Category Archives: Journal Writing
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A late night steady rain crept across the lake, sending me into a deep slumber, and when I woke in the bright morning, I was fine.
If one is adherant to Western horoscope, he would blame my ordeal on Taurean stubbornness. An adherant to scientific methodology would deem it a qualitative and quantitative result of an ongoing hypothesis. The thing is this: I know what I am experiencing, and I know what causes it, but to explain it to the “normals” is as fun as banging one’s head against the wall.
But, for documentation’s sake, and the fact I’ll be meeting with a state “vocational rehabilitation counselor” next Tuesday, I’ll do my best to explain the series of events leading up to incapacitation. (And yes, ‘vocational rehabilitation counselor’ sounds just as convincing as an ultra-conservative Christian anti-gay group’s ‘relationship counselor’. Like how their contingency swears there’s a way to un-gay you, seems the state has a plan to un-disable me. Hmm. Enough digressing.)
Let’s use a simple metaphor: I am a sponge. The moment I exit the Treehouse, I start to absorb my environment; children yelling as they play, chatter between neighbors, what qualifies as music from a passing car. Slightly sogged, I enter my truck and head to whatever venue or errand, and, once there, I absorb more. By the time I get back to the Treehouse, I’m so saturated I have to do things like meditate, turn off all electronics, sit in silent darkness, just to wring out. Sometimes an hour helps, sometimes, I need days. I don’t know what specifically in the environment or of society saturates me, I just know, this is a constant.
On occasion, I’ll cooperate in a local event to get my art out there, put face to written word, pal around with fellow artists. I have to be careful, because the saturation can enter hyper mode: too much face time, too much surrounding dialogue, too many new energies, then I start to feel boggy. Knowing the trend I compensate, one event a month should be enough. Of the calendar month, I need only spend four hours in extreme environmental disarray, a small torture for a fine opportunity.
But, thinking I could handle it, I booked back to back events, causing the inevitable no-one’s-fault-but-my-own consequences. By SunLit Festival’s Lucha Libro, it started: disorientation, inflammation, clammy skin, symptoms very similar to the flu. By the time my poet friend and I met at Galerie 909 the next day, I was feeling hot, dizzy, my joints, burning. That was the last day I was on my feet and lucid.
It got scary there for a bit, so I called my general practitioner, which I knew was a crap shoot. When you don’t have health insurance, doctors don’t necessary come running to assist. I waited two days for his callback, only to hear him say, “Not my area of expertise,” then advised me to call another center. There was a queue for appointments, so I followed the automated instructions, leaving the proper information in voice message form. As of this composition, no one has called to confirm.
“Von, you’re an idiot,” you’re thinking. “Take some pain medication, you’ll be right as rain!” Here’s the problem with that: You know all those side effect warnings they list during an AstraZeneca commercial? I’m the person who experiences each one, in full, vibrant, discombobulating color. Prescription pain medications cannot be an option. Alcohol has to be avoided. Anti-depressants, as I’ve chronicled in earlier posts, interfere with my well-being.
The answer is simply, balance. Do-Be-Do-Be, as Professor Amit Goswami says. The moment I get going I start doing that, “I gotta…I gotta…I gotta…” mantra which slides me way too far from serenity. Only in a serene state can I poet, can I compose, can I enjoy music. I gotta Be just as much as I gotta Do, and, as my crone advises me constantly, “You ain’t gotta Do a damn thing.”
But the normals, they don’t comprehend that. If you’re not out there, if you’re not center stage, if you’re not on the mic, if you’re not coordinating projects, then you’re not working. You’re not contributing. You’re more burden than boon.
What I’ve been trying to advocate with this website and through wordcraft is that the disabled aren’t a burden. We can produce in the capitalistic sense if we are given leeway to create constructively, and that is, in the manner we know is positive for us, as long as what we engage in does not harm others or ourselves.
Despite knowing my limitations, I pushed myself too far, resulting in a very excruciating physical ordeal. A concerned friend sent a text, “Is it depression?” to which I responded, “Depression can’t find a seat at the table right now.” So if anything, let’s post that as a win! I didn’t let my incapacitation drive me into melancholy. I fought, silently, by resting. When my eyes worked, I read. When I could move, I sat in the sunlight. The irony of this beastly affliction: occurring during the first full sunny warm week of Spring in Florida.
I missed listening to the talented David Warner reading, “A Tale of Two Brians” at SunLit Festival’s Fiction Live! I’m so sad about that still, that story, so important and personal to me. But the reactions have been positive, and maybe, crossing fingers, someone liked it so much it’ll be commissioned for further production.
Absurd, isn’t it? I want my art to get out there, but in order for that to happen, I gotta get out there, but my sponginess makes it hard to stay out there, makes it difficult to share my craft.
Let’s see what these rehab folks gotta say about it.
First poem of 2015:
is my last day
I have no plans. I really have no goals to achieve in the immediate future. My calendar shows a series of blank fields. Unprecedented!
