Note: This Thanksgiving Eve November 22, 2017 sticky post starts the year-long “So Last Year” project, which begins with Thanksgiving 2016, November 24, 2016.

For many months now I’ve kept to a journaling routine called #MorningPages, popularized by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way. Writing longhand, avoiding pixels and screens, the routine has helped me get back to writing, an activity I love, but which got badly damaged and smashed to bits by the floods of social media.
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May 26, 2017 (Friday)

by Yule Heibel on May 25, 2018

Not much tilt-a-world effect today, although the trees do appear to be even taller than yesterday; just the same headache that’s been hanging around for about five days, a kind of sinus-y, low grade annoyance. And a complete blanket of misty cloud cover, solid, impenetrable, as far as the eye can see. Welcome, Memorial Day Weekend, not that we social isolates care about such things… And, okay, it’s only Friday morning, so not quite the weekend.

Yesterday was like today, full of rain, and with me full of headache and nowhere to go, so I stayed home all day. My headache worsened. I thought it might be a slightly better day because we slept a little longer, versus getting up at 5:30a.m. But it felt like the same old deepening hole. No, wait. It does feel like a deepening hole, which might be why those trash trees growing up around – or rather: in front of – me are making me feel so nauseated and claustrophobic. But this feeling isn’t old. It feels new, and it feels like a warning. It feels like bells going off, warning signs flashing, “Beware!” Not like an adventure, though. Like a crisis. Like a crisis in slow motion, yet inexorable. My grandmother’s proverbial “horror without end.” (According to my mother, her mother used to say, “Better an end with horror than a horror without end.” Not sure I can subscribe to this axiomatically, but on some occasions it makes sense…) Short of blowing it up – by picking up sticks and moving – I see no way out of this.

Yesterday I read an article in the New York Times about John Shields, who spent the better part of his adult life in Victoria and who died there recently. The life described in the article was so archetypically “Victoria,” so crunchy, so granola. And so filled with crunchy granola friends (some I know). Shields chose doctor-assisted suicide, and his wife, family, and a small army of friends collaborated in the ceremony. It was a ceremony: a wake held on the eve of his death, with him in attendance, with full-on New Age ceremonies and pledges. Remarkable. I certainly couldn’t put a “wake” like that (or of any kind) together, gather such a crowd, and I realize that the “fault” is wholly my own. (Writing this has just sharpened my headache pain, how …cute.) I also read an article about Nassim Nicholas Taleb, an interview of sorts (by Brian Appleyard), in which Taleb again (just as in Antifragile) advises strongly that one should go to parties and out to dinner etc. How does this ideal compare to my reality, or rather, vice versa? I cook at home, eat dinner at home. The last party I attended was at Christmas. The last party I gave? Ages ago. Again, this, too, is my own doing. I could change it – I had a very different social life in Victoria. But the key problem is I don’t want to be social here. I’m just not that into the people around here. When I pulled up the living room blinds this morning before sitting down, I had to move a chair slightly which was pushed too close to one of the “spine” bookcases, and I became annoyed again at the scattered state of my books, my library, and how this house is all windows and cast-iron baseboard heaters, with no wall space for bookshelves. It seemed like another aspect of this deepening hole, of being in a place quite unsuited to one’s needs.

In big and little ways, I have to make some changes.

It’s not raining right now, but it’s supposed to pour ~10:30a.m. So I’ll take a long walk, post-walking with W. to the Depot; that’s my “little way.” I walk whenever possible. In regard to a “big way,” I’m stymied. I don’t think I could stand John Shields’s New Age social life, nor his previous, decades-long union organizing (although the land trust activism I can relate to), although (it just occurred to me) a goodly aspect of his later social life came through his second wife, who apparently always trailed a large menagerie of girlfriends. That would have been something filling the last decade or more of his life. But, as he lived a life given over to service, it was rich before.

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May 25, 2017 (Thursday)

May 24, 2018

When I sat down at my desk just now and looked across it through the window, I thought for a moment the world had tilted. I’ve written before about the trash maples extending their reach into my field of vision. This morning it seemed they had done so by another meter or so in increased […]

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May 24, 2017 (Wednesday)

May 23, 2018

If anything I write should ever interest readers – and any reader is a future reader, interpreting words written in the past (which once was a present, but let’s not get too complicated) – it will be because somehow it touches on common ground, on something identifiable …and shared. Sometimes that’s a hard pill to […]

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May 23, 2017 (Tuesday)

May 22, 2018

Today I feel like I should write in big loopy letters, enlarge my handwriting beyond its usual size, make it gigantic in fact, so I could fill three pages in no time. I am comatose. While I haven’t drunk anything alcoholic since Saturday, I feel hung over. Really hung over. And it’s purely from getting […]

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May 22, 2017 (Monday)

May 21, 2018

I went to Facebook again for the first time in quite a while. One of the first posts I saw was by A.W., posted just four hours earlier: a photo of a baby, and an announcement of the birth of his and H.’s newborn son, B., who had arrived on Wednesday May 16. Also on […]

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May 21, 2017 (Sunday)

May 20, 2018

Glorious weather – yesterday, and now again today. Tomorrow will change – rain, colder, etc. But today will be pleasant. I didn’t manage to sleep through the night, though. Woke up thirsty at 3:30a.m., and tried to ignore it. But after another twenty minutes or so, I capitulated and got up to get some water. […]

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May 20, 2017 (Saturday)

May 19, 2018

This morning we slept till 8:30 and it was glorious. Two things combined to waking up better: one, not having to get up at an hour which fundamentally disagrees with us who are not early birds; two, a thirty degree (or more, actually) drop in temperature. Yesterday, Friday, was much hotter (again) than was promised […]

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May 19, 2017 (Friday)

May 18, 2018

Strange dreams, powerful imagery – androgyny, private clubs, mansions, Freemasons. The kind of jumbled and vivid dreaming you “remember” from sleep that’s been broken, then reconnected, then broken again. It was boiling hot yesterday. Around 12:30pm I phoned W. to report that the thermometer on the deck, which is in full sun, read 108ºF. The […]

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May 18, 2017 (Thursday)

May 17, 2018

What a night… Slept really badly because of the heat. We hit 91/92ºF yesterday, and at 10p.m. it was still 82ºF outside – and it felt that way inside, too. Actually, the thermostat upstairs read 83ºF. But, cheapo and environmentalista me, I refused to turn on the air conditioning, in retrospect a huge mistake. You […]

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May 17, 2017 (Wednesday)

May 16, 2018

Yesterday was quite a thing. After the usual morning routine, which didn’t include working on fiction but rather transcribing notes from Camille Paglia’s book, and exercising – but skipping breakfast – I went outside at ~11:15 to do “some” yard work. Three-and-three-quarter (nearly four) hours later, I was done. (Done in.) Mowing, edging, and trimming […]

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