We all go a little mad sometimes, says Norman Bates in Hitchcock’s Psycho. Mad the way I am feeling after writing and instead of taking my usual walk afterward I went back to bed even after drinking three cups of coffee.
Norman Bates: "We all go a little mad sometimes."
That day of fatigue had returned. Back in the bed, I fell asleep to the sound of Vertigo playing quietly on DVD...
Awake again at 8:30 a.m. I shut off Vertigo at the point where Stewart is dragging Novak up the stairs and he’s not afraid...of heights anymore. Somewhat refreshed, but not completely, I went back to the office and re-read what I had written at 4 a.m. Made edits (yet again!) and discovered for a change I liked what had been written.
One very long, useless passage was subsequently cut where Travis remembers going into Compton Cafeteria on the night queens and queers fought SFPD after police raided the cafeteria because the owners hated gays. All that removed because it made Travis a lot older than he’s supposed to be in the novel. So ends the name of peculiar towns where queenish boys arrive to San Francisco from Hatchachubbee, Sugar Tit, Possum Trot and Dicks Peak to fight that bloody night in the Tenderloin 3 years before Stonewall takes place in New York...
Afterward and on the internet, I came across a name, Michael Ryan, on Danfling’s canceled soap message board. Ryan played a day role in EDGE OF NIGHT. Since I was so fond of that show for 1/3 of my life I wanted to know what Michael looked like and the storyline Michael had played.
I googled Michael Ryan and got another Michael W. Ryan... a religious cult leader and convicted murderer and white supremacist. Hmmm...after reading a tiny bit I was hooked. I went first to Wikipedia for a quick summary but, of course, wanted more detail. According to Wikipedia, “Ryan was the leader of a small, anti-government group that occupied a compound near Rulo, Nebraska, in the early 1980s. He and his group of followers had loose ties to Posse Comitatus and links to the Christian Identity movement. His teachings included the supremacy of the white race, the inherent evil of Jews, and a distrust of all established earthly authority, including governments. He and his followers carried out months of burglary under the cover of night. Reselling the items obtained by theft supported the activities of the group financially and built up weapons and supplies they believed would be needed for the imminent battle of Armageddon, which they assumed would occur in the form of a race war.”
But it was the murder of twenty-six-year-old James Thimm (who was eventually stomped to death by Ryan after three days of torture), not that the murder of 5-year-old Luke Stice didn’t disturb me as well (Luke was considered a mongrel and Ryan ordered his death), that took my breath away. On the www, I read every article I could find detailing Thimm’s torturous murder. A most chilling death that makes you want to cry and I did so⎯silently:
“Defendant (Michael Ryan) instructed Thimm to disrobe and to bend over a farrowing crate. Defendant then told Thimm that he was going to be sexually assaulted with a shovel handle. Defendant then inserted a shovel handle into a grease cartridge and told the men that Thimm had not done a good enough job with the goat and that Yahweh wanted Thimm probed. Defendant then inserted the shovel handle about 5 or 6 inches into Thimm's rectum and probed Thimm for about 30 seconds. When Thimm would not stop fidgeting, defendant tied Thimm's arms to the farrowing crate with baling wire.
Defendant then informed the men that Yahweh had said that he wanted the handle inserted between 8 and 10 inches and had given defendant the order in which each man was to probe Thimm. A tape measure was then used, and the shovel handle was marked. While defendant had the handle inserted in Thimm's rectum, he told Thimm, I ought to shove this thing up to your heart...”
When you can't do anything else...paint. It doesn't matter what it is or any good. The result is calming and madness goes away.
When away from her, particularly when I cannot sleep after midnight in another world and Saleem is on the opposite side of the earth and there is no Tenderloin to walk cautiously through to observe the dangerous attraction or Times Square or Chelsea and its Piers so different it is late at night in both than in daytime, I study live earth cams of the City of New York. On my laptop, I can zoom the cam into a live feed touching the mouse pad and even take close up shots of Father Duffy Square and the people on the steps and the people of the night strolling under bustling lights up and down the great white way.
Often does this brighten my spirit after midnight and away from her.
Writing “fiction” is hard to get back into after you have stopped to party and drink for several nights from Florence to Charleston. Still, you think about writing because it all you know, but do not write anything out of fear you will surely mess up so instead you sit nervously and knit.
The truth is it happened. You drank too much in Charleston at Dudleys, The Darling and you were an absolute bitch to that waitress/cashier in the pizza parlor on King Street. She, too, was a bitch because she had simply had it up to here and back with drunken tourists and college students coming in and out of the parlor all night and you were one of them. It was you she let have it and you let her have it right back and your acquaintance/best of friend you let him have it harder for taking her side and not yours. So you can’t change a thing about what happened because it did. It is now in the past and you can move on if you believe enough in yourself. So you forgive yourself and hope they have too...
