Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So-called fine Southern ladies and gentlemen.

So my Kindle is causing me to read faster and read an assortment of things that I usually would be afraid to undertake. I think, since I bought it, I have read the thoroughly satisfying HUNGER GAMES trilogy, then the latest TALES OF THE CITY book MARY ANN IN AUTUMN got my attention, then I worked my way through some of WRITING DOWN THE BONES, then I read all of THE HELP in a rather rapid clip, then I thought I might do a classic of some sort. Since that new JANE EYRE movie is coming out, I thought I would finally finish that book - which is always really good when I start it, then it takes a turn for the dark and righteous that I find off-putting.

So then a new friend of mine started talking to me about GONE WITH THE WIND, which I didn't read in high school because most of the girls in Honors English were obsessed with it (and my senior English teacher once got in an argument with all of them about it and memorably called Scarlett O'Hara a bitch, which caused some of the Christian girls to gasp).

The last time I was tempted to consider reading GONE WITH THE WIND was, of course, when I was taking those great writing classes at the Margaret Mitchell House here in Atlanta, which is the "dump" apartment building where Peggy Mitchell first wrote the book. She hated that apartment, but it's where she wrote the book. So the city renovated it, turned it into a museum for both the book and the movie and restored Mitchell's original apartment to its decent, modest, cozy glory.

Walking through the tour of that building and taking a class in the same room where they house the door to Tara from the movie, which I watched at least a dozen times as a kid, it was tempting to pick up the Pulitzer Prize winner, but something kept me from ever doing it. Maybe because the book is damn long, amusingly melodramatic and occasionally bald-faced racist and politically backward in its depiction of loyal, happy slaves and the glorious Old South.

As a member of the Phi Kappa Literary Society at UGA 14 years ago, I occasionally got an ear full of anti-Lincoln rhetoric and pro-secession politics. I didn't know that I wanted to dredge up those feelings of "Are some people still feeling this bad about the War Between the States?" dread.

But leave it to a friend shaming me, saying that it was strange of me to dare visit the Margaret Mitchell House without reading the great book, to get me to see if it was available on Kindle when Stephen King's IT couldn't grab my attention for very long.

So now I'm reading Scarlett pine for Ashley while Mammy yells at her. And I'm writing my notes on it as I go. And thus far it's a lot of fun in an antiquated, infuriating, really well-written, funny way.

I guess it was the world's second most popular book for a reason. I think I'm going to stick with it, even though all the historical markers around Atlanta pretty much tell me how it ends for the Confederacy.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pretty Polynesian baby.

Since I'm trying different methods of production in regard to my writing output, I thought this evening that I might return to a blog post just to see what happens with it. A lot of my writing practice - inspired by WRITING DOWN THE BONES on my Kindle - has taken the form of self-reflection and journal entry anyway, so why not return to the methods I used to use to see if there is any way that this feels different now than it did in, say, 2004?

Adam, this friend of mine from out of town, is going to Europe next week, and there's an off chance he might go to London. So I started raving about the Tate Modern and the Rothko room there. And just talking about it made me happy. And since Adam and I later started talking about my happiness, how I have the means for it but don't necessary apply those means, I thought about why the Rothko room made me so happy.

It was dim light. It was comforting, simple shapes. It was a vacation moment where I didn't have anywhere to be or, more importantly, anything really to worry about. I had made it my task of the week to have a good time, to try out a new place, and I accomplished that task. I don't always plan to have a good time. Usually, I don't even think about saying that out loud.

So, since I've been dealing with trust issues and trying to explore my own social awkwardness, I wonder why I don't just trust myself. Why do I ask other people if everything is all right rather than just trust for myself that things will be OK if I want them to be? Why do I go to other people for what I should provide myself? Why don't I seek out more empty rooms, more quiet moments, more chances to just be fine without spending so much damn time trying to get everyone else's fucking attention? How come it takes me so long to trust and be OK with people?

Last night, I read by myself at my desk until I felt like writing by myself at my desk. I finished reading a whole novel - THE HELP on my Kindle, which is the fifth book I've read in a month on my Kindle - and finished another three pages in the notebook I'm supposed to fill by Jan. 10. And I had fun.

