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I threw everything off that table and got moving, blowing and going, and it is good; maybe, hopefully, something has freed inside me.
'In Our Name'
It is blood red and black all over, deep, insane, rich to my eye and I don't care about yours in this, or anyone elses.
It is dedicated to every innocent the American war machine has killed in Iraq, to every citizen burned or disfigured or imprisoned or tortured.
Fuck George Bush. Fuck Dick Cheney. Fuck Donald Rumsfeld. Fuck Paul Wolfowitz. Fuck Condoleezza Rice. Fuck Colin Powell.
The colors are close, though I think oil is … Richer? Brighter? More intense? It surely is that.
It's goddamn sure different under the knife, it feels real good, but acrylic does too. It's like butter, it's sensual - that's how Miss Line and Form described it, and she's right. It's so beautiful I want to fuck it, I want to eat the shit, I want to rub it on my head.
It's completely different to work, difficult to do what I want to do, though I know it can be done, I've seen it; I just have to learn how.
She's tumbling some, the rocks are loose, she's scrambling to find new footing, it's all shifting around, and she's in it.
I can't do much from a distance, fact is I couldn't do much if I was standing next to her, it's for her to walk through, stumble through, no telling what chute she'll roll out of.
I opened to color and words in friendship with her, she models Art, she is Creativity.
She's brave, laughing when not crying, she's still razor sharp, but so is the pain, it's slashing her.
I watch, give friendship, hope, love.
I just watched the last five minutes, the huge finale, two miles upriver, colorful bursts, then the bang; that part is fun.
Many water birds were flying about, frightened, confused, big birds you'd never otherwise see at night. Dense traffic sixty yards from my door, an hour before it eases.
In the beautiful light of sunset - purple, yellow, titanium white, black paper. Fun. Loving oil but there's a learning curve, I need some books or some such. Stepped into/onto yesterdays painting, I do like that oil remains fluid, plastic, workable.
A joy to be painting again; I was ready.
I love what I painted tonight, some of it, learning how oil flows. The slightest bit of dark paint rips into what I've already laid down and turns it to mud. It seems to me that it's dark first and then lay it on top as you move up - there is it appears a way to lay lighter colors on darker even when wet, but I'm not sure yet how to do this all the time.
I absolutely love the textures, there is no way this could be had with acrylic, impossible.
Flowers are surely fun.
This is fun.
August fifth, evening.
I thought it was the paint.
I was feeling nauseous as all get-out even as I wrote the words for July fifth. Not that I recall it, but a friend of mine I was talking to on the phone as I painted just prior to writing my hundred told me all about it, how I said 'Jesus, the fumes from this paint or the thinner or whatever is REALLY getting to me, my chest is hurting, even feels like my arms are hurting, Christ. Hang on, I'm gonna open the door, step outside.'
Stepping outside didn't help.
I wrote the hundred about oil paint, and that is the last thing I know about - and only because of the time and date stamp on the file - until the last day in the hospital, which was I believe July twelfth.
I had a monster heart attack, an amazing thing.
I can't recommend it.
I checked with Mr. One Hundred Word Koyen and got the okay to use the rest of the month of July to talk about the heart attack.
I just know you want to hear all about it.
Let's start here - I was dead
The first was in my sponsors truck, on the way to the hospital on the morning of July sixth. One of my neighbors saw me sitting outside my condo, asked what was up, saw that something wasn't right, tried to get me to call 911 or whatever but I am ever stubborn, and would not do so, but I finally did agree to call a friend, and I did call a friend, Bob.
He came right on over and said the same thing as my neighbor, that I ought call 911 or go to the hospital or what
have you and I continued with my stubborn thing (once he said 'Okay, if you don't get in the truck RIGHT NOW I'm leaving' and I told him 'Hey, fine, hit the bricks.' but he didn't, the liar), but after about half an hour he talked me into putting on a pair of pants and a shirt and shoes and getting into his truck, and out the driveway we headed.
A block into the ride I went down, was sorta gagging, spasmodically choking, which lasted about half a mile, and then I died.
I of course know nothing of this,
I've had to be told since awakening from it and then, a longer process, getting my memory back.
It was at least eight minutes to the hospital from where I died and I bet more like ten.
Bob went into the hospital emergency room, got an ER nurse to come out to the truck; she took one look at me and said 'Shit.' Then she said 'SHIT!!' and got everything rolling.
