Archive for December, 2008

While mayhem in my psyche ensues, I hang the portrait of My Mirage on a nearby wall.  The first sign of life in the house.  I think about being zero for two in my attempts to be successful with My Mirage and UFO Girl.  Maybe I was really two for zero.  Numerologically, twenty is related to the Judgment card in the tarot deck.  Not unlike how I’m feeling with a strange and unexpected dawn.

My thoughts turn to K.  If I’m going to have to cowboy up and be the horror host, she’ll have to be the hostess.  We need to get this haunted house in order!  We decide it’s time to blast away all these beams and blocks cluttering up the place.  Hard work stirring up dust and moving debris out of the way to go out for the Hek-yeah Disposal Team on night-time pickup.  There’s stuff I have in mind for a giveaway too.  The time has come for clearing out the mental space.

I head into the attic of my mind and go through some things, taking inventory on what will be a good start on a new year’s clearing out.  Some things will be put away again in proper order, while others will be brought out and handled.  Such is the tyranny of objects.

What I find are a host of treasures left behind in a psychic space so visibly tiny you could hardly see it.  There’s a room in my haunted house that defies the model of physics, working by the principles of trans-dimensional engineering.  Can it be that My Mirage has been like a western dragon, collecting rare things of which he cannot use and hoarding them without understanding?

I take up an old audio tape, a promo copy given to me by a radio gal I knew named Kate from a while back.  A selection of songs by a heavy metal band named Kryst The Conqueror, taken from their Deliver Us From Evil album.  I pop it into my player and listen to a series of epic songs from the days of headbanging long hair.  One thing heavy metal was good at was metaphors for the ordeals of love and the struggle against darkness.  The lyrics from In God We Trust come back to me from the depths of time:

For we have seen the face of hell and still believe
That the sword to kill the beast he’s given me
So how many more must die that one may see

I’m listening this time.  My soul returns back to when I was living that dark confusion and raw enthusiasm for understanding through heavy metal questing.  I remember the trauma of being wounded by the forces of damnation, an injury that went as deep and fatal as I had ever experienced.  My enemy, myself lost and gone bad in ways I never would have imagined or wanted.

I notice a plain, hastily scribbled letter from a dear friend in 1995.  I remember reading this but not understanding the words.  I was hearing the words in the songs I enjoyed without listening.  I read words in letters by important people in my life without paying attention.  When you’ve lost your way in the sickness of your own unlighted ordeal, so much is wasted.


Words matter.  They give form to ideas in our thoughts which lead to tangible things.  Words can destroy and they can build.  A single word from a troubled soul can rob you worse than any thief.  A single question, spoken from a humble soul can heal the wasteland and restore an ailing king.

“You will always be the first person I fell in love with.”

Just like that, a self-inflicted wound I had resigned myself to bearing the rest of my life, a horrible black void of failure that had stolen the best parts of me – crippled me, is healed.

The very words I’d needed most to hear had been glossed over blindly.  Then, the day I’m in smolder-mode over doom and doing post-Mirage work, I see and hear the words that close up maybe the biggest hole in my life.  I never expected the caring I gave away without thought to return to me with such power.

The Hana Valley in my heart is restored and a huge, huge core part of me is made whole again.  I can move forward, alive once more.  Welcome to the next level.

Wounds can heal in the darkest nights and hauntingest of houses.

Thanks Yoshie Izumi & Little Yo, for the Okami hookup, and for the message about caring.

That’s what my mom told me.  You’d better believe it’s the hard core truth.  You want to talk about a heroic journey and a life commitment reenacted every dang day in the real world, becoming a mother is where you start.

A woman is chosen to go on a journey of trials and transformation.  At the end of her journey she returns to the world bearing a new life.  She is changed irrevocably into a new form and possessed of a new outlook.

And this journey is not safe, it is like every other liminal experience where real risk exists.  You can’t get to the root of life without eating a little dirt.  Even if you live, you still die to the old life and exist as the guardian of the new life.

Not every woman who goes through this gets it.  But you get the adventure you’re ready for, and through the wheel of suffering all shall know what you are made of.  It’s a sacred thing that deserves respect.

Just because it happens every day, just because it’s so commonplace that people seldom pay attention to the magnificence of it, it’s no reason to forget.  This is a heroic act every shred as important and meaningful and dangerous as slaying dragons and saving kingdoms.

