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Melancholic words to dampen your spirit

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Unbeknownst to me, my shrink replied to my voice mail yesterday when I was at the restaurant and not expecting any calls. I suppose I should’ve set my phone to vibrate, but I didn’t. So, today I called her voice mail line and, shock to me, she actually answered. She wanted an explanation why I upped my Depakote intake from 1000 mg to 1500 mg. What could I say? So, I said I’ll have taken one form or another of valproic acid off and on for the past 10 years, as of April. I know the difference between 1000 mg of Depakote and 1500 mg. 1000 mg is on the edge of total mania and 1500 mg is like a warm blanket.


I tried to explain that 1000 mg wasn’t doing me any good. I needed the extra 500 mg to calm my mind. It doesn’t do my creativity much good, but hell what’s creativity compared to a total wonky state of mind. Sometimes, wonky equals trying to stop a 240,000 lb. locomotive going 50 mph with your measly body. Likely as not, you’re going to be sucked under the locomotive and end up being mangled into unrecognizable bits by the traction motors. She said she knew that I’ve been taking valproic acid for long time and probably felt a certain amount of mental security in the dulling effects of 1500 mg has on my mind which was a good thing.


So, I’ve been approved to take 1500 mg of Depakote for the foreseeable future. What does this have on my creative function? Well, it’s been dampened a bit. At least the new book has been written up through Chapter 10, so I have a cushion to produce more chapters until the reserve catches up to me. Chapter 11 has been started and looks good to the end. Chapter 12 is a bit fuzzy, but I think I can resolve the inherent airiness to my writing to come up with another chapter. Of course, if I run out of ideas, I can always drop 500 mg of Depakote until I’m able to progress through the book. It’s not a good choice, but what the hell, I’m not going anywhere, certainly not down to the railroads tracks or the river beyond. The last thing on my mind is doing a Virginia Woolf in the Skykomish River.



Okay, it’s been five days since my last entry. I increased the Depakote dosage to 1,500 mg at bedtime and I called my shrink to inform her of such action. To those who might be worried, I am not wonky anymore. My mind has entered that dead state of drugged submission. Unfortunately, my new book has ground to a halt at ten chapters.


I don’t know if you can imagine not having any creative abilities, but that’s what happens when you choose to be drugged vs. being totally wonky. When I was wonky (i.e., not taking mind numbing drugs) I was writing around a chapter every three days and it was some good stuff, too. Now, I’ve hit a wall and it’s called sanity. To continue with the new book, I will have to write in a sane state of mind, which can be quite difficult when you’re used to being totally wonky.


Tonight, I was at the local Mexican restaurant sitting by myself at a table for two next to a table for four. I was drinking one of my favorite single malt Scotches, 10 year old Laphroaig, with a glass of Bohemia Mexican cerveza as a chaser (it has the body to stand up against any single malt Scotch whisky other than Modelo Especial). For those of you who are not aware of single malt Scotch, Laphroaig it is the premier Islay single malt Scotch; although, I’ve heard that the distillers at Ardbeg will differ with that opinion. (Quite frankly, Ardbeg is very good, only it’s not as good as Laphroaig. And, Laphroaig is officially one of Prince of Wale’s Scotches. Hey, anyone who’s willing to walk around in a skirt, certainly has to be trusted on his opinion of excellent Scotch whisky.)


Anyway, at the other table there were three gentlemen of questionable sexuality. I’m not saying they were gay, though their talk certainly bordered on a close relationship not likely found among “best buds” of the heterosexual persuasion. I don’t know, maybe two men can talk of sharing a bed in a purely heterosexual context is okay, but I have yet to encounter such a male-to-male heterosexual relationship. Plus, they seemed quite content in their mutual relationship.


For observational purposes, one gentleman was tall like me (I’m 6’5”) and had a comparable overhanging middle-aged gut, though his was not as pronounced or overhanging as mine. Hey, I don’t have anyone to look good for. His “partner”, although admittedingly older, was shorter and not as full amidships. Their “local” guest (who kept trying to get them to stay the night), was quite handsome, in a middle-aged sort of way. Okay. I admit it, he was attractive; but, since I’ve been medicinally castrated since 2003, who am I to say who is cute.


Finally, when I’d had sufficient Scotch, I got up, arranged my attire to leave, and proceeded to the cash register. But, before I left the immediate vicinity of the two tables, the partner of the taller gentleman said, “Have a good evening.”


Fuck! What was I going to say to this other than, “You, too.” How lame can you get, but what else could I say? He was with the other guy and I was certainly not looking forward to spending the night with a man I hardly knew. Plus, I had to get home to let Nana out to go pee and feed her at 7:30. I had responsibilities and they did not include this gentleman from downriver.




You have to understand being Bipolar is basically an extreme state of mind. A month or so ago I was taking 1,500 mg of Depakote as a mood stabilizer, plus 400 mg of Seroquel, also reported to be a mood stabilizer. My shrink decided that, maybe, I could reduce my intake of Depakote until I was taking Zero mg’s and relying on the 400 mg of Seroquel to stabilize my mind. Unfortunately, when I hit Zero my mind went wonky and I was hallucinating to the extreme.


So, I backed off and got her permission to take 1,000 mg of Depakote to stabilize my mental processes. Everything was going great until a couple days ago when I went wonky, again. How could I tell my mind went to hell?  Well, I went with my son to his appointment with his shrink and, at the clinic, I found myself walking three feet from the railing overlooking the first floor. I was, truly, considering doing a header. That’s serious wonky. I don’t get suicidal that often anymore, but there at that clinic I was definitely going wonky.


So, I’ve increased my meds to where I’m now taking 1,500 mg of Depakote. I know it’s a chickenshit response to a possible suicidal occurrence, but, quite frankly, in my current state of mind I’m not interested in going the death route to permanent mental stability. That’s totally, fucking wonky.


God, I totally hate being Bipolar. It’s either I’m drugged out of my mind or walking on the edge of totally out of mind on wonky shit. Quite frankly, I do not like being suicidal and I know that only occurs when I’m off drugs. For those who think they can control the wonky shit, I can only say I hope you have your life situation set up such that someone will come into your life before you begin to rot from succeeding at the final solution.



