Friday, August 08, 2008

Sharing Henry Miller

I knew what I was doing, or so I thought. I wanted a no-strings relationship, all the benefits with none of the hassles of legitimacy. That’s not what I got. What I got was two years of bliss and secrets and torture, and it all started out as fun.

The first time we talked on the phone, my bones melted, my pulse raced, and I was wet. His voice was a deep bass rumble, his words precise and intimate and all we talked about was Henry Miller and writing. He told me about his poetry.

He’d been going downtown to the Humidor for months, drinking shot after shot of Irish courage and still unable to brave the stage. There were so many young people there and he didn’t fit in. His laugh was rich and deep like decadent dark chocolate and suddenly I didn’t care if he was in his fifties and bald and conservative. Everything he said made me want him that much more. It didn’t matter that he was married; I didn’t care. His wife could have the privileges of marriage; I wanted him.

We’d met online and talked on the phone a few times, but I broke the rules for him, my rules. We agreed to meet downtown at the Humidor on Sunday and he agreed to read some of his poetry. Sunday couldn’t come fast enough.

We sat in the back of the room and smoldered, me smiling shyly, vibrating with desire and excitement, he with a half grin on his thin, pale lips, confident and potent and oh, so Republican in his tweed jacket, Bruno Maglis, white fringe of hair, and wire-rimmed glasses, his bald head shining in the subdued light. He wasn’t my type. I wouldn’t have crossed a crowded room to meet him because I wouldn’t have noticed him, unless I’d heard his voice. For that, I would cross midtown traffic at rush hour in a blinding rain.

Lost in each other’s eyes, tentatively touching, my warm fingers resting in his cold hands, heat radiating from us like a blast furnace, we came back to earth when someone called his name. Reluctantly, he let go my hand, took some folded papers from his inside jacket pocket, and walked to the stage. All eyes focused on him as he licked his lips, swallowed convulsively, and spoke to the murmuring crowd of hip hop teenagers and twenty-something urban guerrillas. Then it was just his voice throbbing in the sudden silence.

His poems were a mating dance of sex and words—cock, cunt, soaring, flying, passion drunk power—a declaration of freedom and belief in personal greatness that transcended the day-to-day responsibilities of job, home, and family. He read from the page, apologizing for not committing his poetry to memory, but no one cared. He finished and stepped down from the stage to silence that awoke with a roar of applause that thundered and shook the tiny subterranean bar. They mobbed him. Women touched him, young men hailed him, inviting him to poetry slams and tapings, adoring, worshiping, still applauding as he came back to me, sat down, and took my hand. I was proud and aroused and I wanted to take him right there.

Another poet walked to the stage and the mob slowly moved away, looking back at him to catch his eye and smile, nodding in approval. We stayed until closing sitting close, thighs touching, his velvet voice in my ear playing my nerves and senses until I was near orgasm. “I did it for you. You made it possible.”

Outside in the snow as the rain fell, encasing the world in ice, we stood beside my car, touching, moving closer, breath mingling, rain steaming as it hit us, unaware of anything but each other. His cold long fingered hands slid around my waist, burning me, branding me. I yearned toward him, silently begging him to kiss me, unsure if or when I’d finally give in, knowing I wanted this unremarkable man the way I wanted no one before.

“Are you free tomorrow?” His words fed the fires burning inside me. Yes, I was free. “I’ll bring Henry Miller.”

So drunk with passion and desire and need, it barely registered when I hit black ice and nearly crashed into the rear of a Chevy truck on the freeway, spinning and coming to rest against the guardrail facing oncoming traffic. It took only a moment to get the car started and back onto the empty freeway headed for home. The trip back passed in a hormonal blur. Nothing existed but his words in my ears and the insistent cold press of his fingers against the fiery heat of my skin. Tomorrow couldn’t come soon enough, but it finally came.

For two years of stolen moments and idyllic weekend business trips, we devoured each other, unable to get enough, always wanting more, until reality intruded. Holidays became long empty hours of mindless tasks to fill the void and the weekend trips didn’t come fast enough or last long enough. He introduced me to his cousin, his only living relative, and she hid us for a few weekends just across the border in Pennsylvania. It wasn’t enough. It was never enough.

