Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Modern Day Thoreau

I came trudging home early this morning in the predawn dark ravenously hungry. A grand breakfast was on my mind and thoughts of Maggie as well -- fried eggs, Colby cheese, country style sausages, Grands biscuits. It had been a wonderful evening out of doors. I have so missed camping out and it was nice to get lost in the moment -- my anxieties melting away. I realized lately that I have been a bundle of frayed nerves and these camping forays allow me to unwind, relax, and to forget about what ails me -- leaving my homed life behind -- a life that I would forego in a heartbeat. I feel like some modern day Thoreau making lasting memories and tales to adorn the memoirs I am writing. I grow so contemplative on these journeys.

The evening started out so simple. I hiked down to the tracks and the cotton mill nestling myself in my tent. My headphones of my little Sony radio adorned my ears as I listened to Bob Mitchell out of New Orleans. I feel a certain connection with that city since my brother and sister both lived in New Orleans for years and both graduated from Tulane. 9 pm arrived and I pulled out my portable Radio Shack television and watched the last hour of Ken Burn's The War on Public Broadcasting. What a wonderful documentary and what arduous times this country experienced. It makes this little war we are embroiled in Iraq seem like a minor skirmish in comparison. The hour flew by as I was enthralled in that program.

My most lasting memory of last night was the stars in the sky. I sat on the threshold of my tent near midnight taking sips of warming Southern Comfort as I looked up at the expansive sky above and the skyline over the Chattahoochee. Orion and his sword paraded across the sky along with Leo the lion and Cassiopeia. Behind the mill was sheltered and dark, and the stars seemed to stand out amid a pitch black sky with regal royalty, twinkling brilliantly. I thought about how we must not be alone in this grand universe and how inconsequential my little life is in the grand scheme of things -- my problems paling in comparison. Those were humbling thoughts. The late Carl Sagan's words of this little world being a mote of dust in a sunbeam brought a melancholy, nostalgic sense of purpose to me - the Earth being one tiny little rock amid a universe so vast it is mind boggling.

One of the things that has continued to amaze me these past few months is my will to fight and to survive. I thought this morning of all I have been through -- schizophrenia, homelessness, my battles with addiction, the exasperating social dances I have to endure everyday despite my social anxiety. My life continues to fight for itself and I never give up. The way I continually adapt to survive despite myself and all my problems. I get up to soldier on another day. And sometimes what saddens me most is knowing that I always will...that no matter what happens, I will be here to face it and to fight -- the tenaciousness of life is absolutely amazing.

I've done a bit of thinking over these past few days -- my mind busy with thoughts about life and the grand scheme of things. I'm not sure I know all the answers or that I have the key to success. I do know that I want a simple life of simple pleasures. It seems to suit me best. Pleasurable meals. Amber beers. Camping trips. Railfan excursions. Works of non-fiction that make me ponder and think, and not the fluff that can be most fiction. Days spent alone and away from the humans that so exasperate me. I have all these grand ideas I want to pour out onto the blog, but can't. I would upset people and my readers would just dismiss me as crazy -- ideas on our puritanical work ethic obsessed society, the nuclear family, religion, politics. I can almost burst wanting to express my ideas. I keep them to myself, though. It is safer that way. I dare not bring about the ire of the thought police. Most people are too encapsulated in their comfort zones and the rote routines of their lives, and to write about these things would upset them -- questioning the very fabric of our mentally ill society, and I do believe our society is mentally ill. I struggle with the idea that I am actually the sane one amid millions of crazy people with my medications being forced upon me to bring me into line with our crazy society -- my soma as Aldous Huxley would say. A Brave New World is a brilliant book, by the way, that you should read. The comparisons to modern society are uncanny and foreboding.

Today shall be a writer's holiday from my memoirs. I intend to mosey on down to the shopping center to wile away my day, writing in my little composition notebook my observations as I nurse beers and smoke cigarillos -- a lazy day spent being the quintessential writer. Tales of Clara, Big S, Ferret, and George I hope to write, wanting to capture these unique souls and their lives in words. They all have a tale to tell. Lives that would be dismissed by most conventional souls as useless, addiction addled, unorthodox, lay about. The freedom their lives seem to harbor intoxicates me and seems to draw me like a moth to a flame -- the freedom to follow their whims not saddled with families, jobs, and all the modern conventionalities of society that we are all so pressured to follow and obey. As free as the wind. I want that freedom. Freedom is something that is a myth in this day and age in the complex society we live in.