Going out and seeing Adam made me happy, but worrying over what he thought of me - before I saw him - and whether he might want to be alone with me was not fun. It's not fun to worry if Wordsmiths Joe thinks I'm talking to him too much on Facebook. It's not fun to think to myself, "Maybe it's OK to kiss Bryan. Maybe it's not." It clutters my head and fills my days with too much useless nonsense. Facebook is just a new way to get rejected by people. And didn't I have too many ways before? Why do other people get to decide for me if I am happy?

I decide I'm happy.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I bought myself something this week, something I've wanted for years. I bought myself a Kindle on Amazon, something I've tried to save up for. I had money left over from paying off all my tax and credit debt, from borrowing against the 401K savings they tell you to not borrow against if you can at all help it. I thought the Kindle - or, you know, the act of actually having the Kindle after wanting it for long enough and trying to save for it for long enough - might make me a little bit happy. It might make me feel a little bit fulfilled. It might remind me of what it was like to inject some levity in my life. It might introduce some new chapter of my life, some happy chapter, some chapter where I know I worry too much and thus rectify the situation by worrying less - without, of course, worrying about worrying too much. So I bought the Kindle. And I've been reading books. And it's been a fun week.

It's not been a big week. I didn't take someone home with me or make out with someone in a bar. I didn't try some sexual position that I've never tried before. The lesson I was supposed to learn from this week's therapy session was about seeing other people's boundaries before I accidentally hurdle them, and I never think I do well with these lessons. But I'm working on it.

I wish friends I haven't spoken to would call me so that they could hear that I'm not miserable. I don't think I have that tone in my voice right now. I don't have big worries. I don't have big projects right now, either, but that's cool - because I have a Kindle to read and a house to unpack.

And if I kiss a new guy this week, it'll be OK. Or if I just watch some more IN TREATMENT this week at home, while petting the dog that's there, that'll be OK, too.

If life can't be big and happy, it's OK that it's small and happy. That's how I feel about it right now anyway.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Problem solver.

I suppose I shouldn't be impressed that no one's noticed that I've started regularly blogging again, for I'm trying to just sorta redevelop a voice and a habit of writing. This isn't really to be read, otherwise I would be less critical of myself because, frankly, that raw, self-loathing shit ain't attractive. And it isn't how I should be feeling. But, sometimes, it's how I've been feeling, so I'm using this blog to own it, to understand it and to deal with it.

I paid Capital One today. I'm dropping a check off with the Georgia Department of Revenue tomorrow, if everything goes according to plan. And then all these wage garnishment threats will stop. (It seems weird to me that I'm the one who had to show the state I didn't owe them $20,000, that I'm the one who got it argued down to a reasonable amount and that I'm the one who came up with a solution that wasn't wage garnishment. I mean, I'm not an accountant. I understand it was my responsibility to file on time. But shouuldn't the state notice glaring errors on a tax return before I do? Shouldn't the state think, "Oh my God, that can't be right?" Shouldn't the state be better at taxes than I am? It's like I'm in the Chinatown scene of "Chinatown." That's how messed up this got.)

Part of me wants rid of this money and all the bills paid so that I can just get the idea of "too much money" out of my head. I'm nervous having this much money all at once. I keep reminding myself, "Pay bills. Don't run off to Colorado. Don't buy a Kindle or an iMac. Pay bills."

I'm 34. I remember when my dad was 34, and we would visit on weekends. I think my dad was financially better off than I am at 34, but that might just be a trick of the light. I mean, he had child support and a girlfriend at my age. So he probably didn't have any money at 34 either.

It isn't always going to feel like this. I maybe need to start the social drinking again.

Someone on a listserve I subscribe to sent a very interesting e-mail about their troubles today. Once upon a time, such an e-mail would've set me off asking questions of the sender, thinking that everything about him was somehow my business and that I needed to know stuff to keep both of us safe. Now, though he's in my thoughts, I'm just sorta relieved that he's having troubles that aren't being caused by me and that I know it's none of my damn business.

There's relief in other people's troubles.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Life savings.

I have to make a couple phone calls, have a couple meetings, and I can get myself significantly out of debt come morning. It doesn't feel real. I can't even bring myself to open the envelope and look at the savings check that's making my current finance problems go away. I'm scared - as I've been scared of a lot of things lately - that I'm going to lose everything before everything gets a chance to get better.

