Thursday, September 14, 2006

9.14.06, Cont'd Disconnection and Upcoming NCPB


[Background music tonight: Monk’s later years work under the 2001 title Thelonious Monk: The Columbia Years, ’62-68. I’m going to give it a few good listens and see if there’s anything to some of the critiques some people have made about his later work being too tame. Too, there’s a historical angle, too, in that it jives with music, culture, politics, etc. that was around when I was born—something I’m trying to work into a sketch of the historical moment into which I was born. 1968.]

To respond on Disconnection. (The hot chocolate was at Vivace, btw, never had it at Bauhaus.) The emotional states or states of being I feel alienated from—a very apt term because I do feel I’ve been a life-laborer and now my time-work has been put in and someone else is getting the profit and/or utility from it, but if life is a metaphor for capitalism, who are the capitalists? Hmm—those states seem to be the so-called normal ones for most people. I’ve always felt like a nonconformist inside; not to claim I’ve always or simply unthinkingly been one, but rather that I think there’s an inherent value of thinking like one. At least. So in a sense my alienation isn’t new. It is, however, extreme these days.

Seeing the daily routines people have can be horrifying at times. And thinking of death so much more presently than ever before exacerbates this for me. Whether it’s materialistic attachment, ambition for ambition’s sake or for power’s sake, or all the fronting. Trivial matters also occupy so much of people’s lives, simple priorities. Now when I’m “out there” watching or dealing with people, I just feel like I see more. It all sounds trite to put it into words, but the experience is real and all I can say is that nothing in the world looks like it used to. Work, for example, is just that. Work. And I spent a hell of a lot of time “working,” and sadly doing a lot of work I thought I should be doing. When that normative superego of Work takes over, for me, the pleasure of it gets lost. Worries over superiors, evaluations, the power of the masses or “customers,” all of these become tyrannical. Seeing all this more clearly is in large part what disconnects me. (Feel like I’m spinning my wheels here, trying to get this out…)

As for the wanting of conversations to end, of mouthing certain words and thinking others or simply waiting waiting waiting for it all to end, this is clearly something I’ve felt too. Part of good old fashioned misanthropy, on the one hand. (Which, B. you should get a lot of in anthro now…no?) On the other, it’s another testament to the fact that we do live in a camera obscura world, just like Uncle Karl says.

On a different note, I wanted to follow up on the pain management issue. I’ve decided to go through with the NCPB (the neurolytic celiac plexus block) procedure, and have it scheduled currently for early October. I might switch this up to late September but we’ll see. This means I get one more hose shoved down my throat and they inject absolute alcohol into the celiac plexus. Then it dies. The theory, in three out of four cases, is that when it dies, most of the pain in that area dies. Fingers crossed, I move ahead.

Also, I’m moving into a new place come October. Very close to my old place so the neighborhood routines can continue, even though I’m much less of a bon vivant than before. It means more space and numerous other good things. More on this as it comes. For today that’s enough from me, in my little disconnected world.

Franky Scale today was pretty good, let’s say 7; though I spent half the day at school (thus “work”) and there’s an odd physical feeling about being “out and about” that I haven’t fully adjusted to. I’m realizing again, too, that it might be good to get myself doing this more regularly because the values of the distraction seem valuable.

A P.S. The comments the other day in the post "Writing Your Own Eulogy," and this might be a hairsplitting point, but this title was only metaphor. Though I am working on a memoir, I'm not trying to write my own eulogy. There's a lot tied up with eulogies, and eulogies are for the living, so when it's time for that it will be somebody else's job. Not mine.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing. I hope the pain management procedure does what it's supposed to.

Vivace hot chocolate is good, too. But their little cups of espresso with a shot of orange syrup (I forget their trendy name) are divine.

And yes, I'm sure I'll feel like a mis-anthropologist about as often as I feel like an anthropologist. The founding fathers of anthropology seemed to have a hate on for the human race at times. I don't hate people, just wish we would wake up.

I wish you more connection, or if not then some interesting, novel moments amidst the disconnect.


Slarry said...

