THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING DRESSED IN THE MORNING

22/01/2022

Duke of DisillusionThis almost an essay showed up as a memory on Facebook (now there’s a clue as to why Facebook does well in my 60 plus demographic), I’ve trimmed and updated as a post, and updated it on my back pages.

Suicidal Ideation and the importance of getting dressed in the morning

(from first draft 2018)

THEN: I’m dressed. You’ll have to take my word for it. Dressing is an important transition from bed and bath, fraught with small choices; socks that match, that stay up, that don’t make my ankles swell and my feet turn red, now usually diabetic socks, though thank God I don’t have diabetes. This morning I am letting my Stage Four Flat Foots roam free.

 

NOW: Three years later same dilemma but halved, only have one Stage Four Flat Foot left. On Monday I will be measured up for another brace on my remaining right foot, looking for support that does not cause sores. I will be picking up another fake foot to go with my new prosthetic left leg at the same time. The fake foot that came with my new leg is too short for me and my size 14 shoes.

 

THEN: Underpants that don’t ride up into the crack of my ass, and don’t let my innocuous junk fall out, harder now my favourite brand has been discontinued[1]
In winter a t-shirt seems necessary and I have a bevy to choose from, including self-designed Correct in this Culture[2], Luck Man and Jimmy Bang Blues Project and lots of comfy plain cotton XXL ts which may be all I need if I’m working at home

NOW:  I’m now wearing a vest as the British call sleeveless undershirts, not wife-beaters. I now wear suspenders, and realize the importance of sleeveless undershirts if you wear braces, as the Britiush call suspenders. The t-shirt straps keep the suspenders off your skin.

 

THEN: Pants I try to keep very simple never having more than 2 or 3 pair in rotation currently in brown, tan and green, and then one of my two or three favourite shirts if I’m going into 213 Notre Dame to work in my office number – 622 – which I found out in a recent fire drill. Because I’m in a wheelchair at work, I get to stay in my office, the door closed a wet dish towel under the door. So far I haven’t had to rely on the strength of Winnipeg fireman to carry me down the six flights of stairs.

 

NOW: My waist size can vary widley. From the thin of a 40 waist to the thick of a 50 waist. I need suspenders for anything past 44 because pants tend to fall down, as I once experienced at the Co-op in Gimli. I have a number of pinched nerves, and have sciatica as my parents called theirs. Anything tight around my waist hurts while I wear it and causes havoc a long time after. So big waisted pants, suspenders.

 

THEN:  I love my pajamas, and my two robes, but I’ve had to wear them often enough in hospital post-surgery and in depression at home[3], they often send incorrect signals to my hypothalamus, messing with my circadian rhythms with signals of illness and physical decrepitude, rather than Hey! You get to work at home today! You’re a Lucky Man!
 I do change back into pajamas to rest in bed, during the day, and it’s much harder to get dressed again the second time and so on.

 

I am of course avoiding the rather sensational first two words in the header, trying to lighten the mood with a rather tenuous relationship between getting dressed and staying alive. I have not done much research, but figure most people get dressed before they commit suicide, though I know of one notable case where a man got dressed complete with a parka to walk down to a frozen river. He completely undressed, folding his clothes neatly  beside him, lay down on the river ice and snow, one very cold blustery winter day and froze to death.

 

NOW: I think of getting dressed sometimes to be the writer I see in myself[4]. So I top my baggy pants and suspenders with 3XL collared shirts, always 100% cotton,
and most-often white and goddamn the “non-wrinkle cottons.” They must be treated with crap that makes them as uncomfortable as any polyester I’ve worn, now banished from my closet.

 

THEN: The link of “to be or not be” to getting dressed may be specious.  My argument hinges on the concept of choice, in an effort to ameliorate fears that thinking and talking about suicide is a sure sign you are a danger to yourself and should be committed or restrained in some way for your best interest. I admit that depressives may think about suicide more often than the rest of the population, but as long as we are talking about it, we are less likely to make an attempt. It is sometimes enough just to reassure yourself if finally there is absolutely no way to end the physic pain, as a human being, you can choose not to be.

 

NOW: I am dressed. I am writing. My desire to make something gives me peace (no matter how angry or difficult the words/poem/story) the minute I apply the seat of my pants to the chair in front of my typer.

 

[1] Product placement available in exchange for cotton XXL underpants.

 

[3] I’ve never been hospitalized for depression, and usually the relief surgery provides for whatever pain my bones dish out, and the total absolution from responsibility you have in a hospital bed, did once bring me a great deal of comfort and peace.

