another mental hygiene episode

Why is it I only seem to post at the office?

And yes, I'm back here again. Boss man asked me to come in today and see what we can see. I'm'a tell everybody here that the interview I went to on Friday was with the actual company, rather than the recruiting agency, and that I got the job, rather than agreeing to interview for the job. Lying is bad for the soul and the time, but I want to cut the cord with my position here that badly. Though this may backfire if they want me to stay here more days this week, since the new thing wouldn't actually start until next Wednesday.

Here's why I always post at the office. Firstly there's always tons more fun things for me to do on the computers at home. Let's not forget, secondly, the laptop keyboard whose "b" and "n" are kaput after the landmark case of Cat vs. Tall Glass of Chocolate Milk. (The cat won. The computer was a civilian casualty but the court ruled it an act of war in the declared conflict of Cat vs. All Foodstuffs.) And thirdly there's very rarely anything I want to do more here at work than get on my blog and add to my dream journal. Or my bitching journal. Or whatever.

Just got several phone calls there. Told coworker that I'd all but landed abovementioned temp job. Got call from recruiting agency saying temp job was full up but there is another, less tempting, temp job that is now possible. D'oh. 'S what I get for lying, eh?

Speaking of dreams. Past few days I've been having long, complicated dreams with no detailed recall--just the awarenes that I had dreamed. This morning I did remember some things, and now I wish I hadn't because they're disturbing. Moreover, I don't know how to describe what was going on. In dreams your unconscious mind layers taig shapes over one another based on emotional content. A place can be a combination school computer lab under construction and MASH surgery room, or a combination abandoned basement and giant pinball machine under construction, to name a couple examples. You sense the emotional content, in the dream, with great clarity. But on waking you no longer have appropriate categories for the mind-made "places" because it wouldn't make sense to build real-life places with those combinations of traits.

I had a dream last week that I didn't write down, but was very important. The part to remember had me and all my peeps (not pictured) on a large battleship moving across the ocean. The ship was rusty, the color of rust all over. There were piles of corpses and sorted out pieces of corpses heaped on the deck, and the implication that the mess continued all throughout the ship. And I was pissed. Really, really pissed. I launched into a raging tirade at the shifty crew-people on deck. Then I chased down a few that I knew were bad guys and didn't belong on my ship, ran them through with my saber, and tossed their corpses overboard. Then I went inside, and the place I was in looked a little bit like the middle room of our apartment, looking down the tall window into the light well. It was dark and cool inside, and there was light outside that felt summery, like a taig with lots of green in it. Right in front of the window was a litterbox, full and nasty, and when I looked out the window, there was another one at the bottom of the light well. Still just as angry as I'd been on the ship deck, I picked up the litterbox in front of the window and started dumping it out into the lower one, screaming "NOW, NOW, NOW, NOW!"

So okay. Ship on seas represents my personality floating on the sea of the collective unconscious or the ocean of emotion. Plain enough. Piles of corpses and evil crewmen represent the same thing as litterboxes filled with nasty waste; parts of me that aren't helping, that disgust me, and that I really don't want. Me screaming, stabbing and throwing, or dumping and screaming, indicates my sincere desire and intention to transform myself by eradicating those things I abhor. The second image/scene, the one with the litterboxes, added an interesting point, however. Though I am cleaning house on an "upper" level, one easier for my conscious mind to access, many of the things I'm getting rid of are merely being shunted "downstairs" into my unconscious mind. I still think it's a net positive, though. Better to consolidate the problems into one area, quarantine them if you will, so they are less likely to be able to escape into other areas of my personality and make me have to start the process all over again.

To return to the dream I remembered this morning, it seems to me that everything felt "under construction" in this dream because whatever work I began in the earlier one is still going on.

Just looking at the taig types seems kind of encouraging. Surgery room turning into computer room seems like a positive thing. This could represent a personality faculty which formerly would have to tear things open or cut them up and get their metaphorical blood'n'guts all over the place to find out what they're made of. The new upgrade to that system, if you will, would be more of a computing type thing, where they can be analyzed more gently, before actually being made to turn into different things. Spooky abandoned basement turning into giant live-action pinball machine seems kind of positive, but it's tougher to be sure.

