On Learning to Write Your Name

The “K” is a man kicking and punching. The “e” is a wave, that’s rolling this way (counter-clock wise). The “i” is a line that makes a torch. See the light on top there. The man grabs it and makes his was to the “n”, the inn. That’s Kein.

Operation Coyote’s Chortle

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Their chortles come to me at night, through my window.

Telling me of the way forward. What needs to be done.

Honing signals of the State of the Union.

The plan has become clear.

Greater then the sum of our individual parts, a pack.

Two cats, one black, one tabby. Alerted by a soft meow of communication. Busted by a primate’s flashlight, but quickly fled into the night.

Sunday. There was a beagle, or some other especially nasally bread, assaulting the world with its cries of outrage and injury. It was impossible to ignore, as I handled the planting of the elderberries cane.

My hands grew cold, and the mud caked on like chilled frosting. Winter won’t get out of the bed.

I said fuck it, tried to find them in the truck. Lure them to me with whistles, and doggy-os.

I hear and see him later as I build the frame to the greenhouse, running like a bullet on a mound to the south-east. His screams had lost their potency. There was only one of them now.

We go on in the blood, the spit and the semen, until we don’t. And then they can build us into mounds, and then dirt. And then it starts again, world without end, amen.

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11-5-17 Morning Briefing

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After the bear ate the Honda, we sat and thought about what to do with its remnants, roughly 7k dollars. The obvious choice to some, would be roll it into a similar vehicle, maybe something a little nicer, and go on about your business. Our ideas ranged from thousands of dollars worth of berry and tree plants, to quitting employment, to eventually paying off a high interest credit card and buying a 1996 Honda Odyssey for a thousand bucks. Old thing had less then a thousands miles, and decent gas mileage, it was fun, gambling. And things have mostly worked out. Took it to the mechanic and he said there wasn’t anything worth fixing right now, put some miles on it. Good enough.
That all to say last night, I noticed the interior light was on. Asked the wife about that, she said oh yes, been on all day. I stood out there for fifteen minutes messing with it, trying to get it turned off, pressing the door censors, trying to pull the fuse, nothing would work. Wife took the plate off, got the bulb out, no problem. I checked it this morning, started it up to make sure it hadn’t been drained, put the bulb back in, fidgeted with it and go it to work normal, so I’m guessing something is wrong in the dome outlet itself.

Then I feed the chickens. Neighbors had stopped by with the remnants of their garden, watermelon, fatty kohlrabi, tons of gourds . Lifted the stinking trash barrel with body breaking hulk strength, a plentiful offering to the gals. We continue to feel beyond blessed with how well the homestead has developed. We’ve spent the last month scrapping the main living room of several layers wallpaper. We got one little corner left to scrap clear, which I plan on finishing today. Then its some of plaster work, and time for a paint job. After about a year now, we might have a living room, with a couch. The deep question, do we need one or want one?

After breakfast, I set the gang to cleaning beans. They love it, smashing open the pods, getting the shiny beans all piled up. We talk about the whole process, what we’ll do next. The different kinds, how we’re eating some and setting some aside to plant next year.

I got garlic planted a couple weeks ago, planting next year food now. I also built a couple more raise beds before winter, they are halfway filled with composted chicken manure, wood-chips and a heavy layer hay, just waiting perfect for next early springs planting of radishes, cabbages, and onions.

A Neighbor supplied us with a hay bail, and sold us a pig, which we got this week. Another use of the bear check, was a new deep freeze. Same neighbor is offering to bag a deer for us as well, so I look forward to make jerky with that this winter.

For breakfast, Britney made fresh biscuits, and we had egg and bacon sandwiches. Somewhere in the year, she’s become an expert baker. I had gotten into starting sourdough cultures, but she came in out of nowhere and became the expert on it all, bread, cakes, tortillas, rolls. Its great eating, and more and more, the idea of food sustainability, eating off our own land, becomes a real achievable goal. A guiding principal in all this has congealed in my mind, the 1800s mindset.