[4] It’s more “fake it ’til you make it,’ than the Duke of Delusion, pictured. Image by Murray Toews

 


TWELVE BOOKS

24/12/2021

The first 12 books that I remembered in the order I remembered them, revised.

  1. The Bible – though I believe and say shit like “I’m such an atheist, I’m not an atheist,” and “God is dead, but sometimes I miss him,”  the Book is the mythology I cut my teeth on lies under my writing like a buried bone
  2. Little Lord Fauntleroy  Gotta get out of this place! (Gretna) “Maybe I’m adopted and my real parents are English nobility.”
  3. Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce), reinforced by the inspired reading of the opening passage by Joan Baez on her Baptism recording.
  4. The Energy of Slaves – (Leonard Cohen), stripped down, whether laconic or angry, right on the money. It’s the only book I ever tried to shoplift. Tried, the keyword. Poor U of M Bookstore security lady felt so sorry for my 18-year old ass trying to steal a book of poetry,
    https://i1.wp.com/d1w7fb2mkkr3kw.cloudfront.net/assets/images/book/lrg/9780/1995/9780199536443.jpg?ssl=1she held it until I had the money to come back and buy it.
  5. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (Michael Ondaatje)
  6. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) mostly because it was a damn fine novel about places I knew in my own country, but also because it was one of my mother’s favourite books that I saw her readings some Sunday mornings when she could have been in church. Also because she thought if Margaret Laurence “could use words like that,” I could too, when my Dad discovered Jimmy Bang Poems.
  7. Field Notes (Robert Kroetsch)Still have a first edition of Seed Catalogue, but am particularly found of The Sad Phoenician, and The Poets Mother, the poem envoi (to begin with) the seed for the new envoi literary foundation or ELF (stayed tuned)
  8. The Edible Woman, What’s not to like? I was in university, what it lacked in subtlety was mostly lost on me because of its clarity, and for god’s sake it was FUNNY. Insert Canadian Iron Man Contest joke here.
  9. Under the Volcano (Malcolm Lowry), best description of leaving the garden for the abyss ever written. I’ve stopped reading it every October, my favourite reading of course on an October Ferry to Gabriola in 1979.
  10. Ada Or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (Nabokov), I may have read Lolita first, but this is definitely my favourite Nabakov, introducing me to my lifelong fascination with “the family romance,” and a novel way of story writing.
  11. Mad Shadows by Marie Claire Blais. Cohen and Blais introduced me to new writing and new ways of writing by Canadians.
  12. The Waves by Virginia Woolf  tied in to a rhythm of language that I love,  pushed harder by Cohen and Blais who came after, but could be much angrier than Woolf, which also appealed to me in the seventies.

READING OBLIVION

19/12/2021

Breaking into a sweat…..

He drew the blinds shut, cranked up the air-conditioning to its coldest setting, and settled into bed with his new laptop, the late Beethoven String quartets played by the Berg Quartet in his ears, and David Foster Wallace’s Oblivion in front of his eyes. He had a hard time with DFW short stories, and though sure Infinite Jest could have been shorter he enjoyed the joke and cared more for the characters than he did those paraded through his stories. We flick pages. We begin in the middle of Oblivion, with the story “Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature,” sounding like a topic of one of this writer’s many thoughtless English papers fifty years ago. Ok, so I am he, to a poing,  and we will delete pointing that out, chasing it to footnotes, then to a smelly locker full of old ideas, not Cohen’s;  we deleted our own one at a time when inevitably we found the idea realized allowing some smart young entrepreneur to retire before 30 by selling it to Multi Global Universal Company (MGUC) for billions of dollars. We take some comfort in their unhappiness, and even in our heart of hearts when they commit suicide. Soon forgotten, their brilliant disruption of the shaving industry for 18 months before selling out to Shick, an event that didn’t even crack MGUC’s annual report.
 A note on our use of pronuns…pronouns. Plurals will be used as often as possible unless we are specifically talking about a singular person like David Foster Wallace. As a writer with multiple selves we have decided to use plurals for ourselves, since we can’t discern which of our selves is speaking, well writing we’d better say. (ha)
 

Today I do not find Oblivion, I forget what it looks like and in which pile of books I slipped it. I listen to Hole, Courtney Love dreaming a heaven which never comes. I also have misplaced my Diclofenac, supercharged voltaren, thinking about applying Voltaire to reduce the pain in my neck and shoulders. It’s too hot to make things up, and I’m fat, sweaty, ugly Jimmy Bang Redux.


