February 03, 2016

Damn

This morning, I crawled out of my sick bed and, after greeting my sweet Sasha, playing with her for a few minutes and then feeding her breakfast, I reread what I posted here last month.

As I thought again about the writing I would love to be doing, and how my awful health continues to make that all but impossible, I started crying. A few of you have told me how much you miss my writing, and how you long to hear my "unique voice" (not my phrase) again. I'm enormously grateful for those messages; they mean a great deal to me. How do you think I myself feel? For the last ten years or so, my writing here has been my primary activity. In many ways, it's how I define myself, how I express my soul, for want of a better word. When I'm unable to write, I feel as if part of me vanishes with each day that passes. I wonder how much of my "self" is left now. So I am filled with despair, anger, frustration, sadness. And I cry.

I'm only able to write these short, "begging" posts because my terror of being unable to pay the rent, and then being evicted, briefly overwhelms even that despair and sadness. But that terror is losing some of its power over me, so these posts come closer and closer to the deadline for rent payment. I suppose that someday, I may just let it go, and proceed to homelessness and the end of me. I occasionally think it would be much easier to stumble into the middle of the street and get hit by a truck. Don't worry: I no longer experience depression that fixates on suicidal thoughts. I wrestled that demon to the ground some years ago. only because of Alice Miller's work, which finally enabled me to understand and conquer it.

But the profound sadness remains, and the wretched health. I'm still trying to work through it. If anything saves me, to any extent, it will be my ability to write. As I read those words from a month ago, I thought: "If only I felt physically the way I did on my better days even two or three years ago. Just think what I could get done!" That's when the tears come.

I have done some work in the past month. Not a lot of writing, but to compose the essays I've planned, I have to read (and sometimes reread) a number of articles and some books. Those people who have read me for several years will know that I don't simply put down whatever random thoughts happen to be rattling around the vasty spaces of my brain, such as it is. My strong preference is to offer essays grounded in facts and research. I once heard a writer say, with regard to nonfiction, that you are only ready to write one essay when you know enough to write at least ten essays on the same subject. I've always thought that proportion is about right; it has certainly been true in my experience. By contrast, think of the posts offered by many writers and bloggers, where it is painfully obvious that they are writing at the outermost edge of their knowledge and understanding (and frequently exceeding whatever understanding they have, when it's clear they don't know what the hell they're talking about).

As to the current cause of my practical terror: I am a few hundrd dollars short of the February rent. If at all possible, I should have the rent payment ready by the end of tomorrow, which will enable me to get the payment to the landlord on Friday (the last day before the rent is late). And I'm still trying to gather sufficient funds to get Sasha to the vet. I wasn't able to raise enough last month, which is attested to by the fact that I don't have the rend money I need. My anxiety (and guilt) about Sasha is doing nothing to help me overcome the other problems. She still seems fine, so I hope nothing terrible is happening.

I would be more grateful than I can say if any of you still think this is a cause worth supporting, looking to the day, hopefully sooner rather than later, when I can focus long enough to put some articles together. I try every day; this battle is one of the hardest I've ever fought. And let me offer my deepest thanks to all those who have made donations recently. I'm still here only because of you.

Many thanks for listening, and for your understanding. Now back to my battle.

P.S. I can't resist saying that, in addition to my wanting to offer some thoughts about the Trump candidacy, I also want to spend some time considering Ted Cruz. He is one of the creepiest public figures I've seen in my life, which is not short at this point. He's also very, very scary. I'm astounded that people don't recoil from him in terror. But a lot of people don't, which is very interesting and worrying in itself. Never fear: this idiotic presidential election is not one of the major subjects I want to write about, although some of my themes intersect with issues related to Trump, Cruz and the rest of this group of mass murderers, mass murderer wannabes, liars and criminals. They are all deeply disturbed individuals; no one who wants to be president is remotely close to what I consider normal and healthy. And many people also fail to understand that, which is similarly interesting. And extremely worrying.

January 02, 2016

A Few Thoughts

I offer this genuinely sincere wish for all of you individually in the New Year: that you find peace and happiness in your personal lives. I would offer the same thought in a more general sense, but that would obviously be worse than futile. On the broad cultural level, it's most likely that nothing much will change, except perhaps to get worse (but not, of course, for the most powerful and affluent, for they are never subject to the laws that govern the rest of us, in any sense). And this is, of course, a presidential election year, so God help us. The mounds of bullshit will be far larger and higher than usual, and they will frequently threaten to topple over and suffocate us all. So I say: fuck 'em.

