Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Withdrawing Room

I feel really sad right now. I remind myself that my depression is chemical, rather than causal, that my life really isn't this sad and sorry tragedy that it seems to be at the moment... nevertheless, I feel this overpowering urge to withdraw from life, particularly from the people in my life; and unfortunately, right now, "the people in my life" includes you, my gentle reader.

All week I've had the urge to not write, which is different from the lack of desire or energy to write... it is an actively negative urge. I am too tired to write, and too busy, and I don't have much of pith and moment to say; but the fact of the matter is that I want the silence. I want to be quiet, I want to refrain from reading and writing for a little while.

So if you will kindly bear with me until this particular urge passes, I will be back anon. Love you!

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


(as performed by Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles)

Here I stand, the goddess of desire,
Set men on fire,
I have this power.
Morning noon and night, it's drink and dancing,
Some quick romancing,
And then a quick shower.
Stagedoor Johnnies always surround me,
They always hound me,
With one request;
Who can satisfy their lustful habits?
I'm not a rabbit!
I need some rest!

I'm tired,
Sick and tired of love!
I've had my fill of love,
From below and above!
Tired of being admired,
Tired of love uninspired...
Let's face it,
I'm tired!

I've been with thousands of men,
Again and again,
They promise the moon!
They're always coming and going,
Going and coming,
And always too soon!
Right girls?

I'm tired,
Tired of playing the game.
Ain't it a crying shame?
I'm so tired,
God dammit I'm tired!

Hello cowboy, what's your name?
Tex 'mam
Tex 'mam ? Tell me Tex'mam, are you in show business?
We'll then why don't you get your freaking feet off my stage?
La ha
Ah ha he hu...
Hello handsome, is that a 10 gallon hat? Or are you just enjoying the show?
Ah ha ah...
Oh Miss Lilly, oh my laby, oh my pussy cat, put it there baby, put it... ohhhhh

I'm tired,
Tired of playing the game,
Ain't it a crying shame,
I'm so tired!

She's tired
-She's tired
Sick and tired of love
-Give her a break
She's had her fill of love
-She's not a snake
From below and above
-Can't you see she's sick?
-She's bushed
Tired of being admired
-Let her alone
Tired of love uninspired
-Get off the phone
She's tired
-Don't you know she's pooped?

I've been with thousands of men,
Again and again,
They sing the same tune:
They start with Byron and Shelly,
Then jump on your belly,
And bust your balloon!

Tired of playing the game,
Ain't it a freakin' shame,
I'm so...

Let's face it,
Everything below the waist is kaput!


I'm really too tired to post anything, but I just can't leave something up at the top of the page for four days without feeling a twinge of guilt. So I give you this song about how tired I am. I only wish I was tired from fucking thousands of men, again and again... instead of from plain old prosaic work.

My computer at work is more-or-less fixed (still struggling lightly with the email) but I am so far behind that I have been working double-hard all week trying to catch up... I spent the last two and a half days writing minutes, and then I spent several hours updating the database; tomorrow I have to print labels and start labeling envelopes for an election, as well as distributing flyers to all the campuses and preparing for a board meeting. And on Friday, which is in fact a holiday (our district takes off Lincoln's Birthday as well as President's Day) I have to work some more, stuffing the envelopes for that election.

At least I get Monday off. And this weekend is San Francisco Coronation, a multi-event celebration for which I have a couple of too-utterly-dazzling outfits. More about that later... in the meantime, here's a nice slice of cake, and I'm going to bed.


Saturday, February 12, 2005

A Music Meme

I don't usually use music-themed memes when I'm starved for content, for the same reason that I don't use techie memes... my musical knowledge is so limited; and though I am something of a music addict (insofar as I have music playing all the time, twenty-four/seven as they say), my tastes are peculiar and my collections are pretty boring.

Nevertheless, I came across this meme at Green Duckies (which has been sitting at the top of the page all week... are you OK, Dana Marie?) and thought I'd reproduce it here for you, since I have nothing better to do at the moment (besides the work I brought home with me and the laundry and the fiction-writing and taking the Grandmother to Target to return the pink twinset she bought for her great-grandaughter... who just turned twelve but to our surprise wears a women's size large).

