Archive for February, 2008

I finished going through my draft and making red marks. Now comes the task of making the changes and reading it again. Satisfaction eludes me for the moment.

I’ve noticed I need to reorganize my notes, as I’ve accumulated a lot of information that can probably be thrown out or put away. The relevant creative juices are bubbling up regularly now.

You need some light to see your shadow, though too much will make it disappear.  Too little light and all becomes darkness, and you can’t tell the shadow from the night.  Become disassociated from your shadow, and it might take off on its own.  Getting it back would require you to sew it back on, like in Peter Pan.  I’m thinking the shadow might feel safer coming out to play with the lights out.

I get the creeps so bad I experience a minor hallucination.  That’s when I feel the clutch of the dark and terrible figure responsible for all my night fears and anxiety.  I’m in the presence of a stupid, nasty figure of despicable character and rotten luck.

His first words are incriminations. Why did I take so long in coming? Don’t I know how lonely and miserable he’s been, skulking about waiting for me to pay my respects?

What’s the matter, I ask this bird-brained grail king of poor taste?

If I hadn’t been so bleeping self-important, he wouldn’t have had to resort to giving me the “phantasmagoria” treatment to get my attention.  He wants me to help him get a date with UFO girl.

Say that again?

My host starts telling me about this extraterrestrial “broad” he’s got a grotesque fascination for, and he wants me to help him find her so he can score.  He’s acquired an unhealthy collection of sighting information and pictures from the internets, and a used book store he skulks about in on Sundays, because he thinks “babes with books” are hawt.

I can’t believe I’m in the basement talking to myself in the dark with an imaginary psychic entity, but there it is.  This is turning out to be a weird night.

I catch a whiff of a cold earthy smell and am reminded of my garden (which is in winter pre-spring prep mode right now).  My host notices my interest and I listen to him expound about his one human passion, the growing of plants and the enjoyment of their cultivation.  This is an interest we have in common, and I tell him so.

He rudely scoffs at my amateurish “interest”, calling my efforts pathetic and feeble.  Well, he’s right.  So I ask him what might make me less worthless.  My host says its a waste of time to train the incompetent, but watching me gawk like a rube at his astounding knowledge might be amusing.

I get a brief mental tour of his night garden.  He shows me the process he uses to encourage plants to grow, in which one uses touch and voice to transmit a common spirit.  The stuff he shows me kind of freaks me out, and I can’t get it out of my head.

I promise to grow something night-related, specifically a moonflower, or two, for my host. I think it’s only appropriate that there be some physical representation between us that manifests our conversation.

He recalls an audio tape I made ten years back, of music that expressed a desire to know the devilish side of my personality. I’d forgotten all about The Crumb Star.  My host thought it was a jangling mix of mostly horrible music, but at least I made an attempt at talking to him.

My thought is that I need to contact the Dark Goddess and ask if she has any clues about where to find this UFO girl.  This sort of thing seems to be her sort of specialty.

With that clue, my host says I’ll find what I need when I return to the normal world.  I don’t know what he means, but I’m perfectly pleased to be of service.  I open my eyes and I turn the light back on.

I take it that for now I have the shadow’s permission.  I can walk the depths of the unconscious with reasonable confidence.   There’s still a haunted house party to arrange.

For now, I got me a hall pass.

You aren’t supposed to look in the scary room. Even if nothing is supposed to be there, what might happen if there was something there the one time someone looks? Well, flashlight in hand, kicking boxes aside, I had to look. Even with a doll two feet from me that might develop satanic glowing red eyes right out of Baba Yaga’s skull fence.

I’m scared out of my wits, but I also know what the crucifix of my darkness is – getting a date. I’m scared and annoyed that this has to be me. There’s danger and a good laugh at the same time. The suspense is driving me crazy.

I shine my flashlight into the room, and I spot a rectangular cardboard box. The coffin analogy is not lost on me. I use a broom to pull it towards me, afraid of what may or may not be in the cardboard box with dangly packing tape ends. If it’s empty, does that mean the doll-sized dweller is about to jump on my neck and suck my blood from behind? The doll is behind me, mind you, and I am most vulnerable.

