Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Donna got in touch with me today and she said she wants to do a project with me. Of course I'm doing about a million projects already but she wants to do a comic and I'd just been thinking that something of mine might work as a comic.

Then I forgot what it was but then I remembered. I could do Percival and Jake or I could do Kitta. Either would be cool.

And a friend of mine called me and that made me happy partly because I got to bitch about the Vine and who's giving me crap and who isn't. Actually I think like five people called me today to discuss the Vine but a couple of them are pretty freaking special. This friend is someone I've wanted to talk to for about a week. Yeehaw!

So here I am again, at 3 am my time, unable to sleep. Just loads and loads of stress, mostly from work.

I was going to post some about my trip to NYC but I'm so tired I can't.

Since I never got to post on Friday, happy birthday baby.

And to you to A., happy birthday baby.

Neil ruined my old endearment, babycakes. I have all sorts of silly ideas of how to get revenge. I think I should get him to make me a new word. Yeah, that's it.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

The rain is blowing sideways. The trees are looking shaky. And we still have until 4 pm tomorrow for the brunt of the storm. Of course I need to leave around 4 to get to my bus. Oh yeah.

I wish I knew if this whole thing is still going to happen. Neil's journal right now says his train to NYC was cancelled.

I had some fun on the Vine today with a couple of people so that was good.

I rewrote my column for the Shank and made it about Banned Book Week, Benn was kind enough to wait for it and he also put our ad for comic artists at the top and put it in the headlines. So that's all good.

There is a casting call for some reality show on the 20th. In Baltimore while I will hopefully be in NYC. The comic convention is also this weekend.

It's always nothing to do or everything to do.

Kind of a long day. I didn't notice that it was so late, 1:52 here. I guess because school is cancelled so the kids were up late watching Adult Swim.

Neil was kind enough to run my blurb for cartoonists for the Horkington Herald and we got quite a few enquiries today. I was pretty darned thrilled. I'm running the same blurb in the Shank.

Oh let's see, bought bus tickets to NYC for the weekend, helped pao with his Socrates homework, funny how often Socrates is showing up lately.

I was bitching about Antigone the other day - yes I know, that's Aristotle, to Chris. I just hate the educational system that makes you read and regurgitate stuff. Why write a paper about Antigone when there are twelve millions papers already? Can we not write something new and different? It's as bad as Hollywood recycling stuff.

A late birthday shout out to Kevin (larry), coolestchick and question.

Next week is banned book week. Read all the banned books you can. I've read 39 of the most challenged books on the list of 100 from 1990 - 1999, I'm pleased to say. And that's without trying.

I'll post more about that later. Now I must look at Isabel one more time and go to bed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Oh yes, if you click on that Neil link, read a bit, the scary stuff is further down but the buildup is worth reading.

I've been reading Elfquest since I was 14 or so. In fact I have the original series around, number 16 for 1.50 is sitting right here besides me. It's dated 1983. All my kids have read all the Elfquest's we can afford. They aren't obscene. What happened is obscene.

And this is why I have officially chosen the CBLDF as my charity of choice.

From Neil's journal a bit ago, I'm still running behind.

I was also reading Will Shetterly's blog, behind in that also and I saw a post about where were you on 9/11.

I happened to be in Baltimore, although I technically work in DC, I was seeing the Johns Hopkins doctor about my mutant thrombophilia. In fact I was having 800 bucks worth of useless blood tests, though they didn't tell me that until I got the bill.

Blood test at 8:30, terrible time finding my veins, par for the course, upstairs to the office I once several people have tried and one succeeds and I sit and fill out forms.

I'm concentrating on the forms, half listening to everyone in the waiting room talking about how shocked they are about a plane hitting a building. An elderly man is saying that the entire country needs to be bombed. The way everyone is talking I think they've all seen the same show on TV the night before and I'm thinking whoever wrote it must be quite proud.

Then I go in for my blood pressure and to see how much I weigh and the nurse is crying. I ask her what happened and if there is anything I can do and she says a plane hit the world trade center a few minutes ago.

