Author Topic: He Was  (Read 3414 times)

Fujikoma

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Re: He Was
« Reply #15 on: April 18, 2019, 08:51:30 am »
Your words are beautiful even when you're not trying to be poetic. The sad fact is, there will always be people who get a snippet of the story and talk shit about the protagonist, or the plot, or, well, anything... forgive them, for they know not what they do.

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: He Was
« Reply #16 on: April 18, 2019, 04:45:12 pm »
Over in null's thread there's a discussion about how venting is bad for you. And it's true, punching and screaming and bitching is something that we want to do that doesn't really help. I believe - and I don't have the energy to look this up so just take that grain of salt with you - that this is different. That there is a way to take grief and loss and sorrow and even anger and transmute it into something beautiful, something useful, something that will outlast the moment and take the sting out of the wound. It's a kind of magic.

He was a magician, but he never learned this trick. Star died and he followed her into the dark.

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Re: He Was
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2019, 07:01:07 pm »
Venting, as I see it, is just the first stage of transmutation. It’s the extraction of the metal from the ore so it can be worked. That’s why I emphasized that my venting is one small part of a process. And yes, transmutation is powerful.

Hematite is a rock that looks like a scab and fucks up compasses in large quantities. But it’s full of iron, locked up in oxides and mineral compounds. Once the iron is extracted from all that other crud through application of extreme heat, it can become tools, protection and works of art. It’s not normally worth it to simply leave the shit in the rock, but if you’re going to pull it out just to toss it on the slag heap anyway then you’re just wasting resources in the sole pursuit of making a mess, which is where venting alone goes wrong, I think.

In my experience, I can’t use my anger and frustration to motivate me until I’ve dragged it up out of the depths where I can actually examine it. Much like how someone being attacked by a bear is going to have a hard time noticing how dopey and ridiculous bears actually look, I can’t start figuring out how to approach my problems (or transmute them) until I put them outside of me, where they’re safely divorced from my brain’s emotional engines and not forcing me down to their level.

I understand your meaning, I just wanted to expand on it a bit. I think the difference is one of degrees, and venting is half-assed transmutation. It is said in the old texts: “shit your hate or you will die.” But we need wastewater treatment to get anything back out of it. Piles of hateshit laying all over the place just stink and spread disease.
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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: He Was
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2019, 07:12:24 pm »
Venting, as I see it, is just the first stage of transmutation. It’s the extraction of the metal from the ore so it can be worked. That’s why I emphasized that my venting is one small part of a process. And yes, transmutation is powerful.

Hematite is a rock that looks like a scab and fucks up compasses in large quantities. But it’s full of iron, locked up in oxides and mineral compounds. Once the iron is extracted from all that other crud through application of extreme heat, it can become tools, protection and works of art. It’s not normally worth it to simply leave the shit in the rock, but if you’re going to pull it out just to toss it on the slag heap anyway then you’re just wasting resources in the sole pursuit of making a mess, which is where venting alone goes wrong, I think.

In my experience, I can’t use my anger and frustration to motivate me until I’ve dragged it up out of the depths where I can actually examine it. Much like how someone being attacked by a bear is going to have a hard time noticing how dopey and ridiculous bears actually look, I can’t start figuring out how to approach my problems (or transmute them) until I put them outside of me, where they’re safely divorced from my brain’s emotional engines and not forcing me down to their level.

I understand your meaning, I just wanted to expand on it a bit. I think the difference is one of degrees, and venting is half-assed transmutation. It is said in the old texts: “shit your hate or you will die.” But we need wastewater treatment to get anything back out of it. Piles of hateshit laying all over the place just stink and spread disease.

I agree 169% with all of this.

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: He Was
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2019, 01:50:23 pm »
I get irritated at the author or this narrative I'm living sometimes. Shit's clumsy af. He was called SolMann, and we'd drop the "mann" part when we said it out loud. He went by Ghost. His profile picture is a stairway to a door in the sky. Every time I told him he wasn't allowed to die he'd only say he'd do his best. The foreshadowing is just excessive.

The last time I saw him he'd lost weight. His father had died two months before after a long and arduous battle with cancer, and there was that terrible mix of sadness and relief that accompanies that kind of death. He seemed to be processing it, though. Better than I expected from him for sure. He was in no condition to fuck and I didn't even try to ask, we just cuddled on the couch. He was tired. I wish I'd written down what he said, because it's already gone, but I know he promised me he was dealing with his emotions and he said something was the only thing keeping him from a relapse, and I can't for the life of me remember if it was me or my husband or the work or something else entirely. Whatever it was wasn't enough when he got in a barfight and came home bloody and insane to his poor mother. Wasn't enough to keep him out of the ditch. Wasn't enough for him to call me, to call anybody at all, instead of running into the woods.

