Silence is a fence around wisdom. ~German Proverb
Nowadays most men lead lives of noisy desperation. ~James Thurber
Now all my teachers are dead except silence. ~W.S. Merwin
The silence depressed me. It wasn't the silence of silence. It was my own silence. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
What page was I on? Why haven’t I written on Pirate Papa for a year and a half? What happened that distracted me from my ongoing project of self-documen-realization-tation? Perhaps there really are times to live, and times to write about living, as those wise-ones sometimes deign to tell us.
So... where to begin, for those of you who do not know the details of our sordid little web of worries, wants and wily individuals wreaking havoc with each others lives here on the Northleft Coast? Do you want/need to know the details? Do I want you to know the details? No, not really. So I’ll summarize to spare us all the brunt, blunt edge of truth: the details are a lot of pain and suffering, some very unhealthy violence, a dash of rejoicing, a few periods of intense personal growth, some fucking and some fucking over of good people on all sides of some painful issues, some healing, too much drinking, not enough writing, good food (always good food), tears, blood, sweat and ink.
There you have it.
Fast forward to now. I have a beautiful, doting Hannah who lives with me. I get my ladies half the time and have for the past nine months. Week on with me, week off with their mama… Someone said a few weeks ago: "You must be grieving." And I realized… I am grieving. I'm grieving and learning how to recover and balance and thinking about my posture, liver, kidneys, spleen, blood flow. "Am I standing up straight enough?" I think. "Am I clenching my butt enough for this to be better for my back than slouching?" I think. "You are standing up straight enough and this is good." My back thinks back at me. I walk taller now. I breath a little deeper in order to do so and that feels good. Sometimes I forget. I’m getting acupuncture and learning about my own body and my body feels good too and this makes me smile.
Like most other periods of my life, this past year and a half is blurred now, already, by whatever blurs our memories of things, faces, events. Evidently I have a surplus of that mysterious substance floating around in my brain, and not much else. I look at pictures and see myself smiling and my girls growing and I let the sounds and smells of what I do remember flood over me as often as I can. I try to live each day at a time and as a step towards something greater that I am trying to build and fashion from this clay of mortality I embody. I try to focus on whatever is in front of me. Nothing more. Nothing less. I give it my attention as best I can. I try not to dwell on broken hearts or fights or fanciful flights or past happenings of any kind, unless they directly pertain to what is at hand and then I try to embrace them, forgive them, gift them wings and let them fly away from my heart and disperse their bad energies back to whatever depths or heights from which they may have sprung.
Today I have a wonderful woman who loves us and lends her beautiful hands to our labors of love with joy and cunning and vitality and a smile. We have a large garden overflowing with vegetables. The ladies are walking and talking with amazing multi-syllabic words and rambling sentence-thoughts and a very advanced vocabulary for their boisterous, exuberant age of four. We care for a lovely Great-Dane Bull Mastiff mix named Deezle who weighs more than I do and gets spoiled like I want to be, but that's okay. The books continue to pile up, as they have a tendency of doing in my family. My job progresses as I grind my nose to oblivion on a stone. But I like my job. Sometimes I really don't like parts of my job but I do them anyway. I sell underground books to perfectly normal weirdoes all day long. We travel a little and go to book fairs, barter fairs, anarchist gatherings. I shop at bookshops, thrift stores, yard sales, a few auctions. Every few months some combination of us goes to
I went a bit crazy for a spell back there and hurt myself a lot before I could pull out. Drinking too much on too little sleep for too long. Being single for all of six months and now missing it from time to time, in some stupid sentimental way. But not liking myself when I was single either. Too self-destructive, and thusly, too destructive of others selves as well, some of those closest to me. Slept around, flirted with poly-amory, drank myself into oblivion whenever I didn't have my kids, tried to keep my journals and my wits about me and my businesses growing and my friends happy. Nothing worked. Wasn't trying to keep myself happy. And I definitely didn’t feel like the ‘real man’ I wanted to be. Hannah found me like that, in the bars, pretending to be happy and social and healthy. She didn't try to ‘change me’ or ‘fix me’ or whatever, thank god, that's such a turn-off. She just stood beside me until I didn't feel like doing it all anymore, at least on the reckless level I was before or, as my father so delicately put it: “burning the candle at both ends.” Ouch. What was that about the truth? About saying these things that stab us outloud. About release. To heal myself I had to hole up inside, cut ties to everyone and everything I could. Now I slowly have to rebuild those damaged bonds (doomed stocks?), as time goes by. What an investment friendship is.
Now I have to deal with the wreckage and aftermath and conflicts of interest and vendettas sprung from my selfishness and emotional immaturity. Now I have to reckon with the results of my own actions. And I have to learn how to do all this without tearing myself apart with guilt and self-pity. I wish I hadn't had to do it the way that I did, the way that I am. I wish I had found a better way, a way to communicate my ideas and feelings to my friends as I pulled away, to explain my self and my necessary, temporary, painful absence from their lives but not their hearts. Instead I just donned the tough-guy mask and plodded forward stubbornly. I didn't share myself. I didn't share what was in my head, what was in my heart. Those bonds take so much longer to build back up after they've been broken. So that now I have to write about it, so that others can hear and perhaps avoid some slightly similar situation in a healthy, nonviolent, creative way.
We really are the only ones who can fix ourselves. Other people can aid us, give us gentle guidance, instill us with new methods or ideas. Around me people burn bridges that were so beautiful and leave each other in the ashes. Around me people abuse their bodies and minds and push themselves into a stupor closing in on death. Around me, flames burn bright and fast and threaten to extinguish themselves or each other. As communities we must learn to band together to fend off these flames from engulfing the fragile camps we have set into this wilderness of stimulus. Through a wicked cocktail of drugs, media, and privilege we have effectively stunted our own emotional growth and development. We must learn how to voice and share and thereby re-channel our collective anger and regret and fear and hate and worry into a cohesive, constructive force to be aimed at the heart of these issues: health care, poverty, anger-management, family planning and sex education, male bonding, patriarchy, alternative resources and support networks for young parents, other options to state-mandated assistance, a fundamental revamping of our educational system and a focusing-in on systemic problems contributing to our fractured society and sense of place. Need I go on? I share myself with you and ask for nothing in return save that you listen and let my words move through you.