There may be a few issues relating to the election that will merit discussion, although that subject deserves far less attention than most will give it. It ultimately matters not at all, but dear Lord, almost everyone will endlessly shout about how important it all is. If Trump makes it to the general election, that could be somewhat interesting. I do find it fascinating to watch the commentariat (of every stripe) as they try to grapple with the Trump candidacy. What does it all mean?, they ponderously intone. It's always instructive to watch our prominent debaters when they consider any event or person that deviates in any significant way from the usual script. They have nothing to say -- except what everyone else says, beginning with everyone else in their particular political tribe. So I suppose I will need to address the Trump eruption, and at least try to make some sense of it.

As for the election: I continue to wish fervently that most people would do what I describe here. I had never intended that fable to be a blueprint for political action, certainly not when I wrote it or for several years afterward, since I recognize that reality is hardly likely to follow a peaceful script of that kind, not if history is any guide. But as I noted a few years ago, when I consider events of the last 10 or 15 years -- many of which neither I nor most others (including most others much smarter than I am) ever dreamt we would see in our lifetimes -- my imagined scenario seems less fantastical to me by the day. Events just might unfold in that general manner, if what I describe occurred. I'll put it another way: voting, that is, taking part in a grotesque, meaningless charade designed to camouflage the hideous, ugly truth of the system that rules us, represents the abandonment of hope. By contrast, from the perspective that informs my fable, not voting is a deeply hopeful act. (Thinking about this also causes me to reflect that it would be worthwhile to consider the overall cultural and psychological effects of the ghastly later stages of a corporatist system like ours. In fact ... hmm. I almost blurted out further thoughts about that, but I think this might make a swell new article, so I'll keep those thoughts to myself for the moment.)

I'm still determined to write a series of essays that I've been mulling for months now. That series, thankfully, has nothing to do with elections, at least not directly, although I think some of the themes in that series may help to explain the Trump phenomenon, too. Among other issues, the essays will consider how most of our lives and virtually all of our "national debate" revolve around colossal lies. Lies are the staple of our existence; unfortunately, that remains true even for many of those who profess to be opposed to the lies.

As regular readers know, I've been slowed down, and almost entirely absent from this space, because of my awful health. It remains awful, even though it's been blessedly cool here for a while now. But my body simply doesn't recover any longer, at least not to any substantial degree. So I'm in pretty terrible shape. It's horribly difficult for me to get anything done, even the simplest of tasks. A trip to the corner store wipes me out for a good part of the day; taking out the garbage constitutes all I'm capable of for a morning or afternoon. A pathetic state of affairs. Ah, well.

But it's a New Year. So I will try my best to get some writing done. I certainly want to; I can only hope that my body won't stop me entirely, as it did for most of last year. (And honestly: thank God that year is over.) And despite the fact that I absolutely loathe doing it, I have to begin the year by asking for donations. (I couldn't do it yesterday, on New Year's Day, for that would have been just too ugly.) I only have half of what I need for the January rent, and damn it if January isn't actually here already. If possible, I need to pay the rent by Monday or Tuesday. The rent isn't considered late until after the fifth of the month, so I have a few days to try to raise the funds. And I also have to pay for internet service, as well as a long postponed electric bill, plus food and the like. And if I can raise enough, my darling Sasha needs to go to the vet. She has a small lump on her left side, just behind the front leg. I hate writing that; seeing the fact in print gives it greater weight. But that is the fact: she has a small lump. I hope it's nothing, just a little cyst or something else easily dealt with. But I would want to kill myself if it turns out to be serious, and especially if it turns out to be something serious that could have been addressed successfully if only I had gotten her assistance sooner. So I should try to get her to the vet in the next couple of weeks. She seems completely fine otherwise, so even if it is something serious, we can hope it hasn't advanced too much.