  Friday, September 15, 2006

From the Book: WHAT DYING PEOPLE WANT David Kuhl, MD

page 255

“It seems that knowing you have a terminal illness affects your awareness
of yourself, of your relationships with others, and your understanding of the spiritual.
It seems to include a process of transition from an outward journey
to an inward journey, from a strength within to a connection to a source of strength outside yourself. Knowing you have a terminal illness PUSHES YOU to move
from the unconscious and the familiar to a new consciousness, and the unfamiliar,
from the superficiality of routine to a deeper attention to the soul.”

written by Portia nelson.

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost ... I am helpless
It isn’t my fault
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it there.
I still fall in ... it’s a habit ... but
my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my problem.
I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.
-Portia Nelson

Thank you for not only recommending this book but insisting that I read it.
It has helped increase my understanding, not only in regards to what
you need, want and might be feeling--- but also how my feelings, perceptions and behavior can affect you, possibly adding to your sometime confusion, stress, sense of loss or feeling misunderstood and not heard.

Hopefully it is helping me be less ignorant, more informed and sensitive to you.
A better listener.

I love you, Mr. J. Monkey Man. I hope you find another street or road
that will help give you the will to keep fighting---
I know you are surrounded by people who love and care about---
all who would do anything for you.

But like you said, your isolating yourself, your independence, isn’t anything new.
But perhaps a little walk about or a night of coffee with friends
would be good. You have so much to offer, still so much to say--
why not say it ?
I would go-- partially because so often I like and enjoy your friends,
“your people” more than my own. : )

Scott drinking hot chocolate over a cup of joe??? I almost passed out.
It does sound good, though.
It is raining here in Zion. Similar to Seattle.
Somehow, it makes me feel closer to you. I listened to the CD you made, the one with Tom Waits, etc. I’ve decided I am not anywhere near done knowing you,
learning from you, being around you and your beautiful mind.

I think we will take your Mom, the Nade, out for dinner tonight.
Wish you could come.

Miss and love you---


“For the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the
specific meaning of a person's life at a given moment.”

Slarry said...

It should reach you within a few days. : )

The procedure sounds solid.

Big Love---
Sheryl Ann

Mr. Jones said...


Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have to take issue with a few points in your comment, and I think blog/comment space is the right place because of the implications of letting parts of the comment slide. Please take this in a spirit of wanting clear communication, it's not meant negatively.

I didn't think much of the poem, which would normally be neither here nor there, but this time it has ramifications. I read the implication of both poem and your follow-up comment as being that I've lost my will to fight this, or that it's slacked, etc. I disagree & wish you weren't thinking or saying that. To feel deeply all types of feelings, even the dark and morbid ones, is healthy--especially at such time as this. I'm not afraid to go down the dark alleys of thought. I want to see what's there. It doesn't indicate a loss of will or a quitting. Not that I've chosen the very best "street" to walk down but I'd like my street choice left to me, if you know what I mean.

The second point is word choice with "your isolating [yourself]." Again I have to take issue with what this implies. I've long been independent, a free thinker (if you will), and comfortable being by myself. The above characterization--"isolating" myself, active verb--strikes me as off base. It seems to be a less-than-ideal descriptor. I'm open to arguments to the contrary, though I'm not sure what the purpose would be. Point is, to you I apparently seem to be in the process of actively isolating myself, and I'd like to suggest that this is not the case. My disconnection or alienation I've talked about, those are circumstance based, they're not active choices. They are part of this experience.

I can't expect everyone to understand where I am or what my experience is like--that's one reason I write the blog. To pass on what I go through. To describe my "street.". . .

So I'm still here struggling, "fighting," yes. I might think morbid thoughts at times, I might think or act contrarily, or at least independently. There's no active running on my part. I'm right here, still.

Mr. J

Anonymous said...

These days, I feel that we are all caught in one of those darn snowglobes and some kid keeps shaking things up and down trying to get the snow to fall. Eventually they will grow tired of this and put our globe back down on the shelf.
You are fighting this. Hell or high water. I’m betting on high water (I don’t believe in Hell) and I and all the others who care about you will be sure there is a boat ready. You are beating this. It is beatable. It is possible. You know the statistics. As a bio undergrad I was taught never to use never or always in a sentence when discussing a hypothesis or what ‘could’ happen. I was taught that the statistical probability of 100% is impossible to achieve. No cancer is 100%.
You are fighting this.
Right side up.
That cheap plastic snow is falling. It will settle.