Music Meme

1. Song that sounds like happy feels: In my usual manner, I refuse to answer a simple question with a simple response... I will instead give you my top five from my 20-song "Happy Songs" iTunes playlist:
    "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music
    "Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves
    "Una voce poco fa," from Il Barbiere di Siviglia
    "Long As I'm Here With You" from Thoroughly Modern Millie
    "Queer as Folk Theme" (the British version, natch) by Murray Gold
Have you ever noticed that happy songs are always up-tempo? But I'm usually supremely calm when I'm happy... yet the up-tempo feels happier somehow.

2. Earliest music memory: Grandmother used to play The Nutcracker Suite for us on a little portable phonograph when we were little, but I'm not sure if I really remember the occurrence or if I'm just remembering Grandmother's description of it; I do remember "My Darling Clementine," which Mother used to play on the piano at her parents' house, the only piece she knew how to play, which always made my sister cry (it's a pretty fuckin' twisted song, and Suzie thought it was sad that Clementine drowned, though I figured that's what you get for wearing fish tins for sandals); about the same time, maybe earlier, we used to beg my uncle to play "Puff the Magic Dragon" on his guitar, and we would all sing along.

3. Last CD you bought...
    In person: I haven't been in a record store in eons... I think the last one I bought was the Camp soundtrack, for which I uncharacteristically paid full retail at Borders the day after I saw the movie on DVD.

    At Amazon (I added this portion myself, since that's where I buy most of my CDs): Let Yourself Go by Kristin Chenoweth with Rob Fischer and the Coffee Club Orchestra.

    On iTunes: The soundtrack to Wicked... kind of a combination of both of the above, being a soundtrack and featuring Kristin Chenoweth.
4. Reminds you of school...
    Grade school: "Mary Had A Little Lamb," which we learned to play on the 'song flute' (which is essentially a recorder, but smaller and plastic, for which in 1977 every parent at Willow Creek Elementary had to shell out $3 per child [which is how much they cost now, twenty-five years later, so somebody was making a killing on that scam] and then had to listen to their children blowing on for the next six months).

    Junior High/Middle School: "You Light Up My Life" (Debbie Boone) which we learned to perform in American Sign Language. That song is so sappy that the mere memory of it makes me physically ill.

    High school: any and every song in the Top 40 between 1982 and 1986. I had my favorite songs at the time, but really, any song from that period sends me straight back to Pimple-and-Hormone Land.

    College: Opera... it's when I started to listen to opera. In particular, my Maria Callas La Divina albums always remind me of my days at SF State, sitting on a bench in the cedar grove watching the people go by and reading books and taking notes, drinking double lattes and eating rasperry-ring pastries and smoking my nasty sinful cigarettes, all at the same time with my headphones on.
5. Total music files in your PC: according to my iTunes status bar, I have 389 songs (I'd better load in eleven more so I can have a nice even number) in my library, which takes 23 hours and 10 minutes to play and uses 1.33 gigabytes of memory (to give you some perspective, though, my porn and beefcake files number in the high thousands and take up more than 1.89 gigs).

6. Song for listening to repeatedly when depressed: That would depend entirely on why I was depressed. Is it a Billie Holliday depressed or a Showboat depressed or a "Defying Gravity" depressed or a Mahler's Fifth Symphony depressed? Depressions come in a hundred flavors, and each different flavor clamors for a different piece of music. But in general, when I am just overall depressed, I listen to my Happy Songs playlist. I don't really like to wallow, you know?

7. Song that sounds British, but isn't: Like Dana, I don't think I understand this question. But it does call to mind the weird fact that anything you sing in English has no accent, but it is impossible to speak English without some kind of accent. What is it about singing that precludes all but the most burlesque foreign or regional accents? Even ABBA, who on their first two albums had no idea what the hell they were singing about because they didn't speak a word of English, sound exactly the same (accent-wise) as, for example, the Mamas and the Papas, who all grew up in Southern California. Something to think about, no?

8. Song you love, band you hate: I can't think of a band I hate... I mostly don't notice whole bands, only individual performers. And I tend to hate everything about an individual performer I dislike: I generally come to loathe that performer based on the complete unlistenability of his/her music; if the performer has even one song that I like, I can usually forgive the rest of his/her oeuvre on the strength of it. The exception (and the answer to the question, and about time I got to it, what?) would have to be Madonna, whom I loathe strenuously but who used to produce songs I still like (anything from her Blonde-Bombshell/Breathless-Mahoney phase), and every now and again will drop a track that I can listen to without gagging... but I don't know the tracks, I refuse to know the names of the songs. Because I hate her, you see.