Here’s the thing: every year of my adult life I’ve needed a focal point. By 1 December, I would have had a prepared list of things to do in the coming year, by quarters, with approximate time tables for project completion. This year? All I did was wake up and show up.
I did pack my laptop and wireless keyboard and mouse under the pretense of getting my prose and poetry organized. The devices spent more time occupying the bend of a sitting room couch than in action!
I did a little exercise of writing technique. For the first few days of my visit, I used my morning pages to compose a fairy tale, about the Queen of Saturnalia leaving her coastal lands for the dark and cold North, ruled by The Dark Prince. Probably five entries in, did the story go from fantastical alternate world scape to sequential erotica! How is it? Well, reading it over analytically, I have a solid grasp of the activity, but the anticipatory factor, that build-up the Midwest moms really need, is very weak. To borrow a publisher’s comment, it ain’t bad, but it ain’t great!
I still haven’t done my book unveiling yet, it was my planned New Years Day event, but then decided I wanted it to be a private affair.
No more irrational pressure. If I can I will. If it’s not in me, it’s not gonna happen. Sourcing that pressure, I know it to come from a culture demanding accountability, when, in and of itself, the culture is conditioned to act irresponsibly. This year, any pressure I embody will be self-developed for my own personal gains. This, my crone emphasized, is enhancement. Those who adhere to cues from Society call it selfishness. Just bear in mind, School of Latter Thought, the trophies for self-sacrifice are almost always awarded posthumously. My intention is to be relevent now by first acknowledging the Now.
Switching gears, I want to talk about you in your face! I am absolutely flattered by the diversity of readers engaged in my madness. Based on skillful trolling, my recent new readers average their early 20s and are artistically driven. This puts me in a vantage of mentorship, but not in the typical, “I’m older than you therefore I am better than you” way; rather, I’d like to approach my proselytizing like who I am in real life: your cool aunt who passes the ganja around while she shares tales of shenanigans, with a pinch of morality thrown in! Experience, not age, is how one achieves Wisdom.
For 2015, I’m going to enhance my blogging experience by sharing more, which isn’t easy for me, but I know if I unlatch a bit of armor, you’d appreciate associating with me more. The challenge is to be more revealing about my existence.
So let’s start with this piece… CLANK! There goes the left gauntlet to the floor.
Hi. My name is Ivonne, with an I not a Y, it’s pronounced with a hard eee, not a yuh or an eye. For the sake of monosyllablism, let’s go with Von.
And you are…?
Lucky for me, I have two benevolent people in my life who embody the values of Love and Wisdom in a manner I deeply desire. I met Love, protective and gentle, and Wisdom, reflective and balancing, about the same time last year, and since meeting them, the delusions of archetypal conditioning have started to melt away. Entering into 2015, I no longer feel starved of these self-actualizing components. Rather, I’m experiencing real-life affects of their abundant energy.
As I pack up Queen of Saturnalia’s caravan for a later departure back to the bright coastal waters of her queendom, I feel spiritually, physically, and emotionally sated. I will enter my home, settle in Bobby, and look out to the lake and marine wildlife in my backyard. I’ll plug in my newer tablet to fully charge.
In the morning, after my morning pages and coffee, I will do my book unveiling ceremony.
That’s the plan.
[NOTE: Revisit of last year’s Christmas-themed post. Enjoy!]
On Monday, a bright, textbook sky blue morning, I picked up Marie and her son, Loki, and we headed up to Weedon Island Preserve. We were going to be the only people around, given the sparse parking lot. I love that. Don’t get me wrong, I love Boyd Hill Nature Preserve, but it’s too in the city and heavily trafficked. I’m trying to get my Henry David Thoreau on. I’m trying to loose the coil that is society for the next few hours.
I was led to reflect on Walden, one of the first books I read after deciding to cease living my old existence. My favorite chapter of the book, and I know you’ll think me strange, is The Bean-Field. His fastidiousness in accounting for developing his garden reminded me of how much I sought to control every value of my life as if it was a line item. It’s not that simple though; not every aspect of life can be quantified.
In the past few weeks I experienced a dynamic, negative shift in my professional aspirations as well as a negative shift in my personal relations, one in particular Marie witnessed herself this past Friday. We reached the lookout point and we got to the discussion of values, the who and whats in our life we’ve assigned priority to, and why. Revisiting the events of last Friday, it was evident that there was way too much expectation out of individuals on my end, as if I was going to find The Total Package upon every new relationship I build. The reality of it, as Marie succintly pointed out, is that will never exist in an individual or a thing, and the best way to keep Angst at bay is to carve out the part of the individual or thing you do value and hold on to that. Find contentment in what works, and acknowledge not everything is going to be fulfilling. It’s fatalistic, but easy to digest.