It would have been enough if he’d never uttered those promises. “I’ll tell her I want a divorce tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, after this last family vacation.” He was always apologetic but he didn’t tell her. I didn’t want his promises; I wanted him, his time, his kisses, his body, his passion, his hands, his words. I didn’t need a ring on my finger or promises of “until death do us part”. I needed him. I only wanted him. I didn’t want legitimacy; I wanted passion. He needed, he wanted, more. I was content. He wasn’t. So I ended it and walked—no, ran—away.

Whenever I read Henry Miller or hear Miller’s voice on the tape he made of the record I gave him for his birthday, it all comes back: reading Henry Miller together, the kisses, the desire, sitting on the bed naked and sated eating pizza and drinking warm vodka, the aching need not satisfied with six or eight hours of sweat- and orgasm-soaked sheets, the poetry, sharing words—mine and his. I’m not sorry for loving him or needing him or desiring him. I feel no regret for sharing him with his wife or for telling him to keep sleeping with her when he had me to share his bed. I am ashamed of nothing and I won’t apologize for leaving even though he believes I abandoned him.

Great love requires great sacrifice, so does great passion.

Newsletter talk

A few hours ago one the of the hams who advertises his business in the newsletter called me to change his ad. It is a small change and one he makes every year at this time. I took the information and told him I'd pass it on since I was no longer the newsletter editor. "Well, that's not good. You're the best editor we've ever had," he said. "You are one smart and talented lady." I thanked him. Then he asked where he should send the money for the change in the ad and I told him there was no charge. It's a small change, a few words, no need to charge for that since the newsletter isn't a paying concern. He thanked me and told me he was going to miss working with me. That from a man who didn't like me very much at first because I left out his ad a few issues.

At that time, he called me and raked me over the coals, explaining his ad had run in the newsletter for over 30 years and I'd better put it back in. I explained that I didn't know anything about his arrangements and no one told me about him or his ad. He apologized and has been a sweetheart ever since.

This is the week for compliments and news about the newsletter. The printer told me the last time I saw him he was going to miss working with a professional like me who knew how to put together a newsletter. He and his wife said they'd miss my smile and funny stories and made me promise to call from time to time and visit once in a while. His wife, Barb, told me she read one of my stories in Cup of Comfort and that she couldn't help crying. She told all her friends she knew the author and that they had to pick up the book.

Then I got an email from a good friend who I had asked for input about the newsletter since I wasn't sure if he knew I had resigned. He said he started reading the newsletter when I took over and that it was "...more fun to read, more thought provoking, and I've wanted to read it over
again at times." He added, " You've had an impossible job keeping it going and have done admirably." I didn't think he was paying attention. I was wrong.

I changed the ad for Jess, made up a new one, and sent it to the president of the club to use for the newsletter. Over the past month I have sent him enough material to put together a fairly good newsletter, but it doesn't look like there will be an issue this month. He said he'd use the ad for the combined August/September issue. I was afraid of this, that the newsletter would fold when I resigned, and it still may.

Had I not volunteered to edit the newsletter three years ago, it probably would have died sooner, and it is sad to see it happen. I don't want to see the newsletter die, but I also don't want to be the one to keep it going alone, even though I have thought of putting together a quick newsletter and sending it to the president of the club to add the minutes and his column, which he always sent right at the last minute before the deadline. I am torn between needing to focus on my own writing and work and wanting to help them out, but I'm gagging my better nature and locking it in a soundproof room so that it can't get out.

The compliments are nice and coming from people whose opinions I respect, but the compliment I wanted and needed was for the members to be so excited they wanted to contribute and I'd have so many submissions I'd have to keep a backlog. It never happened.

Although plaques and certificates and the occasional congratulatory dinner are nice, they are not the reason I volunteered to edit the newsletter. I wanted to be a part of the community and a part of the club. It was my way to contribute. Sadly, I was the only one who really cared. It is beginning to look like I may still be the only one who cares and that makes me sad.