9. A favorite song from the past that took ages to track down: Songs I loved in the past are generally quite easy to track down, if iTunes doesn't have it I can always find it on Lycos Music. Even the really obscure ones. What I'd really like (from the very recent past) but can't find is "Why Not Me?" from the film Die Mommie Die, which I cannot find as a single or a soundtrack anywhere on the net.

10. Bought the album for one good song: I never pay good money for a CD unless there are at least three songs I know I'll like on it. This is the magic of iTunes... you can get just the one song without buying the whole damned album. But recently I got a CD from Amazon that has only one song on it that I do like, but I bought the album for the performer without any knowledge of the songs on it: the Darling Lili soundtrack, composed by Henry Mancini and starring Julie Andrews; but the whole thing is boring and down-tempo (there's a reason I'd never heard of this movie before), and the only song on it I like is "The Little Birds" sung by the École Française de Los Angeles Children's Choir (it's really cute).

11. Worst song to get stuck in your head: "It's A Small Small World," of course... you can't get it out. And I once got the theme from The Flintstones stuck in my head for three months and couldn't get it out. I have found the cure to brainworm songs, though: "Once Upon a Dream," a waltz originally from the ballet Sleeping Beauty by Tchaichovsky but reworked and supplied with words by Sammy Fain and Jack Lawrence for the animated Disney feature Sleeping Beauty; you sing it three or four times, it cleans out everything else and then sort of fades away on its own.

12. Best song to dump a beer on someone's head to, then storm out of the bar? Does somebody sing a song called "Go Fuck Yourself, You Loser?" If not, how about Loretta Lynn's "Mad Mrs. Leroy Brown" from her fabulous Van Lear Rose album? Or Lil' Kim's "Suck My Dick." But really, I would never pour a beer on someone's head... it would just make his hair shiny. If I wanted to pour something on somebody and then storm out, I'd choose something that stings, like cheap gin or a bottle of Absolut Peppar.

13. Who should do this next? Nobody ever does memes after me. I am the Meme's Last Stop.

14. Worst love song to sing to a first date? You should never sing a love-song on a first date, it looks too needy. But you should certainly never sing "My Man," unless you're really into that sort of thing.

15. Which of these three performers is a guilty pleasure? Celine Dion, Phil Collins, or Michael Bolton (come on, they make money from someone!): Don't look at me, bub, I wouldn't be caught dead. I kind of liked Celine, though, before she did that horrid song from Titanic and somehow convinced everyone in the world that she was some kind of Superdiva, or the next Barbra Streisand, when in fact she's just a shameless no-talent Canuck hog-caller. I've never bought any of these people's records, nor would I.

16. A band you hate that everyone seems to like: Again with the Madonna. I stand in danger of losing my Queening License over my hatred for this gay icon. But the way I see it, I hate her for really gay reasons (slaughtering the Evita soundtrack, making dreadful movies that aren't even bad enough to be camp, and displaying really bad style on several of her latest albums and tours), so I should be safe.


Well, that was instructive, wasn't it? I guess I'd better get started on writing those minutes, which I had to bring home from work because I still can't get my ethernet to work, and I can't get to the internet without the ethernet, and there's no way in hell I can write minutes without recourse to the internet for entertainment and release when the minutes-writing threatens what few shreds of sanity I still possess. And I am in the middle of a ten-load laundry project; fortunately the Target trip has been called off, so maybe if I get my minutes done, I can get some fiction written. I have the next few scenes well-rehearsed in my mind, but the glittering prose isn't as easy as it looks.

So I'll shout at ya later, and hope you're having a super day!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Oh, My Poor Baby!

Pardon my inability to blog this week, but my computer at work is sick... not that I only blog at work, in fact I do most of my blog-writing at home; but I do a lot of my browsing while I'm at work, in between and during work-tasks, so I don't have to do the browsing when I get home, thereby leaving me more time to blog-instead-of-browse here at home.

What I find funny (not funny-ha-ha but funny-huh) is that not much of my work really requires me to use email and internet (which are where the symptoms lie). In fact, most of the work I need to be doing right now uses Access and Word or is off the computer entirely... I need to work on my membership database, which is horribly out of date, and write minutes, for which I am two meetings behind, or file the tottering piles of paper all over my desk (the tallest of which a visiting fat man knocked over the other day, so now I don't know where anything is) and make various phone-calls to our cellphone and worker's comp providers (which I'd really rather not do... I hate talking to those people). But with Outlook and IE hacking and coughing and being miserable and useless, I just can't concentrate on my other work. It's like having a sick baby on your hands, and though the baby isn't crying and puking right there in your lap, you still worry about it so much that you can't focus on anything else.


