I’m in my office in a hundred plus year old building surround by a radiator heater that’s keeping my uber warm on one side and a cup of coffee keeping me warm on the other. The sun has just come out and it is nearly noon. The road this morning was icy. I am suppose to be somewhere else right about now. San Francisco, Berkeley. But the weather, the roads, my head cold all conspired. I relented.
This is the year of the big apocalypse. On the 20th of this month, I’ll be hosting an Apocalyptic Party at the Taylorsville Tavern so we can ring in Armageddon in style or at least in cowboy tavern style. But it’s December, and the year has already come to feel like it was about all sorts of mini apocalypses of the personal kind. The 21st? Might just be the aftermath of what has already transpired.
I don’t know where to start. I liken the apocalypse to the Tarot Cards. When you get the Death card or the Tower—it’s metaphoric not literal. You don’t die, you change. Your fall from grace isn’t a shaming it’s a renewing and so forth. The glass is half-full. Always.
Julian turned 40 this year. Opened a little shop next to the pharmacy. Made us get cable like normal Americans. Continues to be the ever supporting husband and for what it’s worth, I’d totally bet money that we are closer now than ever. Yay us! This year was officially 10 years together. 1 out of 2 California marriages divorce. We are kicking the shit out of the odds.
Diego the son. Is there a word for knowing that someone in your life is too fragile for the planet yet the planet will need him to survive? That’s sometimes how I feel about him. He’s smart, sensitive, intuitive, artistic. Talking with Diego doesn’t feel like talking to a nine year old kid about to turn ten. It feels like you are talking with an old wise soul who will show you the way. He catches people off guard. We have him still in private school, gymnastics, art classes, home stuff the theory being something said to be five years ago about him—a man I know, PhD, etc. took one look at him 5 years ago and said, “he must be preserved at all costs. Don’t let school ruin him.” I took that to heart. This year he and Paloma were in their first art show and went to camp by themselves among many other signature kid accomplishments.
Paloma the daughter. She continues to assert that not unlike Athena, she sprung from her father’s head completely formed and shielded in armor. I’m inclined to believe it. Along with the same activities Diego does, she took up guitar. Now, instead of moping around and wallowing in pre-mature teenage self-pity, the soon to be 8 year old Paloma takes to her bedroom guitar and amp in hand and cranks out her anger that the world isn’t fast enough for her. She stands up to Mean Girls bullies in their pretty blue eyed smiles and golden locks whenever they seek to make some poor kid their target. It’s like she’s a super hero. I admire that as long as I’m not her target of derision.
It was a year of sorrows: friends dying or ill. Other friends turning their backs on friendship in favor of mid-life crises comforts. Can you blame them? It is after all the year of change. Still other friends woke up from dormant lives. And with Julian’s help I am finding more and more courage in embracing the poor hapless artist inside of me, who quite literally is poorer for having embraced art over more sustaining endeavors. Bless him.
It was a year of gifts of encouragement and solidarity. New friendships formed in unexpected places and times. I am growing as a DJ/Host. Getting better at this whole radio thing. I’m teaching writing workshops. I read at Beyond Baroque which was a life long dream. I finished a new chapbook of poems, The Alzheimer’s Cul de Sac and many of the poems have found homes here and there. As I write this I’m finishing the second draft of my 80s memoir. I published in some of my favorite magazines and journals along side people I really like. I participated in a great spoken word show in SF called Listen to Your Mother and will be directing a show in Plumas County in spring. I got the FRC newspaper off the ground. I’ve been anthologized 5 times over this year. I’ve found a good stride and balance between teaching and writing. I’m hoping I maintain it. I’m hoping for more. I’m embracing the faults and the faultlines. Returning to the source as it were.
I don’t think about leaving the Sierras much anymore. Oh on vacation in the summer sure and perhaps a week or two in the winter, but I’m quite happy to be here. Close to the water source, up on the mountain side, with my family, my love, my life. Watching it all go down below.
I hope you and yours are well. Well-adjusted. That you have an escape plan. That you realize what has been lost and what has been found. A Pensive Apocalypse. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. Blessed Be.