Lifestyles of the Witch and Not Famous

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Since my Carioca witch Nydia and her son Lucas joined me here in the Byrdcave, we’ve been making the place nicer in multifarious ways ranging from adopting an insane new kitten, Castiel, to buying new sheets that actually fit my king-sized bed (and thereby don’t constantly come undone every damn night) to actually vacuuming sometimes. Life with a functional non-depressive is revelatory, let me tell you.

The latest addition are a couple of limited edition art prints I’d been drooling to buy for months. I missed my chance while they were for sale because they sold out quickly, but I did manage to ultimately find them for a reasonable price on eBay. The two are my favorite pieces in a gorgeous set of seven Universal monster pieces by artist Nicolas Delort,  Frankenstein and The Creature From The Black Lagoon.

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We framed them and hung them together in the living room, but they demanded special treatment so we added the decals around the edges you can see in the image up top. The effect is beautiful.

Cue the Addams Family theme.

Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Nyd has taken over…

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The Sharp Knife of a Short Life

Mom

My mother died.

I don’t remember her, not on any conscious level. But her absence has been a void in my world that I…

I can’t even begin to express.

But the love she gave me, in her short life, all she got to live, before I was even really aware…

Has kept me alive.

Has made me a man who truly loves, and who can accept love.

Has kept me alive.

Has nurtured hope, even when I can’t make myself stand.

Has kept me alive.

I don’t even have a photograph of her. But I feel her smile in me. Life with her would have been so much goddamned better.

But she has kept me alive.

Mom, this song of the week is for you….

The Band Perry – “If I Die Young”

The Nature of Apology

I’ve been thinking, of late, about apologies.

Saying “I’m sorry” is an act of humility, and of strength. But it can also just be a tool used, insincerely, to alleviate conflict and evade direct responsibility for one’s actions.

Interestingly, this week I had someone pull out an apology I had made to them months ago and try to use it as a bludgeon against me. She pointed to the fact that I had apologized to her, for whatever part I had in the collapse of our friendship, as proof that I was not only fully at fault but downright malicious. That’s right: by apologizing, I had apparently admitted to complete culpability and that culpability proves that I’m a vicious bastard.

Had I not apologized for anything, like her, I’d presumably have the high ground. I’d be free of all guilt. I’d be the victim.

For the record, if I sat down with you and tried to tell you what the hell happened, what I did that was worth throwing a friendship away for, I couldn’t do it. I’m as perplexed now as I was then. And ultimately it doesn’t matter, because clearly a friendship so cagey and fragile is no friendship at all, and its demise is to be celebrated, not mourned.

She was the one who turned hostile. She was the one who literally refused to discuss whatever was happening. She was the one who responded to my apology by blocking me on Facebook. She was the one who then wrote a lengthy blog post that wasn’t about me, but in which she defined herself by listing things she doesn’t like, which happened to be things I like (pulp fiction, comics, Bruce Springsteen) which she had apparently been pretending interest in to get close to me for months.

So, if I say I’m not sure what I did to enrage her so much, and that she acted with such unreasoning hostility, why did I apologize in the first place? Continue reading

Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 5): The Got No Friends Blues

If you’ve been with the blog a while, you’ll be aware of my depression. It cripples my daily life, and I’ve suffered with it since I was a kid. Wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I realized something was wrong, and I’ve been battling it off and on through various means ever since. Tomorrow I do the biggy, ECT, electroconvulsive therapy, and they’ll knock me out and strap me down and zap some lightning through my brain, hopefully stimulating my hippocampus to do its fucking job.

I’m actually looking forward to it.

A few people, even online friends I don’t actually know, have made a point of being supportive and positive, both in this endeavor and my struggle in general. Thank you. It means a lot to me. I’m completely out of touch with my father and paternal family by choice, and my mother died when I was a baby and I haven’t been in touch with her family since my late teens. Isolation is one of the demons depression sics on its victims, and my friends have fallen away from me one by one over the years, leaving a few I rarely see. The only friend who is around often (and is going to drive me back and forth to the ECT sessions, because you’re not allowed to drive immediately after one) is my ex-wife. And though I walk a tunnel in which I rarely see a light at the end, my son burns bright enough to keep the walls from closing in entirely.

In September ’04, during one extended and rough depressive time, I sent an email to a couple of friends asking for help. I’ve decided to post it, in its entirety,  for the sake of those who don’t really know what depression is. It might give you some insight into the life of someone you know, and if you’re stalwart and true, you can stand by them and help. Continue reading

Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 4): The Sound of Her Wings

Death is always with me.

I think I first met her Christmas Eve, 1965. I was still a season short of two years old, living in Missouri with my mom who had fled back to her parents’ home to escape my father’s jealousy and rage. My mom’s name was Linda, and she was 16.

She was working that night, I think waitressing or as a cashier…it’s been decades since I heard the story, and have no one to ask now. But I do think she was working in a restaurant of some sort. And she took a ride home with a coworker. Home to spend Christmas with her family. With her baby. With me.

She never got there. Another driver–I think it was a woman–slammed into the car and my mom was ripped from my life forever.

I don’t remember her. I vaguely recall photos of her, but have none, as they’re in my father’s possession and I’m years out of contact with him. She was a cute young Italian girl with a nice smile and lots of long dark hair.

For most of my youth, I didn’t realize the impact her death had on me, except for the fact it put me in the path of a couple of incredibly damaging step-monsters, and left me in the hands of my mean-ass drunken father.

But as far back as I can recall, my greatest fear has been the loss of a loved one. Continue reading

Taken By The Wind (A Personal History, Part 2): Bad Vibrations

A day later than planned, but here we go…

I was telling you about my father, and all the great times we had when I was a kid. And I said the next post would be one particularly entertaining anecdote. In today’s very special episode of Taken By The Wind, I’ll tell you about the day I effectively became an orphan.

Here’s the scene:

Afternoon. Me, at sixteen, reading on the sofa in the living room.

My father and his wife, my second stepmother, are in their bedroom.

Their door opens and my father steps into the living room, glaring.

“You stole something from our room,” he says. “Give it back.”

I’m at a loss, since I have not, indeed, stolen anything from their room. I say something to that effect.

“Yes you did,” he tells me. “Get it.”

“What did I steal?” I ask.

“You know,” he says. And he’s very angry.

“I have no clue what you’re talking about,” I say.

He fumes. “You know what I’m talking about,” he says. “I’m going back in the bedroom. I’ll come back out in ten minutes, and you better have it.”

And he disappears into the bedroom.

I go back to my reading. Can’t do much else.

Ten minutes later, he returns. His thick leather belt is in his hand. “Where is it?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

He glares at me, looking like he’s trying to solve an algebra problem that keeps kicking him in the nuts.

“I gave Pam a gag gift,” he finally says. “You went in our room and stole it.”

And then I realize what he’s talking about.

Continue reading