I'm not sure exactly the order of what happened next, but I think it went like this: They blasted me back to life, using those electric paddles, and got
got me hooked up to a ventilator, and then x-rayed to find out what the fuck was going on.
What was going on is that the main artery that feeds my heart was collapsed, just below my heart. I've got a copy of the x-ray, it's pretty cool to see; that artery is PINCHED. Anyways, what they did was insert a stint into the artery, a stint being essentially sortof the same as the spring which you'll find in a ballpoint pen except made out of god knows what and sized just right, it now resides in my artery, allowing
these words, and my life.
I've got that x-ray too, the one showing the opened artery, and I like how it looks a lot more than the first one.
You would too.
After they got the stint in, I died again while still in ICU, and they blasted me back to life once again.
I died the last time later in the day as I lay in critical care unit, and this time they had to work like a son of a bitch to get me back, I really, really did not respond well at all, they really, really had
to work on me that time.
I've got burn marks all over my chest from those dang paddles.
My heart doc says I am the save of the year.
He told Bob - and then my friends and family after Bob called them and let them know that I was in trouble - that I was likely not going to live, sorta let them know that decisions might need to be made, ie turn off the vent and let me die, etc.
My friends started showing up immediately - one of the things you may not understand about the AA
community is the amount of support you get when you are in trouble. My doc thought I was a rock star or something, I had a constant stream of visitors, day and night, day after day. True story - he even had people ask him, in the other hospital he works in, if he wasn't my doctor, and asked him how I was doing, etc and etc.
My brother David got in that first night. Other family members began to arrive the next afternoon - two of my sisters and their husbands came down, another brother came in from San
Diego, another sister flew in also, on her companies jet.
My sister Judith was a nurse in ICU for three years, knows the scene backwards and forwards. But she is now a massage therapist, and extremely good at it, and immediately began to touch me, rub my neck and talk to me, and my understanding is that I raised my eyebrow when she did so, the first sign that things might work out okay.
The first I recall is bits and pieces of my last day in the hospital, and that only very, very vaguely. The funny thing about this
memory loss thing is that during the time that I have lost I was completely lucid, pretty much knew who I was talking to and what I was saying and why; the problem is that it only stuck for a few hours and then I completely forgot it. That is in fact the next thing my heart doc warned my family about, once I came back from the other side, is that my memory might be that way all my life, that my life would in effect be like the character in the movie 'Momento', recalling nothing from hour to
I am one lucky son of a bitch.
I've got my memory back completely - well, not completely, but good as it was before the heart attack; I've been sorta fuzzy all my life. I type these words on my puter in my home, I have spent the day doing small tasks, resting in between times, and cooking and eating good meals, watched part of a movie, went out with a friend for a chocolate malt (I LOVE chocolate malts but wouldn't eat them before, because of health consciousness and weight consciousness and etc and etc, but I've been
eating the shit out of them since I got out of the hospital - life is tenuous, eat what you want if you can, when you can) and then went to a twelve step meeting also.
I'm still often weak, though quite strong today, truth be told.
As the weakness comes on me, I become completely fatigued overwhelmed, my heart hurts, sometimes badly, and I just feel like shit. I never seem to know what is going to set it off, am I going to have a strong day or a weak day, though truth be told I've been getting
stronger pretty much every day. I did my physical therapy today, thirty minutes of laps in the pool, using kickboards, not using my arms at all, just kicking back and forth in that pool. (They had told me to walk but fuck that, it's August in Austin, hot and humid as a son of a bitch, and if they want to walk they can go right fucking ahead, but I'm swimming laps.)
I may never regain my strength totally. I may never again ride my mountain bike, or have a full blown workout, things that I love love love to
do. It'll just have to play out, we'll just have to see over time.
I of course want to ride that fucking bike soon, pronto, today. RIGHT FUCKING NOW. My doc told me to get real, be glad I'm walking, be glad I'm alive, allow myself to heal slowly and gently and if I never ride again, well, that's just how it is. And I know he's right, it's not the biggest deal in the world.
I'm awfully glad that I am alive.
All you need do is look back over the last months of hundreds to find
out that I've not been glad to be alive at all recently, much of the time. Suicidal, in agonizing emotional pain, going on and one about wanting to get the fuck out of here.