So on an up day after depression subsides, you start all over again and began picking up the pieces one piece at a time and promising in the back of your mind to never to drink that much again (though, really, you laugh about it now because it was great fun! yes, for you! but perhaps not at all for them--the victims of your madness and destruction).
En route to Charleston with a good old friend in town from San Francisco, who really is the best of a friend and has helped me out of jams plenty of times and yet never brings up the hurts, we were hungry and stopped by a country restaurant called Shady Rest. Shady Rest is a family restaurant in Johnsonville on South Carolina Highway 41 also known as Georgetown Road.
The city of Johnsonville is a small rural town with a population of no greater than 1,600 people in the city limits and by the looks of it there really isn’t much there...except they do have two chain grocery stores--Piggly Wiggly and IGA/Kroger, a chain McDonalds and Subway shop, a Mexican restaurant on Broadway Street, a BBQ joint also on Broadway, Fred's Dollar Store across from Piggly Wiggly, Wellman Country Club and the Shady Rest Restaurant the most authentic and unique of all of them.
We were fortunate to miss the Sunday rush crowd since we spent that time exploring an old mansion and slave house we discovered somewhere on Old River Road outside of Florence city limits. There we spent hours walking through an old abandoned plantation built in 1846 and photographing it, particularly the former one room slave house (or kitchen?) in back of the main house and other buildings and a barn that have since fallen down. In the little house I walked through it and touched the walls and the old brick fireplace and saw that in modern times some developer had tried to turn the quarter into a studio adding a modern bathtub that is now rusty and from the back of the tub a flimsy back door opens into the woods. For a long moment though I just stood there inside of the slave quarter or slave kitchen (kitchens, I believe, were not apart of the main house back then and were built in the backyard to avoid cooking smelling up the main house) and silently I imagined what it was like to be a slave to be taking care of completely with free healthcare, food, shelter, family but without freewill except only to serve the master and his family.
In Shady Rest we were told by our kind waitress, a big girl, with a sweet Southern accent and the prettiest smile and her brown hair pulled back into a ponytail that on Sundays after church, Shady Rest is the busiest place in this part of Florence county after church services let out and all of the natives came to Shady Rest to eat dinner and not a table or the counter in the restaurant is left empty during that time.
As we were late arrivals and new to the Shady Rest it was calm with only a few local people left inside including an African American church woman who sat behind us all dressed up in her Sunday best. The woman wore a big beautiful Sunday church hat that was wide-rimmed and reddish in color. Her blazer a checkered black and white and the long dress black and wide at the tail and it swung when she walked. Her pumps and purse and scarf were the same color of the hat. A pretty woman she told us she was a pastor’s wife, the 7th child of nine children and her husband, the paster of a church in Hemingway the next town after Johnsonville, was also the 7th child of nine in his family. She had a thing about the number 7 and good country food in a place like Shady Rest.
As we waited for our order--the daily special--she, Ms. Weston was her maiden name, told us more about her family history whether we wanted to hear it or not. The Westons were a big family of nine children (six girls and three boys) and their father was Weymond Weston, whom she loved to death, left them 63 acres of land in Georgetown County when he died and where they still held family reunions. The family name is Weston, not Western, she reminded us since most people get it wrong thinking she said Western...but it is actually Wes-ton and she wanted us to remember that.
What we truly learned though from Ms. Weston as she ate the last of her chicken all the way down to the bone and to the marrow as she sternly pointed out to us that she and her brothers and sisters were raised entirely by their father alone without help of any kind from their mother. Most importantly, she was a proud daughter of her daddy and not of her mother who apparently had left home (for some reason she seemed a bit bitter about her mother and I understood...) when they were little girls but daddy did not leave his children and took care of his own and what he created. Most fathers leave the children and it's the mother who raises the children, she told us, but it was the father who stayed. Her daddy raised her and her siblings and left them 63 acres of land. A fact she is most proud of.
Finally our daily special arrived. Two specials of Country Fried Chicken, which came along with three sides we selected: gravy and rice, string beans ( or broccoli as WW ordered instead of green beans ), and sweet iced tea. And yes, yams the woman, Ms. Weston, demanded we must have the yams because she loved it so along with a slice of chocolate cake that was very yellow with chocolate stripes. She had decided to have a piece for dessert because it was Sunday.