WHERE DOES IT HURT?

04/12/2021

In every joint and then some


CREDULITY

 HOW MUCH DOES IT HURT

Journal entry, undated

There will always be someone who suffers more deeply, more righteously, more rigorously, more appropriately with higher levels of pain, with higher levels of accomplishment achievement than me like the amputee running a super marathon across the Sahara desert. Good for you. Good for God!

Me how do I tell you about my puny sorrows, and even those have been commandeered by someone suffering more successfully than me and even yet from jahnt siede.

You share the story about the boy who used an axe to chop up the radiator hosehis dad beat him with.  Pat commented on his father’s fury grown by his church and  by extension, then at least, his God. I have to admit I may have been strapped half dozen times, a practise that stopped when I was 13 when we moved to Winnipeg. Only twice however did my father strap me black and blue. Both before I was sexually assaulted.

Always me me me-like a warm-up for choir. https://i0.wp.com/www.ballaratosm.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/3554222.png?ssl=1Then in September of 1968 my parents would not believe my pain which had started earlier, they accepted our rotund and jolly GP’s, word that nothing was wrong. Mayeb was having trouble “adjusting” to the move, the new school, was the missed diagnosis.https://i0.wp.com/www.eorthopod.com/images/ContentImages/child/child_hip_transient_synovitis/child_hip_trans_synovitis_diagnosis01.jpg?ssl=1

Then one simple test 2 months later, and the GP knew what was wrong, confirmed by  an X-ray, and that he had been wrong, and that I suffered, finally enough. Suffering for me was not a team sport, As the pain stopped in my hip it grew in my heart and in my mind. My parents and I were through.

 

 

 

 


International day for persons with disabilities

here I am reading selections from pieces of my mind/my body and parts

https://youtu.be/KIPYx_rS7Bc

 


FIRST BOOKS REMEMBERED

27/11/2021

The first ten books two that I remembered in the order I remembered them.

  1. The Bible – though I believe and say shit like “I’m such an atheist, I’m not an atheist,” and “God is dead, but sometimes I miss him,”  the Book is the mythology I cut my teeth on lies under my writing like a buried bone
  2. Little Lord Fauntleroy  Gotta get out of this place! (Gretna) “Maybe I’m adopted and my real parents are English nobility.”
  3. Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man (James Joyce), reinforced by the inspired reading of the opening passage by Joan Baez on her Baptism recording.
  4. The Energy of Slaves – (Leonard Cohen), stripped down, whether laconic or angry, right on the money. It’s the only book I ever tried to shoplift. Tried, the keyword. Poor U of M Bookstore security lady felt so sorry for my 18-year old ass trying to steal a book of poetry,
    https://i1.wp.com/d1w7fb2mkkr3kw.cloudfront.net/assets/images/book/lrg/9780/1995/9780199536443.jpg?ssl=1she held it until I had the money to come back and buy it.
  5. The Collected Works of Billy the Kid (Michael Ondaatje)
  6. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) mostly because it was a damn fine novel about places I knew in my own country, but also because it was one of my mother’s favourite books that I saw her readings some Sunday mornings when she could have been in church. Also because she thought if Margaret Laurence “could use words like that,” I could too, when my Dad discovered Jimmy Bang Poems.
  7. Field Notes (Robert Kroetsch)Still have a first edition of Seed Catalogue, but am particularly found of The Sad Phoenician, and The Poets Mother, the poem envoi (to begin with) the seed for the new envoi literary foundation or ELF (stayed tuned)
  8. The Edible Woman, What’s not to like? I was in university, what it lacked in subtlety was mostly lost on me because of its clarity, and for god’s sake it was FUNNY. Insert Canadian Iron Man Contest joke here.
  9. Under the Volcano (Malcolm Lowry), best description of leaving the garden for the abyss ever written. I’ve stopped reading it every October, my favourite reading of course on an October Ferry to Gabriola in 1979.
  10. Ada Or Ardor: A Family Chronicle (Nabokov), I may have read Lolita first, but this is definitely my favourite Nabakov, introducing me to my lifelong fascination with “the family romance,” and a novel way of story writing.
  11. Mad Shadows by Marie Claire Blais. Cohen and Blais introduced me to new writing and new ways of writing by Canadians.
  12. The Waves by Virginia Woolf  tied in to a rhythm of language that I love, in the same manner as Cohen and Blais who came after.

