all oden, all the time

and so starts another nba season, w/ prospects looking favorable for the trailblazers. it's not just oden - you can't merely plug in talent and expect miracles - it's everyone and everything: roy, lamarcus, nate, the fans, portland, and the abiding sense of what this article calls 'citizenship' among the players. things feel warm and fuzzy. or at least approaching warm and fuzzy.

game tonight is in LA. first game at the rose garden is friday, halloween night. happy to say that we will be in attendance w/ my dad. bring it.


triggered star formation

eventually gravitational collapse breaks immense mollecular clouds down into fragments. the fragments rotate into tiny gas spheres. when those spheres are strong enough to push back against gravity they become protostars. After a gaggle of other processes involve themselves hydrogen begins to fuse and hence it becomes a star. it takes a real long time.

granted i'm condensing and paraphrasing but that's the gist in a nutshell.

point being thusly:

that's kind of how things have felt lately. the book, after years of percolation and marinating, is at last revealing itself, taking form, becoming. some other processes yet to play their role but it is gathering mass and heat. (thanks in no small measure to the astute notes and perspective of CS. thank you!) we are growing confident that we can actually pull this off or, at the very least, be done with it in the foreseeable future (note: referring to the astronomical timeframe of course).

so too w/ the movie (which i don't think i've mentioned here yet). i've been working on this movie in some way and to some degree every day since we moved to portland 4.5 yrs ago. bit by bit, inch by inch, particle by particle. the movements were often on the micro scale, unable to be seen w/ the naked eye. but it's coming, it's coming...


the beards

if you look closely you'll see me getting kicked and yelled at by mm about 100 yrs ago in los angeles. actually it was 2003.



mm and i have started a new sort of ceremony wherein when either of us receives some sort of creative blunting or rejection (be it for a grant, a publication, a contest)that we will celebrate. this is not merely to be ironic or to keep us from self-pity but also to in fact celebrate the fact that we're still trying to do what we want to do.

yesterday's celebration was a sort of benchmark in a way b/c we were both flummoxed and agitated by the rejection of mm's essay, not just her. Granted the essay involves the first wk of my diagnosis and how we handled it so i am probably over-protective since i'm in it. Also, it's taken from our memoir-in-progress and getting the essay published in a respected literary journal would be a boon so i have a stake in its success. All that aside though, it was the note they put on mm's rejection email, citing how impressed w/ the caliber of the writing, how stunning her 'scalpel-like insight's were to them but that ultimately they had to reject it b/c the essay was 'too familiar'. Familiar? Too freaking familiar?! Argh, my rage is rising as i type this out. Isn't every possible topic for an essay or a story familiar? It feels like a cop out. A dodge.

i mean, it's certainly their prerogative to reject whatever they want to reject. Of course. But to single out mm's insights and talents as particularly compelling and then reject them b/c of subject matter? What is she supposed to do w/ that information?

i am certainly biased in favor of mm's writing (and prone to both hyperbole and mythologizing) but these buffons are the Decca Records of the literary world. They will be sorry. They will rue the freaking day.

okay, i feel better now.


m e r c u r y

new color photography of mercury. (you know, the planet). as always for me, all things astronomical are crushing reminders of our
(in)significance. the size and scope of infinity always does a number on me. what's all this for anyway?


the corridor, revisited

3 days into october and i can feel a familiar tug at my emotional resolve. a low-grade sort of hum that heralds (or could herald) impending greyness and/or depression. maybe it's seasonal, after all it's been grey and rainy for the past couple days, but that feels reductive. i've long been a champion of all things rainy and autumnal and would like to think that it's more reasoned or complex than some knee-jerk mammalian computer-chip reaction.

more likely is the connotative value of autumn: almost 4 yrs ago, at almost this time i began to get the headaches, followed soon by the blurred vision. this whole stretch of autumn, october thru xmas, was the preamble and backstory of the brain tumor year. then, the following october (2005) i found myself living in a hotel room in Cambridge, MA for 2 months as i received proton beam radiation at Mass General. While the tale has a happy ending (meaning i'm still alive, typing this out) just remembering it summons the emotions of that time, the fear, angst, dread and above all, the uncertainty.

here's another reason, going hand and hand w/ the above, (based on a recent blood draw) my pituitary functions are likely beginning to slow and fail. this was predicted and not a surprise. "not if but when" b/c of the radiation treatment. i'm meeting w/ endocrinologist next month to look at options which, as i understand it, means i'll be on some type of drug(s) for the rest of my life. not only can lowered pituitary function cause depression on a chemical level but for me the mere contemplation of the pituitary failure promotes it. ugh.

i am doing my best to remember that when we were in the corridor, the one of 2005 where we didn't know what would happen or what to do or if i would even live out the year, that we would have paid any price. we would have made any bargain and from that vantage point (ie, the abyss) taking a drug for the rest of my life was the sweetest most benign option possible.

it is all - the autumn depression, the pituitary news - a flashing reminder that no matter how 'normal' my life may feel now, no matter how gloriously mundane things like going to the movies, paying a bill, reading a book may be, no matter how much time i put between myself and 2005 that i am not returned fully from brain tumor land and i never will be. Some strand of my life will always be tethered to it.