I’m still waiting for a referral from the agency that handles outside referrals for the VA to see a psychiatric or psychological professional because my VA psychiatrist said she can no longer see me long-term, per VA directive. The agency that sets up appointments called me before Thanksgiving to say they would find someone (probably an ARNP) to handle my case. They said that I would be authorized to see that person for only four visits. The interesting thing about this is that I’ve been seeing my VA psychiatrist once every six months, but the agency that does the outside referrals only authorizes visits to occur in a four-month period. So, the outside provider will have to send in a document that is called an SAR to request additional visits after the four-month limit has expired.


I’ve dealt with this before with my outside dermatologist who sent in the required SAR, except that agency sent me a letter stating I was not eligible to see an outside dermatologist. I had to send my Primary an e-mail requesting she initiate a referral to the Dermatology Clinic at the Seattle VA Medical Center for another total body scan because I have had two cancerous lesions removed already by the outside provider I’ve been seeing. Now, the Dermatology Clinic at the Seattle VA Medical Center has a process called nurse triage of referrals and this process takes a minimum of 30 days. Then their representative calls and says they will not be able to see me for three to four more months, but would I like to see an outside provider; to which I say “Yes.” Then they notify the agency that handles outside referrals that I need to see an outside dermatologist. A week later, a representative calls me to say that they have received a referral from the Dermatology Department at the Seattle Medical Center stating that I am eligible to see an outside provider. They ask if I have a specific provider in mind and I state that it would be nice if I could see the provider that I have been seeing for the past two years. They take the information and inform me that another representative of their agency will call me with appointment details in five to seven days. They, also, ask if it would be alright to leave a detailed message on my voice mail.


In my current situation, with a referral to an outside psychiatric/psychological professional it’s been more than five to seven days waiting for the agency to contact me. I suppose sometime next week I will have to call them, again, and ask if they’ve found an outside psychiatric/psychological professional to treat me, since the VA refuses to treatment on a long-term basis. I do not expect a positive answer when I call because the people you call are not the people who make the appointments. They have filter people to sort out the real crazy Vets who attempt to placate them with meaningless drivel.


It’s been a week since I completely stopped taking Depakote to maintain my sanity and completely relying on Seroquel (an atypical antipsychotic) to take up the slack. Quite frankly, I think I’m going a bit wonky, but I think I’ll have to do a bit of self-monitoring to make sure. That’s interesting isn’t it, the VA hasn’t provided an outside psychiatric/psychological professional to treat me, so I have to rely on self-cognitive therapies. No worry because I’ve been through extensive cognitive behavioral therapy in the past, so I should no how to treat myself. First Rule: Do Not Stop Taking the Medicine That Isn’t Working Because It Will Only Make You Worse. Second Rule: Call Your Psychiatrist ASAP To Get Permission to Go Back on the Mood Stabilizer. Yes, I think I’m going wonky.

On the other hand, I’ve been making great progress with the new book. I’ve already come up with a suitable title for it and I’ve pulled in a character from 319. Actually, I think I’m going to have fun with this because it deals with a lot of psychological issues I’ve had to deal with myself. I think I’m going to have fun with one character who is gay and the other who might not be, but who may feel a responsibility to provide sexual services to the other if only to ensure their continuing friendship. I know this is rather vague, but at least I don’t think anyone is going to die in this story. Honest, I don’t like killing of characters, but sometimes there is no other choice.


Yes, there’s no doubt about this, I’m definitely going wonky. Trust me, it’s not fun being nutso. At least I’m not suicidal; that’s a definite bummer. No, it’s definitely wonky time here.

Nana is stretched out across the sofa and I’m listening to the George Harrison song “Wah-Wah” sung by Eric Clapton, et. al., on the “Concert for George Harrison” album.

Yes, I’m definitely going wonky.




Status report

Tonight, I started the first chapter of a new story. The working title is “The Black Scandinavian.” The lead character, Troy, comes from the last chapter of “319 Winesap Lane.” Yes, that book is finished, although two chapters remain to be published. (hint, hint, Sharon!) Many of my readers probably will not like the last chapter, but I will not let the cat out of the bag today.


Troy has an identity problem, which is identified in the last chapter of “319.” I won’t reveal it now because, well, it’s a bit of a stretch for me as a writer and some may not feel I should impinge on the obvious cultural appropriation. But, the psychological manifestation in Troy’s mind leads him into lots of situations, many of which are not pleasant. Whether or not Troy comes out at the end of the story in a correct frame of mind will depend on a number of factors, many of which have yet to be imagined on my part. The story will take place in the boroughs of New York City; a city I have often wished to live in.


On the home front, my son has finally gone back to work after being on paid administrative leave from his job for four months. It’s nice to be back to normal.


Guitar lessons on hold because I’ll be having cataract surgery sometime in the next month or two. I won’t be having it at the VA medical center because they have no regard for their patients. Going in for a 11:00 a.m. appointment and not being seen until I left in a huff at 3:00 p.m. is simply not right. They agreed to arrange for me to be seen by an outside ophthalmologist. As best as I can forecast, I won’t be able to start guitar lessons until January or February.


Nana is still spinning; actually, she’s in a spinning fit right now as I’m writing this. Of course, most of it is due to boredom—after all, German Shepherd Dogs are the third smartest canine, behind Border Collies and Standard Poodles—but with one owner who’s manic-depressive and the other who is medicated for anger management issues, it’s a wonder she hasn’t run away from home. Now that we’re approaching the solstice, I have to take her out into the backyard to pee on a leash, otherwise she’ll turn it into dark playtime and I’ll end up having to go out with a flashlight, treat, and leash to get her back into the house. I suppose the worst part of it is she selectively listens to what I say. She listens to my son better, but he’s not here and I have to do what I have to.


Last week my shrink informed that, per VA directive, I am not to see her on a long-term basis, so she’s arranging me to see an outside shrink. She asked if I’d be willing to do video conferencing with the new shrink. I said I’d prefer a face-to-face visit, but would be willing to try it on my laptop. Also, she’s weaning me off Depakote because the Seroquel I’m taking as an antipsychotic can also aid in mood stabilization. It’ll be interesting to see if I go nuts without the Depakote. Been there, done that, and it wasn’t fun. Nutso is not a good state of mind.



So much to do

Well, it’s official. I have now entered old age.


