and there are times when that is still me - all in all, I'm selfish and self-centered in a lot of ways, but in therapy lately we're addressing that and I'm trying to figure out how to change.
This morning, my girlfriend turned up the fire on the burner a little bit and told me that in addition to being selfish and self-centered, I'm also abusive, that I'll make cutting remarks and hurt her feelings and then apologize later, but after the damage has been done. I wanted to get defensive and tell her it wasn't true, but I know it is true because I have a history of being hurtful to my partners. We had already scheduled to meet with my therapist soon to talk about our relationship with a third party, and I asked her if we could just add this to the list because it's something I really would like to change.
Growing up, I watched my real father being constantly abusive and belittling to my step-mother. I thought it wouldn't ever be something that I would do, but the fact is, I do it and in reflection upon it today, I feel like the why aren't just modeling and patterns, but a really deep fear of intimacy and love and the sense that if I'm always true and nice to my partners, I will find myself trapped in something I can't control, which is a loving relationship that is bigger than me and has the ability to make me hurt if it goes south.
My girlfriend says it must be lonely to be me, in the sense that my life is empty and without close friends. And perhaps she's right. People have always said that "you know everybody," but in a way I know people in a very shallow fashion. I don't even know if my best friends - Canton, Erik, Spiros, others - would say that I was a good friend or not, I tend to feel that my relationships are inequitable in that other people are often giving me more than I could possibly give back.
Between bipolar disorder and addiction issues, I haven't really been much able to focus on other people. Lately I feel like I have a better handle on the bipolar disorder than ever before, but becoming fully sober really eludes me. I do know without question that I "can't have just one" and I also know that I while I like to have a drink, I really don't like being drunk because I tend to do really stupid things. And as I told my friend Erik today, I really would like to focus on other issues - after 20 years of toying with getting sober, it seems like a tired conversation and there are other ones which are clearly worth having - like how to become a better friend and partner and how not to hurt the people I love.
Posted by by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw at 1:33 PM
Friday, February 01, 2013
You were a prince to talk to me the other day. I am still wrestling with the past a bit. Tonight I stood at the airport waiting to pick up my mother on her return trip from Thailand and I was thinking to myself, "IF that had happened, then the entirety of my past from that point forward would also not exist, and what would that mean?" My "sister" Anda was with me. My mother picked up a stray 19-year-old when she served in the Peace Corps ten years ago. I began to think that it was entirely possible that had I landed at Wired back then, the shifting sands of reality would've been such that my mother might not ever have gone to Romania, and might not have a sister.
I also thought about all the weird things that happened out there that were good and interesting. For every bad story I have about being poor and struggling in being an unknown writer, I have all these weird events - like the time I met Norman Mailer, or my love affair with Michael Silverblatt, or the weird polyamorous scenes I lived in in San Francisco, or the Collapse of Time or Tales from Thailand or my strange encounter with Kenward Elmslie. I never would've spent six weeks inside the Waterman Library of Contemporary Art, might not ever have made it to India, etc. etc. etc.
My life right now is _very good_. I am well-respected and I have presence in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe newspapers. I make a little money. I am paying off debts and I eat in nice restaurants on my own dime. My car insurance is paid. Last weekend, I bought a compete new set of tires.
I wouldn't have written about so many people and been so many places. Or I might've done that but it would've all been different - maybe with more money and more respectability. It's all so hard to say.
I woke up this morning, however, in heavy emotional pain about all of it. Yesterday I had a visit with my therapist and we talked about my feelings of betrayal and it was intense. And today I wondered, "does it make any sense to select that experience and dwell on it when so much is going so well? Will anything be gained by this?
A few weeks ago, when all this started, I re-joined the WELL for the first time since that period. (Look it up.) The WELL is an online conferencing system for writers started by Stewart Brand, and I saw people that I hadn't seen in years. Last night when I felt sad, I started asking pointed questions about how to pitch Wired and I got some responses and people there are actually willing to help me figure it out.
