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So I've been having a lot of trouble the last couple days. I'm fighting, I really am, but I'm losing. I can't get around it, I can't get on top of it, I can't beat it, it's dragging me down into the deep dark trenches of silent pressure and black stillness.

But out of nowhere a total stranger on Tumblr just asked if he could get some feedback on a college admissions essay he's writing about Infinite Jest. Wallace is on my special shelf, with Pynchon, Helen De Witte, Sam Delaney and Gaddis, so I gave him my phone number. We talked for 20 minutes. He got super excited and dropped a few "ah!"s and "oh, yeah!"s and rushed off to amend his essay.

And now I feel good. It takes only a second for me to open up that huge trunk inside me filled with books and writers and writing, and I can drag out new toys and gems and bangles for hours and hours. How can a high-school dropout make a living talking about novels? I mean since bookstores don't exist anymore.
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Just another day of work and packing. I was going to get some nice foods to grill or some shit later but I just don't care enough to eat.

Last year the 4th of July was... complicated. It started out great, got weird, got very emotionally treacherous, then very bad, then, I don't know. It seemed perfect. She had a traumatic memory attached to the day and it seemed like maybe we, I don't know, we didn't fix it, but we made a better one. We ended up on the fire escape sharing a beer and watching all the different streets compete, taking turns launching ever-escalating fireworks displays. We were both wrung out but she was smiling, happy. It was the first time she'd been to my place. The first time anybody but my best friend had ever been in my place. I let her into my home, which I never, ever do, for anyone. We were built on trust, giving each other access to parts of ourselves we'd never given over to anyone before. Or that's what I'd thought.
And today-- like every other day-- I have that sense that maybe she'll contact me, email or text or call, maybe today she'll acknowledge that we ever happened, that we ever mattered. But I know she won't, and we didn't.

And packing stinks. I find photos of people I'd blanked out of my memory. I find love notes lost behind shelves. The worst thing; I found a clutch of opened bags of cat treats, diet supplements and OTC meds. Both cats died almost exactly a year ago. The thing that made my eyes overflow wasn't seeing the treats and the medication that didn't help-- I knew all that stuff was there, stuffed into the back of the cupboard.
The thing that made me cry was seeing them and knowing that I was about to throw them into the garbage. It's happening again right now. I'm leaving a lot behind here. And I know I'll always have them in my heart blah blah but I'm leaving a whole huge chunk of my life behind and I'll miss them the most.

Current Music: While You Were Sleeping--Elvis Perkins

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I've got a bad case of The Last Times; this will be the last Tuesday I wake up here, the last time I do laundry at Soapy's, the last time I walk home from the bar after work, etc. Too fucking sentimental.

But my new back porch is sick, my kitchen is huge with counters I don't have to hunch over to use, my neighbors are all friendly (and not as culturally homogenous as they are here), and I'm finding good stuff in the neighborhood. There's Asian grocery wholesalers, (with firewood!) a Peruvian market (whatever that is) and a billion taco/burrito places. And it's just west enough that there's a lot of chicken/fish joints, too.

But, most significantly, on my way to pick up the keys today, I walked past a warehouse, stopped, and walked backwards to double-check that the sign did in fact say "Archery Range". An archery range. A block from my house.
When I was a kid I roamed the hills and valleys around my farm with a dog and a bow. I've had a yen to shoot again for 20 years, but where do you shoot in Chicago? Where do you even get a bow?
A block from my new house. I want a longbow for my birthday.

The first time I came to this building was eleven years ago. I was walking in a pack of drunk cafe co-workers after we'd closed the bar. Two of them lived here and we were taking the party to their place. It was summer and I had a disposable camera in my pocket, and I took the sort of disappointing, blurry, drunken photos you get at night with a chintzy flash. Somewhere in some box there's a clutch of glossy black rectangles with pale smears staggering across streets, flipping off the camera, holding each other up. I was still married, I was still in my 20's, I was still a heavy drinker who thought that he'd get a novel published any day, any day.
And a decade later, I'm having a last smoke before I go to work, tending that same bar, living in that same building where I've been for a decade. The blurry figures in those photos... One has three kids, one lives in Denver, one trains show horses in Michigan, one caught an IED in Afghanistan, one is a dishwasher in Hawaii. And I'm still right here, still caught in that drunk frozen flash. At least for another few days.

Current Music: FACT mix 310-Moon Wiring Club

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Months ago a client scheduled a week of dog-sitting from June 30th to July 7th. (Since I never remember when Pride Weekend is I always fall for that old con, and get stuck in Boystown during all the chaos.) This was well before I knew I'd be moving.

