Category Archives: Journal Writing
(I wrote this in reflection of my former neighbor’s shocking and untimely death. At first I wasn’t going to post, but I have to honor the guy who, as complicated our relationship was, inspired my artistry on several occasions. I pour one out for you, buddy.)
“I bet you got that tattoo long time ago, huh…”
I don’t even turn my head, but instead offer my building neighbor a tight smile. He’s showing off again, I internalized, as i hurriedly stuff another bushel of laundry in the back of my truck. Fred, and his parking lot company, whom I refer to as “the hens”, tone down their chortles and clucks to a watchful silence, either romancing their curiosity or fantasy, whatever. After living on my own in that building for the past few years, I’d gotten used to these men gathering in our lot simply to watch the world go by. Proving no threat, I doubled back to my apartment for the next bushel. The hens return to their clucking. I hear Fred let out a loud guffaw then an extended Ha Haaa as I turned away. I roll my eyes.
He’s showing off again.
Last week, Fred was murdered in his apartment, his throat slit by his nephew, Willy, who’d recently come to live with him. Fred was like that, letting family and acquaintances stay with him for stretches at a time. While these arrangements helped him with covering food and shelter expenses, it caused me to elevate my guard. Once, after running errands I came home to find Fred and his company smoking weed from a hookah on my staircase! Had he offered a puff I may have been less stringent, but since he lorded over our common space when no one was around, I had to remain defiant.
This is the part where my uncouth self should apologize for talking ill of the dead, but I find that’s a social reaction to an uncomfortable awareness of mortality. I, acutely aware of the finality of life, celebrate Fred a different way. You could count on Fred to be Fred, either using his key to open our main door for complete strangers, or banging on the old lady’s door to exploit her generosity, or his complete indifference towards health and safety as he fileted a freshly caught tilapia from the retention pond.
Was Fred my friend? He was certainly a constant figure in my life, either through Southern cordials or my observations of him from my balcony, either pulling his fishing gear towards the lake or strolling alongside the property, hands clasped figuratively behind his back, his gangly arms merging in such a way that he sported a lean – a lean so distinct I borrowed it for a characterization in an unpublished novella. He frustrated me, in that he was drawn to accommodate any female in our vicinity, including the young prostitute in Apt G. He disappointed me, serving as a look out on many drug exchanges, and possibly having a role in the robbery of the unit below mine. As a reader, you must be thinking this is a foul representation of an such an unfortunate soul, but it is our truth.
The way he was executed was heinous, but not so unbelievable. Ours was a quiet community, relatively: of everyone who lived in that building Fred was around the longest. I wouldn’t say Fred was harmless, but he was… manageable. We acknowledged each other on the daily; he with the “hey lady” and me with the “hey Fred” in return. That translated to, ‘you do you, I’ll do me’ and we both understood. Fred could count on me being enigmatic and reclusive and I could count on him to introduce someone to wonder about, even write about.
Willy didn’t show up til last year, as I was transitioning from that place to my current home. He worried my friendly neighbors, pissed off the astute ones, and gave Fred a difficult time. I completely blame the apartment management as well as the security company for his murder, but I also have to blame Fred’s generosity for making a very bad call. The fact that Willy’s related to Fred makes it all the worse. Of all situations I monitored Fred participating in, never would I have guessed his own blood would take him out. For that, I’m sad for Fred. He was doing what many of us with limited incomes do – sacrifice personal safety for social compliance. I couldn’t improve my situation while all my money was tied into book publishing. He was clamoring to keep his shelter. We shared despair but celebrated it uniquely. In that sense, our trappings made us unlikely kin.
I am truly sad Fred is dead. I believe his time here was cut short because his contributions were too desperate. His soul has departed, but he’ll live on as challenger and champion of the 1600 block of Lake Lynn Drive.