So that's where I am at the outset of 2016. As always, I offer my profound thanks to all of you who are so unaccountably kind and generous. This weekend, I will begin some serious work on the new series; I already have lots of notes, but now to the actual writing. I will try to complete the introduction this coming week, wherein I will explain why the "Amityville Horror" is more significant in terms of what it reveals about our culture than you might think upon first consideration. Like me, you might have long regarded it as just another weirdly stupid manifestation of a certain kind of idiocy. It certainly is that -- but I also think it's much more than that, and far more disturbing.

I will see you all here again, and soon. So let it be written, so let it be done!

October 30, 2015

Briefly

Of necessity, this will be brief, because that's all I can manage.

Less than a week after my last post, and after some promises from weather forecasters of cooler weather, Los Angeles had the worst heat wave of the year (and the worst heat wave in 25 years, if I recall correctly). It hit 100 degrees in my neighborhood three days in a row, and temperatures were very high for several more days. That proved to be far more than my body could take. I ended up immobile in bed for that week, and for most of the time since. I began to get a little better this past week, but now we're having a few days in the mid- to high eighties; at this point, that basically makes me want to lie down and die, just so all this ends.

I still trust that the mood will pass, when the goddamned weather finally gets cooler. They say that will happen next week -- but that's what they said a month ago. I just pray they're right this time. Regardless of the weather, I fear I will be calling 911 one day fairly soon. Some of the symptoms I've been experiencing are extremely unnerving. I've become accustomed to very bad shortness of breath when I walk to the store a block away, where the nearest ATM is located. Over the past several years, I've gone downhill from having to stop and rest once or twice when walking that block, to now having to stop and rest five or six (or more) times. The periods of rest have gotten significantly longer, too. It now takes me 45 minutes to an hour to make the round-trip; five years ago, it took me 10 to 15 minutes. And now, I sometimes experience bad shortness of breath just from slowly moving around my apartment.

I had sworn to myself that I wouldn't ask for donations again until after I'd published at least two or three major posts. I'm sorry, but I just haven't been able to do it. Not even close. This past week, I did begin collecting all my notes -- and, thanks be to heaven, I finally found what I think is an interesting way to approach a large amount of material. I wanted to publish the first in a series of articles by the end of this week, but then it started getting warmer again. Fucking weather.

And now it's the end of the month again. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Don't know what else to say at this point. I'm almost flat broke. I have a little over a hundred dollars, and that's it. Nothing for rent, nothing for food, nothing for any other bills. Nothing at all.

Here's hoping it actually does get cooler in November, and that I finally can get some writing done. But if I can't pay the rent, it won't matter. If I'm dealing with the likelihood of eviction, nothing else will matter. It will be over for me at that point. Maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing now. (Gee, do you think I'm depressed? Can't imagine why.)

So, as always, I would be deeply grateful for any help people can provide. I wish I had something "meaningful" to say about all this; I don't. So my apologies once more, along with my gratitude.

I hope to survive all this, and to see better days again. But people hope for all kinds of things...

September 29, 2015

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good: Dmitri Hvorostovsky is a much-loved operatic baritone. He's a fine artist, with a beautiful voice. Earlier this year, he announced that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor. He immediately began treatment, and he cancelled all his engagements for several months.

He was supposed to perform in the Met's current revival of Il Trovatore, but most people expected that he would not be able to take part. But he and the Met announced about a month ago that he would do the first three performances; he was originally scheduled for several more, but after the third performance, he will return to London to resume treatment.

So when he took the stage at the Met last Friday night, the audience gave him a warm ovation when he first appeared. Then, during the final curtain call, something wonderful happened. You can see it here; Hvorostovsky is the very attractive man with his trademarked white mane, who first appears at 0:32. You might want to watch the whole sequence to get the full effect (it's only five minutes long), but the wonderful thing starts at about three minutes in. A lot of people in the audience and on stage cried; I did, too. (The curtain call is described here.)

I fervently hope that Hvorostovsky enjoys a full recovery. It's just too awful to think these performances might be the last ones he does at the Met. He's 52 years old.

And here's a special treat for all those interested: the second performance of Trovatore, with Hvorostovsky, will take place tonight. It begins at 7:25 pm EST, and you can listen to it on the Met's free audio stream: right here.