Last Thursday, I went to the VA medical center in Seattle to see an ophthalmologist about a previous bleeder on my left retina. Luckily, there was no evidence that it had re-occurred. Unfortunately, the cataract in my right eye has worsened to where it is now operable and I will be going under the knife sometime next month.


During the past couple months, I’ve had a esophageal barium exam and a laryngoscopy to determine why I’m having a tickling sensation in my throat and larynx. The technical term is globus. I was worried I might have throat cancer, but that was ruled out by both examinations.


The shrink is cutting back my Depakote dosage in favor of an increase in the Seroquel dosage, which is supposed to be an effective substitute to bipolar treatment. I’ll be returning to see her next month to report on how the decrease in Depakote/increase in Seroquel is working out. As far as I’m concerned everything is going okay, except for the continued tremor I’m experiencing in my arms and hands. The shrink says it is called essential tremor, but quite frankly I do not consider it to be essential to my life and I think it’s time to get rid of it.


I was going to start jazz guitar lessons next month, but with cataract surgery on my eyes occurring over the next two to three months, I probably won’t be able to begin lessons until sometime in February. In the meantime, I’ll continue trying to teach myself with lessons I found on the web. I’m particularly interested in adapting boogie woogie to guitar. There is at least one song (Guitar Boogie by Arthur Smith),




but I want to figure out how other songs can be arranged in the boogie woogie style. Most boogie woogie is played on the piano because you can lay down a bass rhythm with the left hand while playing a treble line with your right hand.




or, the very talented Luca Sestak (at fourteen):




If I wasn’t troubled enough, the IRS finally accepted an installment payment plan proposed by the firm I hired to resolve my $30,000+ tax debt. I should have it all paid off in about five years.


Finally, with all this occurring in my life I should still have Chapter 24 of 319 Winesap Lane completed in the next few weeks. (hope, hope, hope!)


So much going on I can only wish I can keep up.



Today I am sixty-eight. The highlight of the day my son and I went to our local Mexican-American restaurant where I had four chilled Cuervo Traditional Tequilas and two Corona Light Cervezas, an order of shredded beef Taquitos Rancheros with rice and whole pinto beans, and a Chocolate Mud Pie to celebrate my birthday. I didn’t tell them it was my birthday because I wasn’t interested in wearing the sombrero and having the servers singing “Happy Birthday” in Spanish.


My writing is focused on my 319 Winesap Lane series. At this point in time Geoff is still celibate as a near elder gay man, Jerry seems to be coming out of his cloud of TBI, Erik is at the school for the blind and will soon be adopted by Geoff, Jamie has a boyfriend named Curt, Billy has acquired a boyfriend named Per, and one of the twins has been isolated from his brother.


My other stories that are “On Hold” will remain there for the time being due my diminished creative capacity. I’d like to do more, but there is only so much that I’m able to create in that direction.


I’m struggling with the bipolar disorder as I attempt to learn how to play jazz guitar on a cheap Yamaha acoustic. I have an $800 Epiphone Les Paul that I want to trade-in on an inexpensive Fender Telecaster. Of course, I’m going to have to go back to taking lessons. Since we live in East Snohomish County, I’ll have to find a teacher closer to the urban areas in the I-5 corridor. That will, of course, mean I will have to concentrate on my driving to overcome the attention deficit I have as a result of bipolar disorder.


Of course, I could just teach myself. It’s been done before, but in all those cases it was accomplished by people much younger than myself. It’s not that I don’t have the tools, it’s that I think I could do better under the tutelage of an experienced instructor. It’s one thing to learn major and minor scales, jazz chord progressions, arpeggios, and innovations on tunes on my own, but to do all that with an experienced instructor who is willing to work with an ol’ fogey who is trying to relive his younger years when he had the chance to be something with a different instruments (alto saxophone, baritone saxophone, clarinet, and bassoon), but stopped learning when he reached a wall and fearing being seen as incapable stopped all lessons and all chances of improvement sounds like a better idea.



I’ve been reading a collection of Ernest Hemingway’s first forty-nine short stories and I finally came to “Wine of Wyoming.” I suppose it’s a nice short story, except for the French dialogue of which there is quite too much. Two of the characters in the story are from France and, of course, speak French quite a bit, even though much of it is broken. But, enough of it is illegible to someone who does not, nor never has, spoken the language of France, Quebec, French Guiana, and other foreign outposts of the Parisian language.


I didn’t take French in high school. For some reason I don’t remember, I took Latin, an interesting language, but unless you’re going to the southern valleys of Switzerland where the populace speaks dialects of Vulgar Latin, it’s rather useless. Then in my one attempt at college I decided to take German, but that wasn’t going anywhere because the instructor came into the room on the first day speaking German. There were a lot of us up at his desk withdrawing from the class.


Why hadn’t I taken French? Is was the foreign language of the elite? I wasn’t anywhere near that class; they lived across the highway and over the far ridge. Maybe, if I had taken French in high school, things might have turned out differently, but speculation in that direction is futile at this moment in my life. I was lower middle class and the most I could expect was a dream of the impossible.


Unbeknownst to me and my parents, I was, even then, bipolar to the extreme. My dream going into high school was to enlist in the Army after graduation and go to the Defense Mapping School and become a cartographer. I like maps so much that I can read them like someone might read a book. A number of years ago I read that people who are so intrigued with maps may fall in the autism spectrum, possibly being identified as being afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve taken a few online tests and for what it’s worth my scores always point in that direction.


In the end, I decided not to try to read “Wine of Wyoming” after a few pages. The French simply was too much to figure out. It got in the way of reading the story for what the story was about. That’s the thing about French in American literature. I don’t read Updike because he’s always throwing in bits and pieces of French to intellectually challenge his readers. To me he was a pompous Francophile who belonged in the nearest wastebasket. To others he was a pompous homophobe. Not having read enough of him, I cannot attest to that affirmation.


I’ve decided that my next reading project will be a total reread of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. From my memory of him back before I suffered a massive nervous breakdown in 2004, he was a great read.



lt's taken a bit of time, but I've finally been able to pull all my teeth with a some rusty pliers and get this story going again.


Due to my diminished mental state I do not know when Chapter 19 will be out, but at least there is enough material pending for that chapter.




