touching the void - (but good touching!)

better work on the book last night. we worked a little past the time we thought we would and are starting to carve our way word by word, sentence by sentence. the hope is
that each progression will feed into the next and become self-perpetuating, like some large turbine engine clunking to life. yes, we are still at base camp looking up at the mountain to be scaled but we are slowly discerning the best route to get there as well the best way(s) we work together. in fact, this very metaphor – mountain climbing – we have used before: attempting to get thru the peaks, plains and valleys of the year of the brain tumor. so I suppose in some sick and twisted sense of (dry) humor, it’s a fitting and humorous metaphor. anyway….

parisian apartment (video)

here's some random bits from the apartment we rented for a wk
in paris. the wheezy breathing at the beginning belongs sadly to me
despite having just run the vancouver bc marathon. what can i say? it's up 5 windy flights. you try it.

the man standing in the apt toward the end speaking french into his cell phone is Monsieur Gilles, the owner and proprietor who was attempting
to fix the cable/internet/phone-line w/ the (lack of) help from a parisian operator


august moves on

whiffs of autumn in the air as we round the corner
toward full on indian summer. and where-o’-where did the time go?

very tired today as we woke up last night around 3am to
watch the moon eclipsed by the earth and get all red and dark

marg and I continue to work on the book and w/ each passing day it gets easier to contend w/. There are multiple levels and complications naturally.

The most basic is simply how we work together, being two very diff writers w/ two very diff styles and approaches and disiciplines. another is the book itself – slippery and very hard to get a grasp on what exactly it’s going to be. not quite literary memoir but mainly so, only w/ visuals but not visuals that merely illustrate the text but hopefully illuminate it so that text and visual threads connote something larger and harder to define. it’s serpentine and spidery. thirdly, revisiting and reliving some of the highlights and lowlights of a year dealing w/ a brain tumor naturally churns up some things better left forgotten, some emotional things tug at us, urging us underwater, threatening to keep us there.

I still have deep anger and hurt and confusion and befuddlement and fear as I remember and relive this time. This era that this dec 27 will have begun 3 yrs ago. it exists right alongside me, both separate from me and forever intertwined w/ my being and memory. It still messes w/ me and I suspect it will forever.


wknd (w/ video)

here's some video bits of last wknd. still feel slightly buzzed off the whole experience. trying to reconcile pasts and presents even though they may intertwine and break off and rejoin each other. is this a function of having survived a brain tumor, this hyper-sensitivity to personal history? is it a mere function of aging somehow enhanced by my recent proximity to oblivion? am i merely a freakshow? Will this continue on through adult life? anyways....


persistence of time

it is quite the ride, stepping back in time to places of your youth where each thing your eyes fall upon – be it structure, or person, or restaurant, or tree – has an emotional charge, summoning up bits of long-forgotten business. this wknd then – back in Humboldt county, mainly Arcata – was a strange swirl of past and present for me and marg. We each have history and memory in Humboldt that predates when we knew each other. Also, we have shared history and memory from when we knew each other but only in a platonic capacity. Also, we returned there 7 yrs ago (which was 3 yrs after leaving there) to be wed in patrick’s pt state park which just happens to be where we went this wknd for a marital celebration/reception. Also, Arcata seems fundamentally the same but w/ some cosmetic changes and yet it was very different from when we were there, but not really. Like a giant moebius strip of space and time.

each place we went seemed to be a sort of box with sub-compartments and hidden doors, where things would flash out at us – be it individually or collectively. There’s the place where I stood when I heard ___. There’s where we first _____. There’s the X where Y told Z about A.

But also, we’re older. We noticed things like the new sod on the plaza (!) or the sq footage of commercial rental space (!) or the outrageous prices for real estate.

we checked in to hotel Arcata. we went to bubbles, northtown books, café mokka. walked the streets and saw Pete. [Yes, that Pete. Yes he is still there and yes he still told us he loved us.] ate at folie douce. met red and friend for a drink at everetts. later jervis joined us. we got drunken donuts at dons.

after sleeping we walked around plaza for farmer’s market. a band played their music thru solar powered amplifiers. we walked to daybreak café. headed back and saw a house being moved down the street (which involved multiple agencies), we went to tin can mailman. we went to wedding/celebration/reception and met a handful of people from portland. that night we returned to café mokka and everetts. next morning, we checked out of hotel, headed up to redwood park. after we drove around the town, hitting all the high points of our past: the Beverly house, the 11th st house, sunnybrae shopping center, the Arcata marsh etc etc etc. drove out to samoa to go to cookhouse for breakfast, said goodbye to folks and drove away.

on way out of town we stopped back at patrick’s pt state park and went back to wedding rock. how strange and surreal to regard this stunning rock outcropping
and to recall w/ precision events of 7 yrs ago. we are grateful to have been married there.

here's a smattering of pix




in arcata. humboldt co. just arrived. have not been here we determined in 4 yrs. a strange phenomenon to be back. more in due time


blowing dust

as mentioned previously, marg and i have re-begun working on THE BOOK. it's difficult and slow-going b/c neither of us has written a book before for one.
for two the subject matter is difficult. for three each of us has a very
particular writing style/approach/discipline that may or may not line up w/ the other person's.

in any case. on sunday, the new moon, we sat down and hashed out a schedule.
we mapped our approach to tackling the text and non-text parts of the book
and how we'll contend w/ them. monday nite and last nite after work we
sat down and catalogued the mountain of supplemental info we've amassed. most
will probably end up in the non-text parts of the book but
we elected to look at it now in case it should trigger/inspire
ideas or approaches to the text part that were heretofore unseen.
already, just a couple days in and we've found some rich troves on
previously unmined ideas. most attributable to the passage of time
and perspective i'd suppose. still, it is highly emotionally charged
and coming across a bit of paper or an email or an article from
the early part (ie, diagnosis, before surgery) is enough to send us both

however, w/ each conversation, w/ each passing second that we are discussing the book, we are refining it. The concept is slowly coming together, fused and compressed into an actual thing. Moving from the nebulous gas of the abstract into being. the motion is exciting and we are entering a new phase.


the crash(ing)

they all said it would happen. they all said count on it; it will occur and there's no way it couldn't. margaret had hers about a year ago, after we moved into the alder house, shortly after returning from boston, after her role as 'caregiver' had been rescinded due to the good fortune of my health. she was in a daze, a fog of exhaustion, depression, heavy-limbed and unsleeping; a point where i currently find myself residing.

it makes sense in a way: after the giant time and energy-consumers of buying the house, running the marathon, going to paris etc, further paired w/ a sort of
stronger willingness to emerge from the cocoon of living day-to-day and trust
the infallibility of strong numbers there would have to be some type of
external reaction. a depth charge exploded deep under the ocean dark 2.5 yrs ago. Living in that world came equipped with the comforts of an automatic schedule,
a framework of points and margins against which to measure progress, experts to rely upon, to pour faiths into, specific tests and scores and quantifiable goods and bads.

now, finally surfacing, a clenched fist uncurling slowly, back to the real world, the everyday life, the mundane and routine and the peculiar position of trying to be grateful for things, even if they're annoying. the miracles of drawing breath and beating hearts. certain things cannot be reconciled, you just have to live among hazy realizations, you have to accept things, you have to continue - not in spite of them, but because of them.

in any case, this picture was taken in boston in nov 05, after my 34th and penultimate radiation treatment for my brain tumor.