Things were getting a little excessive around here. There are only so many nights in a row you can drink beer and watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas without strange things happening to you. Instead I've spent the last several days being quiet and calm, sleeping a lot, reading, watching no movies, accessing no Internet. Both of these phases have been necessary (as far as "necessary" can mean anything in the weirdly intuitive way I seem to be living my life lately) to prepare for my trip to Amsterdam, which is looming and scaring the shit out of me even though I can't wait to be there again. I plan to read a lot of Hunter S. Thompson and Graham Greene on the trip, as well as bringing It along for comfort.
When I say "intuitive," I don't mean any kind of psychic crap. I've met a few people who may have been psychic -- few and far between, and almost never the ones who think they are -- but I myself am definitely not. I mean that, five years after the destruction of the life I was living, I finally, consciously understand that the only way to build a coherent new life is to follow my obsessions as I always did and see what happens. For about four years now I've been mostly dismissing those obsessions because I was accustomed to turning them into something arguably useful; i.e. fiction. When that stopped happening, I gradually stopped valuing them unless unless they led to something concrete (like gardening, allowable because it created exercise, beauty, and produce). Chris has provided me with a wonderful reeducation by example: in the past year, I've watched him turn his own obsessions into one of the most popular restaurants in New Orleans. In doing so, he has also provided me with a space where, for the time being, I can do just about anything I want to do as long as it doesn't hurt anybody or cost us a fortune.* I can't think of any greater gift anyone has given me since my mother taught me to read.
And it's symbiotic, because God knows Chris was born with a wild talent, but he's also using a great many skills he learned in mostly low-paying jobs at various restaurants over the course of nearly twenty years while I made a (usually) decent living writing books. I still contribute royalty, reprint, and eBay income, but he's the sugar daddy for now.
To what point all this confession? I don't really know. I guess I just want to say that as the fifth anniversary of the federal levee failure approaches and I get ready to face one of my worst fears (yeah, yeah, by going on a really nice vacation; shut up, I NEED THIS), I'm pretty happy and very, very grateful.
*Motto from a depressed day last week, with apologies to Flannery O'Connor: "It ain't no real pleasure in life, and most of what passes for pleasure costs a goddamn fortune."