I’ve been suffering with writer’s block for a few months now, but slowly the creative juices are beginning to unclog and flow once again. Most of this block can be attributed to my recent bout with increased arthritic inflammation in my left knee. My PC sent me to x-ray and the radiologists diagnosed pseudo-gout. My PC who isn’t an MD, but an ARNP, did not accept this diagnosis because she had no knowledge of this affliction. She decided I was suffering from regular ol’ gout because my uric acid level was nearly one full point over the threshold. At what point do you question the medical knowledge of a nurse practitioner over a medical doctor?

The telling symptoms of my knee WERE NOT swelling, warmth, or redness, which would be consistent with gout, but was just pain, often excruciating, wake me up in the night pain.

Having had knee pain in varying degrees since childhood, I knew what to do to help lessen the impact of this latest bout. Unfortunately, I’m allergic to all the standard NSAIDs. The only one my body can tolerate is aspirin, which, interestingly, can compound the effects of gout. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Well, I got an appointment with an orthopedic resident who—with the affirmation of her attending—said arthritis is spreading throughout my knee. I suppose this was inevitable. Bad knees can go only so long until they attract the attention of the arthritic god of old age. An orthopedic surgeon I saw in 1971 said I had ninety-year-old knees; I was twenty-two at the time. So, I guess it’s back to self-treatment as I know it and when the knees and fingers (new symptoms) get too back I’ll try to get back to orthopedics.

The good side of all this is I slowly getting back to writing. 319 Winesap Lane, Chapter 18, is coming along, slowly, ever so slowly. Two new boys have come to the home and Billy has encountered a problem with an upper classman.

My new project, which will not be published until it is complete or at least complete through Section One, has the working title of The Faggot. It is a sci-fi story of a homosexual man who is transported to a planet that is lacking a male prostitute to service the needs of the men who desire the sexual services that only another man can provide. Interestingly, the faggot is also available to women of the village who desire sex with a man other than their spouse. There is, also, a harlot to service the heterosexual needs of men and homosexual needs of women. The interpersonal possibilities of the characters are endless.



Is It Over?

Let’s get this straight right from the beginning. I am suffering from a writer’s block. I’ve had these before and they’ve passed in time, but somehow I feel that this time it’s terminal. In fact, I don’t know the process of moving from Signature Author to Classic Author, but this very well maybe the time for such a transition.


I’ve tried to work on 319 and The GMOs, but there just doesn’t seem to be anything there.


So, I’ve done the only thing that a failed writer can do. I’ve turned to reading and, in my case, I’m reading short stories by Ernest Hemingway. I never read much of Hemingway other than The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea, but I recently purchased a collection of Hemingway’s first 49 short stories and they seem to be hitting a nerve.


Tonight, I read “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” (I always thought it was a novel, but its just a long short story) and in between the lines there was another story that kept trying to come out. It concerns a transsexual by the name of Sara Jean and her friend Billy. Sara Jean is raised by liberal parents who accept their son Steven James is genetically programmed to be a girl and do everything they can to support her decision to go through the process of becoming fully female. Billy, her lifelong friend, is seen at the hospital where Sara Jean is having her penis surgically modified into a clitoris and a urinary outlet; and, after her testicles are removed a process of vaginoplasty opens a pseudo vagina between her testicles and anus. He, along with her parents, know what is occurring down the hall and through the doors clearly signed “No Admittance – Hospital Personnel Only.”


I don’t know if or when a story will come from this idea, but it’s there and that’s all I can hope for at the present time.


I haven’t been working on the next chapter for 319 because I have been working on a possible short story for another site during the past week. I know I should be working on 319, but I’m focused on this other story. It involves a young teen who decides to run away from home, hoping to connect with his uncle in Fresno, California. The only problem is that he hasn’t quite figured out how he is going to get in contact with his uncle.


And, then a favorite song comes up:



That’s the problem with being a Type 1 Bipolar. You just never known when something will come up that does or doesn’t have anything to do with your narrative (or train of thought). As I think I said in an entry before this, I read a collection of John O’Hara’s New York stories. It was interesting because he doesn’t give character movements in his dialogues. In other words, it’s just straight dialogue that you might encounter in a play or movie script. In other words, you set the scene, add the characters, and go with the script (or dialogue). For many writers, they want to provide movement for the speakers, but in traditional fiction writers (as in literature) there is not movement added. You leave it up to the reader to imagine how the speakers are moving within the scene.



Oh, yeah, I forgot, sometimes life goes awry and you never quite know where you're going to turn up:



You see, I'm in a melancholy mood and I don't know where I'm going from here.


Anyway, I’m almost finished with this other story, which may be published on this other site, or if there are problems, I’ll just throw it up on GA and got with what may come. You see, I’m at an age where new stories are few and far between. I have to admit that the creative juices are running low and soon there will become a time when I will no longer be able to come up with anything original. Sorry, with my age and mental illness, there isn’t much more than I can do.


My son just served me two “special” brownies.



And, so, I sit here with two fourteen-year-old gay boys who don’t quite know where to go when they’re alone for some close interpersonal time.



So, I go forward and take two fourteen-year-old boys to the point where love blossoms.



As you can see life in mental illness is sometimes not quite want you want.


Okay, let’s get this clear from the beginning, “I am inebriated.” I have had a double shot of Laphroiag single malt Scotch liquor (it’s one of Prince Charles’ favorite Scotch single malts), an Estrella Jalisco cervesca, two Harvey’s hot buttered rums, a Dos Equis draught, and two double shots of Cazadores Añejo tequila. In the process of becoming inebriated I had a chicken enchilada, a chicken tostada, and a third of a Chicken Milenesa (deep fried chicken breast).


I have had, as usual on weekend visits to our favorite Mexican-American restaurant, the Ixtapa in Sultan, WA, a deep conversation with my son about our recently departed wife (on my part) and mother (on my son’s part). She was a very disturbed person who never admitted her insanity to others. It was never her fault that she was not quite the good mother or good wife. She, as most neurotics would admit, was a perfect person. She is gone now, at least from the letter I received from the VA that said a check they had sent to her had been returned indicating that the addressee was “deceased”.


I sit here writing this entry to my blog on GA while my son supposedly has crashed onto his bed for the night after too much alcohol (he had two double Cazadores margaritas), two hot buttered rums, a Negra Modelo, and two double shots of Don Julio Añejo tequila).


