Pink Moon

April is almost over and its pink moon gone. The Indians called the moon pink after the herb moss pink, or wild ground phlox. There was supposedly a pink moon on the 15th of this month. I didn’t see it only because my family and I were in the middle of moving into our new home in the middle of the woods.

I love our new place. Love it! It’s the currant in the bun. It’s the perfect place for us; fits us like a glove. To be finally in a place that is spacious and almost built to our sensibilities is like grapes between the toes of the wine maker. And as an added bonus, we are looking after 29 hens and a rooster, who continues to crow our good fortune. And there are eggs in every nook and cranny.

One of my all-time favourite short stories is “The Distance of the Moon” by Calvino. The magnetic pull of the moon. The major transitions in life. The attraction to what is new. The repulsion for what is hackneyed, worn out, spent.

It’s time to let the happiness in.

Change is easy when you’ve been living off the dust of nostalgia and boredom. But transitions can be tricky cause there are metaphors collecting in the unconscious. For all the tumultuous anguish and joy of change, a person must find his or her own metaphors to make sense of it all. The public metaphor has no place for things undergone by the self.

And so a new chapter has begun in a new house.

Kingsley Amis once wrote. “Whisky is my favourite tipple, though I recommend never giving it to a Welshman as it’s wasted on someone with an IQ of less than 80.”

If Amis wasn’t dead, I’d write to him pretending to be the whiskey bottle he’d abused and I’d complain about his loose lips slapping on my imperfect rim, his grubby nicotine-stained fingers squeezing my glass sides, his pudgy, sweaty face secreting all over my label. And I’d threaten to tell all about the night he drank me dry, guzzled me down to nothing more than a stale odor, and how he locked the door to his study, covered his typewriter, shoved the full ashtray aside, and kissed his copy of Lucky Jim.

“I do not judge myself or others. That is far too common for a tired aesthete.” Cyril Solipsist

Artifice is all we have. Take life at its face value? Boorish. You do that and all you have is the mundane, spending and getting, fucking and dying. Artifice is what’s given us art. It’s what’s given us life. Without it, we’d still be gnawing bones, afraid of what we don’t know, hoarding fruit and nuts, shagging in dead furs, and waiting for the pantheon of gods to wipe us out.

Time for some Nick Drake.


Bring It On Home

It’s spring. Life is stirring again. But first, there must be mud, at least in Maine. And then there are the pigheaded strips of snow that refuse to trot off.

Darwin and his Beagle, it’s lonely being a writer. Not the physical solitude (I’m equipped for that), but the loneliness of never knowing. I probably shouldn’t have read Adam Phillips’ Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life. Instead of inspiring me to greater heights of sufferance, I can’t nudge free the idea that I’m missing out on something.

And what do I feel like I’m missing out on? A gang of one’s own (instead of a room); John Ashbery talking to himself; a lovely coterie of friends; more involvement in the literary world (although I don’t even know what shape that should take); a vintage pair of jeans; a book deal.

“We make sense of our lives in order to be free not to have to make sense.”

My life at times feels like a boat in dead waters: waiting to get an agent to love me through the leafy vines; waiting for the sun to go supernova; waiting to hear if there is water on Mars; waiting for a physicist to find the God particle. If only it could be just Waiting For Godot. Why can’t I get a Golden Ticket like Charlie? “I never thought my life could be anything but catastrophe….”

But as King Lear told me the other night, “The art of our necessities is strange.” But the night before that, Mad Cyril told me: “The future is simply a ship in a bottle waiting for the right wave to let you out.”

What has happened to universities and the academic life? Send me off to American Idol with a song in my mediocre heart, but aren’t universities and colleges the Land for the Lotus Eaters? I thought it was the last refuge for exiles, eccentrics, the obsessed, thinkers, libertines, seekers, the disaffected, the lonely, those who don’t wanna grow up, those who fled the working world with Ginsberg’s Howl in their veins, those whose backs were pushed up against the wall by the world and who hopped over it into some cerebral paradise. How did all this professionalism and success and play the bonny tenured prof come about? Shouldn’t universities be letting misfits and miscreants and the mad teach the bright young things of the future?

Why is it that the middle class always work like dogs and yet never have anything to show for it but debt and mortgages and exhaustion and unfulfilled dreams? I don’t want that. I want the Alexandria Quartet in my backyard. I want the sun and moon to pass over my writing desk. And I want to someday go to Bruges as a hitman.

I have gone on long enough. I must get back to my bean field. If I don’t, somebody will think me a curmudgeon in the prime of life. I’m not that irascible. I just have this thing called life breathing down my neck all the time.