I wanted to talk about that first because the action is what bugs me. I know a whole lot of other stuff happened at the beginning and that there were more places, but I didn't retain them.

Earliest thing I can think of is me and my peeps were all together in a place I can't recall, and I was hearing that I had an exam--no, make that two exams--coming up in less than a day, and I hadn't done the required reading for either of them. I think one was lit and the other was philosophy or political science, I even remembered thinking "oh, that's Dr. G's class." Had a mental picture of the text (an emotion-image of words on a page and the general mental shape of their contents) and knew it was a lot to read. But for some reason I wasn't worried, I shrugged it off while feeling guilty about not being worried. Like one of those times when you say "oh, I'll take care of that tomorrow afternoon", even though you know perfectly well that you won't because you'll feel even less like doing it then.

So it was at that point that me and my peeps drifted into the computer lab surgery under construction place. My peeps were using most of the computers and I didn't feel I ought to bug them, so I wandered over to a side of the room that looked even more under construction. That's where I saw stupid dream Eric Cartman again. I am so mad at my unconscious mind for its selection of that as one of my avatars, by the way. I know your unconscious only selects symbols based on the emotional value load they hold for you. It just pisses me off to see evidence that the cartoon character Eric Cartman carries that kind of an emotional value load for me. He represents something about human nature, and about my own nature, that I find both irresistibly attractive and unthinkably despicable.

Anyway. Cartman was half prepped for some kind of surgery, sitting at a thing that was part computer workstation, part surgical pod, and part port-a-john. No kidding. The prep involved (apologies!) some sort of anal suction tube in addition to the usual accoutrements for a person about to be drugged into unconsciousness and operated upon. He was not yet unconscious, however, and I believe bitched to me about some aspect of the the arrangements. No words there, just the sense of an interaction having taken place.

Then I was on the lower floor--same "building", different architecture. This was the basement / giant pinball machine place. Bad temporal sequencing in recall here as well, further evidence that it was deeper into my unconscious than the other location. Me and peeps climbed into, and bounced around in some sort of giant bumper car that seated people more like seats on a roller coaster. I got worried and annoyed that something wasn't safe or wasn't working properly. I went over by the wall and there was a repeat of the weird setup that Cartman had been in on the upper floor, only this time it was active me (not pictured) getting into it. Attempting to apply the anal suction tube thing got the reaction thought that it hurt like blazes and no way in hell was I going to actually use that thing, or go through with the stupid shit surgery thingy, it was a bad idea. No actual pain, just a quick succession of thought forms and emotions. Somewhere in this sequence I noticed there were a couple loose demons in the room, and with the equivalent of an annoyed and longsuffering sigh I went to shoo them into the halls so I could deal with them without disturbing my peeps' good times.

I then left the giant pinball machine room through a door that looked even more under-constructiony than any of the other places in that dream. Had been thinking I was going out into the hall, but when I opened the door, there was our bathroom mirror and sink we have at the apartment. The light from the lightbulbs was yellow, like interior lightbulbs at night. There was wall behind sink/mirror, wall around door, and floor in front of, but dark absence of perception in place of the ceiling and the other two walls. The two demons were on the floor. They were composed of this sort of black cloud, like a hole in the film when a picture is developed, except it "felt" 3D and sort of fuzzy to my mind's eye. Their shape was like if the first two fingers of your hand were held out clawlike, then decided to crawl off on their own, using the pointy white nail tips as combination eyes and feet. I looked at them, and they turned around and looked at me, there on the floor in front of the mirror. I pointed my right hand at one of them and said, "Flame." Fire sprang out of my hand towards the thing and burned it up. The other one, however, took advantage of my attention moving away from it and jumped up towards me. I saw it at the last second and nervously tried to pull up a fire shield, but it fizzled and the thing got through to land on my chest, right over my heart. Where it promptly, of course, disappeared.

Now, since closing the demon factory, I can recall only one other dream where two demons attacked me, I dispatched one, and the other successfully got in. The end result of that process is how I got to be friends with firecat. Once I'd defragged it and taught it a bit of how to behave. Which was interesting dreaming material.