I think she means the wtc in Baltimore and I say no way, I'd have heard it and she says no, the one in New York and my knees buckle and I sit down. My first thoughts are of Dan, who lives too close to the WTC and of everyone I know in NYC and then they tell me that a plane has crashed into the Pentagon and bombs are going off at the White House, two blocks from my office.

Then my cell rings. It's my friend from Indiana. So many people are calling into my area that my friends from all over can't get through. Chris in England is frantic, not knowing I'm safely in Baltimore. I talk to Kathy for a few seconds and then we're cut off but she's able to post to my friends that I'm okay.

My boss gets through and says to go home and sit tight. My kids are home before I am. Luckily my neighbour is a teacher and he's been sent home and he's taken my boys in and kept the TV off.

But they've been sent home because someone has called in a bomb threat to the capital building in Annapolis, where we were living, and said they'd blow up the whole school system.

I can't protect the kids from the images that are on tv. Over and over again we see the devestation and they are as worried as I am becaue Dan has logged into PGL to say he is safe and that I am in Baltimore so I am safe. But then he's gone out, I guess his journalistic instincts have kicked in and he has this desire to report.

He's gone for hours while I watch all the debris in the air and I think about how SMA type II people die from respiratory or heart failure and how he was supposed to be dead nearly three years ago and I am crying over him, worrying so much.

When things sort themselves out 11 are dead from my company. One of them was on flight 11. I can't get over what it must have been like to be on that plane, knowing you're about to crash into your co-workers.

The weekend before I'd taken the kids up to meet Dan and they'd wanted to go to the WTC and I said no, lets go see the dinosaurs, we'll go to the WTC next time. It's not going anywhere.

I was never so wrong in my life.

Two years later now. Eleven dead from my company and then Dan 8 months later. I still cry when I think about it. Some things heal chaotically and they leave a scar and that scar never, ever stops hurting.

It's a little like my broken back. It's always a pain that's there, in the background where I can often ignore it but when it flares up it becomes everything and there's no getting round it, only through it as best you can. I'm blessed in that I have so many friends in DC and NYC and, except for Dan, they are all alive. Damaged every time they look at the skyline, but alive.

Monday, September 15, 2003

So my boss called me about something entirely unrelated and then asked if I'd gotten plywood.

I said no, I was too busy worrying about Cullen's homework to worry about a hurricane.

My boss said that last he heard the hurricane is coming straight up the Chesapeake, through the Potomac and right into DC.

My reaction? Nature abhors a vacuum so George W's empty head is what's pulling this thing towards us. Send him out to sea and the hurricane will go back where it belongs.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

The interconnectedness of things

I'm always noticing the interconnectedness of things. Sometimes they team up and are too much for me for that moment.

Two people I know from PGL have died. One, Natalie Turner died in a bizarre shootout with the police after a struggle with her ex who shot her in the head and then in the neck. She got out, pointed the gun at the park ranger, the trooper and the police office, told them her life was over and to shoot her. And they did.

Her fiance, David, was arrested and put in jail for attempted homicide. The ex was flown to the hospital. I don't know his story. If you want more details you can google them. I hear you can even find video. Do I want to see it? No way.

I found out yesterday that David hung himself in jail.

Then I went to see Chicago. Alan was playing Amos. I didn't know anything about the show. I didn't know that the one innocent woman was hung, I didn't know so many couples killed each other. I didn't know how horrible everyone but the Hungarian woman (my boss is Hungarian) and Amos were.

When they hung the Hungarian woman and I saw the noose I wanted to leave. It was too much for me.

Danny in May of last year. Strike in 2001 or 2002. Spie's accident and the brain dead thing. Nathan's grandmother. cmclippe and his cancer. Cullen's math teacher. Cullen and Cam's grandmother. Natalie and David. Too many Ramones. Joe Strummer. Warren Zevon. Ben Orr.

