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Phoenix

March 24, 2013

I thought The Blair Witch Project was a terrifying film, but not for the reasons you might think. Josh is screaming at Heather to turn off the camera, furious because she just won’t stop filming.

Later he trains  the camera away on her to teach her a lesson, directing her.

“Okay, here’s your motivation: You’re lost! You’re angry in the woods! And no one is here to help you! There’s a fucking witch and she keeps leaving shit outside your door! There’s no one here to help you! She left little trinkets, you fucking took one of them! She ran after us! There’s no one here to help you. We walked for 15 hours today! We ended up in the same place! There’s no one here to help you. That’s your motivation! That’s your motivation!”

That was always a little too close. Too close years ago, when the movie first came out, because I had just lost the last member of my family and the silence was so overwhelming; too close now because it’s what I’ve (re-)learned in the past year. During this little crisis of mine, the one it looks like you’re all invited to. Maybe it always true, even before the Grim Reaper came to call; I don’t know. Maybe it was always an illusion that if anything bad ever happened, really bad, there would be phone calls & door knocks & emails. Because it did, & there weren’t. I walked 54 years and ended up in the same place, and there was no one here to help me. All those years I sang Lonesome Valley on the street, I thought there was some moment when one emerged, but the truth is, you are alone in your skin and no matter how close people seem to get, in the end anything but that solitude, the gap between electrons, is an illusion.

I remember the time right after my sister died. She couldn’t live without my mother, who had passed away 11 months before. I was getting acupuncture for something, I can’t even remember what. I told Dr. Ou I now had no father, no mother, no sister. She said “Now you’re free.”

Something is going on with me right now that might be the final snip that separates me from my past, to which I have clung for so long & tried to live & relive & relive again because…because why? the terror of the realization that there’s really no one there was just too much? So I tried to create this reality for myself, a life with family where there was none? family I tried to create from friends I dragged kicking & screaming to their roles?

That life is gone. When I look behind me, there’s just a smoking rubble where a life used to be. The thing that comes to mind is something from years ago, when I lived in an area where there had been a devastating fire; I remember how healing it was to learn that one of the effects of the fire was that seeds–possibly decades old–had been scorched by the fire & sprung to life like popcorn & the following year, when everyone really needed it, the area that had burned was now covered in wildflowers.

I’ve clung to the past because it was so comfortable and the future so terrifying (present even more so, I suppose). Used it to try to keep my loved ones alive, to escape putting one foot in front of the other. Been terrified to leave a house that’s gotten more & more toxic until it’s finally caught fire like a fracked faucet & still I’ve been crouched in the corner terrified to leave.

What is that secret other people have, people who have made lives on foundations that have gotten bigger, added on rooms, windows, paths, patios, garages? Instead of sitting in one room that has gotten closer & more crowded & harder to move around in. A strange kind of psychic agoraphobia. Physically I’m outdoors all the time, & I do walk among the living, but psychically I never go outdoors & maybe never have. No wonder the hermit down the street bugs the shit out of me.

As with all dreams, all the characters are me. The house, the prisoner, and the firebug, who is the Witness, the Deepest Self, the True Voice. The psyche resorting to extreme measures to get someone off the proverbial ledge. In the end, we save our own lives.

So I decided to go outside today. Outdoors in my life, in my mind. This is a big deal for me. I’m going to look back on this period and recognize it as the time I went outside, maybe for the first time. Did you hear the one about the dyslexic agnostic insomniac who lies awake at night wondering if there really is a dog? I’m going to do it, step by step, in this blog, in front of Dog & everybody.

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