But the architecture of that dream seems to me fertile for analysis. It continues the images from the ship / litterbox dream: cleanup on the upper floor, still dangerous things happening in the basement despite ongoing construction there as well. On the upper level, my avatar grumblingly submitting to an embarassing and highly suspicious transformation. On the lower level, my actual self rejecting said process outright. Me successfully wielding fire in a dream for the first time. Yay fire! Also of interest is the shooing-out thing. My peeps are doing their thing, having fun in the newly constructed funplace in what used to be a scaryplace. I see that some scary things are there, I take them personally to a more private location to deal with them my damnself. Good mental hygiene, that.

Waking up after a dream like that is always iffy. I am exceedingly fortunate, in retrospect, that Dave happened to have stayed up the night so he could beam at me and feed me tea and toast. Felt so much enormously better for that, you have no idea. I did keep looking down at the spot on my chest where the finger thing landed and vanished, rubbing the skin absently, as if I could somehow feel a physical thing there. Alas, you can't pick out metaphorical worms with a physical tweezer, and you can't unwrap a dream-image demon from around your heart by dramatically clasping your hands over your chest.

At least I got one of the little bastards! And I know the other one by sight now, so it'll be easier to grasp and perhaps fling!

dramatic appropriateness

So this is my real, true, honest-to-dog last day of work. Am I nervous? Yes. Am I planning on racing home tonight immediately and going on a bender of some kind? Very yes.

The callouses on my fingers are getting tougher with each passing day. Mom's borrowed steel-string acoustic makes its mark on my hands. I think it's a good thing, though. Kind of like learning to drive on her old minivan; makes every other vehicle or instrument seem easy by comparison. If I can master [the only road], with its many fast chord changes, and [distance], with its rapid plucking, on this thing, I can play them in my sleep on a guitar with kinder, gentler strings.

Hm. Nature calls. Is it weird that I ponder the spiritual significance of not being able to use the employee bathroom here anymore? Not being able to take in the emploee-eye-view of the kitchens where what benificent magic exists here is made?

Sure enough, there was already somebody in the employee bathroom when I went down the hall, so I had to use the guest bathroom. I tend to take that sort of thing as an omen. The thing I think is important to remember about the regular type of omens, though, is that you don't really "read" them as such. At the start you simply make a mental note that there was one. Then later on, when you've had an interaction with a live, fleshly person that bears upon the matter to which the omen seemed to refer, you can look back at it and say, "Ah, this reveals such-and-such aspect of the spiritual structure of my time." But that tends to be as far as you can usefully analyze it. Big part of not driving yourself crazy--in magic or any other aspect of life!--is finding that sweet spot between not paying attention at all and paying far too much attention.

The other type is what one may as well call "dramatic commentary" omens. These need even less analysis, because if you let yourself start worrying about causality, you will go a teensy bit crazytime. The classic movie/television example is when someone, a villain or an angry hero, makes a pronouncement of doom while a thunderstorm is going on, and just as the last word falls out of their mouth there's a thunderclap and lightning in the background. I can think of a real-life example from a few days ago, actually. There was an air show of some kind in Chicago over the weekend, with jet planes doing circles all around the city in seemingly random patterns, making it even more difficult to watch television than the train normally does. I was sitting by myself in the TV alcove, rolling cigarettes and turning around little bits of my personality in my thoughts to see if they had the equivalent of rust or gunk on them. And it occurred to me to pull back from analyzing a little bit before I made myself sad. So I said aloud, "What matters is what kind of happiness I'm bringing, and to whom." Just as I finished speaking, one of those jet planes went past with a mighty roar that filled the sky, closer, lower and faster than any of the other planes I'd heard that day. I was a bit startled and said, "Thanks, I sure hope so."

(By the by, I love Mercea Eliade's discussion of the four types of divination in his book Shamanism. Unlike most anthropologists, he is neither sloppy nor sententious. Does his homework and shoots straight, sort of thing. What I call regular type omens matches up well with his fourth category of divination. The other ones all involve some sort of intermediary device, whether cards or stones or chicken intestines, to bring the omen out. This is why regular type is my favorite; it's "reading" the world itself with as little extra complication as possible.)

