The resolve to share an update has been gnawing my consciousness as Vachel Lindsay’s “mouse that gnawed the oak tree down.” Google “The Mouse That Gnawed the Oak Tree Down” by Vachel Lindsay to better understand the similie here. The year since summer has sapped the “artist” out of me. I don’t believe that part of me will ever return to me I hope that it does. IF it does, it will be okay. I feel most who I am meant to be when I am the creative communicator with a guitar in my hands and a poem in my head, sharing same with people who pay attention. And the loss of that capacity has depressed me like blazes.
The kettle of my consciousness had been warming gradually since last November when the woman who’s rented the upstairs of my duplex stopped paying the rent because of difficulties getting alimony from her estranged mate for life. I decided to not press the issue because she promised to pay all she owed after her divorce settlement came through. It was more important, to me, for her to pay her utility bills and keep the heat connected upstairs than for me to risk frozen pipes. I knew chances for finding new residents over winter would be slim. Finally, in April she paid what she owed. But during that long stretch my pickings — food, heat and outlook-wise – were slim and grim! The lease she signed in April promised she would either vacate the place in August or renew the lease until spring 2015. When August came she said she didn’t want to renew the lease and that she “should be out at the end of September.” On September 1, I advised her that if she would not sign a lease, my note was her official eviction notice I then decided to NOT advertise the duplex until she was physically GONE and I had changed the locks. I simply did not want to interface with her during her final month in residence. In late September, she asked me if she could pay the rent through October and stay that much longer, that she was having a hard time finding a place. I explained there were two choices: to be out by October 1 or sign a lease until next April when she would have 30 days to vacate. Two days ago she agreed to renew the lease.
In the meantime, I’ve not paid my land-line phone bill, so it’s been disconnected for three weeks. My “employer” hasn’t paid me for MORE THAN A FREAKING MONTH , and my electric and gas bills are past due. If upstairs renter pays rent on time October 1, or if “employer” pays me Monday or Tuesday as I HOPE, I’ll be okay. Cross your fingers world.
But wait, there’s more.
Two friends I’ve known and cherished for more than 20 years — names here are 20 and 16 — and I had the most significant mutual dis-enchantment of any I have experienced in my life of 67 years. They were relative newcomers to the local poetry community which thrived before and during my years as a leader of sorts, one of several major players in the mid-90s. All of the early major poets/players parted company with the evolving core group and went their separate ways. It grieves me deeply now that I must do the same.
I’ve decided that if a poet determines to be a poet/folksinger/songwriter and the most he can show in the fruit basket of rewards for his labors are more open mic recitals of usually three and sometimes longer performances. . . he has no reason to believe he’s much of a freaking artist. The abrupt confirmation of this reality came when 20 and 16, the new “leaders of the pacque” . . . . on two consecutive occasions, sternly limited me to reciting only two poems/songs, the second less than a month after the first. I could not believe my frikking EARS!
I believe there is more to my estrangement than an overblown reaction to my talking to 20’s friend 16w while 20 was reading a poem at an arts event we all attended. Logic screams at me that the reason connects with what took place in my life in 2009.
That year, a young woman shared my house with me. We had renewed OUR friendship that year when she attended my poetry recital at the Taylorville, Illinois public library. after not seeing each other for many years. In the weeks that followed she moved into my home. It was all platonic and remained so to the bitter end. During a period lasting about 28 days after she moved in. I became hopeful for something more romantic and less platonic, — beautiful, intelligent women have that effect on me — and I became a problem. I never touched her, never verbally abused her, but it was not fun being in the same house. She moved out so fast after the tidal wave of discontent crested, that she left some things I later returned to her through a mutual friend. She also left some things I kept and did not return. I believe that sometime this summer my youthful poetess and fabulous photographer friend, whom I called “Lenore” (nameless here forever more) who was an angelic presence in my life in 2009, who warmed my searching heart, who inspired poetry and songs almost faster than I could write them, told 20 and 16 earlier this summer of my stupidity and lamented, long-repented conduct. THIS I believe is what cost me friends 20 and 16.
I also believe there will be making up for what happened in 2009 and this summer.
The break is particularly bothersome because the only people I’ve IMAGINED to be my friends since about 1993 have been contributors and participants in the arts community. There have been many cordial contacts in the aviation community, but before this summer the last disintegration of a major friendship took place in 1993, and that was with an aviation historian friend. We’ve not spoken to each other since.
So the only thing driving me out of bed in the morning is the museum I’m developing at the airport. It IS FUN. And I’m not expecting to be friends with every person — in aviation and out of it — whose company I consider worth sharing.
But wait, there’s MORE. The third factor in my present, artless life will be shared later this week, probably Wednesday.
Thanks for allowing me to exorcise a load off with you.
Live long . . . . and proper