Speak of the Devil interview, Rubber Clown Car album release (oh, and spring sucked boy did it ever)

It’s been a while since I posted a “what’s going on” update, because as tough as winter was this year, spring has been… well, I’d say it was ten times worse.

In 2017, we had a “once in a hundred years” flood in Quebec and Ontario. Guess what happened again this year, except it was an even more massive catastrophe?

I wish I were kidding, but I’m not.

Two major floods occurred in the 70s, two years apart; I sincerely hope another forty years go by before history repeats itself.

In 2017, the river levels in my area peaked at 60.44 metres. 60.24 metres is where “exceptional flooding” levels begin.

This year, the river peaked on May 1st at 60.70 metres. It then receded a bit, and peaked again about a week later at 60.61 metres.

Our home didn’t get flooded in 2017, but this year, I was terrified it would. When the situation intensified, army vehicles were going up and down the street. Firemen knocked on all the doors in the neighbourhood, handing out “what to do in case your house floods and you have to leave” pamphlets. The rain kept pouring, and it was windy and bitterly cold. A veritable all-you-can-puke buffet of misery. On the news, we would learn that a dike had failed, flooding a town; that a dam might fail in another part of Quebec. States of emergency everywhere. Evacuations.

My neighborhood is actually quite a distance away from the river itself, but this year we experienced an unparalleled event.

My PTSD symptoms skyrocketed. I took my emergency backpack out of my closet and I had a suitcase and the cat carrier by the door, in case things quickly degenerated. I wept on the shoulders of neighbours. The stress and anxiety went on for weeks.

But my portion of the street is on higher ground, and the water stopped about a block away. The transversal street, farther down, and another nearby street got badly flooded, being lower than we are.

I wrote more extensively about all that was going on over on my Patreon.

Suffice it to say, it was phenomenally exhausting. On a few occasions, I felt like I was about to lose my mind. I wasn’t able to perform as Charlie at my teacher’s show because at that point, the floods were worsening and I began feeling seriously unwell. Sitting by the window, I saw city vehicles carrying load after load of sand bags all day long.

Let me tell you, I smoked a lot of cannabis to manage my exacerbated PTSD. It helped me remain at least partially calm. I noted down the river levels, checked the city’s Twitter account, refreshed my dumbphone for the latest local news. For a while, that was all I was able to do.

This morning, the river levels here are at 60.25 metres; we’re about to go down from “exceptional flooding” to “major flooding”—and it’s a huge improvement. This week, the sun will shine, the temperature will at last start becoming seasonal…

Right now, city vehicles are beginning to remove some of the sand bag piles.

I can’t begin to describe what an incredible relief it is to have things going back to normal, though it will take another couple of weeks before the river is once again within its banks.

I’m going to rest and take care of myself this summer. I will be writing Masterful this summer as well, but this reclusive hermit crab will be quieter and even more reclusive than usual.

Last week, I began playing my violin again, and oh, how good it felt. While the flooding was going on, I couldn’t play. I could hardly concentrate on anything.

At the moment, I’m recovering and recuperating.

Yesterday, though, I did something that required more energy, but it was a wonderful thing: I was interviewed by the charming and urbane Reverend Campbell on his show Speak of the Devil.

I promised him I’d be on camera next time; this time, speaking was the most I could manage. I think I succeeded in being somewhat articulate, despite my going in a dozen different directions (typical), now and then losing sight of the connections I was attempting to make (typical!). This is one of the reasons my preferred mode of expression/communication is the written word: I ponder quietly for quite some time, and my thoughts flow more smoothly, in greater detail and depth, when I write than when I speak (especially spur of the moment speaking). But Adam is such a lovely individual and gifted interviewer, he made it easy. Time went by quickly, and we could only touch upon much of what we discussed!

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You can listen to the entire interview here:

In other news, you can now purchase the latest trippy Rubber Clown Car album; it features some vocals I contributed (Sleep Tight duet, and the intro on Action Brats). You can also get it on Bandcamp.