I pry open the box, and I find a rolled length of blue-gray, cut carpet remnant inside. I struggle to figure out the meaning. After some nervous sweating in a cold room, I pull the carpet out and unroll it onto the floor. I’m thinking I need a magic carpet ride.

I stand on the carpet and wait for something to happen. It’s nice to stand on a soft carpet instead of a cold concrete floor. I experience spooky feelings of trouble, and a sense of conflict. I’ve got to worry and not worry. There’s work to be done, but I’m clueless.

I turn out the lights and close my eyes.

Every ghost has a secret wish they need fulfilled in order to be laid to rest. And I think every one of us is followed by ghosts that need laying to rest. The quest is always to uncover the secret and satisfy the need in a meaningful way.

Oh yeah, did I mention I’m living in a haunted house? I know ghosts got to have their own living quarters while they poke and moulder about. But sheesh, I never get used to the chill blasts of air while I’m looking through my still-packed boxes for that wildebeast map I thought I knew the location of.

I notice the apparitions grow calm and content as I come across my “naughty bits” coloring book. Lands sakes, the things I collected when I was living on the west coast. But since I’m listening to the dialogue of this spooky, terrifying haunted house experience, I’m not putting it up to coincidence. Zoinks, Scoob, we have a clue.

I start to imagine that what the UFOs, Bigfoot, and the Amityville Horror really want are hot babes. Mars needs women. Bigfoot needs a heroine to carry off like in Donkey Kong. The Amityville Horror needs some love backstory to make the drama more urgent. Crumbs, is this really what it all comes down to, the unknown forces of doom want me to be their dating service?

Oh, for crying out loud.

I have to remind myself of both the seriousness and the humor in this situation. What would Gomez Addams be without Morticia? What would the monster be without their victim? The monster has always been a symbol of lustful desire embodied in a form and a story we can relate to. Love is both a blessing and a torment, a uniting force and a destructive one – what is Romeo and Juliet but the story of two enemies falling for one another? The divine force of love overrides all human requirements and tosses aside whatever towers of Babel we have built for ourselves.

Being the living being in this arrangement, of course it falls to me for the physical accommodation of this dialogue. I have to hire the musicians who will play the Monster Mash, and I have to set up the monsters with their willing victims or lost love compatriots. While I might be the living facilitator, I’m going to need a host for this haunted house party.

That’s where I have to own up to my terror and explore what lies beyond that. The source of the psychic disturbance which apparently needs me to lay something to rest, by getting it a date.

Out of nowhere, I remember my first crush. A native American dancer who stunned me with her looks and her moves. I’ve never forgotten her, and it appears that neither has the unknown. For some reason, I think of a Count Dracula like figure, watching events unfold from his musty castle. While I may have seen this dancer from my perspective, so too might have the vampire. I put this thought away for now.  It’s time to change the cat box.

I firmly believe that even a creature of unrepentant evil is fair game for Cupid’s bow, at least in principle. In reality, what do I know? I don’t make monkeys, I just train them. Who knows the depths of darkness in the breast of a heart of stone that has been overridden by providence?

Time to go into the basement, and find out what’s really there in the seemingly empty “mysterious room”.

I’m in a haunted house that I can’t stand living in. The problem is, the more I meditate on the matter the more I see that this misfortune struck me because it was necessary. I have to spend a night and a day in the haunted house to know the secret.

When I was a little monster, there was a record I used to listen to all the time. “Night in a haunted house.” The first side of the record is taken up by a spooky talking dude who guides you into and out of a haunted house with commentary. All sorts of scary sounds and occurrences happen in the background until your adventure is over.

I had several such records. There’s one I remember quite vividly, which I no longer have because it was melted.  I left it too close to a heating unit. The story was a more mature and scary night in a haunted house, which I would listen to over and over.