Not every woman who goes on this journey makes it back.

The labyrinth is an equal opportunity graveyard for the brave and crazy who dare to do something with their lives that means something.

Today I learned from a dear friend, Yoshie Kimura, that a mutual good friend of ours passed away while giving birth.  Yoshie Izumi and her daughter didn’t make it.  This happened last February.  My friend only just found out and is feeding me details as she learns them.

028_yoshie01.jpgI’m stunned to hear of it.  Yoshie and Yoshie are friends from a deeply personal and meaningful time in my life.  My folks always called them “the Mothra twins” (even though they aren’t related), and said that they brought out of me my interest in east Asian culture beyond the popularized versions you find here in the states.  I’ve lost a friend to the ravages of time and space, and it hurts.

My thoughts go back to sitting on the couch with the Yoshies watching The Terminator (they both liked Arnold Schwarzenegger).  Yoshie Izumi, the Taurus, needing extra blankets because it was winter, getting close to Christmas time.  Then I think about the time I tried to make a Japanese dinner for the Yoshies, and failing horribly.  Yoshie Izumi was so considerate at my failure, she managed to make some of my mistakes edible.

029_yoshie03.jpgShe came back to the states to visit Lewis and Clark College.  The Yoshies and I had met there during our studies.  Her overseas study was over, and I was in summer school trying to prepare for my trip to Japan.  We had a blast hanging out, I’ll remember it if I have anything to say about it.

I got to see the Yoshies in Japan.  We met at some dumb eatery place off the street and had parfaits or coffee or some such dumb thing.  Yoshie Izumi was rushed, and late, but she made it.  I felt honored and happy just to be with my friends.  I don’t even remember what we talked about.  It was enough that we made the connection and renewed contact.  Yoshie Izumi was working hard to get her adult life on track.  I’m just glad she remembered me!

She remembered me.  Her words remain with me to this day.  “You’re a monster, Paul.  That’s okay, I like monsters.”

So I pop open a draft cider, turn up The Meeting Place’s Find Yourself Along The Way, and chop onions.  Dinner’s got to be made, and there are a lot of onions that need chopping.

Then I dance.

027_atomtree.jpgI’m a bit out of sorts right now.  The last few posts were written before Xtine’s friend Josh passed away.  What with that, the slaying of My Mirage, and the departure of UFO Girl, I’m feeling a little extra depressed this holiday season.  So it’s Slow Down Time for a few days while I sit and smoulder over the last calendar year, and the start of the Celtic year so far.  In the meantime, here’s a little bit of text from John Masefield’s The Box of Delights, which encapsulates a little of my wishes.

O Greatness, hear, O Brightness, hark,
Leave us not Little, nor yet Dark.

Ring, blessed Bells, for Christmas Morn,
Joy in Full Measure, Hope New-born.

I pick up the pen and do the picture mentioned in the previous post.  Think of it as pulling away the cobwebs, prying loose the boards, and digging out the sludge.  Yuck, this is gross.  There’s a lot of butt-gut material here.

Thoroughly nastified by the experience, creaking walls making me nervous the whole structure is going to come down any moment, I make my way down into the foundations.  Before I know it, I’m crawling around in the mud for who knows what.

That’s when I find the one-woman flying saucer in the crud.  I scrape away the detritus and uncover the saucer bit by bit.  It’s a nameless, inexplicable thing not unlike a chocolate éclair.  The ship is as light as a feather.  It looks like it should weigh about a two thousand pounds, but I lift it out of the gunk and onto the floorboards like I would pick up a plastic, hand-sized toy.

The saucer opens, and I understand this is because I’ve been exposed to UFO Girl’s cooties.  I am contaminated correctly.  I scoot myself inside and the marvelous contraption closes around me like a puzzle.  The fuel meter reads full.  I touch the diode with my hand and the fiery spirit inside sneezes out of me in an instant.  I watch the dial go down to zero.


I turn on the radio diode, and hear all sorts of rockin’ tunes that imprint themselves on my reptile baseline.  I realize I’m taking this all in calmly so I don’t poop my pants.  I’m only using the most primitive of functions on this saucer.  Good luck on the intermediate stuff.

