I had this dream once (in the way that you dream of things, not in the way you dream about things) that I would be able to find my own way, that I would be able to shape the world around me into something beautiful, a rogue aesthete in my own right, doing the work that others could or would not.


I wait for the thunderheads, the static on my skin and the smell of ozone. I work magic in an urban rain dance, splashing dirty puddle water on hurried pedestrians who crouch and dash from doorway to doorway, not realizing that they are already wet.
~Waking up to the Electric Company shutting off the electricity because your landlady forgot to pay the $230 bill for who-knows-how-many-months really sucks.

~Discovering that you can drive the approx. 20 miles between Parkersburg, WV and the west side of Marietta, OH in 13 minutes, not get stopped by the cops, and not be late for work is a really cool thing.

~4-week-old kittens are loud and everywhere, including climbing the screens.

~Getting a pizza party, paid for by the instructor, during the Psychology class final is very cool. Having Napoli's pizza for that party is not. *blech*

~DairyQueen "Chocolate Extreme" blizzards are not supposed to contain 1. Nerds candy or 2. Pieces of Reese's Cups.

~I knew the Ohio River was polluted, but until today I had never seen a tire floating down the river. I kept wondering if the idiot on the jet ski was going to hit it on one of his foolhardy circles.

~Getting home at 9:00pm and discovering that the electricity still has not been restored, even though the (now very drunk) landlady assured us that she went down and paid the bill and was told that the power would be turned back on that evening, really sucks.

~It sucks even more to have asthma that flares up when presented with both heavily concentrated allergens and hot/humid air. Both conditions very much present tonight. Which is why I am not at home, but rather some 30 - 40 miles further out in BFE, at my mother-in-law's, in her nicely air-conditioned home. And now I'm going to sleep in said air conditioning.

Who are we and why are we here? Who am I and why am I still here. Fragments of the same question.

People pass through my life in different ways. Short term memories of those who made a quick splash and went their separate ways. Long term memories of those who meant something special and yet are no longer part of the active equation. I struggle with it more than most. I struggle with it almost daily and yet I never struggle. I walk through this version of my life and nothing is really difficult and I am never bored, lonely or afraid. Does that make me less of a person? I don't experience regret and I never feel sorry for myself. At the same time I feel guilt. I feel guilty for being me. Not for any internal reason but because the people who pass through my life struggle with things I understand but can only feel as an outside observer.

And yet most things feel so fucking hollow that I can't bear to listen to the echoes. The only thing that means anything at all is interpersonal relationships with people and the impact we have on each other. Publishing a novel, which was more important to me than anything before my death, has become mostly irrelevant. To exist is to be and to be here is to feel and to connect. No one really knows me, although there are those who have come close. They know parts of me but can not understand the whole.

Death is a strange equation. I understand too much of it because I have been there, but I understand it in a language I can not translate. It is meant to be that way, but as a writer I want to translate it and make sense of it for all the people I see struggle and fight every day of their lives. I stumble on purpose. I see everything I do within the parameters of seeing the results of those actions dozens of moves ahead. Part of me is cold and calculating. Part of me thirsts for risks and finds too few. I envelope myself in mystery and say things that make sense only to myself. Then I try to pull back the veils and share what I know and what I have become, but the curtains catch fire too easily. I love unconditionally, but I must place conditions upon myself. I embrace easily but am more comfortable when I am empty handed.

A journey through life means more than proving your point or standing up for what you think is right no matter what the reaction of the surrounding parties. Justification of the self has no rewards, because we must do more than justify our actions to keep the soul at peace. We must do everything we can for everyone we know, and that comes with natural limits. There are things we can not do that we would like to do. There are those we can not reach, and their distance may be the result of many factors. We live within our own personal universes and when we reach out we must understand that to orbit another means that we must adjust our perspective and our behaviors. There is always something we hold back. There is always a part of us that we do not reveal. Because of that, we never know each other, unless we take the time to peel back every veil and every curtain. Life is a mad journey into a discovery of the self, but that self can only truly be known when we see it through the eyes of another. The door closes and then another opens. The maze is alive. The maze is the thing.

These thoughts are random and part of a personal purge.
Pay no attention because my clarity is no longer what it once was.
After eight years the lines start blurring together.

Today I talked to my first noder. No, not /msg, not just chatting on #everything. I actually HEARD another noders voice!

This particular noder was CamTarn, who hails from Scotland. The circumstances that led to the encounter were not happy ones, though. I had just come back from a more-or-less unsucessfull party, and was ready to spend my last waking hour or so with lonely netsurfing and lurking around intriguing, yet faceless noders on #everything. After blabbing a few lines of self-piteous crap I suddenly had the crazy idea to call up a random noder. This is something I could only think of actually doing while inebriated. As Fate so willed it, CamTarn gave me his number. With the nagging feeling that my mother was going to kill me for calling Scotland at 1 o'clock in the morning, I dialed.

At first, I was understandably nervous and started off with small-talkish stuff like "How long you been a noder?" and "How often do you node?" (pausing for a moment to comtemplate the weirdness of actually SAYING the word "noder"). After a while, though, I started coming out with the things I really wanted to say. I started to spill my heart out to a complete and utter stranger. I have no idea how it came to that, especially since I usually don't like talking over the phone. But for some reason, I trusted CamTarn with things I never thought I would say to anybody. In turn, he entrusted me with things I feel privileged to know. For years I had been virtually locked inside my own head, my true feelings being encrypted, locked and buried under 10 feet of concrete. The feeling that I was able to say anything I wanted to and have the other person actually LISTEN was incredible. I babbled like an 8 year old for a good hour and a half at least, probably sounding quite juvenile at times. But maybe that's why that conversation was so therapeutic for me.

My problems aren't gone, they're still there, but finally having the chance to tell someone about them...is just one of the best things that could happen to me.

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