Monday, April 26, 2010

The long, dark night.

Though I still continue to survive, continue to search for work, and continue to attempt, whenever possible, to project -- and feel -- a positive attitude toward life, the task of doing so grows more difficult with each passing day.

I can't and won't get into details. Suffice it to say I am back in the neighborhood where I grew up, and am discovering once again why I felt such intense relief when I finally escaped it so many years ago.

It's not a bad area. It is relatively clean, safe to prowl at night, and to anyone who saw the surface, seems to fit the words Frank Zappa wrote long ago to describe his fictional "Centerville": "...a real nice place to raise your kids up."*

Much of it is exactly as I remembered, after an absence of some two decades. Despite the encroachment of hideous stucco "mega-houses," many familiar homes remain. The neighborhood is far more mixed now -- it was 99% Midwestern white-bread California in my youth -- but some of the people I've seen in my wanderings seem somewhat familiar. They look too damn old to be my contemporaries, though...or am I simply not seeing that I have aged so drastically as well?

About my immediate surroundings I propose to say nothing. It's not a good situation in any respect save that it is not bunking down in a cardboard box downtown near the Midnight Mission.

I miss not working.** I considered myself reasonably talented at what i did, but the verdict from my most important judges -- those who might make use of my ability and pay for it -- suggests I'm not so good. I disagree, but that means nothing.

Losing virtually everything but a few important books, my computer and some clothing was not as wrenching as I feared. At this point, I don't think leaving my personal possessions behind is going to leave any serious scars. I retain the memories, and much of what is gone can be replaced should I ever be in a position to do so. Or be in a position to want to do so.

But the circumstances of my current existence are taking a toll on me. I no longer feel independent, because I'm not. That's a bad thing.

I have been humbled, humiliated and just plain brought down to a very low point. I need only one good break to start the long climb back up to where I think I belong, but finding that break is much like trying to find a very small needle in a very large haystack.

If you get the impression I'm pretty damn depressed right now, you are so right. Almost as bad (maybe equally bad, now that I think about it), I am more lonely than ever.*** I crave not only understanding, but the chance to remind myself, through interaction with people I respect, enjoy and love, that I'm still more than a worthless lump of protoplasm.

This ain't good, fellow babies. When the Universe was handing out coping mechanisms for major adversity, I must have been distracted by some worthless shiny object....

But that's the way it is.

* I believe the quote came from his "200 Motels" album, but don't hold me to that. My memory is not what it once was, and I'm too tired to check....

** And, like too many people these days, have found nothing else to do.

*** This is no slap at the one person who has really gone to bat for me (or another who also stepped up more than expected) since the dung slapped up against the rotating ventilation device. Without the encouragement and help from that quarter, I don't think I would have made it this far....

Friday, April 16, 2010

A very short update...

...just to let everyone know I am not headed for the streets. At least not yet.

I have a place to stay for the near future, and will be able to continue the search for work -- probably not writing work, though I would certainly accept any writing gig that came attached to regular paychecks! -- without the extra weight I feared would be placed on me by the need to search for shelter.

I have mixed feelings about the place I'm going, mainly because there will be some tension involved. I will be staying with a relative with whom I have never had a conflict-free relationship. But enough of that; it is a roof, a chance to eat, and a little security in what has recently been a most insecure existence.

My ultimate goal is still to get the hell out of California, to Texas by choice, but otherwise to Florida, Washington or some other state that has no state income tax. When I do finally have work, I will need to save every penny I can, and this state ravenously devours money.

I may even have 'net access again soon, which would be a blessing in several ways. Writing on a library computer sucks. It's as simple as that.

Anyway, no need to worry about me, as I know many of you did. I have had marvelous support from a few people who have gone way beyond the limits of simple friendship (if there is such a thing) to help me survive and keep the wires in my brain soldered to their proper contact points. I can't express my gratitude to them strongly enough.

Prayers are still welcome, as are any and all suggestions containing job leads, courses of future action, etc.

More later....