The Bad: From time to time, I mention that I frequently challenge myself about the truth of the ideas I regularly discuss, and whether those ideas do, in fact, explain certain phenomena in the manner I claim. I am convinced that anyone who takes ideas at all seriously, and certainly anyone who writes about politics and culture with any regularity, must do this. I could say I exaggerate when I remark that I say to myself, at least once a week (and more commonly, at least once a day), "Arthur, everything you think is wrong." But I'm not exaggerating: that's exactly what I say to myself. If more people followed this practice, we wouldn't read as many pathetic. exhausted, moth-eaten explanations and defenses of people's views as we unfortunately do.

I submit to this self-imposed challenge with regard to one subject more than any other: my view of the crucial nature of Alice Miller's work. A critical part, indeed the critical part of Miller's thesis is the devastating impact of parents' major lesson to their children: the primacy of obedience to authority. All of us are subjected to this lesson. It is most commonly delivered by our parents; if by some miracle, we escape that lesson at home, the idea that obedience is the primary virtue is reinforced by teachers (and by "education" in general), and by numerous factors in the culture at large. In many essays, I've traced the development of this pattern and how the lesson is taught. I've also described the immensely destructive consequences of this lesson, personally, politically, culturally, and in just about every way you can imagine. (The opening sections of this essay provide a good overview of my argument.)

But as I say, I often ask myself if I claim too much for this thesis. Yes, to insist on the critical importance of obedience is bad, even terrible, but perhaps it doesn't explain all that I say it does. I usually have to reflect on the matter only for a few minutes, before convincing myself once again that the situation is at least as dire as I say, and perhaps even worse. And then there are times when I read passages similar to the opening two paragraphs of this New York Times article about the Volkswagen scandal. Take a deep breath (which is not a warning I myself received when I innocently began reading the article, completely unprepared for the horrors that awaited me), and consider this:
BERLIN — As Germany has emerged as the dominant actor in Europe, it has lectured Greece and other debtor nations on the virtues of thrift and lately wagged its finger at countries that balk at receiving a share of refugees from the killing fields of Syria. Its right to lead, based on a narrative of self-sacrifice and obedience to rules, was generally acknowledged.

That is one reason the Volkswagen scandal has shaken the country’s very core. More than just a tale of corporate misdeeds, the disclosure of systematic cheating by one of Germany’s most iconic companies has delivered a sharp blow to its conception of itself as an orderly nation and tarnished its claim to moral leadership of the Continent.
The reporter returns to this theme later in the article; it is clear that she means it.

The idealization of "obedience to rules" and "order" is breathtaking; such qualities are not only virtuous in themselves, but legitimately constitute the basis of the "right to lead." For writers of this kind -- and the overwhelming number of such writers is too hideous to contemplate -- history appears not to exist, including the recent history of Germany itself. It seems that the twentieth century is utterly irrelevant to understanding political and cultural events. One might have thought that "obedience to rules" and "order" were qualities that Germany in particular had learned could lead to destruction and death on a world-horrifying scale. As usual in these matters, one would be wrong.

There is more to be said about this article and its meaning (particularly for those not familiar with my many articles about Miller's work), and I would already have gotten to it -- but that brings me to ...

The Ugly: "Ugly" is perhaps too strong a word; extremely unpleasant is more accurate. Despite my plans to publish at least several posts in September, this month was lost to me. The excessive heat leaves me completely exhausted; even when it gets a little cooler, it takes me several days to get my bearings back. And the heat in September has been truly awful and ghastly. It was frequently in the mid-90s, and it rarely went below the high 80s. The effects on my already bad health have been horrible. Add to that the ongoing intestinal discomfort (not as bad as it was, but still not great -- probably another malady that requires examination, which I won't be able to manage until it gets permanently cooler), and the month was barely survivable. My apologies for the lack of new writing. But as I hope even the brief items above indicate, I'm anxious to get back to posting regularly. There are even more "good" items that I want to share with you. And of course, we continue to be subjected to a full menu of the horrors with which we are all too familiar.

And now we're at the end of the month. As is almost always the case, funds are low. I'm short on the rent, and have no money at all for internet service, and so on. As is always the case, I am profoundly grateful for donations, without which I cannot keep going at all. I've begun sending thank you notes! Yes, I have; I can provide witnesses if required. If you haven't received a note from me yet, you should be receiving one in the near future. I'm determined to learn a few new tricks, even in my aged, decrepit state. If we can't learn some new tricks, we might as well die and decrease the surplus population, as someone observed.