Obviously some of these deaths affected me more than others. One changed me forever. But I'm thinking at there have been too many in too short of a time. I need a break from death. I know that's not really possible but I want it anyway.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

I've been thinking a fair amount about what Adam Duritz had to say about music snobbery and those who are unwilling to try anything new and I wanted to give him my thoughts so I just posted this over at his site in the leave a message for the band forum.

First of all I was one of the many who missed seeing you all at the Nissan Pavillion show in VA even though I left for the show at 3:30.

So I ran off down to Charlotte to see that show and to meet a friend I'd met at the message board I moderate. A. had never even heard one second of you all's music but he's really open to new music and the magic that makes a good rock show.

He's a musician and we talked a lot during the five days I was down there.

I had been asking on the board what the name of the Graceland album was, earning myself the name Dork, because A. and I talk a lot about music (his passion and mine) and film and writing (more my passion than his.)

On my drive to Charlotte, which was about 425 miles each way I listened to Graceland, Blur, the radio and Dean Koontz's Tick-Tock. I'd forgotten how much I love Tick-Tock.

I hated Graceland when it came out. Just hated it. Partly because of the horrid situation I was in when I had to listen to it but just partly because I was so into being a punk I would tune out most everything else.

Somehow along the way I started listening to a lot more music of all kinds. Recent bands I've learned to love would be The Eels, who do a terrific show, Five Iron Frenzy, Ben Folds, Dropkick Murphys, Less Than Jake and the list goes on. I'll listen to something my son or one of his friends are playing and I'll ask who it is and then I'll get it.

So being open to new music is really good but so is going back and trying music you used to hate. That's what I'm doing now. I'm revisiting music I despised and I'm finding I like quite a lot of it.

It works for books, films and food also. You never know unless you keep on trying new and old things. Don't stagnate, keep your blood and your thoughts flowing and you'll make it through anything. So says I and so it shall be.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Here's an interesting word.

tu quoque (too KWO-kwee) noun

A retort accusing one's accuser of the same offense

I wonder if that means something like I am rubber, you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. That would be pretty funny if someone said that and the other one said oh don't even try tu quokue on me, sirrah.

Friday, September 05, 2003

I just watched Dead Like Me, which if you have been reading my blog you will know that is the show for me. I think it's part catharsis but it's also got all the elements that make film work for me, make me laugh, make me cry, make me wish I'd written it, acted in it, directed it, made that one really cool shot.

Tonight's episode - SPOILERS - involved, in part, the death of two gay men who had been lovers for 30 years. The one who died first fell and hit his head and died. The second one got a knife and he said he couldn't go on and I know just how he felt. So the ghost of his lover asked Mason to tell him to put the knife away and take the pills instead.

For a long time after Danny died I thought about pills a lot. I take blood thinners. It would be very easy to take a lot of them and just bleed to death. I bruise like mad anyway. I've been close to the bleeding to death thing often enough without trying.

Then there was the night I did try and cut my wrist. Oddly it was just the one. I was going crazy. Or I thought I was. Now I think I was just terribly, terribly sad and lonely and guilty and I didn't want to do it anymore. I didn't want to keep on putting one word in front of another, one foot in front of the other, one breath after another.

I wanted it all to stop. Just go away and leave me in peace.

I heard every platitude there is. Everything happens for a reason. God doesn't give you more than you can stand. Danny wouldn't want you to be sad. You've got to stay for your kids. You're here for a special reason and you've got to do whatever it is that you're meant to do. Your life is not your own, you can't take it.

Only one person understood me and that person is vorpal. Only vorpal knew in some way what I felt and what I meant and why I had no faith in myself and how very much I felt like I took part of the shine out of the world.

The night I tried to cut the wrist, my left, I walked around and around and around and I cried and I screamed and I hit the wall, even though I'd promised Danny I'd never hurt myself over him. But when I made that promise I'd no idea how much he would hurt me when he left. How much of me was bound up in him and how little I could do besides miss him so much I couldn't breathe, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep.

I knew he'd be angry if I did it. I tried everything I could think of as I walked and cried and walked and screamed and walked and tried to batter my way back into my old life.