Nana, our nine-month-old German Shepherd is lying on the sofa looking at me as I write this. In the past two weeks since we have had our X-mas tree, she has been a very naughty puppy. So far, she has partially eaten one very special handmade ornament.


(If you will excuse me, but I’ve been away for twenty minutes while Nana was outside supposedly to take care off a physiological need, but didn’t seem to need to do anything other than to run around and chase her tail.)


Nana has a problem. She chases her tail and captures it on occasion. She has a definite curl in the end of it due to chewing on said object. I looked online and discovered that some German Shepherds have a predilection for chasing their tails. It seems that inbreeding has produced a fault in some genetic lines that causes some German Shepherds to chase their tails to the point where it is similar to the human condition known as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and, is some instances, can be treated with medications that treat human OCD patients. We have, as yet, not gone expense of treating Nana’s OCD. Hey, she’s an altered bitch, so why should we go to the expense. We’ve got a whirling Dervish German Shepherd; what more could one ask for?


I’ve been reading a Penguin Classic collection of the New York stories of John O’Hara. Why is he important, you ask? Well, he is acknowledged as being one of the few writers of fiction to be able to write dialog as it is spoken by real people and, at the time of his death, was the most published author of short stories in The New Yorker magazine, which I consider to be quite an accomplishment. (Have you ever listened to Stephen Bishop singing, “On and On”? It’s playing right now; it’s one of my favorite songs and I thought you might enjoy it. If you want to listen to it, go to:



While I was reading John O’Hara’s collections of short stories I couldn’t stop thinking of all the missed opportunities I had in my own life of writing the kind of stories that are published in The New Yorker. You see, I consider myself to be a failed fiction writer. I don’t know how many stories I have left to write for GA, but I don’t think there are very many. Creativity wains and there are not enough hormones to keep producing the kind of stories I want to create.


Tonight at the Ixtapa, I saw a young boy, probably in his late teens, who I thought I’d seen somewhere online. He was across the restaurant so I couldn’t get a good look him, but from a distance I could tell his was slender, but not skinny. His brown hair hung over his forehead, but not into his eyes. His slender, boney fingers handled his smartphone with the expertise you would expect from a boy of his age. In many ways, I saw in him the beauty only a teenage boy can exude to those who look for that in a boy. To my regret, I couldn’t keep my eyes off him to the point where my son looked to where I was looking to see what was catching my eye. I don’t think he appreciated the beauty I saw.


I suspect there won’t be an update to 319 until after Christmas because I can’t write while I’m watching Nana, who has her attention focused on the X-mas tree. (Did you know X-mas is a valid abbreviation for Christmas? Well, it is. It’s in the Greek.)


In my playlist, which delves back many decades, “Fernando” by ABBA just came up. If you’re interested, try:


If all goes according to the Constitution, Donald Trump will become the 45th President of these the Divided States of America on Friday, January 20, 2017.


I suppose by the following Monday the order will go out to either the Army Corps of Engineers or some other government entity to begin construction on the Great Wall of America. When we threaten to bomb major cities in Mexico for not being forthcoming with the funds to cover the project is open to speculation because how else will we make them pay for it?


When can we expect our troops to come home from South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan? Will they come home before our troops in Afghanistan, Iraq, Oman, Syria, and Turkey? When will our troops be coming home from Europe?


If Putin asks for Alaska back, will Trump’s minions be able to negotiate a reasonable settlement based on the original price paid, plus interest, in lieu of armed invasion with tactical nuclear weapons?


If North Korea launches an all-out attack on South Korea, will we go back to help them? Or, will we settle for no more Samsung or LG appliances and cell phones? If a nuclear armed missile from a North Korean submarine obliterates much of Los Angeles, what will the President tweet?


When Iran annexes Iraq, will we care? When they send a nuclear armed missile targeted on downtown Tel Aviv, will we care?


When President Trump signs the bill making same-sex marriage illegal throughout the country, will we care?


How will President Trump convince GM, Ford, and Dodge to stop making their vehicles in Canada and Mexico? Will he force them with retaliatory legislation?


Just some thoughts based on the words of the upcoming, new President of these the Divided States of America.


Skin Cancer

This morning I had a squamous cell carcinoma removed from my left ear by Mohs surgery. Since I'm allergic to all analgesics other than aspirin and the clinic I went to didn't prescribe a pain killer, I'm taking my aspirin and living with the pain. But, as the discharge paper said, it will get better day by day.


The next chapter of WWW is progressing. We may actually be coming to a finalization of the story.


319 is approaching an on hold status unless I can figure a way to get chapter 6 to go from 2300 words to something more.


I think I'll go have a lie down and hope tomorrow is a better day.


Oh, if anyone asks, Windows 10 is a piece of shit and Outlook isn't much better. (Is it just me or has anyone else noticed they no longer receive emails from certain contacts, even when those contacts are on your safe list?)


I really don’t know where this is going. I’m out of words to put into my current stories and so I resort to listening to music. My choice tonight is Bob Dylan. I could have chosen The Beatles, Eric Clapton, or The Travelling Wilburys, but I didn’t. I’m not really into modern music because there seems to be no logic to the available choices. Music can go only so far until it starts to repeat itself.


If anything, I’m at a loss to what might happen in the future. My only point of reference at this moment in time is the removal of the bit of cancer on my left ear on January 29 and my next appointment with my psychiatrist on October 4. My legs and feet are swollen so much that I can barely bend my knees to put on my socks. My feet are so swollen that walking is somewhat difficult. Looking on Google, I might be in the early stages of heart failure. My father died of stage 4 prostate cancer compounded by congestive heart failure. He was 52 when he died, I’m 67. That he was an alcoholic probably went a long way to contributing to his death. Technically, I’m still an alcoholic.


At this point in time I am suffering from a significant level of depression. I’ve been here before and know what it feels like. It’s debilitating in its overall effect upon my psyche and day to day life. There are many things I’d like to do, but I can’t. The only positive thing in my life at this moment in time is my first Social Security check being deposited in my bank account in December. With any luck, I’ll be able to begin traveling in 2018 or 2019. I look forward to taking a train trip, even if it is only as far as Chicago.