I've come up with a working hypothesis on the causality for this kind of thing that produces minimal psychological distortion. Which is my preferred yardstick for a belief or operant assumption about an issue where truth is unverifiable in practice. Okay. I can't think of myself as having caused the event; that arrogates way too much power to me that I do not, in fact, possess. Causes egomania. I also can't think of the thing which carried the omen (airplane, person who got to bathroom before me etc.) as having intended or permitted me to receive the omen. Causes paranoia.

Instead I think of the source of the commentary as the time. As you may recall, in my lexicon a "taig" is the spiritual aspect of a geographic location and a "time" is the spiritual aspect of a social group or set of active circumstances within which beings can form relationships with one another. The other person or people or thing likely has no idea that I exist, nor does it matter to them one way or another what thoughts or feelings I may have. They're just doing what they intended to do for their own reasons. I also have no idea what's going on with the other person or thing, don't have any special advance knowledge of what they're up to. I'm just doing whatever I want to do for my own reasons. So the events themselves have no special significance. What lends them interpretable meaning for me is the timing--the fact that I happened to choose to think or say something just at that exact moment. The other person was going to have been flying their plane or making their restroom visit or whatever no matter what I did. The omen occurred because I happened to have brought myself into a position where my action or intention evoked meaning through my observation of what the other person was already going to have done.

Note the phrasing there. Meaning is made possible by action and evoked into consciousness through observation. Causality is preserved, much in the same way that God is not mocked and energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. Hardwired into the interface. Magic is never, never about breaking the laws of nature. It's about taking advantage of them in a thoroughly shameless and rules-lawyering way, same as the jerks one hears about on World of Warcraft type games who stay up all night finding ways to stack their bonus spells and special armor so as to be nigh-invincible in certain situations. It's like cheating but actually isn't, and is slightly more difficult than doing things the normal way.

The things we think of as normal are massive conflagrations of magical preposterousness anyway. Anybody who thinks airplanes aren't magic, for instance, would benefit from being made to repair them. The skill and effort and attention and grunts and swears of scores and scores of living people are what lifts weary travelers off the ground and keeps them up there. If someone's attention wavers for a moment or two during a pre-flight check, hundreds can die. And if the travelers give more credit to the rules-lawyering, the science, the method that went into the physical airplace, maybe that's a safer way of thinking about it. Easier on the mind to trust the memory of steel and the stubbornness of air than the focused intentions of a bunch of engineers and mechanics you've never met and a pilot whose face you might not see. They're gonna keep on moving all the same, whether you pay attention to them or not.

more speechifying. dog have mercy.

Apparently yesterday wasn't my last day. Next Wednesday will be my last day. Stupid jerks and their niceness. Trying to help out a poor bitch who hasn't landed another job yet. Arrgh, I hate some aspects of the public persona I've developed. People all like me, this is true, but I'm also a bit of a doormat or something. All my efforts towards hiding and invisibility and non-confrontation have put me into this mousy sort of mode where people want to help and protect me because they feel sorry for me.

In high school I developed this program, see, of how I wanted to run my personality in order to not have the social problems that gnawed at me at the time.

Step one: Don't be annoying. Which means not blurting out random shit unless it's at least marginally on-topic, not giving people life advice they haven't specifically requested, and pulling myself up short when I realize I'm speechifying.
Step two: Don't make enemies. Which means not getting on anybody's bad side if I can reasonably avoid it, not sticking my nose into fights between other people unless I can help an ally without damaging anybody, and Not Making Waves.
Step three: Don't be alpha dog. Never really thought of this one in those terms, but my intent is pretty clear. Even when I'm in charge of something, my goal is not to be "large and in charge" but to create a sort of little pocket where my influence is strong.

Despite its undeniable success, this program is in need of some alterations and additions. I have to change my perspective on leadership. I also have to change my perspective on what it means to be "annoying."

I was not sufficiently specific in my previous ambition. My desire not to be annoying came mostly from the verbal dysentery of my youth, and the fact that I often came off as a condescending know-it-all. It dovetailed nicely with my desire not to put myself in a leadership role. Those two intentions, combined with the fact that my judgment on matters human was not generally something I could trust, brought me to a general policy of not telling people what they didn't want to hear. Or didn't have terms for in their personal lexicon.