Choral Music + Medication

21/11/2021

I’m listening to choral music, which often happens on Sundays. I was raised on four part harmony chorales and hymns. I have the music streamed into my hearing aids, which double as my cell phone connection. I’m messing about today because we went out to friends for a lovely dinner last night, and that involves using energy that means recharging today. Our carer Jared is here, cleaning the kitchen where he will cut potatoes into 8ths or smaller for roasting to accompany the 2nd half of a pork roast, with coleslaw prepared by our carer Courtney on Friday. My next meds are scheduled for 4 pm, when Jared finishes.

Music, in “studies show,” category, will reduce pain by providing pleasure or activating my pleasure receptors. Often, when I am in too much pain to concentrate to read books about pain for example, I listen to music, realizing finally I’ve been using music as a help to my mental health since I bought my first records.

I am still taking a med cocktail that has not changed much since 2000. The most recent change is to Oxy-neo, which is a time release opiod, which is to last 12 hours, but lasts me only 9. By this time, 8 hours and counting, the pain is severe, including my bruised bum. I fell in a sub-optimal transfer from bed to wheelchair and landed on my prosthetic leg, kicking my own butt it seems. Add my cold, and well, I’m out of here, not well. Music meanwhile fills the holes where the rain  gets in. Listen.

 

 


Misdirected thoughts listening to Schafer String Quartet 7

11/11/2021

  1. Thinking about the pharmacy I say I was thinking
  2. About the pharmacy ring the bell please understand I don’t need
  3. The Percocet now, but in two weeks. I am asking now
  4. So will have the little I need in two weeks.
  5. This now is Schafer string quartet 7. Lyrical in violin first theme and in cello with the second theme
  6. Which brings the colour down a bit, but there is still light penetrating the smoke
  7. The 10+ totally awful airqauality head ache headache so can I still dictate while I’m listening. Next paragraph seems so
  8. . There’s a sermon sounding like a Thurman theremin there we are sure why not but it’s a soprano well of course it’s a soprano both Schafer’s wives were sopranos two wives one and two I had one through 4 none of them could sing like this but all of them knew a good line when they saw one
  9. This is actually pretty splendid so there must be lyrics it’s more than just ooze and the letter O it rises it falls there is fear apparently apparently this soprano is backing off the stage so it sounds off in the distance now maybe she’s been outside maybe she’s running away because there’s fear or that’s what I hear will be great when I get my hearing aids back though won’t it
  10. OK so here we have the Viola I have a cousin named Viola Viola Epp she never played the Viola also the cello and I think maybe even a violin she never played. let’s all get involved you know even this darkness is pretty gentle there are vaccinations to be had there are infections to be at I’m staying inside folding laundry and wondering where did I get this headache
  11. not so much I am planning to make cottage pie for supper and we will have to sort this out because here comes the soprano insisting they really should have baked beans can’t really have cottage pie  without baked beans but I’ve never baked beans in a pie.  When the soprano’s hit those upper notes with a bit of volume behind them breathing from their pelvis R pudenda if you’re allowed to say that and really let it blossom I don’t know why he’s so infatuated with that sound
  12. theremin, that’s the sound he’s mimicking why not just get a theremin of course then it wouldn’t be a quartet what a but how is it a quartet now if she’s singing I’m having coffee that’s going to help actually I’m perking right up ah saying she’s doing a lot of signing now sahagin sighing sighing and Yang Yang too why not an yen Yang and Fred Wah’s music at the heart of thinking I was something he thought of I’m so glad to be doing this again have I told you how glad I am to be working again Oh my God
  13. and how I can make paragraphs with the return key that might help actually in dictating poetry I should try that do I dare have a second little cup of coffee I’ve loved my thermas this big metal thermas is humongous and that’s probably a good thing for the wedding I like stainless steel but this is not a stainless steel quartet no it feels a lot more organic i really should check on the song to it’s a long one movement piece it’s gonna have to find the lyrics in wiki I think which might screw things up I don’t know doesn’t matter if I understand it
  14. here we are in the second page danger always with dictation long long long go long go long gong gong gong it was gone gone gone gone so long and she had a wonderful feeling yeah of course banger going of course she had one good for her next paragraph let’s go
  15. Smith spring if you and I were lovers I’m hearing life would be so sweet I will just give you a swing a sweet a single shrug obio it’s just a very thin reedy violin but OK it’s over like oboe like I’m hearing tonsils now there’s never a cartoon of a singing soprano without her epiglottis is it or is it are you view love quivering quivering shaking in her mouth I wonder if they realized the cartoonist of course they did of course the cartoonists knew what they were doing with that does her clitoris work yeah well anyway where am I going with this i’m back but i need to know how how long this piece is and it’s 27 minutes and there’s 18 minutes left so we’re at the 19 minute mark and it sounds like a wood block but of course if it’s a quartet though Murray wouldn’t really be held in by the fact that a quartet is with four instruments it would be using a sound go like a woodblock or he was using a woodblock it sounded like a metronome it sounded like a metronome