I will continue to attempt to keep adding to the stories that I am posting to GA, but for all intents and purposes I cannot promise future if additions will be posted in any convenient timeframe. That is as much as I can promise at this time.


On Being 67

Yesterday was my sixty-seventh birthday. I got a free B-52 at the Ixtapa in Sultan; plus, I had two shots of Oban single malt Scotch. As birthdays go, it was tolerable.


For all that happened yesterday, I’m bored with life; due to changes in my meds I’ve gained over 30 lbs. in the past year; my cataracts are worsening to the point where I get a new prescription every six months; I've got skin cancer on my ear; I can’t drive more than a couple miles to the grocery store and definitely not out on the highway at highway speeds because being bipolar makes me too inattentive to keep track of what I’m doing; and, more importantly, it’s harder to write.


I think I just don’t give a shit anymore. Somethings just aren't all that important.


Use Sunscreen!

Just got a call from the dermatology clinic where I had the latest biopsy on my left ear. The pathology report came back today and it's a squamous cell carcinoma. They'll be scheduling with the VA as to whether they or the VA will do the surgery. They will be recommending one of their Mohs qualified surgeons handle the procedure. They VA will probably say that I should have my ear whacked off just to save a few bucks.


Life moves on, as I've got a lot of writing to do, a dog to house train, and a hot summer coming on.


As far as I am concerned the only sure therapy to a psychologically troubled mind is to have a productive hobby and to practice it on a regular basis. Medicinally, I am stable with an effective mood stabilizer and an anti-depressant specifically developed to treat depression associated with bipolar disorder.


That leaves my hobby which is writing. I’ve tried to learn how to play the guitar, even to the point of buying one for $800 (actually getting it on sale for $400), but that’s basically a non-starter. At this point in time I have a series (William Walter Williams) that has begun to be published. Another series (319 Winesap Lane) is written up to Chapter 6 and will start to be published soon as I get through Chapter 6 and into Chapter 7.


A new story came to me over the weekend. It is a sci-fi story that takes place in the future on a distant planet. The leading character, John Quincy Allerman, colloquially known as Allerman, awakes in a forest totally unaware as to who, what, or where he is. He follows a path that leads him to a community of fellow humans who immediately identify him as “The Faggot”, which in this society is not a derogatory phrase. In fact, he will serve the community in much the same way the “The Harlot” does her duty, only he will service men who desire the company of a man in the way only a faggot can. There are so many places this story can go that I’m sure it will keep me preoccupied for many months. I’ve finished Chapter 1 and am working Chapter 2.


For the past week I’ve been wavering over putting GA on the backburner for the foreseeable future. My mental state is in a total disarray since Rambo bit me and my son had to put him down. Plus, my son has his own mental issues to consider. In effect, we’re both a couple of crazies trying to make do with life.


But, I have a series of stories that may save me. One deals with a boy who was sold by his parents into sexual slavery when he was six. Dabeagle helped me a lot with New York State’s policies and procedures on foster care, but I don’t know if I want to publish due to its sensitive subject matter. That story has two subsequent stories, but neither of them have been written further than generalized plotting. Of course, there is 319 to work on. I have five and a half chapters, but they are not in any condition close to publishing mostly due to formatting issues.


We took Nana in for her 3 month checkup and she’s now 25 lbs. of bouncing German Shepherd puppy. What’s nice is that she likes to snuggle. The other night she actually climbed up and lay in my lap for about 10 minutes. Very calming for a troubled mind.


Goodbye Rambo

Was it inevitable? We’ll never know.


What is known is that my son’s 90 lb. German Shepherd bit me yesterday morning with no provocation. I was sitting at the desk working on the laptop and Nana was rummaging around my chair. I reached down to pet her and Rambo chomped down onto my forearm and wrist with enough force to draw blood. Luckily for me, this time the entire episode was viewed by my son who has been of the opinion that every time Rambo has attacked me in the past has, somehow, been my fault. In all previous attacks I was wearing my blue flannel house jacket, but this time it was a bare arm bite. I’ve had inflicted pain before, but this is my first animal bite and I do not wish to have another.


When I finally regained some sense of composure I told my son Rambo was a vicious dog and either he had to go or I was moving out. My son finally admitted Rambo needed to go. This morning he went down to city hall and arranged to relinquish ownership of Rambo and have him euthanized. When he got back he put the muzzle on Rambo and left in the car. I know this was very difficult for my son and told him I was sorry it had to come to this, but I couldn't live with Rambo knowing he could attack me again.


Now, I have some fairly serious puncture wounds that I will have to watch for infection and wait for the pain to go away. I’d like to take something for it, but I’m allergic to all the over-the-counter analgesics except aspirin, which I can’t take because it messes with the blood levels of my mood stabilizer. So I suffer, know that in time the pain will go away. It’s good that I can still write even though I haven’t written anything for over a week. I’m still getting use to my new anti-psychotic and hope, in time, I will be able to get back to working on the stories I have in production.


Half my ancestry comes from Sweden and the other half is split between Wales (one-quarter) and Native American (only by conjecture because no one in the family claims to know what happened to the picture of the woman who is my great-great-grandmother; I saw it once and if she wasn’t Native American, then she was certainly doing everything she could to look like one), England, and Germany; in other words, a lot of Northern European fair skinned immigrants and that other person no one is willing to claim.


My mother, from the non-Swedish side, was raised in north-central Washington where there is lots of sun most of the year due to the rain shadow effect of the Cascade Mountains. She was a sun worshipper and I, by default, was, too. Every year, as soon as it stopped raining in Seattle, I would be out in a t-shirt and shorts turning my lily-white skin to the obligatory tan favored by Hollywood stars of old. Unfortunately, being fair skinned meant that I always had to endure the mandatory blistering sunburn to get the skin ready to turn brown.


Today, I went to a dermatologist to get a full body scan. I had one some twenty-odd years ago and they found a precancerous growth that had to be excised. So I thought it was time for another one. The result of today’s scan was the freezing of a precancerous growth on my forehead and the biopsy of a black mole on my arm.


So, if you’re thinking of getting a bit of sun this coming summer, please use some sunscreen. That stuff wasn’t available back when I was getting burnt to a burnished red and now I have another thing to worry about. Is that just a mole or should I have it checked? Is that flaky thing on my ear the same as the flaky thing on my forehead? In that case, the one on my ear is just a by-product of aging, but the one on my forehead could’ve turned into something deadly.