Now, at work, I get to spend lots and lots of time telling people things they don't want to hear. Telling my bosses that vendors need to be paid egregious sums right now. Telling vendors we haven't cut checks for their egregious sums yet, but soon, oh so very soon, and would they please call me back on Thursday (when I won't be in the office, or will no longer be employed here, nyuk nyuk). Telling employees their checks won't be coming in until such-and-such day.

Of course you still can't tell people things for which they don't have terms. You can't tell your bosses how their unconscious expectations of one another exacerbate many of the stresses in their relationship, for example. You can't give people advice about the emotional energy management strategies they're using to run their personalities. That shit, however, all falls under the general prohibition of "don't talk shop about magic with non-practitioners." Personality construction is to magic what learning how not to fall off a horse is to the Kentucky Derby. Basic, basic basic. But then again, how many people actually know how not to fall off an antsy horse? I can just about keep my seat on a placid one when it breaks into a trot. (Not to say anything about enjoying the experience, but I can do it.) It helps to think of myself as a personality construction geek, with all the wide-eyed enthusiasm of true geekiness. I can't expect people to be interested in things that are difficult to think about clearly, and even more difficult to gain skill at, when it's taken me so long and so much effort to make even this much progress.

And I've gotten to a level of advertent interaction where I can usually separate those two things in practice as well as in theory. I can tell someone that certain of their work duties need to be addressed without bending their ear about why they haven't wanted to pay attention to those duties. Which means I can move to grasp the power to be annoying, so long as I hold to a firm line of being annoying only when it is actually desirable and necessary.

So. Overcoming panic and dread. Taking new stock of assertiveness and prettiness. Which means re-evaluating leadership and annoyance, as they relate to assertiveness, prettiness and the power games that are inevitably connected thereunto. Bah!Forgiveness, like hope in the Pandora story, lies at the bottom of a great big box full of bees and rattlesnakes and door-to-door missionaries and other unsavory things. Things that require hard work to integrate or counterbalance.

But it's all good in the service of the communion of saints (Dad's version) and the glory of God (Meg's version). *shivers* Dude, I'm glad I got to hear those stories and relieved in another way that I'm not on the path that led to the experience of them. My little portion is plenty enough!

All that matters (to dog or god or magma or the stars) is the music of the relationships between people, the dance of their actions towards each other, the wild and stately rhythm and harmony which builds the universe. And rips it open and weaves it back together, drains it dry and fills it up again. The little crap we get upset about, the terms and conditions we strive so hard to build and to defend, are only there to get us to a point where we can feel the music, move in it and play with it. All the dogged little crap we build is best honored when it has carried us to the end of itself. Those assumptions and ambitions are small things, really. Made to house the glory, but not made of it. Things to be discarded when it comes time to grasp something solid and real, something we maybe never would have reached without taking the long hard finicky road all the way back around to it.

how to trick yourself into telling the truth, part two.

This morning I got a case of the fuckits. (A marvelous phrase popularized by Dana Carvey. Did not think he was all that great until I saw "Squatting Monkeys Tell No Lies." Truly hilarious.)

It is my last day of work at this restaurant. No more constant low-grade panic from hosts of things not done or not doable. No more asking the kitchen to make me lunch like the other managers and having them forget. No more having hours cut back or extended based upon the fickle needs of the restaurant. No more everybody telling me I need to dress better, quit smoking and make my boyfriend get a job. No more lady boss calling up her dad's work and telling them I'd make a good receptionist, that I'd be good with patients because I'm "a very gentle person."

No interviews lined up as yet, either. Ater those first couple of enterprising days I haven't actually sent out any more. I think on some level I won't truly believe I have escaped this place until I leave today.

I'm not sure why Mom wanted me to read Aunt Crete's Emancipation. This is a Grace Livingston Hill novel about a Cinderella-esque maiden aunt, a kind soul whose sister and niece aspire to social climbing and snobbery. In that novel I saw a lot of how Mom seems to me to see herself: longsuffering, compassionate and much put-upon. I don't think that's the whole story, though; it might also be meant as an encouragement in light of my job situation. Happy thought. I have a bad history with "getting the message" when someone gives me a novel to read with an ulterior motive. If it's just something to read for funsies, no problem. But if they are trying to tell me something with it I usually don't get it until it's way too late and they've practically given up trying to tell me.

