Interests have changed and time available has changed. I'm thinking of setting up a new blog about libraries, etc. There is overlap, and there is more to say about mental illness. However, I don't know how safe I feel writing openly about my mental illness at this point. I would like to continue this site at least as an archive of my adventures up to this point, and perhaps I will post on it again from time to time. (The collector and the librarian in me loathes to throw any record of the past away.) This site represents a substantial and significant part of my life. Thank you all for being here with me. See you in the next phase.
The problem with being a fiscal conservative and not being rich is that you have to trust the rich to invest in something that's going to affect you positively. This is a problem because the rich are, by and large, not trustworthy, not good citizens. They don't invest in their own country because it's not going to wildly maximize their profits. They pay bonuses to themselves and their top people while paying their workers as little as they can. They build factories and create call centers in other countries, with deplorable working conditions and bottom-feeding wages. They don't care about their workers, because the bottom line is that there's always another sucker with less dignity than you who needs a shitty job worse than you do.
It's not the taxes. Most of the rich hire "creative accountants" and pay next to nothing (or sometimes absolutely nothing) in income tax. Many of them broker deals to reduce or temporarily eliminate property taxes.
It isn't the unions or the minimum wage or the regulations. None of these things stand in the way of megamillions in bonuses paid to executives as a matter of course.
It's that the rich are mostly assholes.
I used to be a libertarian, and I still believe in freedom. I still think that the current system of regulation and taxation creates an undue burden on middle-class entrepreneurs and small business owners. However, having worked in small "l" libertarian politics in the past, having worked with rich people and Republican politicians on tax issues, having been alive and aware through banking and investment scandals and all sorts of corporate shenanigans, I think it's undeniable that the rich have no intention or desire to make prosperity "trickle down."
If it takes force to make these people into decent folk and minimally responsible citizens, then I'm no more bothered by that moral quandary than they seem to be with any of the moral dilemmas presented to them in the course of daily business.
Until it is possible for me to have a separate country and create an anarchist paradise for me and other people who are not assholes, I say fuck the rich.
"We begin in admiration and end by organizing our disappointment."
... Beginnings are full of possibility and vitality ... endings are all reflection and taxonomy, putting the dead thing in its place. It doesn't mean this precisely, or only, but this is there. Relationships (all kinds) are like this too. In between the beginning and the end is something wilder, harder to tame, teetering among possibilities to embrace and schema in which to settle. An organized life is a dead life, an organized relationship is pinned like an insect to the board, its name scribbled in Latin underneath. I wish I were more open to possibilities. I wish I were more resigned to endings. One cannot be both, I suppose. I wish to be truly alive. But I'm afraid. I wish for courage. That'll make it stick.
"People stared at the makeup on his face
When I was 16, I was struggling to understand myself, sexually. (I'll be honest: I still struggle with that. Sex is a powerful force and I've hardly ever been very comfortable with it. My body and I have a history of not getting along very well.) Around this time, David Bowie glided into my life. I mean, he had arrived earlier, with his 1983 radio hit album Let's Dance, which, Bowie's apologies for "channeling Phil Collins" notwithstanding, I still love. My purchase of Hunky Dory and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars when I was 16 really began my relationship with Bowie, though. The beginning of a new era.
Bowie, reaching out his lovely hand to me from the 1970s, made it OK for me to be a gender-ambiguous, pansexual, melancholy virgin. Made it OK to be me, even if I was none too certain who exactly that was. Bowie himself encompassed many identities. He changed almost with every album, exploring different styles, genres, looks ... everything was fluid, negotiable ... and yet, he was always Bowie.
Good night, David. It was wonderful having you here for a while.
There comes a point at which politics is no longer effective, when the situation calls for more direct action. For me, that point might be Donald Trump winning the presidential election without strong opposing elements in Congress, the courts, or the military to balance him. In this scenario, I can see Trump rounding up Muslims and putting them in camps--internment at first, followed by work camps and possibly even death camps. The longer Trump stays at the head of the Republican polls, the more I think he is the closest thing we've ever had to a real fascist.
So, if Trump wins and is able to really put his agenda into motion, you can expect me to become a terrorist in the good old fashioned sense of John Brown, joining whichever group is closest to the anarchism I only partially believe in at the moment, freeing my Muslim brothers and sisters and opposing Trump's fascism in the name of liberty and freedom with whatever effective means are at my disposal short of knowingly inflicting collateral losses of innocent non-combatants.
Fair warning. Merry Xmas, and a Happy 2016, with fingers crossed.
This is the problem, trying once again to decide what I want to be when I grow up: I am 44, well past the age. I have progress in spades, but climbing up from such a deficit, I still have not reached the sunshine-flooded surface inhabited by your average, well-adjusted, self-confident, twenty-something college graduate. Or is that a myth?
The current situation: Support from the State (i.e., the Social Security Administration) allows me to work a part-time, $9.20-an-hour job at the local public library, occasionally putting in unpaid time to develop programming for teens (a task above my payscale, but one that interests me and one that no one else was doing) and writing book reviews for the library blog. Assuming this experiment in working for a living succeeds, my Disability (see my other blog if you want to know the basis for that, or read on and guess) will end in May 2016. By that point, I hope to have most of my non-Student Loan debts paid off, which would allow me to survive without additional employment if I continue living with my mother.