I prayed but I had no faith because after all that praying in the hospital did no good. I talked to Dan but I didn't hear his answer. I tried automatic writing. I tried meditating.

I finally broke down and called a suicide hotline. The line was busy. How fucking funny is that? Everyone who could helo me was asleep or speaking to others who were as bad off as I was or they were dead.

So I sat on the bed and I took the knife I bought at Balticon, very pretty, nice etchings, and I took it out of it's sheath and I held it to my wrist, I was only going to cut the one, and I said, if you don't want me to do this now is the time to stop me.

I had a clinical frame of mind. If my PT/INR levels are where they should be I think I am supposed to bleed 17 times longer than the average joe when he gets cut. How much was I going to bleed? Was it going to make a mess? Would it spurt? I was so detached from everything I just wanted to know what would happen.

God knows I had easier ways of hurting myself. I don't just take blood thinners I take klonopin for my night terrors. I bet sixty of those would have had an interesting effect.

But I wanted to bleed. I wanted to see what would happen.

What happened was nothing. I couldn't do it. I was too much of a chicken. Or something. I pressed the knife against my flesh and I watched and nothing at all happened.

Then I talked to vorpal about it and he said some things to me that I put in Carnal Fear. They were good things. Things that made me love him even more. But just as important as what he said was what he didn't say.

Oh yes, he did say he wasn't thrilled with what I had tried to do and he asked me not to do it again. But he never said I was insane. He never said what the fuck did I think I was doing. He never said it was all God's plan and who the fuck am I to fuck up God's plan. He never said I was strong and I could keep on. Well maybe he did but he never made me feel like I had to pretend to be strong when I felt as fragile as very old lace.

I don't think he ever lost faith in me. If he did he hid it very well.

He gave me a mantra a long time ago. I've had a lot of problems over the last few years and once he said to me that when I was sad or angry or felt like crying my eyes out to do this one thing, think this one thought, and say this one thing. I've used it a lot. It helps. I'm not saying it here because, although it was posted at PGL for all to see, it's for me and I'm keeping it for myself.

I haven't had a chance to talk to him much because he's starting a new job and all. But I am here now, a million times better than I was, crying over a tv show because of him. He kept me going when that was the last thing I wanted. He says I owe him nothing. Maybe that's how he likes to think of it. But I think I owe him everything.

I know I just wrote a lot about this thing I tried to do last year and it probably sounds very fresh but it's not. It's remote. It's like it happened a million years ago to another person. I've come a long way since that night when I was so sure I wouldn't ever make it to another day.

There are so many ways I know I am getting better. I don't want to list them now but one of them is that I went to visit a friend who is very dear to me and we talked a lot about a lot of things. One of them is how fucked up I am. A., my friend, thinks I'm a little off center but I'm getting there.

We went to see Counting Crows on Tuesday and then when we came back we talked for hours. We'd already been talking for days but now I could talk to him about Danny and I could smile and I could laugh and I could tell A. all the things that I learned from Danny.

He's never going to be gone from me. I hope he'll always be a part of me. I think that someday soon I'll think of him and I'll smile, like I'm smiling now, even a half smile and I'll remember all the good things he taught me and I'll think of all I did for him and I'll think God damn right it's a beautiful day and whereever he is is also a beautiful day.

I have a feeling this will be my last post dedicated to the misery and fear and anger that I went through over Danny's death. Onward and upward, without forgetting or disrespecting him.

Many thanks to Mr. E., Adam F. Duritz and all the rest who made the music that helped keep me going.

And to stranger and Carolyn and Janet and Dennis and Andras and Paul and Donna and Missy and Carpathian and Kevin and Mac and everyone else who helped. But most of all to vorpal and pao and A. Three guys that mean a whole fuck of a lot to me and have helped me in ways that I will always cherish.

So Dan, you'll always have a place in my heart but it finally feels right to say to you that it's okay if you need to move on now. I'm going to be able to do it on my own after all because you gave me the tools to do what needs to be done. I hope you understand what I mean. You should, you always did.