The saucer ejects me faster than Bond shooting out a Goldfinger agent from his Aston Martin.  I never thought that would ever happen to me!  There’s a terrific knocking at the doors.  I scramble up the stairs and answer the knocking.  The doors open easily.

UFO Girl is there.  She’s been waiting for me too.  Behind her is a huge throng of life-no-life-unlife forms assembled, looking for shelter.  I remember a previous vision and decide it’s time to let ’em all in.

Before I know it, the place is hopping like mad with more strange activity in my head than I know what to do with.

In her inexplicable way, UFO Girl thanks me for finding her saucer.  She’s amazed I gassed down the tank without getting myself totally killed.  Her material form has been stuck on this savage planet for too long.  It was driving her crazy.  She beeps and twirts, and the saucer comes hoverin’ out of the basement to land beside her.

UFO Girl boards the flying saucer and gets ready to depart.  She says I should really appreciate that Dark Goddess, because she’s one in a million.  Knows how to treat an alien lunatic on a transubstantiation binge.

I’m like, wait, what about that trip on your saucer earlier?  She raspberries that one.  It was all an illusion using advanced technology on my ape’s brain.  Humans think they’re so smart.  She’s glad she met a real moron finally.


I suddenly realize I’m in for another goodbye.  UFO Girl is taking off, and she’s not coming back to this neck of the woods for a million years.  Something about her subscription to lifeform events.  I really like UFO Girl.  She’s so weird!  I just got to know her and now voom.


No last words.  That isn’t her style.  I’m spinning out of control.  Zero for two, and now that’s it.  I think about my crazy friend Alexi, and his words comfort me: “No worries, just fun.”  My whacky-wise Aquarian buddy, I think those words are truth.  I’m going to let the mystery of UFO Girl be.

The End?

Outside, there’s a crazy party of activity going on.  Every conceivable creature is out here.  There are monsters, spirits, really weird beings, strangers, aliens, victims, and mad scientists.  I haven’t the wherewithal to deal with that right this moment.  One thing at a time.

Naturally, I walk through the door and into the unknown.  The doors creak closed behind me.  Trapped like a rat!  My Mirage has been waiting for me to reach this point in our dialogue.  I thought I was dealing with my shadow, and perhaps I am a little.  Now, I’m not so sure.  He’s the dark king of the underworld waiting for me to arrive, and it’s turning me for a loop how this has turned out.

I’m awake and now the nightmare must end.  The clarion calls of the dawn are calling me so very fudging hard.  The night in the haunted house is over, in the deep me of me.  My Mirage is there before me in this large, empty house with nothing in it but him.  He is ready for this moment, preparing for it for years.

I can hardly believe how empty the place is.  It’s not what I expected at all.  Zippo.  The whole place looks ready to crumble.  He tells me things I can hardly hear because there’s this din in my mind’s ear.  I liked having a Mirage that was scary and cool.  He reassures me and says this is how it happens.  One day you’re done, and you have to let go.

I’m told everything has been accounted for, and transferred to me for the duration (of what?).  Okay, whatever.  So what do I do now?  How do I slay myself?

He says I slew him years ago.  This is only a recording.  His last request is that I draw a picture and reflect fondly on him now and then.  I’ve been afraid of myself, talking to myself all along.  It was all a shadow of the imagination that has passed in the night.  Oh god how I miss him already, a hole in my heart the size of a person who no longer is.

Good Lord, Count Gore De Vol is a prophet.  The end of Captain 20’s ship, the last night party of Creature Feature.  Channel 20 is canceled all over again, and now it’s just me, with no super creature horror filler hour anymore.  I’ve got to be my own horror host from now on; no one will do it for me.

I understand.  I’ve heard those words before from someone else.  “I am not coming back.  It’s up to you now.”

That’s when I notice the pen on the floor.  There’s the door to the basement, courtesy of revelations from my old friend Craig, who helped me interpret a dream once.  All I got to do is pry the boards loose and start digging through the stale poop.

But first, that picture.  Rest in peace, hero.

Possible spoilers for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, so ahroo!


Standing before the doors to the haunted house, My Mirage whispers to myself.  “Before you can be granted admittance, you must uncover the identity of the wicked magician.”

I think about what kind of items I might need should I manage to get inside.  The haunted house could be hazardous!