I find myself resenting time. I know I can't go back but if I could just stay close enough I could almost touch the moment before it was too late. If I could just stay at "I saw him last month!" Keep his face and his voice and the scratchy hair on the back of his hands clear and fresh in my mind.

It was 2013 and we still hadn't fucked, but he was in town with his girlfriend who was super poly and into my husband. And he promised me, swore up and down, he would make time for us to be together. And that whole week it was spending time with this friend or that Anon and never more than a minute in the stairwell alone. The last night we went to his girlfriend's parents' house and the other folks around could not take a hint and GTFO and it was so late and I was so tired and upset I wound up curling up on a little couch upstairs with a blanket that was too thin for the weather, crying and feeling bad for myself because that's what you do when it's 3am and you're alone in the cold and the dark.

He scooped me up and carried me out of there. Kissed me and said he loved me. Called me by the name of my choosing.

He loved me for the things I love about myself, the highest praise anyone can give. He loved my stubborn and my awkward, my writing and my art, the way I could sidestep conflict when I wanted and dive in face first when I didn't. The way I lead a chant. The way I organized an event. He heard the banshee wail in me and held my hand and told me it would be alright, I had done alright.

I just want to return the favor. I just want to scoop him up out of the dark and tell him he is loved.

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Re: He Was
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2019, 01:09:10 am »
There's more of this but I don't know how relevant it is to anyone's interests. PM me if you wanna see the google doc I'm dumping shit in.

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Re: He Was
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2019, 02:46:40 pm »
It’s your thread, I think you should continue to post if you have things to say. I’ve been reading.
“Soon all of us will have special names” — Professor Brian O’Blivion

"Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." — Bob Dylan?

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes" — Walt Whitman

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: He Was
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2019, 06:12:01 pm »
It's just hard sometimes. There isn't a ring on my finger, I'm not even local. A lot of people I've been talking to, folks who knew us both, have been surprised. "I didn't know you guys had A Thing!" In some ways it's a validation of our default good op sec, I just never thought there'd be a time it bit me in the ass.

So vomiting feels here past a certain expiration date is feeding into that imposter syndrome. What right do I have to be that fucked up? What right do I have to burden other folks with it?

I should say today is easier than yesterday was. It's been two weeks. I know I'm gonna have other bad days, but today isn't one of them.

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Re: He Was
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2019, 06:35:38 pm »
Every single person deals with loss differently and none of them are wrong. This is your thread, and anyone who doesn’t like what is being written is invited to not read. Write it all out, QGP. Every fucking word.
“Soon all of us will have special names” — Professor Brian O’Blivion

"Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." — Bob Dylan?

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes" — Walt Whitman

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Re: He Was
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2019, 07:05:24 pm »
Ghost

He told one of the people he was working with on this awful project of his that he might have to go off the grid soon, might have to ghost. "You'll know it when it happens," he assured her. "You'll know I'm okay." She's all fucked up about it.

If you get yourself in dangerous situations like this, never ever tell someone there's a chance you'll fake your own death.

I know in my gut, on more levels than I can bear to share with anyone, that this isn't a fake out. When we got the call from his mother I took a minute to sob with my husband and then ran up to the attic where we'd stashed his stuff from the last time he stayed over, the bits of him that were part of our old trophy case. His grandfather's compass, the blankets he slept in, the masks we made together -- his red, mine blue. I know I shouldn't have done it, you're supposed to let the recently dead deal with their shit. It's a hard transition. But you don't know, you don't know. He was alone in the dark and he was so cold when they found him. He was in no state. So I got out my candles and my cards, the wand that he'd exclaimed over when I showed it to him, the knife for cutting only the air.

He was bemused, amnesiatic of the last few days. I cried like a bitch and told him I was sorry over and over again and I didn't even know what for. We negotiated a window for him to pop in and check on people now and then, only as long as his nephew is alive. Sooner or later it's time to go. I cracked open a window facing east, to the sunrise, to the sea. Sang him on his way.

It was real as these things can be.

When he came back to Boston, he told us we were living in dangerous times, and 2020 will be even more dangerous. "People like us get cleaned up when things get interesting," he said. There was a plan. I told him I would have nothing to do with it, that he would have to throw me in a burlap sack first. I'd rather stay and die than go into hiding. Even though I know this isn't a fake out, there's part of me thinking that I should play things closer to my chest, that in a couple months or a year my husband will take me down to the docks on some pretense and he'll be standing there with a sack in hand and try to make a joke of it. That he'll be mad I made our business public.

