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06.21.01 12:43 a.m.

"We are slow to believe that which if believed would hurt our feelings."


 -Ovid 



Still jobless, still sleeping late (though I am doing it in my own living space with a decent amount of personalization), but at least no one else is dead.
Sorry, that really shouldn't be how I open an entry. Far too flippant. Still, most Americans fail to take their humor seriously. Perhaps this is a lesson to any Americans reading.

On with various sorts of business. I am currently a trifle irritated with Coley. Pretending to be me, she listed the group I created nearly two years ago The Mid-Hudson Pagan Network on her boyfriend's web guide without my permission and I received an e-mail informing me that I had listed it there, something I had no intention of doing. Nothing personal, I just prefer to know where the group is listed to protect my members. Still, no big sin here. I understand that Coley had the best of intentions and merely went about it slightly wrongly.
The sin is this. She had done so to another group of which I am a member and the owner questioned the e-mail list as to who did this. I offered up that this had happened to my group as well, and pretty much stated that it was a bit of a mystery, but no big deal. I really didn't know for sure that it was Coley and didn't care enough to place the onus for this action on her. Certainly anyone of the 123 members could have felt this was a good idea and listed me there. Granted, the lass is paid by her beau to work on his site, which is circumstantial evidence at best. And again, I didn't much care. I corrected the information on the site and decided to leave the listing up pending a thorough search of her boyfriend's website. I had heard naughtiness abound therein, but didn't put much stock in it.
Anyway, a friend of hers, also in my group told me, basically, "For shame, you know who did this! Why are you making such a big deal of it!" Really, I was making nothing like a big deal. I wrote three sentences and ended with a cyber grin. Hardly the tone or length of War and Peace. I retorted, growing slightly irked, that I have a right as group owner to protect the group by stating where I and it are listed. There is a right to cyber privacy, isn't there? At least in some vague liberal democratic way? Still my tone was, at worst, formal. I wasn't angry, I was composed. Yelling, ranting, and all caps gets the writer no respect, nor did I have any cause for them.
As a retort to my letter, Coley forwarded a letter from her boyfriend, basically chewing me out and behaving as though my disinterest in being listed was a personal affront to him and that this all stemmed from issues between Coley and me, which it did in no way. He also made clear that it was in fact Coley who decided to list groups unbidden. So, clearly, this could have nothing to do with Coley or me. I didn't even use her name. After her friends letter to the group, I was growing surer that said friend was the culprit. But, as I stated, being listed without my knowledge was no more that a slight inconvenience, as I had to change the e-mail address and URL of the group. However, that she could not care to defend herself (though, honestly, no one was attacking and I didn't even know it was her fault) but rather had her boyfriend launch into aggressive male mode rather got my dander up. She made a mistake. It was the small slight of neglecting to ask permission. My heart will go on. However, her behavior thereafter, having her boyfriend yell and rant, with many words in all caps, leaves something seriously to be desired. Accepting the onus for one's actions is an important part to developing maturity. Having one's lover fight battles that don't exist is, frankly, not.
I responded to his public onslaught, again, with composure and tact. To attack in kind would feed into this alpha male mentality, something I have no interest in. Perhaps if I were in his position, perceiving that someone was impinging on my love's honor, I would take verbal arms against it. However, I feel that I would politely ask my love why she could not deal with this on her own, while supporting her. Learned codependence does not make for the most stable life. Emily certainly did not equip her self with verbal weaponry in my defense, nor could I imagine asking her or having cause. I am my own white knight and my own dragon.