You'll remember that a month and a half ago, right before we left for Winter Break, I got hit by this sort of Trojan Horse of adware, which I spent days and days on end trying to get rid of. I uninstalled all the bundled programs as best I could, and probably unistalled a couple of other things that I needed but which looked unfamiliar, but I was still getting these adware popups that went around my adware cleaner and my popup blocker, somehow. I finally, after buying a new program (SpyBouncer) and then upgrading to the next version (which came out two weeks later, but they didn't charge me for the upgrade) and carrying on lengthy correspondence with its technicians who gave me a couple of other fixes, I finally got rid of all the components.

But for the last week or two, I have been unable to send email from Outlook, so I put in a service call to my domain email provider, who told me that the problem is with my antivirus program not scanning outgoing emails and not allowing outgoing emails to go out unscanned. So I tried to fix my Norton AntiVirus settings, but Norton wouldn't work without being uninstalled and reinstalled, as apparently one of those adwares disabled something in Norton's innards. So I spent a simply amazing amount of time uninstalling all the components of Norton Antivirus; but then when I went to reinstall it from the setup program (which came bundled with the Windows XP), there was a fatal disk error or somesuch and it wouldn't load.

Then, since Norton was uninstalled, SpyBouncer (which used some of Norton's components somehow) wouldn't work, so I had to uninstall that, too. And finally, on Tuesday, the Java scripts stopped operating on Internet Explorer. And if you think you can do much of anything in IE without Java, you are sadly mistaken (as I was sadly mistaken). So there I sat, email-impotent, I couldn't send emails from Outlook because even though I'd uninstalled the AntiVirus it wouldn't send the emails unscanned, and I couldn't send emails from my domain provider's online email interface because it used Java buttons, and I couldn't send email from my Yahoo or AOL accounts either because every web application I use has Java buttons and scripts in it (I couldn't even use the comments on my own damned blog!)

So I finally put out a distress call to my Last Resort Computer Go-To Guy. He was my first computer science teacher, way back when I first got out of high-school (when the industry standard was an IBM clone using 33 MhZ processors with 250MG hard-drives and 2MG RAM, running DOS 3, WordStar, and SuperCalc, saving on 100K 5.25" floppies and printing on dot-matrix printers... it was 1987, the paleolithic era of computers); he was also my first boss at my current job, the one who in fact hired me; and he acquired and installed all of the union's computers when we all upgraded to the same systems last year (in the past, none of us had a computer that was the same age or quality as anybody else's, but now we're all on the exact same system with an ethernet, and it's heaven). And though he is always helpful, and I consider him a friend, I don't like to call him too often... I'm not really big on asking for help in the first place, and I am especially cautious of asking for a lot of extra help from someone who is doing the work out of the goodness of his heart instead of for pay.

But he called back late Wednesday and gave me the sad diagnosis: one or all of those adware packages, paired with my slash-and-burn attempts to fix the infection, had started a chain reaction of fatal errors in my basic programs that would only get worse... and with no AntiVirus and no SpyBouncer, I was a sitting duck for all kinds of evil curses. The only cure is to back up all of my documents and the trusted programs I've downloaded, reformat my hard-drive, and load the whole thing in fresh from the box.

Easier said than done, of course. If I only used my work computer for work, it would have gone like a dream, as all of my work-related documents and programs fit on one CD. But all of my personal-use programs like iTunes and Webshots, my thousands upon thousands of electronic images, and a strange miscellany of media files like beefcake clips and funny sounds added up to four more CDs. And then, of course, in the three days I spent on burning all those files onto CDs, I had to use some of the files, like Access and Money, and therefore had to back them up again. And there are a lot of files that didn't want to be backed up, like all of my email archives and calendar pages from Outlook, which I eventually discovered had to be exported or copied separately and then burned onto a great big Miscellany CD.