My deep thanks, as always. And now, while we have a somewhat cooler day (they claim that cooler weather arrives more permanently starting next week), I'll return to looking over my numerous notes for new posts, to see where I might begin again.

August 27, 2015

Some Good News

UPDATE, Sunday afternoon, August 30: The heat has been beastly; that, in combination with the turmoil in my guts, has left me unable to do anything except lie in bed, trying to rest but remaining extremely uncomfortable as a fan blows 85-90 degree air over my body. Kind of a preview of hell, I suppose. It's been awful.

The weather is supposed to break tomorrow, and the week ahead will be substantially cooler, so they tell us. I hope to get back into the writing beginning tomorrow, with the post ready for publication several days later, if all goes according to plan.

My very deep thanks to those who have made donations. I can cover the rent and a few other bills, including internet service. But finances remain very tight for the rest of the coming month, with funds for food that will last only ten days or so. I'll have to consult my list again for all the ways to make a baked potato interesting. But with the intestinal problems, I'm not terribly hungry in any case. One benefit is that I have lost some of the weight I've been wanting to get rid of; I think I've lost at least five or six pounds in the last few weeks. Every cloud, and all that.

So I should be back later this week, with a new post (or two!). See you soon. Many thanks again.

**********

About ten days ago, I finally started working in earnest, and regularly. As is my wont, I've chosen a theme which is hugely complicated, and often difficult to explain in a (hopefully) comparatively simple and persuasive manner. But I am writing again, and it's going well. I had hoped that I would have completed the first article in this new series of essays several days ago, but I've been slowed down by two primary factors. These two factors are in addition to my grief about Cyrano, which went deeper and lasted longer than I had expected -- and I had been prepared for it to be very deep and long-lasting. I continue to miss Cyrano terribly, and I think about him all the time. Since we lived in this apartment together for almost 17 years, every inch of this place is filled with memories of him. But Sasha is wonderful company, and she and I are beginning to fall into new patterns of our own, now that only the two of us reside here. And Sasha is a wonderfully affectionate and sweet girl. I'd be utterly lost without her.

The terrible heat has come back to Los Angeles. I've had to develop strategies for dealing with it, especially in the last several years, since excessive heat has awful effects on my already faltering health. So that's been manageable for the most part, but it does mean that for fairly long stretches on very hot days I'm mostly immobile in bed, conserving my energy and (remaining) health as best I can.

The second problem has been some sort of intestinal problem, which resulted in the worst case of constipation I've ever had. I finally had some relief last weekend after dosing myself with Dulcolax -- no help at all, for me at any rate -- and Ex Lax. The Ex Lax worked, but I went through almost two full days -- TWO. FULL. DAYS. -- of hours spent in the bathroom, waiting, hoping, straining, praying for relief. During those two days, I constantly thought of calling 911. Straining of that kind (of any kind, but particularly of that kind in certain ways) is not recommended for someone with a bad heart. I wasn't sure what would explode first -- my heart or my ass. I came thisclose to calling 911 many times. It's only because of the horrible experiences I've had with hospitals and caregivers (the last time especially) that I resisted, and continue to resist. I will call if I think some kind of ultimate crisis might be starting, but determining whether such a crisis has finally arrived is the damnable part, obviously.

In any case, my heart hasn't given out yet, although I'm still exhausted from that lengthy period of extreme discomfort. And the relief, when it finally came, was terrifying, let me tell you. Unbelievable. I'm amazed I didn't pass out. And my bowels still haven not returned to normal. I'm concerned that something may be going on that will require serious medical attention at some point, but I continue to hope, for the moment at least, that this too shall pass (so to speak... sorry). I also think it's entirely possible that the constipation may be some sort of traumatic bodily reaction to Cyrano's death. So let's hope that things slowly return to normal, as my body and soul absorb the reality of the loss of Cyrano.

Meanwhile, yes, it's that time again. I desperately wanted to finish this new article and publish it before asking for further donations (I will tell you that it's a lengthy essay, as well as being very complex) -- but this morning, I'm again struggling with bowel movements and the lack thereof. So my concentration is likely to be significantly undercut for at least much of today. And the first of the month is almost here, and my anxiety is beginning to overwhelm me. I only have half of what I need for the September rent, and there are also several other bills (including for internet service) that have to be paid shortly after the first.