When nothing is wrong financially, then will I be confident? Probably not. It's not how I roll. Seriously, though, things are good. I just need to notice. And relax. And be relieved.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010


So, to solve a problem I'm having with the state, I'm waiting on a package from UPS, but, because I just moved into this building, I'm nervous that UPS won't be able to get the package to me. So, instead of going to lunch with my mom, I'm sitting here typing, waiting for a knock at the door (if they can get to the door). Instead of taking a shower, I decided to wait until they get here so that I don't miss them.

I think the effects of yesterday's coffee have worn off, but I'm still worrying about stuff that I'd be better served not worrying about.

I'm worried lately about a lot of things - both reasonable and unreasonable. I'm discovering that I'm still worried about wet floors in public bathrooms, for instance.

In June, the day before my birthday on Father's Day, I went with my brother, sister-in-law, nephews and father to Mall of Georgia for TOY STORY 3. It was DJ and Andrew's first movie in the theater, and I wanted to be there to have that experience with them. We were in the food court before the movie, and my father left to find the bathroom.

I used to work at that mall, saw that he was going in the wrong direction and got up to help him. I walked him toward the other bathroom, but I didn't want to follow him in there. So I used the family restroom next to the men's room while my dad made his way down the long hallway.

I like the family restroom because it's got some privacy. You can actually lock the door. You get your own stall and your own sink. On that day, I liked it because I didn't want to hear my father in the bathroom, which I know from experience can be particularly disgusting.

So I used the bathroom in the family restroom, using the dim lights without turning on the overhead flourescents, and was walking toward the sink when I slipped on this unmarked, soapy puddle in the middle of the floor. My right foot - in corrective shoes - slipped sideways, both legs gave out, and the left side of my right knee hit the floor hard. HARD.

I curled my other leg around my knee to comfort it, then laying on the floor I looked around to try and find a way up (while considering that I might slip again). And I saw my way up against the wall, so I pulled myself across the wet floor and then put my right hand in the empty dispenser slot of an old tampon machine (another amenity for the family restroom). I got myself off the floor, tried to stand and found that my knee was seriously fucked up. But I thought it would pass. So I held myself against the wall and unlocked the door and got outside to find my father leaving the men's room. And I had to lean on him to walk upstairs to the movie. (No, I didn't report it to the mall immediately - which was a point of contention for everyone.)

Anyway, it took getting my knee drained to stop the swelling and the bleeding, then I had several weeks of physical therapy (which also allowed me to work on my arthritic, displaced hip again).

But the day of the fall, I seriously thought that I had messed myself up forever. I thought that I would never walk without pain ever again. I thought that I would always be messed up, always hurting.

And I'm still afraid of the day when that will happen, either through age, through an eventual hip replacement or other surgery. I'm worried about eventual back pain, which my PT says will likely come. I'm worried about never feeling normal again.

When you're a kid, you run without worry. You fall on chubby, rubbery legs, and you get back up. You cry. Then you stop. It's done. You recover.

I'm worrying - too early, I think - about brittle bones, broken hips, canes and walkers. (I've already used canes and walkers.)

But my knee feels much better right now. I know that's what I should be OK with. But once you've fallen, you check every store bathroom floor you go into, looking for the moment and place where you'll slip.

I expect my disabled future will get kick-started on one of those slippery floors.


The only reason why I'm worrying so much today is because of my new coffee maker. You see, when I moved houses last month, I went in halfsies with Stephen on a coffee maker because I want to actually be one of those people who makes coffee everyday as a breakfast-like kickoff to a structured, mature day. Or, at least, I want to be the guy who can offer potential guests a hypothetical beverage to put on the coffee table that I've now had at three different residences and never really used for coffee before.

When we got the machine, Stephen went and bought these expensive, small packs of flavored coffee. Being economical and assuming that I'd use the damn machine more often for a more structured life if I planned for it, I bought a giant vat of Maxwell House for roughly the same price. I love Maxwell House. Some people at my old office used to despise it, wanting whoever brewed it to label the carafe "MAXWELL HOUSE" every time it was made so that unsuspecting coffee fans wouldn't accidentally find themselves with a mouth full of Maxwell. (I refused to kowtow to their ridiculous carafe-labelling demands. Now, I don't work there, so the people at my old office can go drink Folger's and fuck themselves.)

Thus, because I went into this new coffee maker endeavor with expectations, I now make approximately eight cups worth of Maxwell House every time I brew a pot at my new place, and I'm the only one who drinks it. I offer it to Stephen, but he drinks the gourmet stuff and is trying to cut back on his caffiene anyway. (He tells me I don't have to brew eight cups worth of coffee every time I make coffee, but it seems like a waste of a filter and electricity and personal effort to only brew two cups when I could just as easily grab a Coke Zero from the fridge.)