Well, I finally finsished it today, I got the six backup CDs burned and the hard-drive reformatted and reloaded with Windows XP; tomorrow I am going to have to reload Office and my ethernet and printer drivers, but tomorrow's main event will be the writing of minutes and the creation of an organized archiving system for my paper files; the latter event is in concert with my latest new coworker, AW, who is a librarian and an absolute whiz at organizing things into systems that even the most scattershot right-brainer (like me) can understand and maintain. She has rendered the main room of our office into an almost neoclassical neatness, and my boss has high hopes of her instituting a similar regimen on my rather more baroque workspace... and I'm looking forward to being able to find relevant documents with ease, so a good time will be had by all.


In the meantime, I have a show on Sunday (Cookie After Dark at Martuni's, please come) for which to prepare... I know what I'm going to perform, though, and what I am going to wear, so there's not a lot of preparation involved; on the other hand, I have an absolute mountain of laundry to deal with, so I'm going to get started on that tomorrow evening and try to make a good dent on Saturday; and I am going to focus on getting a little more of Worst Luck finished, see if I can get the next part up less than two weeks after posting the last part.

But if I can't focus, I'll watch some new videos instead; I wandered into Gus's Blockbuster on Monday in hopes of running into Gus (but I didn't), and purchased three recent additions to my collection of RapidHeart productions (which feature thin plots, iffy acting, dreadful writing, sorry special effects, and hot Hot HOTTTT guys running around in boxer-briefs), Leeches!, The Frightening, and Speed Demons; lest I be accused of lowbrow licentiousness (of which I am joyfully guilty, but not an exclusive devotee), I also purchased three rather more cerebral offerings, Napoleon Dynamite, Women on the Edge of a Nervous Breakdown, and the Sundance Channel's The Heart of Me.

So that's all about me. How about you? Hope everything's going well!

Sunday, February 6, 2005

Les Mystères

I just finished reading Greg Herren's Murder in the Rue St. Ann, and I am absolutely shattered. I've never before read a murder-mystery that made me cry. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever cried from reading any book before. But the ending was soooo sad! If you end up buying the book (and I recommend it, it's a pretty good read), just stop reading at page 248 and make yourself believe that everything is going to be OK. Don't read Chapter 20 unless you want to be rendered sad for the rest of the day.

While reading this book, I came up against a couple of things that made me think about my own novel. For one, there was a scenario in which an innocent person was arrested and booked for murder on circumstantial evidence that paralleled in several ways the scenario I have set up for Danny Vandervere to be arrested and booked for murder. It's unpleasant when you find some device in a published book that you are about to use in an unfinished book. One doesn't like to imagine one's readers coming across the passage and saying, "Oh, this tired old device, Greg Herren used it in Murder in the Rue St. Ann; I don't know what this slob Robert Manners thinks he's doing, trotting it out again."

For another thing, the central murder was not solved by the detective, but was rather explained to him in one scene by another detective. Nor did it have anything to do with the secondary crime that directly affected the narrator (though I guess that was a spoiler... forget I said it). Though the narrating detective did put a lot of pieces of the puzzle together, it had to all be tied together by the police detective and handed to him in a tidy little explicative scene.

I found that a little surprising, a little not-quite-pukka-sahib. I am also not quite playing by the rules, since the murder in my story is merely a catalytic agent with which to introduce dramatic tension into a story that is really about first love... but since I felt a little bit of disapproval over Herren's little fudging of the rules of the genre, I wonder if I can get away with such a fudging myself.

But these are all worries for another day... I should try to finish the damn story before I start worrying about my genre or the reactions of future readers. And so, since today Grandmother didn't get us up for church today, and since I therefore had the whole day to myself while she went and watched the Superbowl, I was able to devote myself to finishing Chapter Two, Part Two of Worst Luck, which, I posted for your enjoyment a couple of hours ago, before I finished reading Herren's tear-jerker.

So go read. I'll wait here for you.


As I mentioned in my last post, I was stuck on writing about Danny's trip up Polk Street, and so last night on the way home from Drag Bingo, I drove up there and had a look at the place. It's a lot different than I remembered it: Polk used to be pretty gay and remarkably seedy, but it looks a lot more like the rest of downtown now.

The bar on which I loosely based "The Brat," which used to be called "Q.T." in my day, is now called "Club Rendez-Vous" or something equally pixillated. And there is a bar with a blue awning on the side-street where I have moved my bar, but since that street is one-way going in the other direction, I wasn't able to cruise by and see if it had a name. I hope it's not a hustler bar, or I might have a problem with libel.