This large chunk of money was an integral part of being able to pay for the move. Between rent here, rent at the new place and a deposit, movers, and paying off all outstanding utilities, this week's pay was crucial. I got my landlord to give me an extra week, scheduled the movers for 8 AM on the 8th-- which would give me about 12 hours after getting home to getting out. So all the packing & cleaning would have to be done before I left. It would be a hassle but it was all going to be fine.

Then another client asked if I could sit that same week. Two dogs, so more money for the same time period. They take a lot of vacations and want to use me for a whole month around the holidays ($$$), but I couldn't break my previous deal, even if it meant hooking them up with another walker/sitter I know (who might end up poaching the client...) It was the right, ethical decision.

This afternoon the client texted and said the renovations in their condo weren't done, so they had made other arrangements for the dog, but still wanted to pay me the agreed-upon amount. Being too honest (and Minnesotan) to ever be successful in business, I said, no, no, I couldn't take money for work I didn't do.

The client said: I feel we owe you, since you could have taken other jobs but didn't.

I said: well, I am moving that week... How about if we use it as a credit towards a sit in the future?

He sez: well, ok... But you have to SWEAR to me that you didn't give up another job because of us.



Well, there might have been another job but we worked it out and found another sitter for them so that's all OK.

NO! You'll take the money! We insist!

So I've got a big check for doing nothing, and an extra week to pack and clean (or to put off packing and cleaning for even longer.) All because I was honest even when it seemed stupid to be so.

Current Music: Crime and the City Solution

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So I did write all six days, but on reflection they read as ridiculous and juvenile and terrifically self-indulgent so I locked them all away. I had to write it all down, and I did get a great deal of cathartic release from the project-- but that doesn't mean it was very good. Especially on Sunday-- Bloomsday, coincidentally-- where I had to struggle not to do a "could I yes to say yes?" Joyce thing.

Its all still here, if you have a burning curiosity to muck about in my melancholy reflection and overwrought romantic fooferaw, drop me a line.


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I say a lot of dumb things to strangers without really thinking it through first.

Current Music: The Men-L.A.D.O.C.H.

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I know the quality sucks, but I get so fussy with drawing I would never actually post anything. So I just lob the cartooning-while-eating-breakfast stuff. Please don't be offended.


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I know it's been, heck, years, since I posted here, but I'm having a low-grade freak-out and need to vent.
My landlord told me, late Sunday night, that he won't be renewing my lease on July 1st so that he can move his daughter into my apartment. In the building I've lived in for ten years. I have to move out of my home. Not just an apartment, but the place I love. I know all the streets, all the faces, all the foibles and sounds of the neighborhood around me like someone who grew up by the sea knows the sounds of the tides. So many momentous things have happened to me here. I've been happy here (not at the moment especially but that's for failed-romance reasons.)

I can't make a big stink and fight him, because if I ever want to get a new place I'll need his recommendation, since he's my only previous landlord since the first Bush administration. But I don't have money for a deposit, or the first months rent most buildings require. I don't have a credit rating, not because I have debt, but because I've never bought anything I can't afford. I'll need to hire a mover because I live on the third floor and have 30 boxes of books and a frigging printing press on my coffee table, and I don't have a license or any friends to help me. I need someplace on the north side so I can get to work, but the only places I can find in my price range are garden studios with shared kitchens in Edgewater or the far west side, where I wouldn't have room for anything.

I'm panicking. I vacillate between a sickly forced excitement for a "new chapter" in my life and an overwhelming despair. At the moment the most likely scenario is that I'll spend every last cent moving my life into a storage unit, and buy a bus ticket to a friend's place in an unpleasant town in rural North Carolina, or, worse, my dad's place in Minnesota. I would celebrate my 38th birthday sleeping on my parent's couch.

I feel like a failure as an adult. I've build nothing of note out of my life. I have no resources, no accomplishments, no career. I just received a reply from a service to place writing with agents and editors; I can't even pay to get my work published. They told me my novels are "inaccessible" and "not commercially viable". (Just to add a little more rejection into my day.) Friends have told me maybe it's good for me to move home and plot my next move, but I don't really want anything other than a home in a place that I love, the space and time to write my inaccessible novels, and some peace. Which is apparently an unreasonable and immature way to live. I am teetering on the precipice and I don't see any footholds or dangling vines, just a great dark pit.

Thanks, LJ friends. I needed to write that. Hopefully it will help me think clearly about what to do next.

Current Music: Dissappears-- Minor Patterns

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It usually takes me a couple seconds to differentiate between Carol and Tatum Channing by name.

"That movie about erotic dancers...?"


Oh, oh the other one.

I also have this problem with Gene and Richard Simmons.
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This is very sad news.

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