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Post-Easter, stories, art, God, the Dead

Monday 4/5/21

I was useless yesterday for Easter. Alone, of course, the same as every day for the past nine years. Walked six miles. It's now 1743 days, or 249 weeks, without any alcohol. Someone said to me recently that with my situation what it is is, they don't understand how I'm able not to drink. I am able to not drink because I suspect--I don't want to go so far as to say I know--that if I do drink, I'll die. I'll never come out of it. I'll give in to diving away from all of this. I find that I am barely able to hang on if I'm not working. By which I really mean, creating. Not proofing something. Not reading for work or watching a film or making notes for a book. I have to be creating. It's the only time I feel at all like I'm pushing back against death.

I've written two stories this morning. "The Closet Game" and "The Side Room." Yesterday I watched The Man Who Cheated Himself, a pretty good noir from 1950 with Lee J. Cobb, Jane Wyatt, and John Dall, directed by Felix E. Feist. Dall is the most interesting actor in the movie. It was the same year that Gun Crazy came out. He was only in eight films. His next one would be Spartacus, ten years later. Then just one more.

For Easter morning I listened to the Grateful Dead in Montana in May 1974. It's one of the best sounding concert tapes I've ever heard, in terms of the quality of the recording.

Encountered many posts on social media about Easter, where one also sees fighting and division. One side will jeer another for believing in fairy tales like children, and another side adopts the holier than thou tone and speaks of eternal damnation.

I can't say that I ever see someone with views like my own in these matters. I don't think it is relevant if a man named Jesus Christ was killed and then rose from the dead three days later. I don't believe that a human did that, but I believe even more that it's beside the point. What does matter is the story, the power of the narrative, what is encoded in the symbols. The idea of personal resurrection, and the symbolic idea of returning from the dead, to help others, to light, the best one can, worthwhile ways forward. That idea is larger than a human life, even that of a human who came back from the actual dead, if one wishes to believe as much. The power and the glory is in the idea. It's in the story. It's in the challenge, the model, the example. I believe in something larger than myself because I experience something larger than myself in what I do and how I create. This is real to me because it is my experience. I see so many people either hung up on dogma, with their imaginations packed into thin slivers of thought, or else others mocking. It reminds me somewhat of the breakdown you'll see between people who think life started with Adam and Eve, and others who cite science and a Big Bang. Both can be true. Ideas and energy, and a larger understanding of what is asked of us, or what we should ask of ourselves, and the power of story and narrative, rooted in truth and humanness, should not be negated by science, nor should they negate science. I used to think that this was a simple way to think, and would be commonly thought, but I have learned that it's not, that it's actually a radical position. Almost everything is going to be more complicated than we think it is, though. When people say, "You only live once." I always think, "You don't know that, and none of us probably have any idea how it is really is." That's partially what Socrates meant with the form of knowledge he espoused, which seems like a contradiction in terms--"I know much, because I know nothing." But it's true.

I need to get some exercise now. Some hard exercise. I feel bottled up inside.


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