Nana is doing great. Took her into the vet on Saturday for her 9-week checkup and vaccine. She now weighs just over 14 pounds. She gained 6 pounds in two weeks! We’ve got to get the potty training in high gear because pretty soon she’s going to be too heavy to carry outside. As it is now, if we try to walk her out, she’ll potty on the floor. Just have to trick her little mind into picking up on the idea that we GO OUTSIDE to potty. After all, German shepherds rank number 3 on the dog intelligence scale. I’ve almost got her to stop biting my ankles when I take her outside, so I have to keep up the positive attitude.


I’m almost weaned off the Risperidone and will start the preliminary dosage course of Quetiapine (Seroquel) tomorrow night. I take 50 mg for 3 nights to start, then 100 mg for 3 nights, then 200 mg for 3 nights, and then go to 300 mg for the remainder of the test period. As with any medication, I’ll be looking for desired benefit vs. undesired side effects. Unfortunately for Quetiapine, death is one of the side effects and since you take it at night, I might not notice I’m having a life threatening stroke or heart attack while asleep. Peachy!


Also, I’ve read Quetiapine can induce something called Zombie-ism, which causes you to function at the mental capability of a piece of soft fruit.


But, it’s all maybe and might. You never know until you try it. You go in with your eyes open and you see how things go. Plus, I have to deal with the VA. Risperidone is the first medication of choice to treat the psychotic side of Type I Bipolar Disorder. If that doesn’t work, then you move to Quetiapine. Each has its own set of pluses and minuses. From what I’ve read, Quetiapine just might be what I’m looking for. All I have to do is hope the side effects don’t affect me too much.


Nana is 8 weeks old today and she’s just the little bitch you would expect from a German Shepherd of direct German heritage (her mother was imported from Germany). We’ve been trying to potty train her and she was doing real good for the first few days until she figured out she could pick up her water bowl and carry it across her enclosure spreading water everywhere. We put down Wee Wee Pads, but she turned those into chew toys and there’s no telling how much she swallowed before we just took them away from her. Finally, we resorted to taking her outside to potty between an hour to three hours, which usually works, unless she potties in her enclosure after only 45 minutes. There is one thing about her though, she is at least a week ahead of Rambo in intelligence and comprehension. She's already learned to run away if does something naughty, to put one or both feet in her water bowl while drinking, and trying to open her enclosure, which was inexpertly installed by the son of someone from Arkansas. Everything would be just a lot better if Nana wasn’t such a little bitch.


The writing is still going. I knew I couldn’t stop, even if I receive discouragement from unexpected sources. But, I have seen some new people reading my work and have received a few reviews. My Reputation has actually moved up a couple notches, too.


I am working on three stories that all relate to one protagonist. The themes are mental illness, friendship, homophobia, hate, love, and death. They cover a boy from the age of twelve to sixteen. The first story covers his memories of his childhood horrors of sexual abuse and drugs leading to residence in a juvenile mental health facility where he learns how to be a normal child. The second story concerns his introduction to normal life in a small town and a high school where he finds friendship with a Goth girl, a best friend who becomes his boyfriend, a vibrant gay culture, homophobia, prejudice and hate, love, learning how to ride a horse, and a little puppy named Alice. In the third story his life at school continues in the gay community, continuing his horsemanship, his training of his loving dog, his growing love for his boyfriend, and the death of the dearest object of his heart. I don’t know if there will be a fourth installment, but I’ll have to see what kind of reception I get. If no one likes it, what’s the point of continuing.


My mental state continues at a diminished level. I’m barely above being suicidal. I have been extremely depressed for three weeks. Tonight I told my son that and he said, “Duh, like I didn’t notice?”


To which I said, “It’s your job to notice; but, I understand why you didn’t. You have your own mental problems.” For the first time, tonight he admitted he was cycling between extreme highs and lows. If that isn’t bipolar, I don’t know what is. He goes to see his shrink Wednesday and I told him to talk to her and get her to help him. I’m beginning to think she’s reluctant to tag him with a bipolar diagnosis. The boy (he’s 40) needs help.


I’m calling my shrink on Monday and see if I can get on an antidepressant.


WARNING: Long entry.


We picked up Nana, our new German Shepherd puppy, on Friday morning and have been enjoying many pleasurable experiences with her. We took her to the vet yesterday and she weighed in at just over 8 pounds. Quite a handful.


A week before last my son sideswiped a Mustang on his way to work and in all likelihood totaled his Expedition, if he had collision insurance on it, which he didn’t. Well, it is a ’99, so there’s not much point in carrying that kind of coverage. That’s the thing about him, he always drives older cars and then bitches to high heaven when they breakdown, which they often do. He has a ’72 Cadillac Coupe de Ville in the carport that came as a piece of shit. It had sat in somebody’s leaky garage for over ten years and suffers from serious, structural body cancer. On the driver’s side the door panel falls off when he shuts the door, the seats for the bolts having rusted away.


He has an ’06 Ford Police Interceptor with over 140,000 miles on it and a clattery engine that needs to be changed out with a new one. In his mind he sees going to a junkyard and picking up some low mileage Ford engine out of a Crown Vic or Grand Marquis that had been involved in a wreck and is just sitting there and waiting for him. The Expedition needed a new engine, too, but for once in his life listened to me and bought a reconditioned one, that now has just over 4,000 miles on it. That’s what he hopes to sell today. A new 5.4L Ford Triton engine for $2,500 and he’ll throw in the bent and scratched body side panels and bent front wheel assembly for free. All the buyer has to do his take the thing away. What a deal.


Of course, there is not much I can say for myself, either. I’m still driving the ’03 Cavalier that got t-boned when I pulled out in front of someone back in 2014. The passenger side doors were both bent in and the joints are now sealed with black Gorilla tape. But, since I don’t drive further than the grocery store, which is not quite a four-mile roundtrip, there’s little need for me to have a more complete vehicle; though I still dream of having such a car, maybe next year.


