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
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
September 08, 2014 - 11:10 a.m.
I did not take good care of myself yesterday. I stayed home and brooded till I went over to Heather's for dinner. At least that was good. I made Blackened chicken breast and she made baked plantains. She did something different, cooked at slower at 350˚ for 20 minutes then we turned off the oven but kept it in it till the chicken was ready, maybe another 7 minutes or so. They came out creamy! It was amazing. It might have something to do with the honey she put on them. Honey has enzymes that break things down. I know it can tenderize meat. Yes even when I'm terribly depressed I will rhapsodize about food. And yes even when I'm terribly depressed I will light-heartedly deconstruct my blog as I write it. There are dedicated circuits in my brain to take care of those things.
I went home after dinner and started to deal with the depression and anxiety. I don't take meds or meditate or do anything that sounds like therapy. First I watched Warehouse 13. Unfortunately it was a bad episode that highlighted all the ways the show had gone downhill by season four. It made the writing blunders that I associate with Buffy Season four and after and Harry Potter. First the Harry Potter thing, characters in incredibly dangerous situations keep things secret that obviously should be shared for everyone's safety. Everyone in HP and Warehouse 13 should be dead because people withheld vital information for stupid personal reasons. You live with some embarrassment or even more serious consequences when the alternative is getting people killed. The Buffy thing is not realizing that fighting a war changes a person. People get hardened or once again they wouldn't survive. If everyone broke down every time a comrade got killed in battle, everyone would get killed in battle. People learn to deal with it. The writers could never get that mindset. Yes even when I am suffering from existential angst I can be a hard-ass about writing
I then switched to the heavy artillery. I listened to the Bach Brandenburg Concerti while reading The Lord of the Rings. And yes I said "concerti" I don't stand for any of this permissive use of anglicized plurals. I was brought up saying "concerti" and I cringe when I hear "concertos." It's like you'd feel if someone said, "I saw some mans standing on the corner."
But back to me. The heavy artillery didn't work. I still was a bundle of depression and anxiety. I went online again even though that so often hurts instead of helping. It hurt. Reading the Times helped a bit. I finally gave up and tried to go to sleep. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't stop my mind from racing thinking about things I didn't want to think about. There's a great description of what it's like in Lord of the Rings, the chapter, Mount Doom. I could have sworn I quoted it before but now I can't find it. It's a passage that has always stuck with me.
'No, I am afraid not, Sam,' said Frodo. 'At least I know that such things happened, but I cannot see them. No taste of food, no feel of water, no sound of wind, no memory of tree or grass or flower, no image of moon or star are let to me. I am naked in the dark, Sam, and there is no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I begin to see it even with my waking eyes, and all else fades.'Ten years ago I must have felt the same way. I alluded to the passage in this poem.
OK that's dark. I'm not so sure I'm comfortable being that dark but I also think it' sort of good. And I bet some of you have felt the same way.Science LessonFor a few brief minutes a body can live without oxygen
So I gave up and tried to sleep and couldn't. That wheel of fire kept getting in the way. So now I did what I've been doing most nights before sleeping. Before I was reading with the lights on while listening to music. Now I kept the lights and music off and read by the little LED light that clips to a book. It's not the best light and not the best for my eyes but it seems to be the best for my psyche. When reading like that I left my life and was in Minas Tirith with Pippin. I saw the seven levels of the City rising 700 feet above the plain. I saw the White Tower rising 300 feet above that. I pictured it against the New York skyline to get a feel for it. I saw Denethor and Gandalf. And I am waiting for Faramir to return from Ithilien. Knowing the book so well can make the reading more enjoyable as I anticipate what is to come. Soon the wheel of fire was gone and I could put the book aside and sleep. No more fooling around. That's what I do every night till this spell has passed.
I'm tired of coping. I'm tired of having to use tricks to relieve the pain. I want the vending machine of life to give me the candy I paid for.
I also want to end this in a less melodramatic way. Well tonight I'll give myself another palliative. I'm seeing the Kennedys. There aren't many things that make me happier than Pete and Maura.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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