My writing hand cramped a minute ago, which brings me to this barren blog once again. My last post is just a blip on the collective radar of the creative writing cabal on the internet – and yes, I am allowed to call it a blip because at least one living creature has borne witness to its existence. My half-blind black cat snuffles behind my ear even now, perched on my chair top and in peril of falling atop me and sending me face first into the sharp edge of my kitchen table which hopefully, once hilarity has ensued to the extent deemed tasteful, will catapult me into an eternal coma thereby relieving me of my present problems.
But never mind that – this post is about the Big Fears (as opposed to my small fears, see below). Contrary to what you’re thinking, I didn’t have to be at home this Sunday morning. I have plenty of social options available to me, foremost of which is the 9:30 a.m. gathering of alcoholics at Molly Malone’s on Fairfax. I can assure you that I haven’t yet relapsed and my prevailing despair is more due to the lack of mind-numbing substance than the abundance of it. If anything, I am in greater peril of relapsing into the embarrassing spiritual ecstasy that seized me in early 2012, when I first got sober and catalogued every spasm of positive thinking that racked my mind (see, at your peril, my other blog Life Beyond Dreams).
//Pause for an aside: Etymology is a wondrous thing. My dalliance with the written word today has enlightened me to the fact that “wrack” is roughly interchangeable with “wreck” and that “rack” invokes the medieval torture devices upon which human bodies were stretched, flayed, and ultimately put to rest. Therefore both uses would have been technically appropriate in the context above, but I feared that the “w” may have prematurely exposed my aspirations to be an “auteur” and therefore it had to be discarded. Continue.
Back to the ecclesiastical gathering at Molly’s, which, for the record of the County Court, I have never attended. I am of course deeply suspicious of contempt before investigation, but more so of AA meetings taken in pubs. How does one cope with this direct conflict of interest? I imagine the faux-Irish Lebanese landlord skulking behind the bar as the Serenity Prayer is recited reverently by the dried up masses, his stained dishrag obtrusively shining the tumblers and lovingly dusting the Laphroaig Single Malt in the periphery of godly eyes fastened on the blessed alcoholic speaker of the morn. Really, this canny man is sowing the seeds for his next crop of customers, and God bless him for it. Only fools believe themselves above temptation.
In fact, only fools recite the Lord’s Prayer at a purportedly secular meeting. For an agno-theist like me, the Serenity Prayer is no hardship since it comprises a triumvirate of clear, practical instructions for a better way forward. The Lord’s Prayer, however, is too shrouded in pointless analogy to be anything but a Christian gambit designed to snag the desperate and cocoon them in a layer of religious delusion, much like a venomous spider in a cassock. “The kingdom, the power, the glory” my ass. God, grant me the serenity to suffer these puritanical fools. At this rate I’ll need an AA meditation meeting to expel all my vitriol.
And what vitriol there is! I have spent this year gathering the slings and arrows and lobbing them into the bonfire of my repressed grief. It flames higher and higher within the gelatinous casing atop my loftiest vertebrae until I’m left with an overcooked meringue for brains. With this dessert-ed mind, I have become a wastrel at work and another casualty of the LA life. Just last year I was content in the knowledge that my nether limbs carried my unwieldy trunk, puffing, across and around the quays of Canada Water SE8, while these past months I have been steadily and stealthily consumed with the consumption of as few calories as possible paired with as many vitamins as absorbable. The local obsession with good hair, good skin, good teeth turns us all into amateur porn stars moonlighting as dental models – vagina dentata indeed. The juicing, the cold pressing, the detoxing, all to mask the festering boil of bulimia and the nervosa of anorexia in our hindmost sun-bleached, television-addled minds. When this city falls into the Pacific in the next great earthquake of the quarter-century, let it here be recorded that my last words shall be “We had it comiiiing!” which works quite nicely in case I do decide to pursue a career in amateur porn and am struck down by disaster on set.
Now for the Biggest Fear of my Big Fears: Shall I stay or shall I go? To continue on with my current work would surely lead me away from any sort of emotional resolution to the great Brain Death of 2014, and to go forward into uncharted territory away from my salaried existence is both a thrilling prospect and the root of my deepest night terrors. But I do, I do want to go away to Detroit, Denver, Boulder, Nashville, Memphis to write and write and write until I have nothing more to say and nothing more to think about the events of my life that brought me to this very painful point whereby I have to contemplate life alone, without my designated responsible adult beside me, who also happened to be the love of my life. And that’s about the size of my Biggest Fear, make of it what you will.
//P.S. Goddamn you Lewis Carroll for writing “A Grief Observed”. You could have left some ideas for the rest of us pitiful mourners, you know.