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In coming weeks, I’ll be focusing on Masterful, on Patreon posts and second/third tier envelopes, and I’ll be doing a couple of photo sessions (my 50th birthday is coming up in June, so I want to take new portraits to celebrate)… I’ll also focus on tranquility, playing my violin, enjoying my lair, creating art (such as getting back to my clay).

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creativity, variety, serenity

Spring… It’s almost here. Sort of. There are still a few mounds of snow and ice in front of the house, but at least when I come home now, it’s starting to feel a bit less like I’m entering the Bat Cave, North Pole edition.

The weather has stabilized, which has been extremely good for my nerves.

Lately, my levels of creativity have reached all-time highs. Which has also been extremely good for me overall.

One of my macramé wall-hangings has become part of the fabulous décor at one of the best record stores in town, The Record Centre (photos soon). It’ll be displayed next to a rad vintage painting.

This is the macramé in question:

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And the macramé art piece below is now for sale at The Record Centre. If you live in the Capital Region, add some serenity to your home with a lovingly crafted, hand-made macramé, and grab a few excellent records while you’re at it:

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Knots are also symbolic of protection. A home with macramé is a happy home.

In addition, The Record Centre has its own label and produces records you’ll find nowhere else. I’ve been playing the atmospheric, trippy record Water Sine by Nick Schofield non-stop since I acquired it last week.

This week, I experimented with painting my clay figurines and I’ve worked out the best way to do it. Stay tuned for a lot more clay art; my Patreon members will have first dibs on these pieces.

Here’s my first petit lapin bonheur, a good fortune bunny, with its strawberry. I’m keeping this one.

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Petit lapin bonheur quite at home with my vintage toys:

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Each petit lapin will come with a tiny treat.

Here’s another prototype eg; this one I’m keeping as well. It’s so relaxing to look at, and I love its tranquil presence on my desk. I only added glaze to this one. The next batch will feature small rosy cheeks, and the image on the back will add another touch of color.

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Working with cord and clay has infused my life with a great deal of joy. It’s extremely fulfilling. It’s no longer all about writing for me. It’s not the end all be all. The variety of my endeavors has increased my creativity and well-being. I’m not always “in my head” anymore. I do a lot of journal writing of course, but that’s different; my own pleasure is the sole objective. I’ve slowed down as far as publishing books goes. My current goal is to publish a new book every year or every other year. I’m no longer slave-driving myself to produce books, or promote my books (oh how that sucks)…

My existence has many more layers to it now. It’s much better.

Another immensely important level of creativity has been the violin.

Last week, my teacher surprised me by informing me that the show he’d told me about a few months ago was going to happen at the end of April. I kind of thought (hoped, haha) that he’d been too busy to have a show this spring, that it would take place at some hazy, indistinct point in the future… But not only is it happening, he asked me to do the animation (hand out programs and look adorable) as Charlie. I played “Smile” for him again, and he said, “Yes, that’s definitely what you’ll play. We’ll have one white spotlight on you and it’s going to be fantastic.”

That evening, while I was practicing, I began playing a piece from Chaplin’s Sunnyside by ear, from memory. A couple of days later, I searched for the Sunnyside soundtrack online, and discovered that this piece is called “Forgotten” and I’d been playing it exactly note for note. It was a profoundly emotional moment for me.

Then, yesterday, I upgraded my violin, trading in my beginner’s instrument, which I’d had for over twenty years, for a glorious replacement. My old violin was made of plywood (as I learned while chatting with the owner of the music school where I take my lessons); the new one is made of real wood, and it has an exquisite, deep, rich, creamy sound. It has a gorgeous matte finish, and came with a stupendous case. While I waited for Gilles to return with said case, I tuned the violin by ear. Once the instrument was secure in its velvet nest, I embraced the case as it lay on the counter. I was overwhelmed by bliss.

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I ran into my teacher before I made my way back home. I exclaimed, “Come look!!” with grand, excited gestures. He was very impressed when he saw the violin, and his eyebrows shot up when I told him about the Chaplin piece I’d learned to play by ear.

