Escape from a stale hell

Should I write about this?

It's personal and probably very boring, so of course I'll write about it. Personal and boring is my brand. Only question is, will anyone read it?

It's not that I don't want to write this page, it's that I don't want to write. 

Writing takes effort, when I'd rather simply sit here doing nothing — sad, fat, and lonely, surfing the net looking for something interesting. That's what I did yesterday, and the day before.

Writing is the only thing that I sometimes do well, and since my beloved Mrs died, writing is the only thing that brings joy. But the joy is when something's written, and I can read it and tell myself without lying that it's reasonably good. 

Getting to that moment is no joy at all — uncertainty and headscratching before and after every paragraph, a rotten first draft, followed by tedious rewrites and typo-fixing and more rewrites, and half the time it still stinks and (usually) gets deleted.

At its very best, when I've finished writing something that arguably doesn't stink, I sigh and smile and feel good for a while, but jeez, getting to that smile is difficult and there are so many things I'd rather do.

Yesterday, between eating too much and watching a shitty movie to the end, I caught myself staring at the clock on the wall, watching seconds tick away — for twenty minutes.

Literally wasting time — which is stupid and getting stupider, now that I'm old. If I'm lucky there's a few years of life left to get everything I want to write written. Gotta get to it, dummy, and quit watching time tick away.

But I'm full of doubt and lazy and don't want to give it the effort, and ooh, look at this video of a cat getting ready to pounce...

And anyway, what really is the point? I'm one unremarkable human out of billions, avoiding all but half a dozen of the others because people only get on my nerves.

After avoiding everyone for most of my life, by now very, very few people give a damn whether I write or don't, or whether I breathe or don't.

300 pounds of flesh and blubber here, angry and insecure, fearful and worried, filling the emptiness with cheeseburgers and fries from Mrs Rigby's Diner. So if anyone's wondered, that's why this website hasn't had much worth reading recently.

It's not even a fresh hell I've been in. It's stale, the same hell I spent too much time in fifty years ago, and have always visited regularly. It's a hell I know well.

I've read and believe that most people in the world have their own hells. All of us are always in a fog of fright and self-doubt and unanswered questions and unending terror. Only the particular frights and doubts differ from one person to another, if the science of psychology can be believed.

To escape, some turn to religion or drugs or needlepoint or suicide, or counseling if they're rich or well-insured, but none of that appeals to me. My way out from a serious funk is writing about it.

So this morning I've written about it. I've finally quit wriggling my tail and pounced.

Having re-read it, tidied it up, fixed some of the glaring dumbness, and re-read it one last time, I've decided it's good enough to let someone else read it (and thanks for reading it, if you did).

Then I sighed and smiled, and I'm still smiling. First one of those on my face in several days. I've written the blues away, I think, at least for the next month or so.



  1. Yeah, I thought you'd slowed down for the last week or so. Stale hell? We all go there sometimes. Welcome back, Doug.

    1. Well, thanks. You're still in San Francisco, right? Watch Tunnel Vision, man.

  2. Maybe you need a new catchy nom de guerre so you can watch yourself write with objectivity. "Skunk" is already taken by Jeff Baxter, although literally nobody but Mr Baxter knows what it means, and Jeff ain't talking -- but nobody calls him Jeff except me and I don't see much of him. You've already tried nation states. So try movie stars of the 30s next. Maybe combine it with a porn name like Reer Garson or George Cuckold.

    These are just suggestions, you understand. Your mileage will almost certainly vary.


    1. Before Holland, I had two nom de guerres, each lasting several years, both of which I'm happily distanced from. Between Holland of the 1990s and Holland of the 21st century there were two more, plus a few spares scattered about.

      If anyone ever tries to unravel me like the bastards tried with B Traven, they'll find me ununravelable, very much on purpose.

  3. We love you, you know, and I'll say it any time you need to hear it (but I think you hate it when people say things like that).

    1. > ...if my heart stops pumping this afternoon, which isn't entirely out of the question, nobody out here would notice for weeks...

      I'd notice, John. You're usually the only ping at the bottom of the well when I drop a pebble, plus you ping nicely.

    2. I know it and love you back, and also hate it, as you've surmised. Thanks!

  4. A kindness, thank you.

    We are largely alike, but there aren't many who are.


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