I scare up the In Search Of episode on the Amityville Horror and study it intensely. Something the priest says about exorcisms strikes me as meaningful. You don’t exorcise objects (or houses) because they can’t become possessed (according to the Catholic church, or so he says). Well, I’m not sure if I buy that.

However, I do buy the clue-in that follows my brain stem process. I’ve read my Carl Jung, and very often a psychic disturbance has at its root some imbalance in the unconscious that needs to be brought to light. The possession starts in a person and flows outward. In my more modern form of reasoning, I couldn’t help but question whether the family in the Amityville Horror carried baggage with them that culminated in their psychic experience (hoax or not).

Hey, if something’s going on, you have to own up to your part in the affair, no matter how slight. Jung says nothing can plague you that which can find no space to secure its hooks in. I’m thinking I have to face facts that the haunted house is in some measure my fault. Or, even if it is somebody else’s bad coffee brewing, I have to pay my small tab in participating in it.

Active imagination time. I’m scared out of my skin, but I’m quite committed to this Scooby Doo mystery, wherever it leads. I know there are times when someone should just bogue out and call it even. Not every monster can, or should be confronted. As the protagonist says in Night of the Demon, “Sometimes it’s better not to know.”

If you pass through the Daathian doorway, you might encounter something that turns to dust in the light of day, or a hostile force that can cause you physical harm. Life is one of those funny things where you always have to make decisions as to what situation you find yourself in. You can’t hide all the time, any more than you can always go out chasing dragons.

I’ve been in situations where you had to run away many times. Goodness knows I’m a cringer at heart! Unfortunately, my intuition keeps telling me this is one of those unpleasant things you just have to cowboy up on. I never thought I’d have to really spend a night in a haunted house for real. It was something that always had a nice green “Exit” sign in view every hundred feet.

I contemplate my situation over a ceramic cup of my newly discovered draft cider (something I’ll mention in another post). Outer reality is reflecting a process going on inside my head. Considering the change in my life given my commitment to writing, a lot of unconscious contents are being stirred up at the deepest levels.

My dream journal confirms that sea creatures are being driven to the surface. The other night I dreamt I was on the edge of a cliff looking down at a sandy beach and a lagoon. A gigantic eye looked up from the surface of the water, and then a colossal (as opposed to a giant) squid swam around the lagoon.

I was scared to see such big creatures, but I also felt grateful to know there were still creatures of mystery in the unknown.

I believe now that my fears are my own, and the spooky stuff is my own fault. If I’m being scared out of my wits, it’s because it’s time for me to see it and to feel it. I know there are transcendent functions out there. The time has come for me to captain up and confront my fears and my feelings. It has to be a conscious decision.

So, you wish to spend a night in a haunted house? Well then. Follow me.

K and I were living in a great townhouse a year ago, in a perfect neighborhood for our purposes. The cats were happy, and the parental units were just down the street. If either of us needed a cup of sugar, an onion, or a spare bottle of pinot cheep-io, it was a hat trick.

For various reasons beyond our control, the landlord was forced to move into their townhouse again and we were forced out. It was a month of total panic and stress as we needed to find an affordable new home, and move all our well-settled things.

It was traumatic. Michael, one of our kitties, developed bladder stones and had to have surgery. The window on my pa’s car got broken in the moving about. K nearly suffered a nervous breakdown at having to leave her well-tended front and back yard gardens behind.

We got along well with our landlord. It was in many respects a prefect arrangement for the both of us. He was not pleased at having to move and force us out. There was naught any of us could do but accept this blow as that sort of occurrence that life throws at you. You make the best of it.

Here we are, a year later, and we still haven’t recovered from the torture of the move. And we aren’t exactly ready to make the jump to another abode yet. It would be hard to find a better living arrangement than the one we had.

The house blows. Even though, logically, it’s as convenient as the old one, and had more space. There are a number of things wrong with it, such as doors that don’t lock or close properly, and we are stuck with neighbors who are for the most part inferior to the wonderful people who lived next to us before.