I recently had a lovely meeting with a local artist (DoReMiBraceletsEtc) who fashions unique jewelry from guitar and violin strings. I had a few unused strings (they were in my now old violin case), and she created a beautiful rainbow bracelet for me as we had beverages at Café Mulligan.

She took a photo of it while I held my old violin:

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How neat it that! It’s so well-made, custom-made to fit my little narrow wrist, and I adore the happy rainbow beads.

In other news, I recently gave a tarot reading; it was wonderful. I’ll be giving another one at the end of the month. Reading the tarot is most enjoyable to me, and I look forward to increasing the frequency of my readings.

So, life has been good. Better than ever. More joyfulness soon.

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the knotting resumes

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After a long hiatus due to Life and Things, we’re finally, at long last back in business, baby.

Yesterday, I completed my latest macramé art wall-hanging. I’ll be giving this one to a friend; she has a tarot reading appointment with me next week.

It felt so utterly magnificent to be crafting macramé again. Everything came back to me instantly. I love knotting cord. It’s so soothing. Making macramé is like sculpting with cord. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t use patterns; I start knotting and follow my inspiration.

I prefer pieces with a great deal of knots. That’s macramé to me.

Instead of fraying the hanging cords completely, as I’ve usually done for previous wall-hangings, this time I only frayed part of the cords. It gave the piece a kind of plant-like appearance that really spoke to me.

I also used some of my precious vintage beads for this…

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bring on the spring equinox

It’s almost the middle of February, right? March. March will be here soon.

I’ve been thinking happy spring thoughts because for the past few weeks, brutal winter weather has been kicking my ass and wringing me dry. Storms, piles of snow, freezing rain, freezing cold. Relentless shit. Right now, the sound fierce winds outside my window is making me shiver.

It’s all been chipping away at me. I have no energy. Simple day to day tasks are a challenge at the moment.

I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time hidden beneath blankets on the couch, and watching more movies than I have in a while.

And I stare at my toys a lot. My toys give me such joy.

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So anyway, I’m behind on a number of projects, especially Masterful, the main current project.

I am, however, on schedule as far as Patreon is concerned. Among other things, I’ll be sending my second and third tier members some old school Valentine cards this month. Patreon continues to bring a smile to my face. I love having exchanges with my subscribers, sending them physical copies of my work, sharing thoughts, photos, excerpts from my books, and news with them. It’s a pleasure. Once I get some of my energy back, even more so.

My Ello posting was short-lived, again. Mostly because I’ve had it with social media and virtual whatevers as a whole, the two exceptions being Instagram (my activity there is sporadic/moderate), and a breath of fresh air, a new platform for infernal-minded individuals, Undercroft. No algorithm driven bullshit, no data mining, none of the garbage that’s endemic online these days. No censorship, no idiocy. No conflict addicted jackasses, no click bait mindlessness. At last, an alternative to the sad outposts that now compose the vast majority of the Internet, that dreary corporate wasteland and batshit crusade factory.

Undercroft is actually interesting. What a novelty! And there are a few other worthwhile places, such as The Reprobate.

On that note, I need to go warm myself up, put on a few layers of sweaters, and organize my macramé supplies. In a couple of weeks, I’m giving a tarot reading (delayed due to weather etc).

Weather and exhaustion aside, in most ways, my life is better than it’s ever been. I savor my life and live it how I want to live it.

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a treat, and some thoughts

Here’s a chapter of Rascal that I shared on Patreon yesterday (a public post, for members and non-members).

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AVARITIA

(greed)

You desire, you indulge yourself, you relish good things, tasty things, rich things, colors and textures and scents—in this world.

Of course, it happens in this world.

This “fallen” world, according to some.

It’s not fallen. It’s the world, the real world, our only world.

A world of fire and water, of terrible storms and soft mornings, of loss and grief and joy and pleasure. A world of horrors and wonders.

What hurts us is terrible; what feels good is wonderful. This is natural.

It’s up to us to make this natural world as wonderful as it can be.

This won’t happen as long as we believe in the existence of an intangible, supernatural, otherworldly afterlife where nothing will ever harm us. An inhuman, unnatural world.