Shady Rest's fried chicken was out of this world like nothing I've ever tasted anywhere. We both selected dark meat: two pieces of the thigh. The seasoning was perfect and nothing over salted. The skin crunchy without being too oily, delicious, and inside the meat tender with a flavor that made me tap my feet and want two more pieces. The best chicken I have ever had on planet earth is right there in awesome Shady Rest Restaurant in little old Johnsonville, South Carolina.
Hmm...You liked the soup pic I shared with only you. Your reply made me smile so wide. The soup I spent hours making with vegetables like lentils, black beans, onions, carrots, collard greens, basil, potatoes, okra and...a fruit like a vegetable--tomato. It was a good soup for a most dreary day when it rained most of the morning and afternoon and from the writing room I could hear the wind howl like spirits when the wind hit against the opening in the building's exterior and underneath the double-window of the writing room and the sliver of walls between the single window that juts out from the living room nook. Meantime, I can see the delicate little shrubs shaking violently back and forth below the window and spitting rain covers the glass and drips in spots like tears of a crying people. The attached was taken the late night on South Park Street when I was bicycling and stopped on the grass in front of the church to admire that tall white steeple set against the bluest dawn. You would have thought we were the only persons left in the universe because there was no sound and nothing stirred save me and my every thought of you.
Love didn't actually come quickly. It's hard for me to be in love when I am madly in love with me. But your persistence...was relentlessly... and you became my other Heart.
The mail carrier came just before noon when I was staring out the window. I was not writing, reading or listening to anything and just sitting at the desk and wondering what the naked white bark tree was standing so strikingly there in the center over the branch and by the church's high roof framing an imposing backdrop on top of a hilltop under a sinister sky. The roof changes colors every hour reflected by the light and dark of day. Sometimes, it looks bright and blond like the high brush growing wild along the banks of the branch that rushes free from Timrod creek and flows by a trail covered in dry and wet leaves through the dense woods and into Jeffries creek. It really is a nice, serene view...
Fog like pea soup or the way fog often hovers in San Francisco like a piece of Heaven is over Timrod Park neighborhood this morning. It is a good time to Write for many hours or read fiction and no news; afterward, Chat with the one you love the most on the Eve of Valentine's Day & repeat over and over again, "I Love You." ....though, we just did that earlier. Why not again be the gift we are to each other?
Muhiyidin Moye, a prominent member of Charleston’s affiliate of the Black Lives Matter movement, died last Tuesday, in New Orleans, as a result of gunshot wounds he suffered while riding his bicycle. Moye became infamous for an attempt to grab a Confederate flag away from a secessionist demonstrator in Charleston last year because the sight of it had upset his “elders.”
Martin Luther King, Jr., once remarked that social change was dependent upon the efforts of people who are “creatively maladjusted” to society, people whose contours have not been buffed to smoothness by indecent politeness and faulty social grace.
RIP Muhiyidin Moye.
After a 3 chapterS re-writing session because that's all writing is...is to re-write endlessly-- that took all day or up until now at 4:00 PM, I felt pretty satisfied with the result. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, I started Betty Crocker dark chocolate brownies. After the timer sounded 35 minutes later, I took them out of the oven and that became late lunch. One slice with two glasses of milk...WoW! They were perfectly moist and better than the ones I last made for Shondale and TENDERLOIN NEIGHBORHOOD DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION that was such a hit without being a "sensation".
JournalCharles. The art of letter writing. Something I have not done in many years due to instant email and social media gratification. Good Lord! I can remember a time when a lover and I would write to each other every day by snail mail. I could hardly wait to run home in Bernal Heights then from work via slow-ass MUNI J-Church to find his daily letters I could hardly wait to run home to find his daily letter, and I would soak for an hour in the bathtub and read them over and over until I was as giddy as a school girl. He was had moved to Dallas while I remained in San Francisco, so we wrote three-page love-letters on pretty letter paper sweetened with cologne and kisses and then telephoned nightly when I couldn't wait to hear voicemail. My only regret now is that when he died I was so shattered I burned every letter. Today, I re-started an old habit when I realized how lonely it is here no matter who you meet and how much I miss my dearest friends I left behind in San Francisco and have known longer than anyone on the planet . . .
Timrod Park, S. Coit Street.
From a living room view a Northern cardinal (the redbird), so beautiful and bold and male because the male species is the more beautiful and colorful in that world of male and female counterparts, is perched near top of the naked tree above the winter forest dotted with patches of green pines by the branch snaking down the low hillside carpeted in dry red and brown leaves I aim to run through like a child without care. Frost stands like dull snow on golden short grass. The cardinal wiggles slightly on a delicate twig in the sunlight and the sky is extremely pale blue and without a single cloud ...