Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Middle Is The Hardest Road

For about a month now, I’ve allowed the high drama of recent events to recede into the background.

Right or wrong, I think it was probably necessary. I don’t think I could have dealt with it at the level it was at for very much longer. And so I have retreated into a quiet and comfortable corner.

Of course, the falsity of it eventually becomes just as overwhelming and you realize you have to enter back into situations that you’d rather not deal with.

As I started to contemplate strolling off this quiet path, it occurred to me that perhaps that path has its own difficulties.

At least when you’re in the depths of a depression, there’s something there you can create friction against, there’s a height of emotion that gives you something to engage.

When you’re in the middle, there isn’t very much scenery and you’re not sure what direction to travel in, so you just coast. When things are truly horrible, you at least know that anything you do constitutes an improvement.

So, gradually, I’ve been allowing some of the water back into the boat.

This creates the potential to sink, but hopefully it will spur you to action.

I have made some sketchy plans for this year, but I am making them in the knowledge that things can fall apart at any time.

I think this is the most unpleasant part of my current predicament. I feel too old to have to deal with so many uncertainties. There is no solid ground, everything is quicksand.

The floor has dissolved beneath me in so many different ways that there’s almost a sense of dramatic unity to it. If you saw it in a movie, you wouldn’t believe it.

This is not lightning from above, though. There’s a terrible logic to all of it, all of these neglected chickens coming home to roost simultaneously. Stepping back from it objectively, it makes perfect sense and I see my own hand guiding all of it.

Which is a drag, frankly. At a time like this, self-esteem is an important ingredient. I’d rather be blaming someone else or cursing the darkness, etc.

It’s interesting. I could argue that this benign state represents a healthy, levelheaded view, free of the hopelessness and horror that characterizes depression.

On the other hand, you could also say it’s an easy way to temporarily escape from some truly awful issues and choices.

At any rate, I am not out of the woods. Not by a long shot.

I have my days and I have my days.

I would be lying if I said that I didn’t sometimes wonder how I was going to make it to the end of 2006.

There is another extreme, however, that’s just as far from the middle as the other.

It happens sometimes when I close my eyes.

I feel as if I am traveling through spaces of great beauty and immortal consciousness.

It doesn’t last for long.

But I wonder:

If I am capable of imagining this, if I can create this -

- doesn’t it mean that something that beautiful has to exist somewhere, somehow?

Where is it? How do I get more of it?

Is it waiting patiently for me at the end?

Or is it going to make me work harder than I ever thought possible while I am here?


Blogger Miss Templeton said...

Dear Count

I stopped by to give the slip to my own demons for the moment and see how the world was with you.

I wish I could convey more than a stranger's sympathy, but perhaps I can say that finding your blog a while back was a wonderful discovery. Your unabashed love of literature -- and most would describe your tastes as 'difficult' on that front -- is just a joy to read. I might never make it through Finnegans Wake, but you give me the sense that it would be hell of fun thing to try. Your other tastes and fancies may not always be my own, but I'm more interested in them now because of your recommendation.

Again, the web and the little worlds we create here cannot stand up against the real challenges we face in life, but your corner of the web is one of the places I'm glad I've found.

Another reader who admires your style has sent me a Donald McGill archive link for amusement. I pass it along in the same spirit and hope that I'll see more of you (though not in the McGill sense of the pun) online.

Sunday, February 26, 2006 6:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Uncle Cleetus said...

It was great to see you & the Mrs. the other day. Great conversation, laughter and a bit of musical fun as well. I hope it was a bit of a break from recent events. I know you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back on track.

Got to keep on keeping on brother!

Sunday, February 26, 2006 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Dear Ms. T,

Thank you so much! I am as flattered now as I was when you first made a point of mentioning us on your blog. It's a badge I wear with pride.

Let me, in fact, be plain about it if I haven't before: You have a witty and individual voice which makes your writing a pleasure to read, regardless of the subject. And in an electronic wilderness, you stand out with grace and ease.

I feel terribly lucky that you somehow bumped into our little yard sale here and saw fit to hang around.

Thank you for the good wishes and I hope I can keep making your visits worthwhile.


Monday, February 27, 2006 6:02:00 AM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Dear Uncle Cleetus,

We were both similarly pleased that you decided to drop by! It was great to see you and the wife is already planning on drafting you for her upcoming "When You're Lookin' At Me, You're Lookin' At Jewry" tour.

It's Semitic Country Music with a mezuzah-like slant!


Monday, February 27, 2006 6:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Cleetus Santana said...

Hey- Don't be a schmendrick! Did you know that Patsy Cline was really Patsy Kleinfeld! As cacamaimey as that sounds- Jews have made great contributions to Country/Roots Music! It is not a facacta idea at all! Robert Zimmerman- Hello?

And you thought I was just a clueless shagitz.

I'm tuning my guitar as we speak- Klezmer Kountry here we come! Giddy Up!

Monday, February 27, 2006 10:51:00 PM  
Blogger Miss Templeton said...

Maybe I can contribute a little something to these last two posts by recommending the film Shalom Ireland with the soundtrack Ceilizemer by local band Driving With Fergus and the The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band.

But the hot ticket in town and getting mucho airplay in the Bay Area is Josh Lederman Y Los Diablos. Check THAT out.

And YES to Robert Zimmerman, who picked up an Irish song from the Clancy Brothers (or the Dubliners according to this site) and reworked it into the American classic "With God on Our Side." Indeed, the first time the local pub ballad bigwig stepped up to the mic and started singing "Come all ye young rebels and list while I sing. For the love of one's country is a terrible thing..." I thought "What on earth is he is he doing with Bob Dylan's song?"

Thursday, March 02, 2006 1:24:00 AM  

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