Our relationship with the new landlords leaves something to be desired.

Now mind you, not all is woe. There are many other avenues of our life that are getting on quite nicely. Thank goodness! Rather than call our situation a disaster, I would say it’s a trying time of the soul, where every day you make one more yard. The waiting is the hardest part.

So, back to the present. Sometimes the faucet turns itself on a little during the night. K and I hear little noises that make us nervous at times. The cats, save for Blink (who is neurotic and doesn’t stand for any nonsense when she’s resting in her current choice of pad), are unsettled by the apparitions.

My appearance for a while had indicated dementia. Thank goodness for my brand new electric razor blades. K was keeping my back on that one. Our front door has a slight dent in it, with boot scuff marks. And our door handle is barely staying in place (the screws pop out at inopportune times). I feel like someone tried to break in the place by kicking the door down in the past.

We have a flapping side board near the roof, that we finally got the landlords to have repaired. The handyman will be by on the afternoon of the full moon. The tap-tap-tapping when it gets windy has been keeping us awake at night.

The upstairs toilet makes a loud slamming noise when used, so we just haven’t used it. I’d forgotten about it because we put it on the back burner last year and added it to our list of problems. But I’m starting to think its one more indication that this haunted house is a reality.

Oh yes, last week, probably because of the warm weather, we had to set free several insects. A stinkbug, several mosquito eaters, and some earwigs. Even with the heat on, the cold seems to seep into the house. Yeah, you know where I’m going with this.

It’s only just now that K and I put all these pieces together. My problems with sleep, and the stirred up feelings I dealt with earlier were just the wave of the thing under the water swimming over to the boat, so to speak. I knew I’d have to deal with things again, and that my good night’s sleep was just a rest period between rounds.

Here we are, renewing our lease for an untenable situation, and all we haven’t gotten is the scary voice telling us to “get out”. I recall Eddie Murphy using the Amityville Horror as part of his comedy routine, saying if he ever got that voice, he’d be out the door immediately. Yeah, easy to say buddy.

I’m doing laundry in the basement. There’s a shelf that was here when we moved in. There’s a bunch of junk there that I took no notice of until now. I see that there is a doll on a stand on one of the shelves, and I feel my spine start to tingle. Clenching my teeth, I turn the doll’s face towards me to make sure there are no red eyes staring back at me. I turn to the right, and I realize the space between the wall and the downstairs bathroom almost qualifies as a “mysterious room”.

It’s game time.

Don’t think the current imbroglio involving the depths of scary unconscious contents stirred up by the In Search Of Doom affair have settled in for their long winter’s nap! I say thee nay. Rather, it’s been a truce of sorts, while each side figures out the other and comes to its conclusions, with the understanding that there would be further dialog.

Evil dolls, bigfoots and UFOs that scare people out of their skins are my friends now. We’ve been packing our bags to go see what the next thing to do is. See, all that stuff was inside of me, and I was frightened by it like nobody’s business. There are depths in me that give me the heebie jeebies. I’d much rather avoid all that and eat a doughnut, watch some TV.

But it ain’t my fate, nor my crime, to turn away from what’s going on in inner space. I had to take a break. Too many other chakras to attend to, on the mundane side of things if you know what I mean. There’s a history between me and the moon that goes way back, and some of the work I’ve been doing artistically, specifically research, has been in that area and percolating like a fine wine for oh, say ten or twelve years. It’s time to crack open the casks and see what sort of psychological brew I’ve come up with.

What’s the flavor? I’ll be lettin’ you know as soon as the expedition gets underway, whatever it is. Which should be soon, judging by the memories and recollections bubbling forth for my reflection. Just stay tuned, and you’ll be in the loop, I guarantee it.

Ugh, the cola wars never end! The war to make you drink carbonated sugar water and get fat, that is. It tastes so good, but it’s so bad for you. A world of addicts to a beverage that is nowhere near the original fountain drink experience of eras long past. There must be a way to fight against the unstoppable tanks armed with shells of cola cans shooting liquid health problems into your gullet.

