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D A Y O F T H E R E M A I N S .

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I'm only three-quarters introvert, I think. Maybe fifty percent on good days. I like people too much to go full Morrissey. And as much as I'd like to say that I understand the whole "Introverts are AWESOME!" thing that's goin' around, I can't, because I don't. And it's not because I don't want to understand it, but because I can barely reconcile my own inner shut-in with the effervescent jackass I need to be in order to live and thrive.

A few weeks back I was brought to a party where I didn't know a single living soul. I shook hands, I smiled, I made chitchat when I could find a place to put it — but for the most part I sat in silence, following the conversation with my eyes like a cartoon tennis match. Occasionally, my friend _______, the one who'd brought me to the party, would look at me and smile — and I thought of the writer in Breakfast at Tiffany's, describing a conversation with Holly Golightly as being the same as watching her push off to sea on a luxury liner while he stood on the dock. Everyone is waving, everyone is smiling, the streamers are flying through the air ... and your friend, caught up in a wonderful event that has nothing to do with you, looks at you as if to say, "Be happy you're a part of this."

And then, you know, the boat sails away. Great party! Thanks for havin' me.

My introverted streak is useful to me. It's what enables me to write, and it fuels the none-of-the-above spirituality I've come to embrace in the place of a religion. But it's also a hinderance to me, sometimes, in ways that my extroverted side never has been. Not once have I ever cursed myself for being too friendly, or for asking for what I want instead of simply hoping someone picks up on it. Being an introvert has never helped me to solve personal disputes, or to show someone I care for just how deeply I appreciate them.

There's a way to balance these things out, and that has been my work of late. I'm trying to be Out There as much as I've been All Up In Here. It's something I've been trying to do since, oh, puberty. And I can't tell if I'm getting better at it, or if I'm growing past the point where I have the energy to maintain defensive battlements that may or may not ever see action. But I do know one thing: I have to stop reading those "you may be an introvert if ..." pieces. That's not the direction I need to be headed.

T W E L V E S T R I N G .

2013-08-22 20.26.36

I had a difficult day. Having. Some unpleasant things happened, at work and at home. Dear friends of mine were bowed by catastrophe. I struggled with work; there's been a lot of struggling with work, lately. And yet I'm not sad, or angry, or disappointed. I'm only worn down, and I've a feeling that if I were struck by some sort of inspirational thingy — a call from a friend, a kiss from a stranger — I'd vault right back into action, forgetting my unfortunately stalwart belief in obstacles.

That's what different in me, these days. (I forget who it was who told me that she's always regarded "thesedays" as one word, and the temptation for me to deliver the phrase that way is a constant thing.) For some reason, I'm now able to see the mouth of the pit and to know if I'm on its safe side or on its business side. I'm out of it more often than I'm in it. And when I'm down, I can recognize it better than I once could. I know enough to dig myself out, and sometimes I even do.

I'm not sure if this LiveJournal flirtation has an expiration date or not. I've had the urge to say more than I can in your average Facebook update, but that doesn't mean I have more to say. I guess we'll find out.

By the way: That was last night's sunset. Life on Mars does have its perks.

W H O A R E T H E T R U S T E D .

Post-Run

Tonight I put on my running shoes and I did a crazy thing with them: I went running. I ran my fat ass 3.2 miles through the Huntridge, Southridge and John S. Park neighborhoods, past cop cars making seemingly befuddled U-turns, and underneath a moon perfectly nestled in cloud, a moon that could have been painted on a trompe l'oeil ceiling. I ran as much as I could, cooled down as much as I needed to, and was generally impressed with myself, as I always underestimate my stamina by half.

As is usually the case with these late-night, fear-of-death runs, I was rewarded with visions, portents. Sometimes I see things I can't quite believe, like the time I saw a plane circling so low I could see the passengers' faces in the windows. And sometimes, the wheel at the center of universe — hey, d'ya know the universe? Remind me to introduce you — it gets stuck for a moment and actually tells me something I need to know. Tonight, it brought up the Mantronix remix of Shirley Bassey's "Diamonds Are Forever" in shuffle just as I turned my head to see the north face of the LVH Hotel — formerly the Las Vegas Hilton, formerly the International, and fictionally The Whyte House, the selfsame resort James Bond scaled to confront Blofeld.

Every now and again, a bit of soundtrack crackles through the drive-in speakers to let me know I'm in the right creature feature. I never get the answers to anything: I'm never told if I'm doing what a hero protagonist would do, or even if I have a shot at being a hero protagonist. But it is good to learn, every now and again, that you're at least still in the story. You haven't lost the plot.

I'm gonna clean up. Forgive me for typing this one out sweaty, but y'know, it's a desert out here. Thank you and good night.

B L S H T .

DSC_0301

I spent most of Friday and Saturday in a foul mood that, with hindsight, I can fully attribute to trifles -- work concerns, money concerns, fears of getting older. That cat won't fight. I've always been fortunate in finding work and keeping my head above water (and I'm always prepared to work; that helps considerably), and as for this business of aging, well, it was gonna happen. I'm 44 years old and only now coming to terms with the fact that life ends, and it could happen at any moment. I could be crushed by a goddamned jet engine that's seen "Donnie Darko" one too many times. And I want to be okay with that, you know? I want to come to the end of every single day and say "No, that was the best fucking day ever." I want to spend the rest of my time in this world cultivating a feeling for what is, rather than lamenting what isn't.

I know, I know; this is all very basic stuff. Live every day, ask forgiveness instead of permission, dance like no one's paying and so on. But it's one thing to repeat those notions to yourself and something else again to wake up every single day perched on top of the things that would bury you. I very much want to be up there. And though it takes more than it used to get there—meditation, exercise, Campari —I will do my best to stay happy, right up to the final.

M Y N A M E I S .

What, Me Deconstruct?

My handwriting is going to shit. It was never that great to begin with -- I'm self-taught at cursive and typing, which is why my approach to both is so individual and also sucky -- but lately I've been putting pen to paper the way Lindsay Lohan puts car to Hollywood. I'm swerving all over the fucking place, and not in those ways that are pleasing to the eye. To appropriate a popular advertising phrase, real handwriting has curves.

It's my own fault. I haven't written in my pen-and-ink journal with any regularity for several years. Oh, sometimes I get angry at myself ("Handwriting is a dying art form and you're not treating it very well at all"), and I bust out a journal entry, like I did from 1993 to 2004; I pop the rubber band off the Moleskine, uncap the fountain pen like I'm docking a Space Shuttle, and bang out three pages of "I need to do this more often." But it's a false bit of industry, and it's not going to be enough to save my handwriting. In ten years' time, I'll be signing my name with something that looks like the old unpronounceable Prince symbol.

I freely admit that this probably isn't the best way to lament the slow death of my handwriting. I should be putting this shit down in the journal, fighting this degradation head-on. But I'm lazy, y'know. And I wouldn't be able to read my own writing anyway, so my take-away from this episode would be largely nominal. Hello, my handwriting sucks.

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