Thirteen years ago, I did a story about hackers and this one hacker talked to me about an aspect of the hacker ethos that I had heard about but never understood. According to my source, hackers operate on a cross system - one person is always above you as your mentor, there are two peers on either side of you to discuss new problems with, and a person below you whom you are mentoring. I think what I have been missing all along is a sense that there is a system in place like that for myself - it's one of the reasons I put up with Mark Pesce for as long as I did.
More as I discover. meantime - check facebook for my story about Norman Mailer. it's all true and perhaps if I'd done that thing - I might not have ever discovered magic.
I have been seeking a way to do a ceremony - did I tell you this? After we talked, I went to a counseling session and found out I got a grant for alternative healing from the city of Albuquerque and that I could choose from about forty different methods. I chose two - hypnotherapy and something called "Native American Indigenous Healing." That's on Saturday. I'll let you know how it works.
Posted by by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw at 12:06 AM
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Good news to report - it's seems that my seasonal affective disorder has been nipped in the bud. I met with my doctor about ten days ago in a gloomy gus modality. He took me off the amantadine, (praise goddess, that shit was just _scary_) and instead of SAMe, which I expected, he had me add 600mg of lithium to my 1500mg of Depakote and 150mg of Wellbutrin.
At first I balked - Must I Have TWO Mood Stabilizers, really? I thought I was fine on the mood stabilization with just the Depakote, but he was adamant that adding lithium would give me a mild anti-depressant affect and that the Wellbutrin would help also. So reluctantly (and after consulting with other bipolar friends) I opted to take the good doctor's advice, though I was plenty scared because his first two suggestions (Vyvance & Amantadine) hadn't worked out so well.
I feel great now - in comparison. Now it seems like the real work has begun. Since getting off the Abilify, I have managed to put an end to the gambling compulsion, which is cool, but now in therapy, we're working on all my work-related insecurities so I can keep my job and maybe even move back towards writing seriously again. Seriously weird shit has been coming up again, as I think I have mentioned in a couple of previous blogs - yes, the old Wired internship thing has started to bug me. I can't believe I put it out there on the open Internet, but I feel less self-conscious about it right now as I am starting to move through it.
The basic deal was that I was writing small pieces for Wired in 1995 and I asked Mark Frauenfelder for an internship. I told my dad about it and he was totally dismissive about it, saying, "Why would you work for free when you're already writing for them?" He wouldn't help me out in any way and he also goaded me for being willing to work for free and I went out to San Francisco to try to get a job and I fell apart in about four months because I was just so confused. Being bipolar at the time didn't help matters any.
As far as my therapist is concerned, he's an abusive fuck and his lack of support was an act of betrayal. It's all very painful and weird - it certainly was back then - and anyway, we're just going through my history during and after that to try and find some clues as to how to get me back on track with my work. I'll let you know how it goes.
Posted by by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw at 8:08 PM
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
The past has been dragging me down all week and I don't know how to stop it. It's like a runaway train and it's driving me completely crazy. For much of the past month, I have been driven down by a missed opportunity at 25...I seem to have gotten over that, but now I am wondering why I didn't do other things differently, why I didn't so much burn bridges but completely forget about them.
Wired, for example. I wrote for them briefly at 25, then got disillusioned because they offered me an internship that I didn't take and I just stopped pitching them. Why did I do that? I simply don't remember, but I spent years wondering what if I had continued to pitch them even the smallest bits and lately that's been popping up again.
Fast Company. I wrote a huge piece for them in 2000 and never pitched them again. I used the clip to get into The Industry Standard and PC World, but when the Standard collapsed I collapsed also and took off to Seattle to live in a van.
I think part of the reason I am so concerned with these mistakes and miss-steps is because I am older and I don't have the energy to start over again. As my dad always said, "One thing leads to another," but in my case, one thing led to a thing and then no follow through and then all these weird times of having no clue what to do next.
A part of me wants to chalk it up to the whole bipolar thing - I get excited about something and then I achieve something and I think, "Well, that was easy/boring. What else is there?" It's part of the reason why my path in life has been so meandering and I would really like a straight line for a change.