Well, on the starship Snipe, I was a chattin’ with one of my imaginary friends. Doctor Madman, in charge of my general health and well-being. He clues me into some plot points I’ve missed over the years and the hints I haven’t taken up. So I agree, yeah I need to follow up those transmissions and see what we find. Next time, I got a tag on relevant info and it’ll happen.

K and I walk into a tea shoppe, and we realize this is what we’ve been looking for. The bonus has landed. We plop down some bucks for a nice Chinese ceramic teapot, teapot coaster, some cups, and some cupholders. Plus a supply of rooibus (pronounced roy-boss) tea in two flavors for long lasting refuels. We head to an appliance store and get a hold of a nice water kettle and bang, we’re in business.

The upgrade goes like this. Fill up the kettle with some water, heat it up. Meanwhile, spoon some measures of tea into the teapot’s metal filter. When the water is hot, pour into the teapot, and let simmer. Then, pour yourself some tea and consume together for relax time.

Yeah, yeah, drinking tea is something only those fruity “other countries” do. Real people drink real soft drinks, right? Hey, I ain’t giving up my right to drink a bottle of RC cola now and then, but I’m switching sides, man. I need to keep my water tanks filled, I need the hook up with plant particles in my system fightin’ the nasty infestoids tryin’ to carjack my body. The right tea set-up does all that, and relaxes me.  And it’s all about me!

So from now on, K and I do our tea filler-up when we get home, and dial down the damage. It’s part of the secure to general quarters, and the beginning of reprogram and recharge procedures. The new gas station of the future, baby. I’m pumpin my body full of fuel and puttin’ the smack down on the imbalance. All things in moderation, and that goes for vice as well as civilized behavior. I’m not going for the best, just going for what’s mine.

From now on, it’s going to be tea, not just no-tea. Watch me work now!

One of the greatest movies ever made is a humble little gem called Captain Ron. It’s a comedy, about a stressed out office chump who inherits a large sailboat from his “weird” uncle. The chump, played by Martin Short, decides to bring the ship to a port where an agent will buy the boat from him and he can pay off his looming bills. He also decides to bring his dysfunctional family of working mom, doofus sun and bratty daughter down with him. The idea is that he will be able to bond with them during what he imagines will be a vacation for the family.

They hire a local captain to operate the boat for them (they are the typical clueless white middle class dual-income family), and that is where Captain Ron, played by Kurt Russel, comes in. Captain Ron is a trickster archetype who throws everyone’s expectations and views upside down. He has a laid back demeanor and appears simple-minded. Yet he’s handsome, self-assured, and skilled.

Through subtle interactions, he gets the family members to confront their problems and learn how to be skilled boaters. He frightens them while at the same time expanding their consciousness to include things beyond their narrow experience.

The Captain becomes a headache for the chump, who sees Ron as a personal threat to his self-image. His family’s adoration of the man, and his own repeated bumbling brings out all his insecurities. He begins to work at getting the Captain fired; yet despite his many mistakes the Captain always comes out on top and smelling of roses.

The conflict comes to a head when during an island carnival the chump loses his temper and fires the Captain in front of a large crowd. Unfortunately, he angers a pirate leader in the process, and in the next scene the boat is stolen from the family. They are left adrift in a raft, where they realize how much the Captain has been a force for good in their lives, and how much he has been keeping them safe from harm.

By a twist of fate, they run into Captain Ron who gives them a chance to steal their boat back. This time, the family works together and use the skills they’ve learned to get the boat away from the pirates and out into the sea again. During this affair, Captain Ron feigns a broken leg and forces the chump to do the work.

All of a sudden, the chump realizes Captain Ron has been teaching him to be the Captain. Ron hasn’t just been a decent human being to them, he’s something more. They’ve all learned how to be their own Captains and break out of the lifelessness of their problems. The Captain, seeing that his work is done, leaves them in a tearful farewell. It’s up to them now, and they are ready.