The possibilities: I could return to Ohio and try to be a nurse again. The problems with that include returning to Ohio (no offense to fans of the state, but it means nothing to me except memories of the worst years of my life) and laboring under the restrictions of my probation. Not thrilling.
I could try my luck as a freelance writer, editor, and researcher. That takes a certain amount of confidence, drive, and resilience to pull off successfully, however. It's beyond me at this point, and depends on substantial progress in therapy to become even a mild possibility. Plus, I find writing much less enjoyable when I depend on it for a living.
I could return to the often thankless, demanding, and grossly undercompensated task of looking after people with mental illnesses in group home or assisted living settings. High stress, lack of appreciation, bitterness, threats to job security around every corner ... I don't think so.
I could return to school, take undergrad-level psych courses at local colleges and universities and then earn a Master's in Counseling Psychology from some online school. I would be a good counselor, I think. High expense, and a lot of work to do just to convince anyone to let me into a grad program with my dismal grad school record. Maybe if I win the lottery.
I think my best shot may be to work up from my present position into a career as a Young Adult Librarian. If I can make a success of some of the teen programming I created, and generally do well as the Marketing Assistant and Library Clerk, covering the basics such as not taking days off due to depression and/or anxiety, being on time for my shifts, getting the basic work done in a timely fashion, then perhaps I can get some glowing recommendations from my superiors and colleagues, and perhaps that will be enough to convince a library school to admit me. Then, it would only take some hard work, persistence, continued progress in therapy, and constant emotional support to succeed academically in a field that is both enjoyable and generally easy for me. If I could graduate by say 2020, be generally emotionally stable, get a job that pays $30K and benefits, work for 20 years in the same place, retire at 74 with some kind of retirement package, personal savings plus a pension or a 401(k) and a small Social Security check, I'd be all set. Or whatever.
I mean, maybe I could survive and not end up where people like me end up when things don't go well--you know, dead by suicide or on permanent Disability living in a group home or something like that.
The secret, of course, is to live in the present while I'm doing this. Looking too far ahead or afield or around and 'round will overwhelm and defeat me.
Today is a tired day. I'm tired. The world is too big. Later, I will be with her, and the world will shrink to just the size of us two. I can handle that.
Is this actual video of the Jersey Devil? Snopes doesn't think so. Compare the picture at bottom. (So, probably not. Just a chicken or something?)
I was wondering what it would be like to ... do certain things with certain people, and that led me to wondering more generally about the skills and propensities of poets in the bedroom. Are they better than the general population? Are all poets better? Was Wallace Stevens a good lover? Elizabeth Bishop? How can you tell? How can you quantify that sort of thing? Who counts as a poet? Are good poets better at sex than bad poets, or vice-versa? How do you quantify the goodness or badness of a poet? Are, say, Confessional poets better or worse than Objectivist poets or Language poets or Beat poets? Can we design a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment to give us a definitive answer?
This very enlightening article from Redbook may shed some light. Apparently, married men in artistic professions are claimed by their 45% of their wives (highest of any professional class) to be "the best lovers." 100% do foreplay, though sometimes for too long. Bottom line, 73% "fully satisfy their wives."
The way things are today, though, the profession of the poet is just as much education as art. (Male) teachers didn't fare as well as artists in the Redbook survey: 13% have sex every day, partly because they're aggressive--43% don't like to take no for an answer. All of them do foreplay, and 61% go in for postcoital cuddling. Bottom line, 30% (on the high end compared to other professional groups) of the wives said the sex was too quick.
If we can round up 500 poets and 500 randomized controls, I'm pretty sure we can figure this out. Any volunteers?
Last night, I dreamt that I was all alone in my parents' big, dark house, except for at least one cat and one large dog. The basement was pitch dark, and for whatever reason, I was nearly sure that a group of Islamist terrorists had snuck in and taken it over. I spent the hours before sunrise anxiously watching the stairs and debating whether to go down.
Occasionally, I was interrupted by a music video for some early Paul Simon song. These videos would punctuate the action throughout the dream. Although they were all different songs (one about somebody named Albert, all sounding like Paul McCartney ripoffs--I don't think any of the songs actually exist), they were all exact copies of one another visually. All in spaghetti art, it starts with Paul Simon (spaghetti Paul Simon) in a balcony in a theater, pans slowly to the right, and ends with Paul Simon (spaghetti) in a box seat at a theater.
Anyway, finally, after dawn begins to break, I muster up the courage to go downstairs. I round up some of the animals, grab a flashlight and a stick for a weapon, and systematically go through the basement searching for terrorists, all the time in near-panic mode and struggling to stay this side of the edge. The basement in empty, my sisters come over, the dogs are playing happily outside, and yet I experience very little relief.
I believe it has something to do with recent anxieties, chasing phantoms, being on high alert all the time without cause, being frightened of the things in the dark that don't exist. And knowing they don't exist, and being frightened of them anyway.
I don't know. I mean, the real-world issues I've been struggling with are only half phantoms. The limitation placed on me by my medication-related tremors is a real concern, as is my lack of nursing experience. The fact that I don't have a job yet is a big concern. But my fear of the unknown is the biggest problem, and over that, I have a little more control.
I began this blog when I was working in politics in Chicago. I had gotten sober in November 2002 and sometime in early 2004 decided to pursue a nursing career. Revived in 2014. Now 'm a wannabe librarian as well as a wannabe writer and some kind of musician. And crazy, but you'll have to read my other blog for that ...
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