That is all. Disperse.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sex, death and drama

There's a situation going on at my best friend's job. Evidently, a married woman, Bridget, and one of her co-workers, Jerry, have been having a very blatant affair. Several people over the past five or six months emailed Bridget's husband, Phil, who also works there, and told Phil what has been going on in plain sight. He tried to find out who was sending the emails but can't get a line on them because the emails are being sent from outside and the IT guys can't pin down anything specific. The addresses are all different -- as are the names.

On Monday, Phil confronted Jerry, took him in a conference room and slammed the door. Bridget has been crying off and on over the past two days and claims there has been nothing going on and neither she nor Jerry have changed their behavior. They still go out to lunch every day (for 90+ minutes) in an effort to prove there's nothing going on. Bridget and Jerry are caught in a trap of their own making and now Jerry, who has a history of affairs with other women in the office, wants out. He can't get out because Bridget is determined to hang onto him and her husband. Phil, meanwhile, has taken a week off from work because he can't face everyone.

My best friend is caught in the middle because she is afraid of history repeating itself. Many years ago, one of the supervisors killed his girlfriend and then himself because he caught her having an affair. What made it all so much worse is that he killed and himself at the office. It's all my best friend can do to keep the images of that horrible day out of her mind with all this going on.

Phil and Bridget want to know who is emailing and how the people know what's going on. Well, that's not hard to understand since Bridget and Jerry have been carrying on for months and everyone has been talking about it. Bridget thinks she can figure out who is behind telling Phil by planting different tidbits of information with some of the people she suspects in hopes that one of them will take the information and run to Phil with it. That won't work. She's just not smart enough; she hasn't figured out that everyone knows what is going on and have spread the word that she's up to something in order to throw the blame on someone else, or at least trap someone into taking the fall in her place. She's deluding herself. She's flaunted her actions for too long and too many people want to see her take it in the end. The damage has already been done and she has been rear-ended by her own actions.

Unknown to Bridget, Jerry had a relationship with another woman in the office, Pam, but they have not been together in years. My best friend knows Pam and Pam confided in her that she propositioned Jerry. She wants to pick up where they left off. She's in a bad marriage and so Pam suggested they get together again. Surprisingly, Jerry turned her down flat, but her offer reminded him that he deserves to be happy and the only time he was happy was when he was with Janine. However, he treated Janine badly and it isn't likely she will take him back.

Jerry has been in contact with Janine but he doesn't know how to approach the subject of getting back together. My best friend knows Janine, too, and she said Janine is determined to prove to herself that Jerry is being honest with her. She's going to keep him at arm's length until she is satisfied he is serious and doesn't want just to scratch an itch.

One thing is certain, Peyton Place has nothing on my best friend's office. Violence, murder, suicide, sex and betrayal are commonplace there and she often regales me with the tales. It's a wonder they ever get any work done with the constant soap opera. One thing I don't miss by working at home, is all the drama. Besides, I get the benefit of the drama without having to get too close to it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Worth waking up

I was asleep, deeply asleep, having a wonderful dream and a loud jangling noise yanked me by the hair into semi-consciousness. I stumbled from bed and made it to the phone just as it stopped ringing, so I booted up the laptop and checked my email, thinking it was Beanie calling me and knowing if she did there'd be an email waiting. No email. After a little time, I checked my voice mail and it was one of my best friends telling me wonderful news of home and family. I was still a bit groggy, but awake enough for my heart to swell with happiness at the news. Her lost baby had been found and was safely home. She also made me laugh when she told me her seventy-something mom had been on her knees in the bushes the day before to help catch the baby (yes, it's a cat).

Her husband had been devastated because he felt responsible for the baby getting out and he was so happy when he pulled the baby out of the trap they set the night before. This is definitely news worth losing sleep over and I am so glad I got the call.

It's moments like this, even bleary-eyed and punchy from lack of sleep as I am, that make all the trouble and niggling irritations disappear as if they never existed. There have been a few moments like this recently, like receiving an apology and getting a picture of a good friend after hiking to the top of Pikes Peak.