If you want to sell the story of invisible realms where everything is “perfect,” you need unhappy people. In this scenario, nothing is more problematic than a person who enjoys life and its pleasures. Even simple pleasures are troublesome.

Being happy and grateful in this world is to disdain the worthier, imaginary, divine panaceas.

Some people believe pleasure in this life is a sign of divine favor and a preview of the truly mind-boggling splendors awaiting humanity in the other world, the phantom dimension. Peddlers of cosmic mansions piously take the money supplied by countless people who hope they’ll start off with an opulent earthly mansion of their own as well.

The majority of religious systems don’t operate like this, though. They say, “Don’t worry too much if your life sucks. The next one will be better… as long as you do and believe what we tell you, that is.” They don’t want people to be utterly miserable, but they don’t want them too at home and content here on earth either.

Pick up your cross. Your begging bowl. Your mental hair shirt.

If you’re oppressed or abused, if you’re being treated abominably, rejoice. It’s a privilege, really, an opportunity, a blessing. Blood and suffering pleases the almighty; it’s his idea of a pleasant aroma. Tortured, stir-fried saints are held up as the most admirable of people, the most worthy of imitation.

If you’ve been abused, if you just barely manage to hold your traumatized mind together, if you’ve been told a million times that you’re worthless, a lot of crazy shit can make sense. A pie in the sky helps you survive and hang on a little longer.

Just remember: don’t be greedy. All the fat is the lord’s. Set your mind on the things above, not on earthly things.

Oh yeah?

Fuck the things that are above.

There are no such things.

Flush that mystical crap down the toilet.

Emancipate yourself. Believe in yourself. Avenge yourself.

Happiness in this world is a combination of luck and doing what you can so you and at least some of your fellow humans live as happy a life as possible. Happiness often requires a great deal of effrontery. You’re in pain, you’re going to die, things don’t go the way you want them to, but you dance all night anyway.

It’s tough. By fuck, life, being alive can be tough. Sometimes it seems like we’re always teetering on the edge of disaster, and we know the end is a breath away.

My philosophy is, have a glass of whiskey, smirk at the camera like a badass smart mouth decked out devil, and when the time comes to go over the edge, to take that final breath, think, well, it wasn’t all bad, was it? This ain’t so bad.

At least I lived. I had a moment.

I’m greedy for that moment. I want what the moment has to offer, all that my moment’s got.

This crucial greed means I figured out what I want, what I want my moment to be all about.

I want all that I’ve got, to be the star I am.

The greed I speak of involves risk. It involves the unknown. No one can decide what your life means for you. You have to decide. You have to choose.

You’re not being swept by a common wave. You’re not afraid of being alone. There’s no universal, one-size-fits-all solution. If you go where everyone else is going, you won’t experience your moment.

You’re drafting your map. Use what you have, change what you can, and create your best life.

Do whatever you can to enrich your life, to exult in yourself.

Each of us is our own ultimate earthly thing.

For too long, it was difficult for me to think this, let alone celebrate it. My mind was in a cage; my heart was bleeding from too many cuts.

It’s never too late to dare to turn your back on all the shit that brought you down.

To reclaim yourself: this is excellent greed.

Regardless of what any abuser tried to drum into you, you belong to yourself.

You’re not anyone’s possession.

You’re the captain of your existence.

Whatever you’ve been through, however much psychological conditioning you’ve endured, if you reach this liberating threshold, you can be sure self-ownership has always been there inside of you. You’ve always been a rascal.

They couldn’t quench your flame entirely. They couldn’t starve it forever.

The day I bust out of the mental jail of self-forgetfulness—of self-neglect and self-hate—the person I am began to shine forth into the world.

An outrageous, confident, inquisitive, playful, genderfluid, flamboyant, girl/boy tomboy.

A person who slowly but surely began to say “no” whenever it was needed. A person who said “yes” when she wanted to say it. My decisions were now in line with self-respect and true wisdom: human wisdom.

I stopped treating myself like a second thought.