I know it's crazy. I know it's a trick the mind plays when someone you love dies, to try to find a way to undo it. I know there was a body and an autopsy and a burial.

But he said he might have to ghost one day.

Hoopla!

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Re: He Was
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2019, 07:12:27 pm »
I know this feeling. This, and “maybe this is just a horrible dream and I will wake up soon”.

Again, I am so sorry.
“Soon all of us will have special names” — Professor Brian O’Blivion

"Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." — Bob Dylan?

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes" — Walt Whitman

Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: He Was
« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2019, 07:20:27 pm »
When my grandmother died I dreamed that three women in white were standing on her doorstep, older women with short cropped hair and nice church-going attire. I could see her through the door, inside the kitchen. She was humming to herself and washing something out in the sink, facing the backyard. The women stopped me. “She has to prepare for everyone else. You can’t be here yet.”

When my mother died I saw the women in white again, but they did not speak to me. They were a long ways down a hiking trail and guiding my mother further into the forest. I couldn’t say anything, couldn’t follow.

I’ve been waiting for a dream with Chris, but it’s not going to happen. The women in white didn’t come for him, or any other god or angel or demon. I did.

Hoopla!

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Re: He Was
« Reply #27 on: April 23, 2019, 07:24:15 pm »
There’s a lot to unpack with those dreams. I have thoughts, but don’t think this is the place to state them. I may start a new thread if I get my shit together.
“Soon all of us will have special names” — Professor Brian O’Blivion

"Now's not the time to get silly, so wear your big boots and jump on the garbage clowns." — Bob Dylan?

"Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes" — Walt Whitman

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Re: He Was
« Reply #28 on: April 23, 2019, 08:02:58 pm »
Just so you know QG I'm reading and I feel for you.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

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Q. G. Pennyworth

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Re: He Was
« Reply #29 on: April 29, 2019, 03:35:26 pm »
Denial is new for me. I've dealt with grief before, been no stranger to death, but every time it seems like I find something new to stumble over. With him it's denial.

When mom died we had so much to do and then I settled nice and easy into anger. Anger is great, you can use that energy to get things done, and when you're done with it you can let it go. Oh I felt sad, too, felt guilt and loss and wanted so badly to have more chances to make up to her the years she took care of me. There was the chaos of the wake and service, the week in the hospital as we rapidly adjusted to the fact that only a series of miracles would save her, and only a few of them came through. We were never in any doubt of the reality of the thing, of the severity of it. We moved from hoping and praying and working towards saving her to honoring whatever we could of what we knew her wishes were. Sometimes it's easier mourning the opinionated. We took care of ourselves and each other, because we know the living have to live with the consequences, and the dead can deal with it.

For three weeks I've been writing, I've been researching, connecting to people who knew him and planning on how to save as much of him as we can, whatever's left. We're talking about his projects, talking about his story. There's a folder on my machine now of the photos I can find so I don't forget his face, a link to his youtube so I can hear his voice. It's a mad scramble to get done before things start to fade. And I'm at the end of it now.

His projects aren't done and I'm sure to run into more things that will need to be packed away properly, protected from the memory hole, but the period in my life where that's my focus is over, and I'm looking out at the rest of my days. A life where he isn't.

I hate it.

A few years ago I went down to visit my brother in Delaware and learned at Slaughter Beach I cannot live by the sea. I'm used to seeing the ocean with some kind of framing usually from the Harbor Islands here but sometimes at protected beaches like Revere. That was the first time I looked out over the open water with nothing else in view. Something in me revolted at the enormity of it, wanted to run away. It's too much, to see the ocean stretch out into infinity on all sides. There's no naming that reaction or reasoning with it or even confronting it, it's at a level where words don't work. A visceral, implacable nope.

I thought denial would be an intellectual thing, or at least a thing that the intellect could interact with. I thought it would be delusions, that I'd be convinced he faked it or someone mistook another body for his. I thought there would be a story to it, something with a shape that could be heard and understood and gently rejected. No such luck, of course. When denial hit me, it hit me like the sea. "This is too big and I *can't*," it says. "This is unacceptable, I do not accept it. I reject this reality wholesale, return to sender, fuck you." There is no reasoning with it.

His sister has found her anger and I applaud and support her in that. I hope it gives her energy to do what needs doing and when it no longer serves I hope she can let it go. His mother is putting one foot in front of the other, still tender, still taking her time. It's right and good and I hope that her community continues to give her the space and support to navigate this. But here I am, without any anger, without any spite or defiance or work, running out of tears. Boneless as a toddler before the universe.

Nope.