I have said so little about my friends of late, focusing more on writing what I hope helps more than just me from the vast emotional archives of what my friends send me or call to tell me. I realize, as I found again this morning in my emails, that people I don't really know are going through the same things and think I'm inside their heads. The things we all believe are unique to us aren't really all that unique, like a pebble dropped in a lake sends out ripples that touch the shore at different points and different times. We tend to forget that we are all connected and our lives are mirrored in the lives of others we may never meet, and it helps to be reminded that we are not alone, that someone else (probably many someones) are going through the same things. There will still be those who believe their situation is unique and no one can know what they're going through, but I think that's because they need to keep the spotlight on themselves and hate the idea of sharing the attention.

So much has happened over the past few years, things I haven't had the time to share here, like a good friend's battle with breast cancer and then turning around and building her own business. Sometimes the emotions are too raw to put them on the page, so I don't.

It's an Aquarian trait immortalized in a line from Star Trek: "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few -- or the one." Doesn't mean I don't take care of the ones or that I'm not there for them, just that I need the distance and balm of time to help me find a way to put it out there so that what I've learned and experienced could help the many. The one I keep for my private paper journals, just as I always have, writing in the moments before sleep and letting go of the sometimes overwhelming emotions so I can sleep, even if it means being awakened before I have to get up because a friend wants to share their news, good or bad. One thing my friends know is that they can call me any time if they need me and, now that I don't turn the ringer off to spare my housemates, I'll get out of bed and leave my dreams for them.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Poltergeist activity

Beanie is upset because some people at work won't leave her alone. No matter where she is, they're either nearby or talking loud enough for her to hear. They are making their presence known and felt. She can't understand why they're so bent on bugging her because she doesn't understand human nature -- at least in this regard. It's simple. When you're important to someone they need to make sure you don't lose sight -- or sound -- of them.

The relationship may be dysfunctional or just plain bad, but the idea of you not being in their lives, even on the periphery, is something they just cannot accept. It's what makes stalkers tick. They need to make sure you don't forget them. It's not always healthy. It often leads to ugly scenes and escalating actions to keep your attention focused on them. They're like wounds that never heal, scabs they keep picking to keep the blood flowing.

I've heard it said that if you let something go and it comes back, it was meant to be. I think if you let something go and it keeps coming back, the past is not going to die. It's like a ghost -- or more likely a poltergeist -- that you've acknowledged and released that has decided it is not better in the light. It's better where it can bother you and remind you of its existence, and that's because it cares and doesn't want your relationship to die.

People move into and out of our lives all the time. Some people stick around and, all too often, the ones we want to stick around don't always stay. It's hard to let someone go when they've been an integral part of your life. Even if it ended badly, if you never really got closure and things were never settled, it's like a poltergeist knocking pictures off walls and moving furniture and possessions around to remind you you're not alone. It's hard to end something if there really hasn't been an ending, if things were never really settled. Questions linger and there's a hole in the middle of your life that can't be filled by new friends or work or parties or clubs or all the self help books in the world. You can ignore it and hope it will finally heal but chances are it won't heal.

A lot of people, my mother included, try to fill the whole with things, the old shop till you drop therapy. That never works. Some people try to fill the whole with anger and unfulfilling memberships in clubs and organizations. It only makes the hole that much more noticeable. There are people who use sex, drugs and rock and roll to fill the hole. It doesn't help. And some try to fill the void with work. The work suffers and the hole gapes wider. Not even the pink suede elephant in the middle of the room no one acknowledges will fill the hole. And prayer won't help either. The only thing that works is finding or writing an ending.

In a way, it's like a literary story that stop in mid thought as though the world ended or the author died before he could finish, and it is probably why Hollywood movies are so successful. There's always an end.

Situations like these can also be compared to wars. There are the all out bloody and destructive wars with casualties on both sides where the combatants just drift back to their own countries and lives before a winner is declared or a peace treaty signed. Who knows when hostilities will flare up again -- or how often? Then there are the cold wars, covert wars that rely on spies and propaganda that go on and on and on until someone decides to bring down the wall or agree to a D├ętente. Neither situation is ideal because there's always a feeling of animosity and distrust between the central parties. In this kind of war, most of the damage is collateral. There has to be a peace treaty or a demilitarized zone set up where both parties know the boundaries and are willing to respect them, otherwise the combatants feel unsettled and living in limbo without any idea of what happened and if or when the war is finally over.