No more torture, no more tears. No more damaging attempts to love everyone except myself. I stopped wondering if I was pleasing to a twisted, silent invisible it that required proof of my love by means of cruel, nebulous, and absurd tests. I loved those who deserved my love.

I adorned myself with gold necklaces and was a human being, flesh and bones, blood and water, at home on earth, my real home.

I am of the earth, and I love earthly things. I love myself.

The next few days are going to be impossibly frigid here, ugh. Mr P and I will be comfortably hidden from the elements tomorrow and Monday however, so there’s that.

I enjoy sharing photos on Instagram and I’d say it’s a new form of Livejournal (sort of) for me because a number of the people I knew on Livejournal are on Instagram, but the latter throttles its feed with algorithms or whatever, and of course the textual aspect of Instagram is minute, so… And it’s highly smart phone oriented. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to be glued to those things all the time.

In related news, I’ll definitely be renewing my subscription to The Idler this year.

I started sharing things on Ello again, because it’s one of the few remaining platforms that celebrates the arts, unique, original thinking and creative freedom, and isn’t terrified of flesh.

But, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Patreon is my online focus these days. I greatly enjoy using that platform, and I enjoy the exchanges I have with fabulous members there. The enthusiasm and support of members invigorates me, it feels wonderful, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Masterful will be my best book yet. I am discussing Professor Snape in that book, but it’s not exhaustive character analysis by any means; it’s more of a personal memoir.

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Patreon post excerpt

These days, I’m very selective about how I bestow my time, and I’m protective of what fosters my well-being.

For instance, the other day I was puttering and organizing things in the living room, and I played a CD I hadn’t listened to in a very long time, an Enigma album, Le Roi Est Mort, Vive le Roi! As the music began to play, an incredible feeling of serenity flowed from my innermost being. I could remember, in my bones, a time when I did this every day, and it was simple. Satisfying. Quiet. I felt whole in my own space and time.

The Internet is useful, a good thing in many ways, but it can also be incredibly invasive. I fiercely guard myself against invasiveness in all forms at this point in my life. You never even hear the sound of the phone ringing in this house now. I completely agree with the editor of the excellent magazine The Idler, who calls for a restrained use of technology and social media; some things he says should be discarded entirely. Tom Hodgkinson’s How to Be Idle: A Loafer’s Manifesto is a personal bible of mine, along with the Satanic Bible.

All of this is another reason I love Patreon. It’s a sane platform. The notion of giving everything until I’m empty, yeah, that doesn’t fly with me nowadays.

For more, become one of my Patreon members.

It’s cold as fuck here right now. I’ll be adding more notes to my Big Book of Tarot today, and hiding from the elements.

The imagery and symbolism of tarot is incredibly appealing to me. Tarot study relaxes me (you never stop studying tarot). I’m looking forward to my first live reading in a while this month.

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technology, its woes, and lovelier things

Warning: rant below.

After having my head on my desk and taking deep breaths for a while, I thought I’d do what I always do when I’m upset: write.

Yesterday, I suddenly got an alert message from my Mac, warning me that in the not too distant future, I wouldn’t be able to use Mariner Write or open my Mariner Write files anymore.

I’ve had Mariner Write for over a decade. It’s the word processing software I’ve been using to write my books since I first began independently publishing my work.

Today, I do a few Google searches and learn more about this 32 bit vs 64 bit thing. Apparently, software is evolving into a 64 bit phase (“it’s better” or whatever), and this has been in the works for a while. News to me, but anyway. What the hell is 64 bit software, bla bla. Or 32 bit software. Or a bit.

I was just reading about this development some more, and while Microsoft hasn’t set a deadline for compatibility issues yet, Apple has: the fall of 2019 or so. So the push has been on for software developers to get with the program, ha.

I’m so grateful for my goddamn turntable right now. At least I know it won’t suddenly tell me, “Upgrade or you won’t be able to play your vinyl records anymore.”

So yesterday, I sent a panicked message to Mariner Write. At that point, I didn’t even know as much as I do now about this 32 bit and 64 bit situation. Apparently, this change is going across the board.