The Hotel Leland, on which I based the over-painted landmark hotel, has been painted solid white since the last time I really looked at it, fifteen or so years ago... one morning with a hangover, I should mention, after waking up there. It was a classic "coyote-ugly" moment (where you'd rather chew your arm off than wake him by moving it), coming to in a seedy hotel with this little hairy troll whose name, I suddenly remember, was Wally.

And though the exterior had been painted green, gold, and white in those days (I think), the elevators and hallways were carpeted and walled in the color-scheme I mentioned in Worst Luck, and were terrifying to a pair of eyes that were drunk enough to find coyote-ugly Wally an acceptable sex-partner. I think I capture the mood of that morning in my passage about the hotel.

So though I didn't really change much of my description of Polk Street, which I in fact didn't describe in very great detail to begin with, and though Polk Street has changed so much since the familiar olden days, I felt secure enough in my atmosphere to move forward and concoct the scene.

I think it's a pretty good scene, and I am rarin' to get to work on the next scene... though maybe not tonight, as it's getting a little late. But if you have a moment after reading the section, please leave me some feedback in the comments on Worst Luck. I always enjoy the encouragement I receive from my regular readers Will and DM, but I would also appreciate any stylistic observations, criticisms, or questions for clarification that might occur to you as you read.


Friday, February 4, 2005

Codependent? Moi?!

There's this amusing little phrase we like to use to describe the process of Recovery, called "peeling the onion." I have always thought this phrase reassuring, because it means we aren't creating artificially new selves, we're not consciously trying to alter our personalities, we're not pretending to be someone we're not... we are simply becoming more truly ourselves by peeling off the layers of scars and scabs that we've built up over the years. We aren't limiting ourselves with sobriety, we're liberating ourselves.

The thing is, when you're peeling an actual literal onion, underneath the layers of onion are usually more layers of onion; it would be rather startling to peel off a layer of an actual literal onion and find a layer of actual literal rutabaga underneath.

But when you're peeling layers off an alcoholic, one is often liable to come across a layer of codependent somewhere along the line... it is in fact an old saying in Al-Anon that if you prick an alcoholic, a codependent will bleed through. But I've never really thought about myself as a codependent, simply because I have never enabled another alcoholic... I was too busy being an alcoholic, I didn't have time to be a codependent as well.

And so I was quite surprised, recently, while peeling off my layers of alcoholism, to come across a pretty thick layer of codependency... as surprised as I would be if I found a layer of actual literal rutabaga in the midst of an actual literal onion.

But, as my dear friend T.H. pointed out in the comments to the last post, and as other recovery friends have pointed out when I told them of the events in that post, it is quite obvious that my problems with the Grandmother are codependent problems, and I am going to have to work some Al-Anon steps around these issues. And it is a surprise to find myself being codependent toward Grandmother: I have always thought of codependents as non-alcoholics who get into codependent relationships with alcoholics; I never thought of a codependent as being an alcoholic who is in a codependent relationship with a non-alcoholic. She's supposed to be my "co"; it never occurred to me that I could be hers.

I guess if I went to Al-Anon, this wouldn't surprise me at all. Because, if you think about it, any parent-child relationship I have with a codependent (especially an unadmitted-but-no-less-textbook codependent like Grandmother) is going to be codependent, and I am going to take on and internalize at least some of the codependent behaviors and patterns I learned at her knee.

More specifically, my problem with Grandmother on the occasion of her hissing at me about homosexuality being a sin is a problem of codependency: I wanted something from her that is contrary to her nature, I hoped I had changed her or could change her, I desire a relationship with her that is impossible, and I cling to that desire despite all evidence that it is impossible.

I find that the most typically codependent part of this issue is that I was trying to be such a good grandson that, by being good, I would change her mind about homosexuality. That is such typical codependent thinking, so obvious that a three-year-old could have spotted it; but in all these years we've spent together, in all my years of recovery, I was never able to see that this is what I was doing.

Now I do know, now I do see, now I can start working on it.

I know that I cannot change her... she might change, if she wants to, but I can't make her change. I can only change my expectations about her, my behavior towards her, and how much I allow her to hurt me. And our relationship has not changed this week because of what was said... Grandmother is perfectly willing to pretend that never happened, that I never said God created me gay, that she never hurt me with her hissing and hateful eyes; so any change that happens is going to be my change.


This comes at an interesting juncture in my development: I have been feeling pretty static in my recovery this last year or so, and I thought it was because I've gotten to a level of recovery where I have dealt with all the on-fire issues... I no longer have the desire to drink, I have a spiritual practice, I am working a pretty good program, and aside from the depression and some lingering relationship issues, I feel pretty much sane... my life has become manageable. But lately, I've felt that it wasn't enough, that I wasn't doing enough, that I wasn't happy enough.