As long as the ghosts of relationships past keep intruding, one thing is certain: you are still important to them. I'm not sure if that is a comfort or a curse. At least it's power. Be careful how you use it.

Sweat and lubricants

Chili Bob called yesterday morning (he hates emails, says the phone is faster) and somehow we got onto the subject of lubricants. It's a subject that pops up on occasion and after all these years it still pops up. There are no taboos with Chili Bob and I'm glad we can talk about everything -- and have -- even when the subject is lubricants. Even Beanie mentioned lubricants the other day when we talked. Lo and behold, Beanie and Chili Bob were talking about the same one. Funny how different people from different sides of my life sometimes end up on the same page. If I believed in coincidence, this would be one coincidence too many.

Is there something about summer heat and longer days that stirs everyone's libido to a furious boil so that all they can think about is lubricants -- and sex? Or is something else going on here? Animals don't behave this way when the females are in season. They wait for cooler and shorter days to begin their taking their shot in the biological lottery. People don't have that excuse since we are pretty much in season all the time, so what is happening out there? Don't people realize that summer love is sweaty and sticky and should be reserved for cooler days when you're saving on the heating bill? That's the time to be in heat.

But then I remember summer romances when I was younger and my sweat glands not so well developed, days when I spent hours grilling in the sun dressed in oil and not much else, days dancing to whatever was on the jukebox during rest periods at the local swimming pool and the rest of the time in the water shrieking with laughter while pretending to be surprised when boys surfaced near us in the pool ready to drag us to the depths and steal a kiss or offer to walk us home and carry the towels. Maybe it's not so surprising after all that heat generates even more heat -- of the biological variety -- and lubricants are on people's minds.

Chili Bob also told me an old friend of his popped in to say hello and ask if he was interested in another go-round. I've warned him about that particular merry-go-round before, but he never listens. There are some relationships that should just fade into the background of imperfect memory; that is one of them. I have a few of those myself and one that keeps popping up when I least expect him, which is probably when I should expect him. He does have a pattern and it's never a good one. As far as I am concerned, that one should fall into the Alzheimer's abyss, along with some of the Xmas gifts my mother and mother-in-law gave me that weren't worth regifting and not even Goodwill would take.

There are other friends who pop up from time to time and should stick around longer, but they are always off on a new adventure or completely engrossed in some new ecological refit and don't have the time for more than the odd and very short conversation. Those are the ones I miss, but then I wander off from time to time, following the muse or on a bug hut of epic proportions and far reaching consequences, so I shouldn't complain. Must be the heat and the itching and the feeling that I'm melting into a steaming puddle of sweat that makes me so testy.

Oh, now I get it. That's why Chili Bob and Beanie mentioned lubricants. It was a hint to relax and smooth out the rough edges with a little something slick and slippery. I should have known. Time to get out the oil and a towel and find a pool. It's summer time.

That is all. Disperse.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Vampire activism

If you liked the show Moonlight and would like to see some other more intelligent and people savvy network pick up the show and keep it running so we can find out what happened with Mick and Beth and Coraline, go to Save Moonlight and sign their petition. Pass it on.

That is all. Disperse. Vote.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Time to end

It just never ends and it is partly my fault. I shouldn't pay attention when people let me know she's trashing me again. I thought she would have found someone else to trash by now, but since she's trying to keep people from finding out how shallow she is and how she lies and manipulates to keep them buying her books and reading her posts I guess I'm all she has, especially since her BFF disappeared after her husband's divorce and no one on LJ knows her. The drama is boring because she never says anything new and most of what she says is completely off base. It wouldn't do to let her know what she says gets to me from her best friends and closest relatives who think she is obsessed and has gone completely over the edge. But it's my fault for reading the messages. I should just ignore them since they won't listen when I say I'm not interested.

