He can sing you into paradise or bring you to your knees
It's a gospel kind of feelin', a touch of Georgia slide
A song of pure revival and a style that's sanctified
Jazzman, take my blues away
Make my pain the same as yours with every change you play
-- From Jazzman by Carole King
My god some memories come piercing into your mind wreaing all manner of havoc and disrupting the calm of the day tearing at you and rendering your psyche a bloody pulp and leaving you wondering if you should just bag it. I mean why go on given the mess you made of things. But then you remember that some good somehow came out of it too as if flowers somehow managed to grow from all the shit you planted for years. You just go on and you wonder and you ache and you did blunder. But there is always today to be sorted and the possibility of something worthwhile coming out of tomorrow if you can just somehow get there with your sanity in tact.
Adhering to the precepts of hedonism and nihilism as religiously as I did ensured that I was not to enjoy great financial security nor awards nor honors nor a legion of admirers. It’s done now. Look back at your own peril. Sure the mistakes are to be learned from and those precious few moments of glory to be relived. Forgive yourself, admonish yourself, draw lessons and comfort and conclusions and solace and most of all gaze into eternity with a fixed stare. Let it dare stare back and challenge you to push forward.
I have exhausted myself writing and thinking about my childhood with an undiagnosed schizophrenic mother who abused me and yet I never tire of the subject. Sometimes it seems I revel in my misfortune as if a source of pride. Look what I managed to survive without blowing my brains out or anyone else’s. And here I am a functioning adult managing to make something of myself. I also made my way through drugs and alcohol consumed constantly for years and in such great quantities. I also made my way through acute panic syndrome and the paralyzing attacks and the medications that left me variably a raging maniac or a brain dead zombie or a babbling mad man. Then there was (is) the depression (is is is is) and the veil of blackness that can descend quite unexpectedly and totally. I never hesitate to point out these crosses that I bear. Yes yes yes they point to who I was and who I am and who I will be. They are me. Myself. And I. They are wrapped neatly within my ego. I. Function. How very special. How spectacular. How amazing.
Not to change the subject but...
I remember a Summer rain once — rare in these parts — when I was a child. Being by a lake with my friend Mark. My mother had left us there for the day while she visited friends. I don’t recall if rain was in the forecast. But there we were. The two of us the only ones at this place that was usually at this time quite busy with families and teens swimming and sunning and playing. But it was just Mark and I. Finding different places to get out of the rain. A tree here or there. With thick branches for cover. One spot wouldn’t do. We were about ten or eleven years old so had to move. Boys don’t sit in one place for very long, unless there is a TV set or movie screen in front of them. At times we just hunched and watched the rain land on the lake. It was goddamned depressing and it seemed as the day wore on that my mother would never come. The day just stretched out eternally. Thick dark rain clouds dropping their load ceaselessly and we gradually got sopping wet. Mark and I were expert at playing and had been doing so together for years. But not outside on a rainy day with no toys.... we had our bathing suits but….
My mother finally came in late afternoon and seemed oblivious to the fact that we’d had a perfectly miserable day. She chattered away. Mark was dropped off and I always wondered, though I never asked, what his mother said about her oldest boy being left by a lake in the rain all day by his best friend’s mother.
I remember coming home and pulling off my wet clothes and watching the rain from the comfort of my house feeling a little angry and a little depressed that I’d been robbed of a Summer day. Summer is precious to a child, especially lads like me who so enjoy the freedom to run about and play play play.
Well mom you did have the excuse of being a total loon although at that point I was the only one who knew it. It wouldn’t be long before mom could no longer control herself and the raving and raging she did in my presence would be seen by anyone who happened her way.
Sweet dreams are made of this.