On a similar topic, I quite marvel at the incomplete souls in this world. Or rather, those that seek something else to complete them. Love, politics, religion, and so on. Let me explain. Perhaps these things can lead you to feeling more whole. However, if you step back from them, you should not perceive a lack in self. I can leave Emily's side and be a whole person. I could not be with anyone for a while after the Katie break-up, because I had suffered a loss. Yet it was not a loss of self. I, myself, was entirely whole. I knew who I was, what I was and where I belonged. I did need to reevaluate interactions with a few people and the like. But I was not actually missing anything. As I stated to Katie, she was not the main course of my life, just a spice that made the meal particularly more palatable.
With Jen, I was seeking to be made complete in love. She was to be my "other half." A dreadful phrase, I might add, that wholly (pun intended) feeds into the psychological infirmity. As such, when she and I parted ways in less than amicable terms, I felt a loss of self. For months. It was ghastly and as close to death as I think I've ever come. Not in that I was suicidal, as I don't imagine that thought ever crossed my mind, but in that I was closest to letting go.
One of the greatest gifts Katherine the Great ever gave me was not trying to be my other half. She helped heal me, but she did not seek to fulfill me. She was never my other half. We were entirely complete on our own. That alone was a large part of why we lasted so long together. I do hope this makes sense.
I state these things in terms of love and relationships, because this is how I relate to it best. It should be noted, of course, that it pertains just as well and just as much to other pursuits. One can seek to have religion complete them and feel that it does. But suddenly you have a crisis of faith and you are lost. A truly religious person, in my eyes, is whole not because of his faith but rather in spite of it. He or she is whole and thus can deal with their godhead on a mature level. They contribute to their religion rather than leeching off of it. No god wants emotionally crippled, codependent followers. At least I would sincerely hope that is not the case and would have a few choice words with the god who did. As some Christians say, "God helps those who help themselves."
Are you lamed? Then why use crutches?
I am not speaking against love, politics, religion, work, and the like. Hardly, these can all enrich ones life and help one learn more about themselves and their world. Plus, they certainly make life more interesting to live. But no one facet is everything. Religion is not you. Love is not you. You and you alone are you, wholly and completely. And I know so few people know that. It is a level of self-awareness owned only by those who push at the edge of formal operations. I am not arrogant that I feel that I have this. I am sad when others are incomplete sans it.
[Fill in the blank] is the opiate of the masses. Moderation is key. Moderation is the opiate of the masses. [Fill in the blank] is key. Keys unlock doors... wait, I was going somewhere with this... nope, gone now. So sad, too bad. Blah, blah, blah, Buddhist monks crushing elaborate sand castle-cakes.

I went to my grandmothers funeral last Friday. It should be noted that I was ailing, owing as much to the psychosomatic stress I was under as the dust allergy kicked up by moving into my own living quarters. As such, I was sniffling and red eyed for reasons that had little to do with my grandmother's passing.
A relative I had not seen in a very long time shook me and told me she was sorry for my loss. The words said that, the tone said something like, "I am not sure why I am here. Everyone is so sad. I'm sorry you have to go through this. I don't understand death. I will die too." I, actually, smiled when she said this, though she didn't notice. I didn't feel great loss. Or, perhaps, I had long since acknowledged the inevitability of my grandmother's fate. I think that she, too, realized that this was the only logical conclusion.
But isn't it always? No. Perhaps death is, I will not argue this point. At least not tonight, though as I just finished Jitterbug Perfume I might be able to give it a whirl. No, what I mean is dying as she did. She was lost inside her own body, becoming more a mist all the time. This is certainly one face of the reaper, though not his only. (Why is Death personified as a male? Did someone regard the hipbones of the reaper as too narrow to bear fruit?)
My point was, my loss was - in the end - small. I knew from the last time I saw my grandmother that never again would my eyes fall on her living body. It was a dull echo in the back of my head, but I always knew it as the truth. It helped that she had been cremated and her ashes were in a brick. It was hard to attach the title of "Grandmother" to a piece of masonry and, perhaps, that was better for me.
The funeral itself was not really what I had expected. It was more like a church service. The priest was amiable enough, which I was thankful for. Too many distant relatives were sorrowful, I did not wish for their religious leader to be.
When she was interred (I do not know this word. They put the brick in a wall), the priest was going on about how she would be resurrected when Jesus returned. My sickness-addled brain, which was being tormented by the sun's cruel rays (funerals should be overcast. It is only polite on the part of the deity-force presiding), could not help from imagining Jesus staring at a wall and musing, "Not only are they burnt to ashes, but they are in bricks?! Okay, I know I turned water to wine and such but... they are in a wall! How in my sake (because, well, he's Jesus) do I resurrect bits of masonry?" (This, I suspect, is where the Freemasons come in. I was never clear on the purpose of Freemasons, though.) I didn't really feel guilty about these thoughts, as they helped me to feel slightly better.
I suppose I have no cause to fear funerals as I do, save that they signal that someone I know has let loose their mortal coil. You know, except for that.

Kate's mom send me a sympathy e-mail today, hoping I was doing well. I responded briefly, basically that I was. And I am. That, too, should be noted.

Well, I am expecting M bright and early here tomorrow for a fun filled day of I have no idea.


reading: just finished: Jitterbug Perfume, Tom Robbins
listening: I Never Learned to Swim, Jill Sobule
wanting: Metaphorical eye openers, like the literal ones in A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. You know, for other people.
interesting thought: There was a sect of monks. When a new monk would join, they would take the new monk outside on a cold night. More often than not, the new monk would say, "I am cold, may we go inside?" As which point the older monk would hit him and remind him, "YOU are not cold. Your body is. Moreover, we are as much inside as we are anything."
moment of zen: the exact moment of ending a great book.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.



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