News From The Darkness: A Personal Update As I Clamber Toward Daylight

Musing

Where have I been?

How am I doing?

What’s happening with the Doc Wilde books? Or any other writing I might be doing?

It’s time for a general update, and probably past time for a Doc Wilde update since Kickstarter supporters and other fans are patiently waiting for me to get the next book out.

First, if you would, read my post from back in February, “I’m Back. Ish.” It covers some important ground and remains pertinent, especially regarding the state of Doc Wilde, and whether the coming books will be illustrated or not. (And there will be coming books, it’s just going to take a bit longer.)

Now, since that post, which itself was part of an effort to drag myself back into the world and into health and productivity, things have improved somewhat, but I’ve also had a realization: I’m in convalescence. I’m making progress, but I’m doing so far more gradually than I’d like, and far more gradually than I tend to allow for. I’m fighting a depression monster that has had me pinned beneath its claws for many years, a monster which has beaten me and ruined my plans over and over and over again, a monster that has laughed at everything the psychiatric community has thrown at it from therapy to all sorts of drugs to electroshock therapy.

I have had to accept something about myself that batters what pride I still have: I have a disability. I look in the mirror and I don’t see someone who’s disabled, but I look at my life and I certainly do. And I fucking hate it, and I hate that I have to struggle, and I hate that it’s so goddamned hard, and I hate knowing how much I could accomplish if it weren’t a factor, but none of that actually makes any difference because it it what it is and I have to deal with it.

If I don’t, it will kill me. Continue reading

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On Father’s Day, I Honor My Son

Son

It is Father’s Day, yet I do not honor my father.

My father was an abusive drunk who put me through years of hell and regularly did everything he could to crush my spirit. He did a hell of a lot of damage in that regard; I’ve struggled for years with chronic, enervating, soul-crushing depression that several shrinks have identified as deep post-traumatic shock pounded into my marrow and mind during my childhood.

So today, I honor my son.

Nathaniel is seventeen, intelligent, kind, thoughtful, socially adept and funny, loves his parents, loves being around his parents, and has never been a behavioral problem in any way. When people ask us how we discipline him, we always say we don’t. If there’s an issue, we talk it out, and it’s no longer an issue.

I attribute this mostly to his innate character, but also to the fact that from the day he was born, both his parents have treated him with respect and have never seen dealing with him as an innate conflict or power struggle. He is the way he is because we allowed him to be the way he is, not because we beat it into him or forced him to act certain ways or made him follow stringent rules. We always honored his right to be acknowledged, to be present, to be heard. We pointed out when he was in the wrong, but also stood up for him when he was in the right.

We gave him love and respect at every step along the way, and as a result, he has given us love and respect in return. He doesn’t have to rebel because we’re not holding him back from being who he is and living life on his terms, and because we trust him, which lets him know that he is worthy of our trust.

Because of who he is, and how he was raised, my son didn’t have to bother with being a surly teen. He went straight to being a man.

Little Star (Song of the Week, 1/17/2012)

Last night, Stevie Nicks’s cover of “Not Fade Away” cycled up on my musical playlist and my son and I were bop-bop-bop bop-bopping around the Byrdcave, having fun. I told him it was a Buddy Holly song, so that sent us looking for Holly tunes, then we expanded out and started listening to some other early rock and roll greats.

It was only after I started playing it that I remembered how I used to sing the Elegants’ “Little Star” to him as a lullaby when he was a baby, probably the only lullaby I ever sang to him other than Springsteen’s “Pony Boy.”

Talking About Death With My Kid

Reading back through old journals, I found this from January 3, 2003:

Nathaniel really moved me this afternoon. He was “predicting” and predicted I’d die when I was 110. I said that sounded just fine to me, that’d be a good long life. He asked how old he’d be when I was 110. I said 78.

He said that’s when he would die, because he didn’t want to live longer than me. I insisted he had to live longer, at least past 100, and that it was natural for a parent to die before his child because the parent is older. He asked when I thought I would die, and I said I had no idea, but I hoped it’d be a long, long time.

He gave me a very close hug.

The Passion of the Tim

"It's just the beast in me..." --Elvis Presley, JAILHOUSE ROCK

Hiatus over.

The past couple of days were rough ones. Kate and I were getting along wonderfully again, then POW, we stumbled over some truly picayune stuff and suddenly were back in the stress zone.

Neither of us acted as well as we might have, both of us being human, but I have to lay claim to the lion’s share of the blame. I overreacted to some things, then my mind wouldn’t let me release it even as I kept trying to. Kate was visiting her family, and wanting to go be with them, and we were arguing via text. I kept saying stuff like “It’s okay, go, I want you to enjoy the time with your family,” and I was sincere…but there was a rhetorical snapping turtle in my head that would only let me sit calmly a minute or two before throwing some new antagonistic comment out and insisting I send it her way. And I would try to maintain self control and not send it, but would lose the fight. Then after some more shared friction, I’d be back to saying I didn’t want to keep her from her family.

And, I wound up damn near destroying our relationship, which we’d managed to rebuild from our earlier problems. By the time I went on “hiatus,” I felt I’d lost all hope, and was so devastated I didn’t think I’d be able to do anything positive or productive for a long time…if ever again. 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

Good Memories of 2010, Day 5: 1978

In 2009, my ex and I established a Christmas tradition of sharing music from our youths with my son by giving him a representative sampling from the year we were his current age.

This year, he’s fourteen, and since I was fourteen in 1978, I went on a sonic archaeological dig of that year to decide what to share.

I had this on my wall in 1978

My approach is to buy him two albums from the time, and to burn a collection of various hits as well. The two CDs I chose were Van Halen’s Van Halen (their hellaciously strong debut with a bunch of classics like “Runnin’ With The Devil” and “You Really Got Me”) and Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell (“Would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red roses…?”). Continue reading