Sometimes, though, I'll read something that does cut me to the quick. And it's usually something I picked out myself. Case in point, The Wizard of London.

Wow. Two phone lines rang and somebody came over to ask me to unlock the storage room door as soon as I typed that. Must be what this blog post is really about. Interrupting Chao never interrupts anything unimportant.

More interrupting. Damn.

There was the conversation I had with my sisters about Mom over the weekend. Plus the scene in the abovementioned book where the one character has to forgive another character who isn't sorry. And then yesterday my Tori Amos Pandora channel plays Playboy Mommy, which has been stuck in my head on and off ever since. No matter what one's problems with one's mother may be, "Don't judge me so harsh, little girl" is always on-topic.

So it's time for me to forgive Mom. For whatever.

Dad's too dead to react to it in whatever way I knew he was going to have reacted that made me not want to try it. And he never really did, while I was watching anyway, and I saw how it hurt him not to be able to forgive her. Just couldn't wrap his mind around how her mind works. Well, I've got a ton of her brain chemistry and I know what it feels like to have a memory without a time track and to always be afraid of the little feelings you sense in the back of people's minds but can't talk to them about. That's why I've never wanted to cut Mom any slack. Because we're so similar.

Plus, I've held onto this anger for so long the force of habit makes it hard to let go. First it was anger at both of them. Then Mom made me realize how horrible and scary and unbearable Dad really was, and it was anger at him. Then Dad made me realize how horrible and scary and unbearable Mom really was, and it was anger at her. And all the time it was anger at myself for being duped and feeling like I didn't have a choice about it, that to feel anything meant being duped and used. That to be seen as valuable, as a person whose opinion held weight, also meant being duped and used.

I wonder if that is part of what's behind my fear of prettiness and assertiveness. That I don't want people to respect me because then whatever power games are being played, wherever I am, I will have no choice but to take part in them.

Knowing my parents the way I do now lets me imagine in some detail what it was like at the beginning of their relationship, how things went wrong, what they thought and felt about it etc. Nobody was a little angel or a little devil; they both tried really hard in the ways they knew how. They fell short due, I think, to not having cleaned up their relationships with themselves. Each being led out of reality or made miserable by things the other couldn't help with. Dog knows (and Dave knows, alas) how frustrating it can be when your partner is made miserable by something that is literally not explainable. Arising from the internal imbalance of assumptions and emotional forces in the personality.

But the thing I need to be beating myself upside the skull with is this. As long as you don't forgive a wrong done you, you remain defeated by it. You believe that the person (or thing within a person, or situation in which a person acted) is more powerful than you, is going to come and hurt you again in just the same way, and that you need to hold on to the hurt and resentment so that you can use them as a shield against the dreaded Next Time.

Therein lie two of my big problems, right there, rooted in unforgiveness: Panic and Dread. Two dreams I've had now with similar structure let me know just what I'm dealing with here.

First one (about Panic): I saw an ant scuttling across the floor of a room. Blam! I smashed and killed it. Went over to look--it was still antlike, but enormous, the size of a terrier, and like an Iz it had an eyeless head with wicked pointy sharp white teeth. It was dead, but I felt afraid to touch it because its teeth were still sharp. Then Stewie Griffin came up, took the ant's head, said something to the effect of "Victory is mine!" and made a necklace out of the head and wore it under his cloak like some sort of cool dark wizard.

Second one (about Dread): I was following around Eric Cartman. He was ordering people around and generally being a bastard. He took away somebody else's caviar and crackers and sat down next to a swimming pool. At that point I was no longer following, but was him. We looked at the container of caviar (crappy plastic container like the ones you get spinach dip in at the grocery store), and it roiled and swirled like something was going on in there. We picked up the cracker anyway to try to eat some, and this little octopus emerges. It was about the size of the ones you get in Tom Yum soup, but with features like a regular huge octopus, and it moved fast. It grabbed my/Cartman's face and pulled it down into the dish of caviar, while we were struggling and swearing in typical Cartman fashion.