My focus returned to quality of living. I relaxed against the wooden bench, eased my spine, and felt the twists of Angst unfurl slowly. I tipped my white hat over my eyes and felt a long overdue relaxation. It was then that Marie mentioned she couldn’t find her camera. “Dammit, I just got comfortable.” I shifted slightly, ready to remove my pose. “We’ll double back. It’s got to be on the trail. You stay there.” Now that was nice of her. I heard the stroller and the whine of the boy dissipate towards the island, and I drifted away in a cat nap.
This, I realized, is the essence of being. My hands are not manipulating anything. The hard drive that is my brain has slowed its spinning to a dull loop. The breeze, perfect against my skin, the sun, warm enough to cause slight sweat. I felt cleansed. The act of Being is such a rare engagement. To detach, to be one with the sky and the water and the earth, reminds of the fickle nature of humanity. While cars zip around carrying frantic holiday celebrators to and from stores and to and from houses, fufilling social mandates of the season, I am here, Being. This is the best celebration I could possibly engage in, and a cherished gift.
I wrote myself a letter once I got home, and my plan is to read it on New Year’s Day. If I am lucky, I will Be on that day. I hope you will Be, too.
*This is a test! Trying to move from handwriting to completely Swyping my random thoughts. All activity here conducted on a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3…so far, very impressed!*
If ever there was a time i felt most determined by the stuff i have, it is now, with this tablet, my first accessory i don’t actually need! Do i feel guilty? Yes. Do i feel indulgent? Also yes. Do i feel deserving of this sophisticated device? Actually, yes.
I am willed towards device technology, and i am sorry. But people can change their perspectives, and really, why am i still trying to uphold an old man’s lamentations, when the most sophisticated communication device of his era was the transatlantic cable? Is this conformity? I feel not. It’s that buried catholic guilt that’s making me feel bad. Think of the poor, think of the have nots. If they had their hands on this, wouldn’t they revel in its awesomeness? Hell yeah, they would! So play along, be determined, just don’t compromise your creativity just to accommodate a tool. Remember, this is just a hammer. You could just as well break a rock by hand. It’d hurt like hell though.
Usually by mid-Week 2 of NaNoWriMo, the WriMos in my immediate vicinity start to peter out for various reasons. Before you join them my dear, lemme share this true-to-life story that will keep you in the saddle.
Don’t worry, it’ll be quick. ;)
I started participating in National Novel Writing Month back in 2012, after a good friend of mine suggested we participate in it together from our respective places on Earth. In 19 days, I managed to hammer out The Black Parade, and I was really proud of the effort. That personal achievement boosted my creative energy and pushed aside the trappings of my ego, providing me the freedom to deliver a manuscript to a local independent publisher.
By the time NaNoWriMo 2013 ramped up, I Blew Up Juarez was in the hands of my editor, getting polished for a February 2014 debut.
For NaNoWriMo 2013, I teamed with my writing partner, Marie, to put together a psycho-terror work. I’ve never written horror before, let alone have an interest in horror films (Human Centipede? Really??) but Marie, a fan and writer of horror, encouraged me to enter that wormhole. When I showed her what I was working on, she shared, “You really can write horror!” Now I know that comes off as Marie stroking my cock, but Marie doesn’t stroke cock unless she really means it, and THAT’S WHAT MAKES HER A GREAT WOMAN. So, happily, I championed Momma’s Boy for my second halo.
This week, Thirteen Press released Night Walkers, a horror anthology featuring authors from around the globe, and Little Miss Stretchy Pants over here is in it!! :D I’m the first short story, which is cool; the opening act now, maybe down the road I’ll be the grand finale! But again, by persevering and completing a NaNoWriMo competition, my work isn’t in the bowels of my notebook backup routine. I’m bonafide!
So hey, buddy, I know you’re feeling like folding the cards and collecting your chips, but please please consider the why of it from the get go: you love to write. You LOVE to write, and you HAVE to write. You’re amongst like-minded and weak-willed artists; lean on us! Who cares about the word count, just get the story out. And then, maybe later down the line, when you’re up to it, you’ll get published, and then NaNoWriMo is no longer a competition…it’s a refresher course. ;)
STICK IT OUT! KEEP ON WRITIN’!!
“Your honor, all I did was retweet…”
“This from the woman who wrote, ‘I Blew Up Juarez‘!”
“*sigh* Ya got me, yah honah, ya got me…”
My mental cutaway when I happened to catch on Twitter I was ‘featured’ in a webzine, only to find out it’s someone’s mash-up site. Such is the side affect of being out there in the zeroes and ones; the more you digitally connect, the more likely you’ll get digitally hijacked!
It’s not that big a deal, knowing my @VonSimeon is a public account. I’ve been much more active on Twitter this year, but not enough to where I’m desperately racking up followers to substantiate authenticating my Twitter existence. Twitterstence? Existter? Nevermind…
So things like this are bound to happen, and will continue to happen, as I widen the cast of my Ether-net (get it get it!). A credit for sharing a post on Literary Jihadi…? Umm, think I’ll leave THAT one off the CV!
Why we write…