Now this isn’t a dogma, or any sort of strict rule, but before I make a decision I like to think, what would a 1800s homesteader do in this situation. How would they approach it and look at it? So for instance with the car. Thinking 1800s told me I’m not planning on traveling too far on a daily basis, that any transportation I do have has to serve multiple purposes, and that ultimately I couldn’t spend that much, and definitely wouldn’t have or be comfortable with easily accessible and expensive debt. We giggled one night, thinking about how horses would be ideal, get a buggy like the Amish, to haul the gang. Is there anyway they could stop us?

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That’s how it feels mostly. Like I’ve snuck of the reservation and made it to clear land. A place to be and do what I want. Land. Big plans are brewing for the future, and the beauty is it begins and depends on simple things. Fresh eggs and biscuits, the moon when it makes the sky glow, the froth of the Milky Way, little hands moving with archaic deftness separating the beans…

10-21-17

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10-21-17

I had to give up on the Bear Story. It was too much. Too fresh. Felt like trying to get a grip on a slippery boulder, only to have to try to lift it to an impossible height. Got tired of writing in 2017, an unfortunate development for sure. Part of it is that there is no external incentive, money, adoration, whatever, in it for me. It’s also cause the Farm/Homestead has become the dominant call. Our initial goal was more food than we can eat, and the bed of radishes I’m feeding my chickens right now is evidence of the achievement of that goal. The writer, content producer in me can’t help but scoff, all this good life material and I’m not even sharing it.

I stand sort of bewildered and blown out, by the world. I think that’s an apt description of approaching middle age itself. Sometimes solitude and time to self feel like a deathly needed glass of water in Death Valley, but when it’s finally gripped, you yearn for the others. There’s god in that.

Finally saw that In The Wild movie, didn’t see it when it initially came out, the hype was nauseating, but I think I read an article telling his story. Even knowing it was coming, the ending made me cry. Having to put down my nine year old laberdoodle Cujo recently has done that to me, made me all blubbery. It sits right there behind a thin film of ego constructed stoicism. I’m still in the truck weeks ago, driving him that beautiful, sunny morning, music blaring, insane. Petting him and crying. Songs were all poignant, topical. Hendrix Along the Watchtower, Audioslave Like A Stone. The later carried a hidden poignancy since I first heard it.  I knew it would pop up like that in the future, its meaning and purpose foreshadowed, long ago and into the future, both at once.

The need to write is strong. But the avenue seems obstructed. I keep trying to restart the journal like one of my cheap, alway needing repaired, riding mowers. It feels like life itself, things work, they break, you work to fix them, defeat, try again, and again, then it works, for a while.

Everything is connected. A sort of sentence you’d read in a self-help book or maybe on a t-shirt. We’ve done that, popularized everything, reduced everything to the “essentials.” When you get that grip though, the correct angle and lens, it can sparkle, however briefly, a light projected through the angles of the mass. It’s all spinning together, one humongous organic organism, withering away in some crippled search for meaning. Crippled because its been detached from any natural process. And you realize, you ride on the mass, staring back at yourself, a reflection of a person, forever pulled and yanked by the whole. Your screams can neither be categorized as exaltation or lamentation, only your ego in breaths between, can look with a selfie-stick of self, and try to make sense of it.

Parenthood shows this. It’s a tragic drama. Child, tabula rosa, utterly dependent, push parent self to its highest, most mature forms, but then roles gradually reverse and deteriorate, around seven or eight, now it’s about learning to let go, letting them be their own person, learning to shut off that attachment, and move on. It’s about control, and your lack of it. You end up back where you were before, you have to cultivate a detachment to it all, recognize it all goes on just fine without you. That becomes a horror of adulthood I think, watching when people die and everyone just goes on about their business.