So, to sum up. Panic I'm kind of getting to the point where I have it under control, but Dread still makes me look and/or feel like an asshole. Must forgive more, and be better and wiser. Must not be stupid cartoon sociopathic child. Must be me instead.

the only road

Came up with the chorus and verses for this one while repeatedly walking to the city's office of various crappy permits from work one day. It's about a mile each way. It was an abominably hot day, perfect for writing the blues. Something about the absolute lethargy inspired by extreme heat lowers my creative inhibitions in ways that drugs and alcohol can't.

While I was figuring this out for the guitar, Dave pointed out that the rhythm and chord sequence on the verses are almost the same as both Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and Queen's "We Will Rock You." Then I noticed the extra-long bridge is just like the bridge from Local H's "The One With 'Kid'" except with different chords. This pissed me off, but then again, none of those songs are the blues especially, nor do any of them really suck. (Although Dave would disagree about "Pour Some Sugar On Me". He has no use for Def Leppard.) If there's one thing I learned from Shakespeare, it's this: When you steal ideas from enough different people at once, it isn't really stealing.

I don't know why I'm posting so damn much today. Edgy I guess. I flip back and forth sometimes out of the worry mindset that looks at how close disaster seems to loom, into enjoying the present. As soon as I start enjoying the present again I feel stupid for being so worried in the first place.

So by my own motto, guess which one is the smart mindset, the one I should stick with. I hope I can.

granddaddy was a trainman, daddy had wheels
in my heart two slivers of sun-bright steel
seem to meet in the middle at the end of my eyes
but however far I travel they're the same damn size

so away I go, away I go
away I go
down the only road I know

mama got a heart like a pretty machine
put my mind back together but it never runs clean
pull my rails off the tracks, point 'em up at the stars
bind my hands round my back, now I'm lookin' at bars

so away I go, away I go
away I go
down the only road I know

what am I
so scared of
keep my head down
pull my hair up
a glad hand
a bad habit
spent sand, a
dead rabbit
why call this
I want to see what I'm missing
want to be what something
has to show
for it
go for it

down the only road
the only road
the only road I know

Tomorrow might be my last day. Then again, I doubt they have anyone lined up to get the payroll out on time next week. We'll see what happens.

notes to self of a practical nature

- call plumber to fix sink
- find place to get guitar repaired
- go to state of IL, get license reinstated
- go online & downgrade Verizon account so as to make cheaper
- mail August rent check already!

how to trick yourself into telling the truth, part one.

put a happy ending there and
it'll write itself, I swear
all we need
all we need
is some meetings and a lead

I'm pretty sure that song is Alkaline Trio, but not sure enough to put it behind a tilde*. And I don't know if there'll be anny other parts to this, but I felt like it wanted a part one at the end and I'm lettin' it stand.

So this lady at Mom's church got a word for me after Mom asked her to pray about me trying to find a new job. The lady felt great things were in store for me, that if there've been big dreams I've been deferring now's the time to go for them, and that if there's any little things around my house that might be displeasing to God I should get rid of them since they will stand in the way of me being blessed.

Isn't it great how proper witchcraft occurs everywhere, totally ignoring denominational boundaries?

I think I should get rid of that little "jar o' blessings" Mom gave me and the little silver case the blessings are supposed to go into once they're out of the jar. My Tarot decks, my Satanist books, Dad's old books on evolution are all quite pleasing to dog, or goddess, or God, or all three and whomever, thank you very much. And they are going to stay right where the fuck they are.

I actually did a kind of a spell yesterday. I dunno if I've told y'all about this, but this is how it works. One key theme in putting together a purposive magical ritual is that in the course of the ritual something is destroyed--a sacrifice. The symbolic, spiritual and emotional nature of the sacrifice should be as germane as possible to the aspect of one's life the spell is meant to affect. The idea is that the sacrifice is empowered with your mana (your stuff-that-feels-ways-and-pushes), and that in being destroyed it moves from this side of life to the other, carrying your intent along with it. When I feel I'm lacking in musical or poetic inspiration, for example, the best spell I've come up with is to "plow under" a small bit of a song or poem. This means to come up with it, sing or recite it, cherish its awesomeness, and then intentionally forget it. Even for me, intentionally forgetting things is pretty tricky.