So once more, since I have no other source of income, I must ask for donations. Please allow me to emphasize again how profoundly grateful I am for the support of all those who help keep me going. And an extra helping of thanks goes to those who regularly send donations, whether I'm able to write or not. Without the help from all of you, I would have been out on the street a long time ago, which means I would have been dead a long time ago. (Survival on the street is not an option in this scenario, given my already existing health problems.)

A multitude of thanks to all of you. When I'm not in the bathroom, or prostrate in bed (from the heat and/or from exhaustion after the bathroom episodes), I'll continue working on the new piece as best I can. I still hope to publish it by the beginning of next week, and perhaps sooner if the gods smile on me. They haven't done that much lately, so a few smiles would be lovely indeed at this particular moment.

Many thanks, dear friends. As I've been writing this new piece (and making notes for additional articles on the same general theme and related issues), I've discovered once again that I have a lot to say. That probably sounds strange or even stupid, but I have felt written out at certain times in the last few years. But I don't feel that way any longer. And I swear to God, I'll do my best to keep writing about the issues I care most about until the whole damned world agrees with me. Actually, five or ten percent of the world would be more than enough to see the start of major changes. So, yes, five percent. I'll shoot for that.

See you soon. And I'll add an update over the weekend, if I'm not able to complete the new piece by then, to let you know how I'm doing.

July 24, 2015

Loss, and Rededication

UPDATE: Cyrano died shortly before noon today, Saturday, July 25. He would have been 17 on August 15.

Long farewell my dearly beloved, wondrous, loving, beautiful boy. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

----------

This may be a very strange post. There is so much I want to say, but I simultaneously feel that I don't have the faintest idea what to say. I am indeed sorry about my very extended period of silence; I was quite startled to see that my last post here was two months ago. I had thought I published it perhaps only a month ago. Among all the other losses, I seem to have misplaced my sense of time altogether.

This entire year has been captured by my own deteriorating health, together with Cyrano's. I don't think I misread the signs of Cyrano's ill health last winter, but I was wrong when I predicted that he probably only had three or four months left. My beloved friend and companion is still with us -- but now he is definitely close to the end. No mistaking it at this point. Since I have been almost entirely housebound for too many years to contemplate, Cyrano and I have spent virtually all our time together and. in recent years, with the wonderfully sweet Sasha as well. I don't see the cats only in the morning and when I return from my day in the evening. I don't/can't go anywhere, so we're always together.

Cyrano has been with me almost the entire time I've lived in this apartment (17 out of 18 years), and he's also been with me all of the time I've written the blog. He's kept me company, inspired me, delighted me, given me endless love and invited me to shower him with love. His imminent passing shatters me. I know I'll survive, but I can't bear to think about it.

Months ago, several very kind readers wrote to me with suggestions about supplements and similar ideas that might help with Cyrano. We tried a few of them, and those suggestions may be largely responsible for Cyrano surviving this long. I cannot express how grateful I am to those individuals for their care and concern. I think I also seriously underestimated Cyrano's strength and determination: he simply wasn't ready to leave. He's ready now.

For the last eight or nine months, my days have been shaped by the limits of my health and caring for Cyrano. I'm only able to be up and at the computer, or preparing and eating meals, or washing dishes, and so on, for a few hours at a time. Then I have to return to bed to rest for several hours. Then I get up again, and the cycle repeats. It's been easy to lose track of time, as I obviously have done. I spent a great deal of time taking care of Cyrano, and especially in trying to keep him interested in food. His likes and dislikes have changed a number of times, as have the times he prefers to eat. I've known when he wanted to eat because he would yowl to tell me about it. For a month or two, his hunger yowls began at 4:30 am, and recurred about every four hours thereafter.

I was delighted to comply, and I tried a huge variety of foods and treats to find those things that he particularly liked. The cries for food have stopped now. I'd give anything to hear that insistent 4:30 am demand for food once more.

I wish I could have continued writing essays during this time. I tried many times, but I simply was unable to do it. My overriding feeling has been only this: Just let us have one more good day together. I didn't have room or the emotional resources for anything beyond that. And for more months than I expected, we managed that.