Since the beginning of January, I have been tormented by these shadow terrors of the past and it's been really hurting my performance in the present day. A part of it may be the weird meds they put me on - first the Vyvance, then the Amantadine. Both have been shuttled because they created a lot of physical anxiety that was, particularly in the case of the Amantadine, just too terrifying. My doctor has confirmed that stimulants are simply *not* a good idea for me, but today he prescribed Lithium on top of the Depakote and also Wellbutrin and I felt overwhelmed by that. Wellbutrin, sure. But another mood stabilizer on top of the Depakote? Oh please, not that. Really.
I want to be really happy with what I have now. I sell ads for the Alibi and it's interesting work. I am also working as their arts editor and that's fun too. I have my technology column for The New Mexican. All told it adds up to a decent chunk of change every month, but yesterday I was working on a story and I was wishing that writing was all I did again, even though I know it doesn't pay enough to live on all by itself.
I have this friend, Spiros. I talk to him nearly every day, and he keeps me propped up as I live what is perhaps the stablest life I ever have. He reminds me that all is not lost and that my life is really just fine, that even when I dip into depression and such, I seem to maintain a different sort of steadiness than before.
I just want the past to be where it should be - in the past. The now is actually quite good. The Abilify is gone and the gambling has ceased. I am making steps towards sobriety even as killer anxiety keeps pushing me back to taking a drink. I am going to a gym fairly often and feeling happy about that. I have a regular 9-5 job that I mostly really like even as I feel that it's not the ideal.
What is the ideal? Today I really thought the ideal would be getting a regular reporting job for the New Mexican and spending twenty years there and just living a steady ordered existence with routine and sameness. I have never really thought that way before but it's time. I don't want big limelights anymore and I certainly don't want to be desperate again. I called over there and talked to the Editor in Chief - I wanted to ask him what it would take for me to be offered a regular job there but I didn't - I just allowed him to tell me that my column is good and that he wants to see me the next time I'm in Santa Fe.
Why can't I be happy with the way things are just now?
Posted by by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw at 3:22 PM
Sunday, January 20, 2013
So, for the past five days I've had all kinds of anxiety and I finally chalked it up to the new pill. I have no idea why Dr. Hall wanted to put me on it in the first place, but it was meant to replace Vyvance and I think it's just a big stinker.
I just want people to get - it's like, you know, life is hard enough trying to navigate your way through without going to a doctor for some help and getting something that makes you worse off than when you started.
I originally went to see him because I wanted to see about maybe getting an SSRI in addition to my mood stabilizer. I was feeling down and as if I couldn't really do all that needed to be done at work and in my new regular life. I was concerned about winter and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Instead, his physician assistant suggested that maybe I have ADD and prescribed Vyvance. By mid-January I was a total wreck and saw him again on the 15th of January, where he switched my script to Amantadine. That too has been a bad medication to be on.
All I want is to feel stable in myself so I can dream again. I am taking steps to do this by having a regular job, keeping up with regular responsibilities, going to the gym everyday (except this weekend, their hours are weird on the weekend which makes me think I should re-think whether or not I will join.)
Pushing through hardcore anxiety is tough. You don't know where it's coming from - is it related to the bipolar or the PTSD? Is it based in reality or fantasy? Does it have any real merit or is it a chimera? In my case, newly sober again, you have to ask yourself - am I feeling this way because I am not drinking again? Too many possibilities come up that are hard to manage in one little mind and I start to feel overwhelmed and like none of what I'm trying to achieve is worth the effort and I've given up before and just succumbed to it on more than one occasion.
I didn't have these terrors prior to going on the Vyvance. I took myself off the Abilify to eliminate the gambling issue and it now appears to be actually gone. I just want t a life that works where there's less anxiety and strife about the past or the future, where I can live affectively in the now and just be okay. Is that really too much to ask?
Posted by by gregoryp(tm) aka Gregory Pleshaw at 6:50 PM