Since I am Type 1 Bipolar, my son has a 60% chance of inheriting the disorder. He’s been going to a psychiatrist for a number of issues over the past year or so centering around intermittent explosive disorder (road rage) and anxiety. He’s been through three SSRIs and now is on an SSNRI, plus something for the anxiety. Now, after his accident major depressive disorder has been added to his mix and he’s been put on an anti-psychotic (the one I take). When he went in to his psychiatrist I told him to her that I’m Type 1 BPD not Type 2. He said she seemed concerned about that information and maybe she’ll see that his anger is an expression of some form of mania. I hope the anti-psychotic helps him, his anger can be traumatic around the house.


I’ve been sliding into a general funk over the past few weeks. The anticipation of getting the new puppy has passed and now she’s here and my son smothers her with attention. Rambo, our three-year-old German Shepherd, hasn’t quite accepted her and has nipped her twice already. But, none of that is my problem.


I think my creative abilities are waning. I’m struggling while working on writing four new stories, poking at each one as I try to bring out characters into some form of reality. Honestly, I think it might just be time for me to go away (no, not that way). Maybe I’m trying too hard. Maybe it goes back to the way I’ve been my whole life, trying to be someone I’m not. It’s not like I’m a popular writer. My readership at GA is totally pathetic, but I’ve never written for the masses. I’ve never wanted to be a mass market author. Maybe I should’ve worked harder on learning how to write poetry, though that genre has alluded me since high school.


“D___, what is the deeper meaning of this poem?”


“The deeper meaning?”


“Yes, what does it say to you?”


“What do you mean? The guy is walking down a lane on a snowy evening. Is there something more to it?”


“Darleen, what do you see when you read this poem?”


On there it was, the inevitable deeper meaning. The hidden nugget of truth. The rack waiting for the lamb. Could I have changed if I had tried a little harder? I'll never know.


That’s kind of the way it was back when I was in the final years of my experience with music. In elementary school, I learned how to play the alto saxophone, but I hated the instrument. I had wanted to play the baritone horn, but my mother had played that instrument and decided I was to play the saxophone. She was that kind of mother.


But, I was given the opportunity to have a private instructor at a music school in Seattle. I played in the little swing band they had for students. We played at different venues on weekends, learning skills that might have lead some of us to careers in the music field. In junior high, I was selected to play in the all city junior high concert band. My mother had to drive me nearly the length of Seattle to get there and this was in the days before the freeway went that way. She was that kind of mother, too. I was good, very good, but I was a technician. I learned a piece and played it as I learned it. I lacked the ability to improvise, but I also lacked the desire to play the alto saxophone. In junior high, I had the opportunity over one summer to try to learn the bassoon. It was a good instrument, but the deal was I would have to continue playing the alto in band, to get to play the bassoon in orchestra. So, I took up the clarinet. I took to it like a kid takes to a licorice stick. It’s a beautiful instrument and definitely has more opportunities than the alto. I also learned how to play the baritone saxophone.


The clarinet, alto and baritone saxophones lead to a day in swing band practice where the instructors decided we were to learn how to play jazz, genuine improvisational jazz. There is a technique to it, a skill, but there is also an art to playing improvisationally. When Count Basie came to Kansas City his band would play a twelve-bar blue progression all night, improvising on that theme with different instruments taking turns with solos. Unfortunately, I hadn’t learned the twelve-bar blues progression like the other members of the band. My instructor simply assumed I could pick up on what was happening because I was such a good player. I was a dismal failure. Improvisation doesn’t turn on like a light switch, it takes practice. I’ve heard that Charlie Parker practiced 15 hours a day for three years when he was starting out. I was expected to play jazz without a smidgen of practice.


I quit playing music at the end of my sophomore year in high school. Technical expertise only goes so far and I think I took it as far as I was able.


So, where do I go from here? Well, I have two chapters to go on “The G.M.Os.” until it is finished. Well, not finished, but finished in the sense I can’t go any further with it right now. I can’t give up writing, but I’ve run out of steam. I’ve been working with another writer to change my style to make it “more” popular, but so far it’s been like pulling teeth. Back when I took some college-level courses on creative writing, I learned to write without using dialogue tags or at the very least using the word “said”. It took me a number of years to add the words “asked” and “exclaimed”. Now, I have to consider throwing in “cried”, “laughed”, “snickered”, and “sneered”. I don’t know if this will come to pass. Maybe it’s all for naught and I should just accept the wave of modernity as gone past and it’s time for me to put the pen in the drawer and go the way of longhand.


I’ve been working on this blog entry for a couple weeks now, but every time I think it has developed into something to publish, I don’t. Mostly, it’s all because of my new mental state which is now controlled by the ingestion of 2,000 mg of valproate sodium (Depakote) to stabilize my moods. Mania is mostly held at bay and never lasts more than a week; depression lasts barely more than a day or two. Mostly, I exist in a nothing state. I write stories, though it takes time to formulate and express thoughts in coherent phrases. I take a nap during the day and sleep fitfully at night. Dreams are not enjoyable.


To help I went to the small expense of buying a book. Until now I’ve relied on what psychiatrists told me and what I’ve read on the internet, which has been okay, I guess. But, I wanted to have a compilation of the latest knowledge on Type 1 Bipolar Disorder. What have I learned? Well, yes, I am Type 1 BPD. It’s a recognized illness and therefore requires medicinal intervention to ameliorate the symptoms and often more than one medicine is needed. I use two, a mood stabilizer and an anti-psychotic to alleviate the voices, hallucinations, and help with the depression. Suicide is always a risk, though I no longer fear it as I once did. Maybe I’ve crossed into that land where Virginia Woolf lived before she decided to fill her overcoat pockets with stones and walk into the River Ouse. Thankfully, the medication I’m taking seems to be keeping me from that watery end.


Where do I go from here? Unfortunately, as far as medical science has studied there is no cure for Type 1 Bipolar Disorder. Each manic or depressive episode does a tiny amount of damage to the brain, so if you have a number of them, the cumulative effect can be horrendous until intervention is attempted. Unfortunately, it wasn’t until I was 58 when I was diagnosed and started on valproic acid (two tablets twice a day exactly 12 hours apart) and then a few years later to a generic extended release version of Depakote. Looking back on my life I know I was mentally ill as a teenager, but that was the Sixties and you had to be fairly bad off to get noticed. I kept under the radar as much as possible, I think mostly to fend of accusations that I was gay.


Two weeks until week pick up the new puppy!


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