I'd love to hear your ideas...visit the Padded room if you get a chance..maybe you could put your ideas there!! :)

THis was a great post..amber beers, simple life..
I agree..simplicity is the best-it's even better than beers!

Hope your kitchen is filled with good smells right about now!

madnilk said...

it seem i'm in first top five replying your post. :) happy happy me

envy on you, cause u got outside and have samping somewhere with nature. :( while i just keep inside working here and than.

life sometimes need absurd loliness with nature where we can relax a bit.

p/s: sorry for not been able to visit for a long time. :(

Terri said...

Oh Andrew...did you really "nurse beers" and "sip Southern Comfort"? It seems this time away from exasperating people was really just an opportunity for you to drink again. And after several days of AA it seemed. I hope you won't be guilt ridden and really enjoyed it. You'll tear yourself up if you keep going back and forth.

AnkleBone said...

Have a cold one for me!

Cheryl said...

Just stopping by for a hello on this beautiful day. I hope that whatever you do makes you happy.

Barb said...

You capture the beautiful nature of everything you do. Something as simple as a night spent in a tent, sipping southern comfort, is an opportunity to do a poetic dance for us to see and enjoy! Thanks Andrew!

I hope that George is well, and his mom is okay. I know you love her so. I pray that he talks to her doctor about Aricept. Great drug!

Enjoy your day.

Anonymous Boxer said...

While it pains me to think of you potentially losing more than you might realize, there is a part of me that understands much of this post. But for the wrong reasons.

You are a gifted writer, drinking doesn't make you better at it.

Or more free.

Le Fleur said...

I like your discussions of freedom and agree about society being mentally ill, but I agree with the boxer about the alchol. Personally, I'd love to hear your ideas but I'm a relatively new reader and perhaps your ideas would upset a few people. You'd know better than I would. I hope you are having a wonderful day as I struggle to meet my deadlines and get my butt to class on time.


PipeTobacco said...


I am glad you had a wonderful camping experience! Your mention of "Brave New World" brought back many memories from when I too read that important novel. The parallels are shocking when looked at in today's world. Huxley was the type of science fiction author I enjoy greatly.... grounded in things that can be real (not nonsense that defies the laws of physics) and stories that involve society and societal change.

In my opinion, you should NEVER censor your ideas or writings. You know that has always been my opinion. Your ideas are grand and wonderful.

Have a wonderful Tuesday with the gang! You do not need to drink there unless you choose to. *If* you choose to drink today, remember moderation is key to your success. Do not let yourself go overboard from frustration.


Josie Two Shoes said...

Thoreau said "Water is the only drink for a wise man."

Katie said...

This entry reminds me of the empty picture fram on the wall at my AA, NA, CA meetings. The spot is saved for the alcoholic who can go out and drink successfully in moderation. It's always empty, it doesn't work. Not for long anyway.

abbagirl74 said...

Hey Sweetcheeks! I just got caught up on your entries from the past week. Had some tough times I see. Keep your head up. I thought of you so much while I was in NYC. Everytime I saw a homeless person, it made me think of the homeless guy and your thoughts about him. The Big City has different homeless people than what I have seen before. But, I will save that for an entry on my blog later this week. It's good to be home and it's GREAT catching up with you. I missed you the most!

nengaku said...

Oh Andrew. I say this with love in my heart - GET THEE TO A MEETING!
I'm sure you enjoyed yourself. I wish you didn't have an illness that puts such a high price on those moments of joy. The "freedom" you experience when you drink is a very dangerous ILLUSION. Kind of like the freedom and wisdom and beauty, etc. etc. that I experience with a manic episode. IT FEELS SO GOOD! But it's not real. And when I indulge myself with them I hurt people I love - not to mention myself.
We're all here for you, man. Don't give up. go to a meeting go to a meeting go to a meeting go to a meeting - today.

Portia said...

you are so right, true freedom is not an earthly possession. and i also entirely agree with your point that our society as a whole is mentally ill. it seems glaringly obvious to me.

Anonymous said...

You are an idiot by drinking in public. Do you want to get arrested for public intoxication? Great, then you'll have an arrest record to go with all of your other "accomplishments" that you write so vaingloriously about, i.e. homelessness, schizophrenia, addiction etc.