Some folks say that there’s no better place to start than at the beginning, and still others claim that an ending is nothing but a beginning in disguise. Flip that around and an end is but a herald of—or the prelude to—a beginning.
So I’ll start at the tail end of my own beginning:
These latterdays give no comfort, and yet there’s going to be something happening. There always seems to be. And that’s a great place to start, isn’t it?
“Latterdays” is as good a term as any to describe the holding pattern that has been the personal side of my life of the past couple of years, and if you think this kind of candor rankles even just a little bit, then you don’t remember our Golden Age of Blogging.
It’s not that everyone’s quit the game; even I haven’t completely quit, unless the definition has a minimum contribution frequency.
Which, honestly, it does, or I wouldn’t be here, now trying to beat the dead rocking horse into a winning argument (points for the literary reference—anyone? Bueller? Bueller?).
They say a place is just a place, that it’s the people you miss. That’s been true of every place I’ve ever been, ever lived save San Francisco and The Netherlands. While San Francisco is a special case, which I’ll get to, The Netherlands is an extraordinary case, which is a topic for another day, another plane of existence, really—yes, really.
What’s been so difficult about understanding whatever unhappiness and outright misery that has crossed my path in San Francisco stems from this atomic nature of the City: any reductionist approach fails; functional decomposition results in, well, compost. Truth suffers in the onslaught of too much analysis.
In my trip to Pittsburgh over Thanksgiving—my first visit there in just over fifteen years, which is five years longer than I actually lived their entirely! Impossible!—I spent time with my best friends there, Dale and his wife, and with Lisa and her husband. And we made a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to see The Toll, the
band phenomenological singularity I have written about many a time here. They played again for the first time in nearly 20 years.
It was certainly a trip that invoked plenty of my past, our pasts. How could it not? But invoking the past to inform and contrast the present is not nostalgia. Thank Christ-on-a-mill-hunky.
No, instead it was present perfect tense—and another story for another day. Soon.
In a way, those things that were formerly complex, inhabited, separable things, Memory had fused into atomic and indivisible—like San Francisco has always been.
I spent the time from just after Thanksgiving through after the New Year at my folks’ house with my entire family.
This time away from here, this time with my family, this time restoring Pittsburgh and restoring my besties—Dale, Browyn, Lisa, Bim, Brad, Greg, Rick, Brett—all without wasting time reliving irretrievable pasts, had loosened the ground under my feet: my being back in San Francisco was not pleasant.
In fact, it was downright miserable. I was Home, for sure, but the magical quality of the City felt merely otherworldly, a poor imitation.
Like Parlor Tricks subbing for Divinity.
And the trouble will loose ground? A long winter of endless rain in San Francisco yields a seeming intractible morass.
I’m notorious for forgetting first principles, especially when I need them the most. Like depending on friends. Like seeing opportunity in change or circumstance or fortune and remembering that the opportunity is almost always orthogonal to the circumstances and fortunes.
Worse, it took me nearly two months to remember that writing was the first of the first principles that always got me out of whatever mental morass I found myself in.
And so we’re back to what essentially is starting again, or starting over. Same location, same blog, but the habit of writing is gone and so I was put back in the mind of what it was like when I first started.
I could blame the one-two knockout punch of Facebook/Twitter which KO’d extended thought/writing (which I suppose I just did) but there’s no reason for the either-or here. It’s not like I even do much tweeting any more.
Facebook, for its imbalance of too much reading and not enough writing—the very reason I
said fuck-off to eschewed the egalitarian nature of LiveJournal (Ell-Jay! ew.) which encouraged gang group participation in each. and. every. post. you. make., does wick away a lot of energy which used to be spent on output instead of input. It’s a sheer numbers game there, though: you wade through the sum total output of all your friends and that takes time and there’s only one of you.
So it was one of these Old Timers (forgive me, Eric. I speak only of your soul, of course) who helped me by both listening and by having the temerity to speak his mind.
I say temerity because it truly is an extreme act these days to be candid. I don’t mean the kind of Facebook confession that passes for candor, the bitchy–vampy–campy, the tedious–mundane–boring, the quotidian–mom-a-day–school-a-day stuff. I mean honest, can’t-reel-it-back-in opinion. I asked, he replied.
I know, crazy.
I’m sure it had everything to do with who he is, and everything to do with our having known (and blog-known) each other over many years, and our having common knowledge that permitted this to happen. In any case, I’m truly glad for it.
It helped. Talking to someone who’s known you for a long time.
Long enough that he knew you before your world went pear shaped and all the bad stuff happened. Before the demon dogs and the fractured existence and the shattering pain and the fallout and the falling into.
And who knows you again, after.
But from a certain perspective that’s both over there and right here.
Which is how I’d been feeling in my own life since its main narrative went from solo to duo to the Full Dante more than half a decade ago up until frightfully recently.
But I’m still Here. And here. For now.
And I’m back.
And so is your God of Biscuits.