“I just got a message from my computer saying that the latest version of Mariner Write soon won’t be compatible with Mojave (10.14.4 or whatever, the very next update)—I’ve been using Mariner Write for YEARS and can’t do without it! Are you planning an update soon??”

I get the following response from Mariner:

Hi- We are still debating on whether we will be rewriting Write to 64 bit. We hope to have a decision in the next few months.

WFT? I’m supposed to keep using the software and simply hope I won’t end up having to reformat the files for my latest books while I’m still able to open said files?

“Hey there, we’re kind of thinking about maybe making our software compatible with your most recent OS, but who knows, cross your fingers! If not, oh well, have fun doubling your workload!”

Their website, incidentally, states that Mariner Write is compatible with Mojave. Which isn’t, however, going to be the case for much longer.

The more I think about the reply, the angrier and more anxious I get. I ruminate, worry about what other software I’ll now have to get used to, hopefully without problems when it comes to publishing upcoming works and so on.

If there’s one thing I love, it’s shit that’s up in the air indefinitely.

I send the following response:

I’m not exactly sure what there is to debate. You make software specifically for Mac users… And your software is about to become unusable and obsolete.

I won’t be waiting around until Mariner makes up its mind. I’ll be learning to use other software. Thanks for the memories.

I start tinkering with Pages… Pretty good. I’m adjusting to it fairly well. One of the reasons I began using Mariner Write in the first place was that Lulu said it had trouble with PDF files generated by straight up Mac software, but that was a long time ago, and I’m fervently hoping this is no longer the case…

I’m unhappy, but think, I’ll see this through. I’ll be fine.

I eat a nice meal with Mr P, have some wine. I’m feeling a touch better.

Until, that is, I see this reply from Mariner:

Actually there’s a ton to debate but that’s our issue, not yours.

Best of luck.

Are you fucking kidding me?

I just replied as follows:

Not mine? As I said, I’ve been using Mariner Write for over a decade. When I got that alert from my Mac, it was very upsetting. If Mariner Write isn’t rewritten to 64 bit (a change that’s been in the works for some time, as I gathered from Apple), I won’t be able to use Mariner Write anymore, and I won’t be able to open all the files I’ve created with Mariner Write up to now; I wouldn’t say this isn’t my issue as a user. I found Mariner Write wonderful to use, which is why it’s been my word processing software of choice all these years. I don’t change software on a whim. But what’s the point of trying to stick with it if its obsolescence is only a question of time, and not much time at that?

So anyway, good luck to you as well.

I purchased a lot of software from this company. But those days are over, I can tell you that.

Anyway, I’m going to relax now, think about happy things.

Apart from my delicious meal with Mr P, something else gave me profound joy today.

It was a message I got from one of my Patreon members.

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Here are a few more beautiful things before I sink into the couch:

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A gorgeous lapel pin (a gift for his Patreon members) and lovely note from the wonderful Reverend Campbell (Speak of the Devil Podcast).

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Another stunning lapel pin, courtesy of Shady Veneration. Some of the proceeds support (The Quintessentials) Reverend Hernandez’s medical funds.

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And speaking of The Quintessentials, their latest album is absolutely fantastic. First rate.

All right. Time for some much needed me time.

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2019: projects, desires, goals

As I’d hoped, the holiday season was an exceedingly pleasant time for me. And it helped me hone in on precisely what I want to do, how I want to live, in 2019.

My use of Twitter will continue being stripped down to the bare bones: sharing links to logospilgrim.com updates, Patreon updates, and a few retweets here and there. That’s it.

I’ll use Instagram a bit more, but not that much more, to share photos and keep in touch with certain people.

I will update my main website, logospilgrim.com, once or twice a month.

I’ll focus my online time on Patreon, as I wrote in my previous blog post.