I did tell a long distance friend once that if my blog goes more than 3 weeks without a post, it’s a sure sign I’m dead.😀
Haven’t been able to keep my regular writing schedule due to my laptop failing. I have enough motherboard life to collect my master files. Pics I don’t worry about; aren’t they already in WordPress? So to keep up with my proof of life promise, I’m using the tablet today; apologies in advance on formatting. The laptop issue I saw a’comin’, but what comes next, completely thrown off!
Labor Day Cimmi Red took a Hulk Smash! to the roof and the windshield by a large tree branch. My insurance company gave me a Toyota Corolla to drive for five days. As I cruised about, I left the radio low so I could listen to the whoosh! of the wind sliding over its aerodynamic curves. Pretty and fuel-economical as it was, the Corolla’s pick-up was laughable! Meeeeeeeeeee…
Cimmi and her growl is back, new roofed and windshielded, and I’m pleased with the repair, although the deductible could have paid for a new laptop. And then I could migrate my work files. Then I could install Scrivener. Then I could update my website. And then and then and then…
I can’t dwell on what I have no control over. So I’m reading Lisa L. Kirchner’s novel, blazing trails with long walks, and planning my next life-adjusting chapter..
We’ll save that for another blog…😉
Hey ya’ll! I am back. You were missed! Glad we’re together again.
Where was I? Well, I was hospitalized to treat my bipolar disorder; cumulatively I spent 10 days under mental health care. The good news is, the medications that were causing my body disarray have been changed out for medications which keep me quite on the level.
- These dancing girls, one being lifted, can be found at Weekie Wachee Springs. The best thing you can do for someone with an illness of any type is offer positive support.
Those of you who haven’t experienced psychiatric hospitals probably will lean on films such as “Girl, Interrupted” or even “Shutter Island,” but I encourage you instead to check out a wonderful organization, NAMI.org, to address your concerns. They’re a group that does amazing work at the national and regional level; check out the site for the group nearest you.
While I was being treated, I asked for a journal. I figured I could have an Oscar Wilde moment (sans alcohol and non-prescribed drugs) and just write the entire time there, only to find that my handwriting was completely illegible, due to muscle spasms. It’s been a week now, and I’m able to type (hooray!) and my journal entries are once more legible.
So what should you make of it? I’m still the Von you know and love, I’ve gotten treatment that works, and I have a support system in place to ensure I continue a quality life, which includes you my buddy readers. Meanwhile, am thinking of a fun way to share these experiences with those who wish to know more about bipolar disorder, psychotic breaks, mania, anxiety…maybe pull an Ann Landers and call it, “Ask The Crazy Girl.”
So…any questions I can field right now?
What up homie! Long time no speak. I know, I know, but the Internet works both ways!
Me? Oh, been up to all kinds of things. See that picture? Those glasses are not ironic; I really can’t see! But man, are they clearer than my last pair.
Good timing that my Michael Kors-wrapped Coke bottles came in right before we left to North Carolina. Seen the pics I posted during the trip? All shot with my Galaxy S5 embedded camera. I know, right?? Got more to share, but there’s been a hitch in my giddy-up, hence why you haven’t experienced any of my money one-liners and blatherings as of late.
Now, don’t get upset but…the Scribe is dying. Yup, my faithful Samsung is on its last electronic relays. In order to get ‘work’ done, I have to maximize the 20 minutes he’ll give me before blacking out. Every application started, every web page opened, is like flaking off tiny morsels of the last of the cookies I shouldn’t have been scarfing down in the first place. This moment with you now, I savor like the last chunk of chocolate chip covered in warm dough.
There’s also been a development, mental health wise, to the positive. My intuitiveness has peaked interests in my local spiritual scientist community, so I’m going off-road, treatment-wise, to explore empathic intuition. What does that mean? you ask. Well, I don’t know yet. I’m gonna work on that. Then I’ll come back and tell you all about it, cool?
This Memorial Day weekend, I’m preparing two write-ups: a share on WriteBitch and a picture story of my time in the mountains. No stone tablets yet, but awesome nonetheless.
While Scribe enters hospice and I create his progeny, follow me @VonSimeon on Twitter for my latest mad antics!
[read time: 5 mins, 35 sec]
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.