The goddess Athena once said to me in a dream, “You must take up a sword.”  I thought that was preposterous, since I don’t do swords.  A year later, in a waking dream, the unknowable explained to me she meant a pen.  I was just too dense to understand her.

I’ve been writing and drawing all my life, but I begin to get it, faintly.  I need to take up the pen and write and draw with intent.  I must take action. It is no longer enough for me to do it unconsciously.  I have been doing it more consciously the last two years.  However, I need to know this as well as do it with intention.

I try to decipher the symbolism behind the slapstick, the torch, the wand.  I’m carrying not so much a stick as a feminine spirit lent to me by the Dark Goddess.  I’m performing not so much the part of Punch as a generic dum-dum on a ridiculous adventure.

While thinking about the past, Xtine pulls free another stone to reveal more me (without consciously realizing it).  In a way, in another time and place, I had a puffed up image of myself as the Grand Magician.  I thought I knew what I was doing.  Much as Koura the wicked magician in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. Alas, as Xtine points out this guy is so way not eating with both hands.

I wonder about the man in black who follows Koura around.  We are meant to think of him as the sensible apprentice to Koura.  He certainly knows what is what.  “If you continue on this way master, you will die.”  Then I think of the oracle’s words about an evil son and wonder who the oracle is talking about – Koura or the “apprentice?”  We are supposed to think Koura, of course, but when you are on a ridiculous adventure, layered meanings can spring from anywhere.

I’m thinking about an old Batman and Robin comic, where they fight Benedict Arnold.  The old traitor comes back from the dead to break the soul of the country by defeating two of its greatest heroes.  A weird dude follows him around the whole time, granting Benedict Arnold powers.  Only at the end when the traitor is defeated does the weird dude reveal himself to be Old Scratch (the Devil).

So is that “apprentice” dude really an ordinary guy hoping to advance himself by serving the bad guy, or is he symbolic of the possession of Koura by an evil force?  Thinking about it, I decide that on a symbolic level he must represent what is left of Koura’s conscience.  He is always the “sane” bad guy, trying to get Koura to be more reasonable, more down to earth.

It is telling that the apprentice is ordered away near the end of the film – Koura has the upper hand (or so he believes) and he no longer needs his “conscience” to keep him alive – indeed, soon after he goes off on his own, Koura starts to die rapidly as the dark magics finally catch up with him!

But me?  No way, not no how.  Couldn’t happen to me!  Like Koura, I thought I was getting the forces of the world to move at my whim.  Kali gettin’ down for me?  Har!  That’s Shiva, dumb-butt, and your face is about to be used as reactor shielding.

Then I get it.  Koura was the sultan (read: king).  He “killed the sultan” (who always seems to be referred to in a present sense, as if he were still alive somehow), in the sense that he killed himself with his pursuit of dark magic.  Much as Saruman in Lord of the Rings.  The desire for knowledge can lead too far.  Always remember to practice don’t-know-mind!


Koura lived in the castle next to the city because he was the king who had gone bad. The fiery accident that burned the good vizier (read:  the apprentice king) happened during Koura’s fall from grace as the true king.

This is a blow to me.  I always wondered why “the demons of darkness” (read: the forces of nature) moved to Koura’s command.  That’s because he was still manifesting the king energy, even though it was for wicked purposes.

Thanks to Xtine, I realize now how little grasp Koura has on reality.  Before, I thought he was just some power monger meddling and paying the price to accomplish his evil goals.  But whoa, that’s just what he wants people to think.  Total illusion pose for the crowd.  In truth, he is out to lunch big time. All lines are busy, no groove, don’t play.  Not even on the same page.

That’s incredibly tragic.  His quest then becomes not a mad scramble for power, but a compelling desire to reach the Fountain of Destiny and recover what was lost. He “obtains”, to use his own phrase, but only two out of three – the energy of youth and a shield of darkness.  The crown of ultimate riches goes to someone else.  You can never return to what you once were.

Koura isn’t thinking of the people of his kingdom, or his poor vizier’s suffering.  He’s thinking of himself and not in a good way.  Sinbad, who represents the transcendent function (he says, “I am the most foolhardy”), comes along to restore the balance and heal the wounds of the earth.  He kills Koura in the fountain, and it is only then that the third golden tablet reveals the crown.  The king is dead, long live the king.