At the end, they decide to live on their sailboat and leave their lives behind. The boat has been transformed from a ruined near-wreck to a lively, operating entity with all the quirks of a family you’d expect. Watching from the wings is Captain Ron, who smiles as he takes on a new group of people in need of help. Their boat expedition is just beginning.

It is at this point I realized Captain Ron is an archetype of the Transcendent Function. He resonates with a powerful energy that brings people together and solves problems that defy solution. How do you really get your head back together, once you’ve bought into the labor workforce drama of marriage – kids – house – old age – death? The secret is a profound mystery. But its fun to watch Captain Ron show us how to be complete human beings. He always knows how to approach somebody’s hang-up and get them to back out of it under their own power.

Someday, you might go on a journey and meet your own personal Captain Ron. Are you ready to be Captain?

In my everyday life, it always seems that I pass by hidden passages to secret, psychological areas. If you take the time to look for them, and take advantage of the opportunity they present, you may find yourself traveling through the side passages of existence.

K and I decided to take a walk. Nothing spectacular, it’s a densely populated urban setting with a decent amount of greenery framing the sidewalks and spaces between complexes. For whatever random reason, we decide to hang a left, rather than straight ahead, and the next thing we know the side street heads into a wooded area.

Less traffic, birds are tweeting, squirrels are munching on nuts during a break in the freeze courtesy of Global Warming Terraform, Inc. We come across a picnic area with a large wooden pavilion and some grass with a playground. I’m feeling like the human equation is rapidly losing hold of our brainstem.

Now, on any other day, we’d just enjoy the discovery of the cul-de-sac we’ve uncovered and let sleeping dogs butter their own bread, so to speak. But we decide to take things in, and examine the details more closely. There’s a paved path leading off into the trees, so we decide to follow it. That’s when we leave the noise behind us and everything becomes rather quiet.

The path takes us deeper into the woods, and we can catch glimpses of a house here and there through the trees, but we’re definitely on a secret trail now. We catch a glimpse of the ani-mani-mals galore. Large hunting spiders out for a tasty snack, hawks looking for munchy mouse guts, and winged flyer bugs buzzing about just because you would be excused for thinking it’s spring.

We catch sight of a white stag with some deer friends (I’m not joking here), and I get to thinking we’ve had one of those experiences. K and I found a secret door and discovered one of the places that humans forget about, and it takes on a life of its own. An oasis of wilderness in the middle of sub-human anti-civilization development efforts.

K and I didn’t follow the white stag, though I spotted a trail in the trees past where he had been standing. We stayed the course and followed the path all the way to a dead end in the middle of a large swampy field filled with the marks of past floods and fishy existence. It’s as if the path stopped right where the unconscious and the conscious met, and a large hillside surrounded the place.

A side path goes up further, over and along the hill, so we take that, and find it hooks up with another network of paved pathways that skirt back into civilization. We search for secret doors again, and find a trail leading off into the brush, and a large tall forest of trees. We head off into the wilderness again, and find ourselves moving through a trail-tunnel along a stream, with makeshift bridges, copious amounts of growth in hibernation, and the rustle of critters mixed with the trickle of water.

The trail ends, and we find ourselves in a large swampy field of skeletal trees surrounded by a huge forest. All around are pools of water interspersed with islands of overgrown detritus. Fallen logs are everywhere, and the rotting trees all bear the mark of woodpeckers. The only sign of life is a ruined tree house falling into disrepair and now barely accessible due to the water starting to surround the trees it was built upon.

The trail ends in a tiny field of wildflowers. Perfect for a picnic. K and I resolve to return to this place and enjoy the wilderness of the secret door within a secret door. It isn’t everyday you find a main access way to the hidden and wonderful beauty still alive on this planet. We retrace our steps and return to the main street of human misery on a wave of good feeling. Everything feels better after you’ve gotten back to the source.

Look, and listen. There are many secret doors out there. You will find one if you aren’t careful.