Writing interrupted, call from Aunt D, my Grandama’s sister. Women. Old women. The way of talking about illness and the burdens of others like it’s somehow your fault. The sort of blame that creeps in your bones, and makes you want to shake it off like a dog. But you know they love you, mean well, but something bad is in that. Time. Saturn. The supposed End. For years been hearing about how Grandma’s going down hill, sort of bugging everyone with it. What do you say? You can almost feel embarrassed if you’re in a good mood, or enjoying yourself. Feel I get that a lot, people being negative and it bugging me. “Being negative” that’s another t-shit type thought, isn’t it? Or the inverse, Be Positive. Like a battery terminal, or an electron. Turned on. And it feels like that doesn’t it, an added something, a buzz, a good mood. Collectively, we’ve had ours stolen, replaced with false promises of shitty food, silicone breasts and tentative safety. Talk about your dreams with others, they’ll ask about health insurance. Man doesn’t live on health insurance, right?

So that’s about where I’m at. Feels good banging the keys. Letting the fingers play. The words are there, but to what end? Half contemplating, saying fuck it and doing Nanowrimo again. Got this character percolating, Horus Rizen. Think middle aged Holden Caulfield. I know that’s a little ahistorical, he’s an old dead fucker by now. But I think the world is very much middle aged Holden Caulfield, or is it Charlie Manson? Actually it’s more like Holden Caulfield’s kid, after Holden got with a hippie chick, ate a little LSD, and ended up working for a software start-up. Holden’s at death’s store (door), he’s flipped, realized how grand life is, and frantically works at plugging his brain/soul into a computer, like Ray Kurzweil. Horus can’t do anything but drink organic coffee from Chiapis and scroll through the terrorizing news thread on his Ipad…anyway, you tell me.

 

8-19-16

In the writing lab 2:59PM. Just had to apologize, hang my head, do penance, smooth the rough spots. Chay turns six today. Tomorrow is the big party, so today is a preparation day. We run to Costco for a giant bag of chicken wings and other supplies, and then stop at La Tapatia for a pinata on the way home. Commerce and piling the booty into big boulder had us off our A-game. As I and toddler Coen, sat in the parking lot, he started sucking on the silver part of the seat belt, in the frustrating toddler way of doing things, which can be very cute and funny, but also infuriating. It’s like playing chicken with Joker, you flip back and forth between desperation and laughter. The gang shows up, pile back in, motorcycle pinata on birthday-boy’s lap in the middle. Mom tells me she talked him out of the skull. I tell her she should have let him get it. On the way home Coen goes to works on the motorcycle’s yellow tassels, enraging birthday-boy. I try to get control of the situation, while Mom drives, we were too packed in for me to operate the vehicle safely. Little man has the perfect barrier of bulk items blocking my control, so we start a game of automotive Marco-Polo, which involves me trying to stop his hands from ripping the tassels off. I succeed but have only elevated the stakes. Now it a game of hand combat. I, more expert at the martial arts, control him easily, but this only brings the toddler’s ear piercing screams of defeat. The siren causes me to let go of the hand, and the game begins again.

Several rounds into that I lost it. Raise my voice. Yell at little man to stop. He gives me big pouty bottom lip. Saucer eyes lids brim with tears in a cartoonish fashion. In the moment, I feel terrible and angry, let down by my own lack of composure. It all becomes obvious I should have brought a cooler, and bags for the grocery, so I could put them in the bed of the pickup. We should have gone into the grocery with everyone else so we weren’t bored. No matter what, it is your responsibility as a parent to BE COOL. You cannot teach little ones not to throw fits, if you’re throwing a fit.

I deleted a post the other day. I was sort of embarrassed by all that, by what I wrote, deleting it. It was whiny, cliche. Quoted Mel Gibson as William Wallace, so silly and melodramatic. It was all true, horribly true of course, and I should have left it. I did leave it, in here, the electronic second brain of this creature.

I get build up, pressure issues when I’m not writing new stuff. It’s kind of odd to start falling apart cause of the something like that. It’s about exhausting that emotional, psychic build up, I think. Hitting the bag gets it out, exercise or intensive manual labor too. Time, always the issue. That’s just something to say though isn’t it. The truth is much more complicated. You have more energy, do more, brings more challenges, requires more energy more activity, do more, more challenges, more energy, more challenges. Something like that. No real thing as rest. The meditation will be timed. Start now, ten minutes. Space between thoughts. I am Austin. I am Austin. I am Austin….3:36PM