I decided to make the physical material I send out to second and third tier members as simple as possible (though third tier members also get copies of everything I publish, and exclusive items): a monthly copy of my newsletter Quiet Times, and a copy of my zine Stay Home Vagabond, which I have simplified (shorter, artwork on the cover, handwritten, photocopied content, colored paper cover that’s easier to fold than cardboard). Creating, and mailing, physical content is quite time and energy consuming, and after I sent the last batch of zines, I was exhausted and felt overwhelmed at the mere thought of doing it again and again and again (for an increasing number of people!). The logical and practical solution was to simplify the zines, which are important to me and which I very much want to send to my Patreon members. I firmly believe in the importance of material creations, of physical products. And I have nice handwriting.

I recently gave my Patreon account a new look. The other thing I’ll be doing on Patreon in 2019: first tier members will have access to some of my blog posts, photos, and online essays, second tier members will have access to more of them, and third tier members to all of them. On occasion, a post will be accessible to members and non-members.

The Patreon model appeals to me tremendously. What I do is, indeed, worthy of support and remuneration.

The Internet evolved (if one may put it that way) into something that spouts the following harmful message: content must be free, unless it originates from a mega-wealthy giant corporation. Of course you need to pay to see a film and so on, but not if the film, the artwork, the text, and so on, was created by a “minor” person with little influence/funds/power etc.

Hence the heft of platforms like Twitter, Faceborg, and others. The whole idea is to profit from the efforts of users, who offer everything, or practically everything, they post for free: their ideas, thoughts, lives, moments, art, writing, creativity, their selves… Like hamsters on a wheel, they give these platforms life and momentum: the energy of users fuels advertisement-driven algorithms designed to keep users running on their wheels, going nowhere, while the platforms, who demand free content, gorge themselves on the spoils, on the lifeblood of users who are lulled into believing that virtual is better, that their lives, their identities, their creations, their relationships, are only worth something if they’re dumped into the all-consuming electronic stream. The “likes” are bait designed to hook users and give a spark of pleasure and reassurance to their brain. “Here’s your Monopoly money, you’re someone now! Have some Coke.”

As Tom Hodgkinson, the founder of the brilliant publication The Idler, puts it,

We are true believers in the “pay to subscribe” business model rather than the “free but you become a target for advertising” approach. Paradoxically, getting it for free leads to slavery where paying for it leads to freedom.

Tom, incidentally, wrote an excellent article about Faceborg, which you can read here: With friends like these…

And then, there’s the tyranny of electronic devices drawing us into an omnipresent virtual “reality”—you must always be available, always “on,” always answering, always listening, never “missing” anything. Pay attention to those alert sounds, pitiful serf. Your blood is drained away, and you begin nourishing yourself with the insubstantial feeds that scroll by without ever stopping. You become an addict, a drone, a slave. You’re flawed if you don’t keep up. You’re uncaring, defective, defunct.

Absent. As though you didn’t exist.

This is foolishness, and I won’t have it.

This year, I’ll write more books, starting with Masterful; I’m getting back to work on it this week. Then, there will be more. And I’ll write about what delights me. I’ll write short books in my rambling Beat poet way, and a number of them will only be available to patrons. Their support gives me vitality, resources, and encouragement. For less than the price of a cup of coffee a month, members have access to my work: that’s not too much to ask. Yes, I will have at least that much nerve. And I too support fellow creators there—it delights me to do so.

Patreon has given me a great deal of verve and confidence, more so than almost anything else since I began independently publishing my work. 2018 was my first year having a Patreon account; in 2019, I’m ready to make it into something marvelous.

I love to be alone, and I love to communicate. I resolve this paradox by writing. Writing is my activity, my voice, my lifeforce. And I value it, more so than I ever have. I value myself. I enjoy writing, but it also demands much of me, without even factoring in the depleting trivialities and stresses of daily life.

This year, apart from my writing, I’ll focus on playing the violin; reading tarot; making macramé (I stopped after certain incredibly intense and life-changing events took place, and I’ve only just begun to get my bearings back); reading; photography; creating art; enjoying my toy collection; enjoying my life how and where I choose. I’ll frequent local businesses, drink hot apple cider at vibrant nearby cafés, savor the silence at the local library, stroll down the main street with my backpack and notebook.

I feel good. Strong. I make decisions based on my needs, preferences, and aptitudes. I choose my life. I choose myself. It’s a good place to be.

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