  16. here we are again so lyrical theme being passed from the violin to the Viola to the cello no my cello angry set up a bit peeping Tom peeping Tom peeping Tom parting the curtains Yikes they see each other in the mirror of the glass there’s the metronome there’s the metronome now we have a little dance in the violin dancy dancy
  17. I’m a little on the dizzy side and I don’t know if it’s the coffee my leg or my pain and it’s not that late yet I took my meds near 12 so I can’t really take them again until noon I mean until 4 sort of drifting right but doctor John cabots in would say that’s alright just bring your mind back back to what you’re meditating on and I’m meditating on Schafer’s 7th quartet being played by
  18. The .22 c a;ibre b ullet is the fismallest to kill you and me. At this point I might guess it’s too long but I’ll have to read the lyrics maybe if you heard them they would be more engaging and there would be a story to tell beyond me just talking about what’s happening on a very surface so like this would be a level so if I was going to write this as a quartet then I would write different parts I don’t know if I would I could start with the soprano I suppose and then right all the different parts in other words the violin is saying this the Viola is saying this the cello was saying this and the lyrics well never mind the lyrics they were saying something too they were saying something too I love to swing in my chair twirling in this spring Ling in the swings I’m thinking about riding in the land and the storm that happened that night and Theo holding up his arms and shouting I’ll save us as the tent was being threatened with wind so fierce that they could blow us away but couldn’t really they could lay a blow the tent down over us which is what happened but here I am not listening to the fat lady that singing again well I shouldn’t say fat lady that’s not right is it next paragraph I have no idea what she looks like I’m thinking actually pretty thin from the sound that I’m hearing
  19. I’m going on to the next page so I don’t really need to but I think I should put a paragraph into the last one one of the things about this kind of composition is it doesn’t take into account how often you’re dealing with external things like chewing your sub nail and being irritated by the pain in your right knee here we have a bit of dashing about with syncopated 8th notes and then a bit of lyricism when they reach the top end of let their doing the pizzicato something I like only rarely this is going to be some mess I think this could be a cut actually now there’s an idea I wonder if I could set up a program that would just pick every third line or something and have it make the least amount of sense this shape her number 7 which of course was written to make a lot of sense but which I’m ignoring OK you will look up the lyrics of course you look up the lyrics you’re feeling really good right now boy you should drink coffee more often C and then you could pump a little water into it and you would have a small glass for both and do you want your cold water tasting a bit like coffee well maybe I do
  20. I will need to concentrate harder and talk less only beginning to focus if I wouldn’t know better I’d hear I just heard two piano keys being played there’s always this sort of shouting singing this I’ve heard before it is in fact if it’s just like when you’re finishing the phrase and it’s on a rising tone usually yeah now we have some repetition that’s interesting it sounds like gallop she’s galloping though I don’t think she’s riding a horse the voice is galloping was no Monty Python coconuts here oh I’ve got to talk less oh I have to talk less oh I have to talk less maybe I should take every 7th line and see what happens OK but I still have to wait till it finishes we’ll do that will do this several ways from Sunday but it would be great to have another one of these done by the end of the month would not I wonder when I’ll hear about the CBC literary competition other writers aren’t supposed to want to win prizes we all do and we all know we’re not supposed to even enterprises especially since the classless money how vain we are oh wait a minute she’s faded out.

 

 

 

 


LISTENING

21/10/2021

Listen Here is well underway. I am getting ready to listen to R.Murray Schafer’s 8th String Quartet this afternoon as a prompt for free-fall writing leading to couplets, leading me to a new ghazal. I plan to write a ghazal for every quartet. Extensive research continues, as does listening. The first seven ghazals in the collection are complete, and I’ve written an introduction for the book including the other sections in the manuscript called “Dispatches from the pain room” and “The Jimmy Bang Blues Project” to crystallize my thinking and outline my work for the next three months.

R. Murray Schafer died in August 2021. He was 88. Here he is pictured with the Quatuor Molinari and his spouse Eleanor James.


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