I also wish I could have managed to compose some thank-you notes, but I was unable to do that either. I am truly sorry about that; a full explanation of this particular failure would require that I tell you far more about the twists and turns of my psychology than you care to know. It would also take a very long time. But please know that I am profoundly grateful to all those who have been so kind. And I send special thanks to some particular personal angels, including K.R., H.A., D.K., B.C., A.N.. E.W., and others I'm criminally forgetting for the moment. I offer a huge thank you to all those who have helped us during this terrible time.

My experience with writing for the blog has left me with ambivalent, deeply painful feelings. I had thought -- especially from roughly 2004 through 2010 -- that my writing would find a larger audience. And as part of that recognition. I would find some financial security. On a very modest scale, to be sure, but I certainly didn't think my audience wold dwindle to almost nothing. If you read my work from that period (and, I would add, a number of pieces from the last several years, too), I think you might agree that my work deserved a wider readership. I don't intend such statements to be obnoxiously boastful, but as observations of plain fact. I consider my best writing, including all the articles concerned with the meaning and implications of Alice Miller's work, and I set it side by side with work that brings its authors fame and fortune in varying degrees, and I'm aghast at the insanity and injustice of it. My feelings are made better and worse by the notable fact that Miller herself endorsed my work in this area. That fills me with great joy, and it also causes me to wonder: Christ, what does the world want from me?

I am not on good terms with the world. If I were, I may not have written the articles I have. I know that, too. So, ambivalent. But as my life with Cyrano comes to a close, I feel I must ready myself to write more, especially on the Miller themes, and on a few other subjects as well. I'm beginning to feel a very strong need to make certain issues as clear as I can, to explain why the world constitutes an enormous source of pain to me, and to others similarly situated. The world can also be a source of great joy, even of ecstasy, and I've written about that. Living ecstatically is the prescription I must now reclaim. I will reclaim it for Alice Miller, for Cyrano, for all those I care about and love, for myself, for those of you who still wish to journey with me.

I will never think that the bastards have won. Those individuals whose attitudes and actions lead only to pain, suffering, destruction and death can win nothing. They may prevail in particular instances or in certain periods, but domination is not victory, except for those who are irreparably damaged psychologically. I live, I write for a world which places no values higher than justice, compassion, empathy and love. I would be on the best of terms with that world. I had temporarily forgotten that when I write about what makes such a world possible, I live ecstatically now. As I observed in that earlier essay, that is everything.

**********

Yes, I could use some help at the moment. I've spent a small fortune on Cyrano, especially in the last few months. Now we'll have the end of life expenses, and the first of the month is almost here. The cupboard is close to bare. Donations in any amount will be received with enormous gratitude.

I realize the plea for help may strike some as crass and calculated, especially after this particular post, but I mean every word of what I wrote above. It took Cyrano's imminent passing and the prospect of utter financial ruin to wake me from the trance of the last half-year. It's awful that such terrible events were needed to snap me out of it, but as I said, this world and I do not get along very well. Writing again will enable me to immerse myself in the world I want to see, the world I dream about. When the writing goes well, I am living in that world. Now, I must get back there.

And this time, I will be back here very soon.

May 25, 2015

Terrible, Dreadful Times

I'm very sorry about my absence from this space, and for my extended silence. I'm sorrier about the nonstop barrage of attacks on my physical and psychological health. The last two and a half months have been close to unbearable. I've survived, but in pathetically bad shape.

In the last week, I've begun looking at my mail (of both email and snail variety), but only for a few minutes each day. That's all I can manage right now. In the next week or two, I'll try to write thank-you notes to some very kind people. In the meantime, please let me offer my immense thanks to all those who have expressed their caring and generosity.

I would like to return to writing, but I can't put a date on it at the moment. My thinking is not yet what I'd like it to be, but I'm working on it. It goes slowly.

And that's about all I can do this morning. Time to crawl back into bed, where I spend inordinate amounts of time. Being seriously ill is unbelievably boring.

P.S. For yet another nauseating, infuriating, goddamn Memorial Day, this, one of my better efforts in all the years of this blog. And if you haven't seen The Americanization of Emily, you've committed a crime against humanity, including your own. It's wonderfully funny, passionate, and bracingly, deeply intelligent. Go watch it. You'll feel better.

And there's considerably more about Emily here (including a close analysis of the crucial final scene, which seems to trouble so many people, the fools), also a good effort in these parts.