So my sponsor told me that it is time to work the Steps again, that I can achieve or re-achieve happiness if I go further than just practicing the principles of AA in all of my affairs, but actually practicing all twelve of the Steps in all of my affairs, especially the affairs that are currently making me unhappy. So in the last week or two, I have been trying to discern what affairs are making me unhappy; I have also been considering how to do another run-through of the steps from One through Twelve around such non-alcohol issues... and I was a little stymied at Step One because alcohol is no longer the problem.

How do you do Step One a second time? The Step itself is "We admitted we were powerless of alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable"... so I have been considering what it is that I am powerless over now besides alcohol, and what is it that is making my life unhappy, rather than unmanageable?

And then comes along this drama with the Grandmother, and I find at least one thing to focus on with this Step: I admit that I am powerless over alcohol the Grandmother, and my life relationship with her has become unmanageable. So now I can practice all twelve steps just on the Grandmother; after that I can start moving on to the other people, places and things over which I am powerless, and which are making my life unhappy (if not unmanageable), and start really practicing these principles in all my affairs.

I am also going to start looking into Al Anon literature to start addressing a recovery from codependency. Because Grandmother isn't my only codependent relationship. I mean, I was raised by alcoholics and codependents, it's impossible that I can have reached adulthood without having some Al-Anon and ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics) issues.


It kind of feels good to have something to focus on, somewhere to start the work, to have a real fire to put out. Not that the Grandmother is really on fire... like I said, we reverted rather quickly to a "nothing happened" air of detente. Actually, I feel rather liberated by this last episode, like we cleared the air somewhat, like we spoke something that had remained unspoken too long.

I guess I realized that I can learn to accept her as she is, stupid superstitious religion and all. And she does accept me, to a certain extent. I mean, it's not like she's trying to change me, it's not like she's throwing holy water at me at the dinner table, it's not like she's sneaking into my room at night to exorcise my gay demons... though she thinks my homosexuality is sinful, she still loves me.

On the other hand, I am not going to play the "Let's Not Talk About It" game any more. My cousin talks to Grandmother about her relationships, which are often out-of-wedlock and therefore just as sinful as any relationship I might have... but Grandmother doesn't preach to Kellie about fornication and adultery when she talks about Kellie's boyfriend or the child she's about to have without benefit of marriage. So why can't I talk about Gus and drag? Grandmother might just surprise me with what she can deal with, without my having to change her religious beliefs.

And if she can't accept it at all... well, tough. It's her house, if she doesn't like it, she can ask me to leave and I'll go. I hope it doesn't come to that, but I can't live with someone I can't talk to about basic things in life. That's just not comfortable. I'm not asking her to be my confidante or to counsel me on my problems, but if I'm going on a date I want to be able to say I'm going on a date; if I'm going to perform in a show, I want to say I'm going to perform in a show. I don't want to make up euphemisms and tell lies of omission any more. It's not good for my soul.


Well, anyway, that's me today. All in all, aside from being so preoccupied with various things that I haven't been getting any work done at the office, and aside from this weird and irritating ringing in my right ear that I think has to do with earwax, this has been a pretty good week. Not a happy week, necessarily, but an accomplished week... I've been taking my vitamins, brushing and flossing and Water-Pik-ing my teeth twice a day (the latter of which is a lot of fun), and getting a fair amount of exercise.

I haven't written much (I am stuck in the narrative of my novel, trying to get through a scene that I'm having a hard time visualizing, so I will have to go to Polk Street to gather "atmosphere") and I haven't read much, but what the hell. I am exploring my codependency and taking steps forward that are a lot deeper and more important than writing minutes or blog entries or novels, or reading books or watching movies or anything else.

(Oh, actually, I did see a movie this week... Kinsey, which I totally recommend. You should also read Kinsey's books on male and female sexuality... many of his findings have been debunked, and I personally feel that the skew of his statistics is due to his becoming enamored of his 0-6 scale long before he had enough data... it's always dangerous to have a pet theory before all the data is in... but the research was revolutionary and important. See this movie, see it with a friend and talk about it afterward. You'd be amazed how far American culture has come in the last fifty years in regard to sexuality.)

I'm going to go to bed now. Toodles!