I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe

The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken

Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
-Bertrand Russell

What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell

July 09, 2013 - 10:54 a.m.

Sam I Am

I forgot my happy thought for the day. Maybe it will come to me before I finish this. Wish my brain luck. Of course my brain knows that wishing luck accomplishes nothing.

I needed to get back into my life yesterday, that means live music. I had nothing on my calendar but I had an invitation from Kathryn who I think I might have to start calling Kay for clarity. There will also be a Katherine in this story. Kathryn has one of the premiere house concert series, she's a friend of mine, she has great taste, but somehow I've never been there. I figured this was the time. I had never heard of the performer but I decided to just trust Kay (not sure if I can get used to that). I wrote and found out that there was room. How much does Kay rock? She asked me if I liked salmon. I told her I don't do fish. She asked about "really good salami." I was born to eat really good salami. I figured that was on the menu too but she actually went out and got it just for me! I'm so happy that I went to my office after therapy and read my email while I was there. My other option was staying downtown and eating before I got there. I can walk to her home from therapy. Otherwise the trip uptown was wasted as I had no snail mail at my PO Box. I then had to deal with train problems but I made it back well before the music started. I had time for a relaxed dinner.

Lots of people I knew there of course. Richard, Katherine, Ina May (should I used the May informally like that?) Jeremiah, Paul, Barry, and even Charles who came up from Philly for the show. When you are part of the folk community;

You got brothers around,
Youre a family man!
Youre never alone,
Youre never disconnected!

Of course lots of my "brothers" are more like "sisters."

The musician was Sam Baker. Never heard of him? As I said neither have I. The difference is that I now know what I have been missing. Sam is special. He's one of those artists that grabs you and demands your attention. His style is akin to Todd Snider,. He doesn't so much sing as speak on key and in rhythm. It's a tough style, you are exposing yourself to the world with no gloss to hide behind. You'll be great or terrible without much room in between. Sam is great. he seamlessly tells stories, sings songs, and chats with the audience. It is all of a piece. He charms you. He has an interesting story, and he has chops. His story was that in 1986 he was on a train in Peru that was blown up most likely by Shining Path. Peru was going through a brutal time with atrocities commonplace by the rebels and the government. He is only alive because of the intervention of the US military that evacuating him to San Antonio TX where he could get the medical care he needed. The experience changed him. He says that we are all in paradise, we aren't sick in a hospital. We aren't suffering. Hey I remembered my happy thought! It came from him saying that. Of course I share that at the end. Sam was grievously hurt and has permanent damage. His right hand is deformed. He had to learn to play guitar left-handed as he can strum with it but not play chords.

Pretty interesting guy, right? But here's the thing, he is NOT more interesting than his songs. His lyrics are inspired. Air Canada misplaced, I won't say lost, his guitar. Kay provided him with one of Jack Hardy's that he had to restring it lefty. Jack, the toughest songwriting critic there was, would have been proud.

I was proud that that Sam asked my pal Jeremiah Birnbaum to accompany him on the mandolin. Jeremiah and Sam had never met. I'm sure Kay was the matchmaker. Jeremiah had never even heard the songs but he played with him as if he had been born to it. I so admire that. People like that are real musicians. They don't just play music, it's part of them. At the end of the show Sam asked Jeremiah to play one of his own songs. Did Jeremiah close for Sam or did Sam open for Jeremiah?

After the show I made a quick getaway. Come on you didn't fall for that did you? I had way too many people to talk to including Sam. Katherine and I were the last to leave other than Jeremiah and Pam his fianc. We headed back to Brooklyn. Katherine went out of her way to share as much of the ride with me as possible. We took the train. I take it all the way back to Bag End. She has to make the awkward switch to the .

I crave my alone time but I also crave being with the people that matter. I tend to have more of the alone time so I actively pursue the company of friends.

There's been a lot going on in my life. That means talking very quickly, even for me, in therapy. Not sure how she keeps up. Do those of you in therapy prepare what you are going to talk about? I pretty much always do. With all this heavy anxiety going on I made sure to discuss a minor problem that parallels it all but is easier to talk about and more manageable in scale. Yesterday I needed to find a towel. I called Bilbo who guided me on the phone to where there was one. I had to move things around including a pile of clothes. I told him I had to hang up as I needed two hands. I wasn't wearing anything with pockets at the time. I put the phone down. Then after finding the towel I couldn't find the phone. I found that I couldn't make a detailed search then because I couldn't face the anxiety of not being able to find it after that. I took my shower. I came out of the shower and still couldn't look. I went online and posted on Facebook that I couldn't find my phone. I had to sneak up on finding it. Finally I went back and dug through the pile of clothes and found it. It wasn't my clothes so I had to make sure I kept things neat and folded. I'm not good at that, adding more anxiety. But that's me in a nutshell I froze and couldn't do something because if I failed I couldn't face the next step. Now I knew the phone was here and at most it meant going a day without the phone and waiting till Bilbo came back to find it. But that was enough to give me the tightness in the chest. But it was limited enough to make it easy to talk about.

OK now for my happy thought. Sam said how we live in paradise and that made me think of The Wee Free Men and the race the book gets its title from, the Nac Mac Feegle. They are a fairy folk about six inches high. They don't suffer from anxiety. That probably don't know what the word means and certainly couldn't spell it. But they aren't afraid of anything. Everyone else no matter how large and how fierce is afraid of them. They think Discworld life is so wonderful that they must be dead and it is the paradise they live in as a reward. When faced with a problem they don't work around it. They don't have to mentally prepare themselves. They simply shout "Crivens!" and dive in and heaven help anyone or anything in their way. Nac Mac Feegle like so much of what is in Discworld make me happy.

Crivens!







Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
Late to Bed and Late to Rise - September 30, 2017
On Your Feet or On Your Knees - September 29, 2017
Why Life Doesn't End on Closing Day - September 28, 2017
Anna and King of I Am - September 27, 2017



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Horvendile July 09, 2013
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