For life pattern things what works best for me is to write shit down, either on a yellow legal pad or on my blog, and then forget it. If it's on physical paper it's often enough to just flip the page and not re-read it again for awhile. If it's on my blog, the thing to do is write it in a draft and then close the window without saving. Autosave will sometimes pick up parts of it, but not usually the money parts.

I'm not sitting there writing, "Oh, dear dog, gee it'd be nice if you got me a soft accounting job that pays $35k a year for 40hrs a week and lets me sit on my ass playing KoL all day and also has free coffee and a shorter bus ride than my current job and everyone will be nice to me but not too nice." That's what my feelings add up to, but that actually isn't honest enough IMO to constitute a proper spell. The reason writing things out works for me is it lets me get to the center of my feelings, the root of my distress, and speak from that. Oddly, I don't think there's any reason not to explain what I put into the thing yesterday. Usually there would be. Who knows, maybe it was a dud for purposes of example--either way I'll find out when the time shifts.

I started out talking about how I've been freaking out a little because of being scared and taking the situation upon myself with too much frowny seriousness. Then I talked about the Who, and Tommy and why sensory deprivation scares me. This led to the story about Dad, the one where he lost his hearing. I told the whole story about him and the Russian agents disguised and Chicago cops, why anybody involved in spooky business should always carry a handcuff key taped to the small of their back and why music lovers should never repeatedly fire a pistol inside a vehicle unless it is, in fact, a matter of life and death. That gave a nice little segue into how the path a person chooses to follow in life marks them--not always with busted eardrums and broken bones, but in ways that make them more suited to that path and less capable of following others. Then I got into this metaphorical thing with how the best a human being can do is try to be a pinball wizard and hope some friendly hand guides them to a machine whose moves they understand.

See, dreamspeak is the only language our unconscious minds understand. And except for little glimmers of witchery, which only the very unluckiest powerhouses get more than, the only way you can intentionally shout out your will into the web of causality is by working together with your unconscious mind. Which means you have to tell it a story, sing it a song, inspire it to desire with specificity. A particular kind of specificity. You can't specify dollar amounts and role titles because those ideas exist only in the purview of your conscious mind. Being able to manipulate oneself into complete honesty is as tough a trick, in its way, as forgetting things on purpose. To trick oneself into thinking and feeling and desiring, if only for a few moments, with exact and perfect clarity, all pointed in exactly the same direction, is the thing, however one goes about it.

It's a bit like Horton Hears a Who. All the little versions of you inside your head and heart and gut and et cetera have to stand on the top of their metaphorical buildings and shout "Hi, Horton!" for your soul to make any noise at all against the general background murmur of your time.

*Looked it up. It is, in fact, the Vandals.

riding the wheel

In the last four or five days I've had several bad moments, times when I panicked or freaked out or got angry irrationally. The combination of Dave's kindness and level-headedness and cocooning in various forms for entertainment has served to keep my little bouts of crazy from spilling out too much. Also I seem to be making interior headway on them (trying to maintain a Demon Free Lifestyle, har har). I say this because my crazytimes are shorter than in months past, easier to unravel, and tend more to frightening expressions of inappropriate emotion than crazy plans or trying to make people do things which seem very important to my crazy but actually don't matter. The important thing for me, in a time like this as in every time, is to be able to relax. As Dave told me yesterday, everything's not going to suddenly fall apart if I get a case of the fuck-its.

That "DON'T PANIC" tattoo seems like a better and better idea.

Me and Dave have been listening to The Who a lot lately. It was the Rock Honors that did it, with a string of excellent (and not so excellent but still quite competent) bands performing some of The Who's greatest hits, capped off by a performance from the two surviving members. Now, I'd never really liked the album Tommy. Not because it was bad--I would never have argued that!--but because the thing it's about frightens me. Reading about Hellen Keller frightened me too, until I learned that in her adult life she was an ardent socialist and devoted her energy to political activism. (That deaf, dumb and blind kid sure does a mean march on city hall.)

[The remainder of this post was lost due to closing the browser without hitting save. It will be referred to later, as the dropped text was at least partially remembered and may have been used for other things.]