So instead, every time I make coffee at my new place, I end up with a racing heart, uncontrollable panic attacks and an overactive bladder. I drank eight cups of coffee this afternoon. And now it's 4:30 in the morning, and I decided to write this rather than watch THE BLOB through TCM On Demand because, damn it, I'm gonna be awake for a while.

So my old roommate and I had the walk-through of the old house today (or, considering the time, yesterday), and I got stuck in traffic on the way there and pretty much missed my landlord telling my old roommate that he needs to replace the carpet in her old room, that my old room needs vaccuumed again and that I'd not cleaned out the kitchen junk drawer that I swear I thought I had cleaned out. My old roommate told me this when I got there, and the messy drawer was open. So she told me to clean it out, so I did. And I had her check it to make sure. Because I felt like a jackass and a dumbass and a child and a disappointment and an asshole and a fool and a headache all at the same time. (Lately, I feel like that every time I talk to my old roommates because each conversation seems to dance around and toy with the notion that I'm an evil villain who failed them, which may in fact be true. But it's not completely true. Not in complete context, anyway. And it's probably worrying me more than it's worrying anybody else, and I'd be better served by getting over it and moving on with my life. But there's always something left to do or worry about. It's a junk drawer, it's a vaccuum job that requires three separate drives to the house, it's a phone call to the city to see that the trash gets picked up. It's a phone call to an old roommate - whose butt answers his phone in his pocket while he's talking to someone about how I moved out. And those worries put me there, in my head, the guy who's still failing them.)

You know what I'm really afraid of? That lots of people don't like me for good reason, and those people all gather and bitch about me. And they're right.

(And I'm usually not so paranoid, unreasonable or self-centered to think that these gatherings are planned, unless the eight cups of coffee hammer away at the metaphorical xylophone of my emotions.)

I've been afraid of being unliked for a while. Now knowing that it's a stupid waste of time to worry about such a thing - and that I'd be better served by working harder - doesn't stop the insecurity from coming far too often.

(I know the move and some other problems are what's REALLY bothering me. But it's manifesting in my head as this whiny "Why don't you LIKE me?" on a loop.)

I'd be better off leaving silly fears and insecurities aside. And I've known that for a while.

But I had people who loved me. And I loved them. And now they don't love me. And my feelings for them have changed. And that makes me sad. It's necessary, it's progress, it's a change for the better. But I regret the loss. I regret that people are hurt. I don't feel so good about everything myself. I made mistakes.

I moved in because I wanted to be happier. So I moved in and became happier. And I stayed while I was happy with staying. And I left when I was unhappy and saw the chance to be happy somewhere else.

And no matter how polite or liked or "on good terms" I want to be, I have to just go, leave the old house behind and move on.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Brand new life.

So, considering that I've moved houses and now live in Buckhead again and that I'm not really doing improv anymore and everything (including my waistline) seems to be reverting back to a quieter time, I figured that I should start blogging again - not because I want to embrace a quieter time but because I want to remind myself that I can do more than just stay quiet and resigned to it.

So even though my schedule now requires me to work on Saturday nights until god-awful hours that don't really allow me much free time to socialize, I am not failing. I am not gaining weight. Things are not going to revert back to the way I was. Life is cumulative. You are always changing. You can't go completely home again once you've learned some new way to behave, found some new people to see, figured out how to drink lots of whiskey that you didn't have the liver for before, etc.

This blog used to even be popular. I'm taking it on faith now that no one is going to read this, though, so that should provide me with a bit more freedom and leeway in my writing, at least until I think I've produced something good enough for other people to see.

And that probably won't happen until I get a new computer. My laptop at home has no memory on it anymore, so that limits the vlogging, the at-home Facebooking, the porn watching, the distractions.

Removing some of those things might even make me creative again. And that's where I most enjoy myself.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Dear Vic,

I can't manage to write you a letter this week - despite what feels like weeks of trying - because my mind is too scattered. Thus, I'm unable to focus on a singular, interesting topic that could provide the drive behind the narrative focus of a letter. Home's eh. Stephen's good. There have been some cool movies, some broken hearts, some great nights out, some good dates and one bad hip.

More later.