One thing is clear: It is not my time to get the fuck out of here.
I don't know gods mind or even what the fuck god is, nor do you, I have no idea what reason there is for my being alive and I never will, what I do know is that it's just flat not my time and I'd best get used to it.
July sixth, ten pm.
I'm just in from an AA meeting and then a trip to the grocery store. I went to the grocery store to buy some food - some of my friends at the meeting tonight were asking me stuff about how much I ate today, and I made a big deal of telling what I had for breakfast, but then they asked 'Okay, well how about the rest of the day?' and I don't have any idea what I ate, if anything. I mean, I'm pretty sure I ate something, I know I had a big chocolate malt
AND an order of french fries from some fast food dump. You'd think they'd cut me some slack on the whole being anorexic thing, being as how I just died a month ago and all, but that didn't deter them tonight.
I just don't even think about it, really, and I know I'm supposed to and all but I just fucking don't. I care about it, I'd love to put on weight (muscle mass, not fat of course), in fact I'd just started working out in the gym again last month, but now that is of course derailed due
to the whole heart attack routine. Anyways, I went to the grocery store and bought some food and am now eating; I hope they're happy now.
One of the really fun things about dying is saying to people 'Guess what I did a month ago today?'. They never guess it of course, especially now that I'm tanned and healthy looking from swimming and all, and it's surely fun to spring it on folks - 'I died three times' - it always gets a response. It's neat!
I feel just great tonight.
Tonight, for the first time since it happened, I blasted
rock and roll on my truck radio, on the way to the meeting. Up until tonight, I just couldn't deal with rock music at all, or anything pumped up or anything loud, I've been listening to lots of folk music if anything at all. Which is great, and I've got lots of great folk music in my collection, but tonight I hopped into that pickup and knew immediately that I was ready to blast that radio, I grabbed the cd that I had in the truck from when I had the heart attack, an mp3 cd with about fifteen albums
on it, listened full out to the first two songs on AC/DC's 'Highway To Hell', and then a couple of Calvin Russell tunes. Great fun. I so love to blast that radio when I drive, or when I'm on my bike, it feels great to be able to do so again, I feel more like I'm me again.
What else? You'd think maybe I'd have some big wisdom to share, guy goes to the other side and comes back and doesn't bring anything with him? What the fuck is that about? Actually, I do have something, though I don't think
it's so much something that I brought back as just something I'm doing now.
Somehow, I'm keeping a much more prayerful attitude. The things that were on me, they are still on me, I didn't get a personality transplant, I'm definitely still me and still have the same thought patterns, have the same problems and a few new ones, too. But I'm asking for help a lot more, a hell of a lot more, when I find that I am into the negative pieces I ask for help, ask that I be given help so I don't get caught in
it as deeply, or at all. Prayer has always been important to me, and meditation, but it's just on a deeper level somehow, or so it seems.
It wasn't my time. I don't know why but I don't have to. It's damn sure evident.
And I don't want to live the way that I was. Since it is not my time to leave this joint, and it appears that I am going to be here a while longer, I no longer want to live in the sort of pain that I was in prior to all this. Not that I
can really change it, I know myself well enough to know that I'm going to have these types of thoughts and feelings, I'm habituated to it, and bi-polar besides, and a wreck, and like that. But I'm asking for help, I'm turning to creative intelligence, a higher order, god - whatever the fuck you want to call it - and asking for help in this.
I know this has to sound completely pussified, and lame, and typical, and maybe it is, probably it is. But it is I think the largest piece that I've found so far: I know that I can't
make the changes on my own. And I don't want to live the way I was.
So I'm calling for help.
It's a daily prayer, in fact the whole day has to be a prayer, or something, I'm keeping my self more tuned to that piece of my life, or trying to.
I don't know that this will stay or not; fox hole prayers often don't hold.
Time will tell.
But I want it to hold.
It's important to me.
Here's the deal, not that we don't all know it but still, it's good to state it, or I think
so, and these are my words so I'm going to, and if you don't like it go write your own words.
Here are mine: I want peace.
It doesn't matter what you've got, if you don't have peace it's not enough. Conversely, if you do have peace, it doesn't matter how fucked up things are in your life, you can smile, deal with it.
And that's what I want to do, but I know that I cannot do it on my own - I can fuck up a two car funeral.
I need guidance, and direction, and strength.
Wish me luck.
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