A phrase comes back to me.  “The hero who does not crucify himself today becomes the villain of tomorrow.”  I’ve also read that the hero is an immature energy function, that it has a purpose (to take action against the stagnation of life) and once that purpose is fulfilled, the hero must “die” and be reborn as a responsible adult.

I think that must have been what I didn’t do a long while ago.  Part of me has been skulking about like a ghost in dark moors and drinking of wretched waters.  Joseph Campbell once said, “And where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves.”  The four corners fall into place.

I grow afraid.  My Mirage is waiting for me in the haunted house.  The last thing I want to do is dispatch the vampire, defeat the villain, neutralize the monster.  It’s the very worst thing in the world to slay yourself.  Psychologically or otherwise.

The doors to the house open.  I’m expected.

My 1.2 Kohinoor Rapidograph has been giving me the most awful of times this last week. No matter how much I soaked it, the inner mechanism wouldn’t do the magic click. Jammed with dry ink. It’s the largest line in my collection, and absolutely essential at getting thick, dark lines. My 0.8 and 0.6 were a little stuck, but I eventually managed to get them to make the magic click.

But man, my 1.2 was just breaking my heart. The ink crumbs started coming out yesterday, and I was able to shake the others loose. Huge flakes, small grains, and even thick lines of ink like pencil lead came out in the wash. Then all of a sudden, clickity clickity. Oh, music to my ears.

That’s the lot. I’m ready to start inking again. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Sakura Gelly Roll pens. I’ll be using them on the Holiday Cards to excellent effect over the next few days. But they can’t handle the posterboard or thick sheets of paper I like to use, and they don’t hold the watercolors well at all.

The Incorrigible Witch lent me two of her fabulous artistic creations. I feel like Baba Yaga lent me two of her spellbooks, just for laughs. Who knows what I’ll come away with by studying them. Meditating on context and illuminations right out of the human pit of existence? Who can tell, but I’m excited.

UFO Girl, with her strange ways, tricked me into signing up for one of those privacy-invading, application overloading, social network sites. All of a sudden, life form readings from out of the past start swarming around me. A thousand stories come flooding back to me from the deep, dark depths where I had buried them long ago before I went mad.

Talk about ghosts, and digging up graves to see what’s moldering inside—after all these years. Setting free spirits imprisoned by the past?

My friend Xtine came back into my life from another galaxy, where she had been collecting intergalactic buddha samples for the delight, horror and education of the general public. Her appearance has pried loose stones from a sepulture I’d thought long buried. It’s as if the dead are dancing out of their graves and I’m in my coffin asleep, trapped, lifeless.

I believe she’s another message, another mirror, shouting at my being with the serious credibility of an angelic trumpet. Judgement Day. Awaken. The angel is blowing the horn with the announcement power of a new life, a new calling.

I try to curl over on my side, go back to sleep. But it’s no use. I mean, It’s been written in the script of my name that one day I would be called like this, I knew it. For decades. But I just didn’t get it, and now I’m starting to realize that.

The other people weren’t dead either. I only felt disconnected. The fierce passion and connection to life they’ve made me feel hasn’t gone away. It lay dormant. Now Xtine’s prying loose stones, and the light of the stars and moon are pouring in like gangbusters. I’m fooling myself if I think I can escape.

Not everything about my old friends is what I like. Some of them surprise me with what they’ve been through, the amazing adventures they’ve had. Others are the same as they ever were, maybe a little more grizzled around the edges. It’s all good. What shocks me though, is how much feeling I have for them, it overwhelms me. The light shining behind them is beyond my comprehension.

Then I start mixing in the new friends. My current life, and boy does that stir the pot. I had dreams about this. I have piles of papers with clues about it. But the day comes and you just aren’t prepared. The bodies leaping up out of the graves, the ghosts floating and flying about, that’s me. The reconnection is another message staring me in the face. People are in my life again, reminding me of the parts of me I’d forgotten. I wasn’t dead, but I haven’t exactly been alive either.

My spirit’s been traveling a long labyrinth back to myself, and now there’s a great din and a call to action. I rise up out of my coffin and push aside the stones to look around.

I’m at the haunted house, and everybody’s in the place.