I stopped reading her blog over three years ago but she emailed to tell me that she continues to read my blog because she says my posts are "the most erudite and interesting" she has ever read. Personally, I think she said that to hide the fact that she's stalking me online, reading all my reviews, articles, stories and posts so she can keep track of my publishing progress and prove she's better than I am, a real writer as opposed to a writer whose stories are included in ten anthologies at last count. After all, I'm not the only name in or on the book, therefore, I am not a real writer.

The news of a literary agency approaching me to represent a series of articles and putting the book based on the articles up for auction is what probably sent her over the edge. I didn't put the news out there because of her. I put it out there to share the news with friends and to let other writers know that success happens when you least expect it. So why does she insist on using the same tired old line about me being deserted by friends, lovers and family when she knows nothing of me or my life? Is it because she has nothing else to use and she can't fault my writing? She has nothing left but empty and repetitious and very old personal attacks. Like I said, she knows nothing about me or my life or who my friends are. I don't mention them by name in my posts. I have other things to write about, most of them dealing with relationships and writing. I have neither the time nor the need to prove I have friends by writing about them and putting their names and personal information out there. If I wrote everything about my friends, I wouldn't have any time left to spend time with them. I have a full time job and a writing career and a life.

I need to go back to my old policy of not reading any emails sharing the contents of her posts because all it does is feed into her obsession. At least then I won't know when she reads one of my posts and decides it's all about her because everything is about her and I can't possibly have a life without her in it. Not everything is about her and she's not so special or important to my life that I can't find anything else to write about. If she sees herself in my posts, it is because she's looking for a reason to create drama. As far as I'm concerned, we are done. I wish her well. I hope her book is a success. I hope her life is happy because then she will have less time and fewer reasons to create more drama. Then maybe her friends and family won't feel the need to warn me she is still obsessing about me. It's time for it to end.

I've been done for a long time. I've kept her secrets so she need not fear me spilling the truth about her and ruining her life. It's time for her to get over it and move on. If she's so happy, she shouldn't need to focus on me. It would be best if she just didn't read anything I wrote. I don't read what she writes. I have far too much going on in my life. I even had to drop editing and writing a newsletter because I needed more time for my life and my work. That was important. Her obsession with me is not.

So, in the interest of making things very clear. She should go her way and let me go mine. I wish her well and hope she has much writing success and whatever she wishes she should keep to herself. It's time for this to end.

Belated birthday bash

Last night, the cottage was full of light and laughter, conversation and food. Nel, who used to live across the hall from me, and her sister DJ, Michael, Kim and some of Nel's friends came over for a belated birthday party, belated only because Nel's birthday was Thursday. Last night was more convenient for everyone. Dinner and a simple dessert of a layered cake with lemon curd between the layers and a simple lemon icing lasted about as long as snow on a hot August night and there was wine, beer and shots to drink, as well as lemonade, iced tea and water, most of which is still here.

This party was planned three months ago when I moved but last night was the first time everyone saw the cottage without all the boxes lying around. I could have used another bathroom, but we still had a great time, although a couple people mentioned me getting a stereo to play the music instead of my computer. After the food was gone and the presents opened, most of the crowd left and Kim, DJ, Nel, Michael and I kicked back and caught up while we sipped wine and Nel and Michael did shots of whiskey. Good thing they didn't have far to go to get home.

I got up early this morning to put all the glasses and dishes in the dishwasher and clean the worst of the debris, but there remains a feeling of revelry in the air. We made plans for DJ and Michael's birthdays in October and November and a Yule party in December and everyone's coming back here. It's a far cry from our usual quiet parties when Nel and I lived across the hall from each other, but there's much more room here and plenty of parking space to accommodate the crowds. And I got to meet some new people, people who were only names and to whom I can now attach faces and voices.

It's cool and quiet outside right now with a faint cool breeze that will dwindle as the sun rises higher in the sky to scorch everything and suck the green out of the grass. A cold shower is just what I need to perk myself up before diving back into work and laundry today, but I don't mind. I'm glad of a little calm after the storm of conversation last night.

That is all. Disperse.