(or, bye-bye Booze Beach)
And another chapter comes to a close.
Or not...i've been trying to dis-indoctrinate myself from seeing this life in terms of some kind of personal mythology, whereby the maintenance and creation (or even self-destruction) of that narrative inhibits us from actually being alive in the moment.
But yes, another home is about to become part of my past, as i head for San Francisco (a city, and for that matter state, where i've never been). This will be the first time i've moved to a new home with no support system waiting. I'll have a brother ninety minutes away, but otherwise i'll be a stranger in a strange land. I don't have my residence lined up yet (know anyone in the city by the bay who has a room for a non-materialist, semi-flatulent free spirit??), but i'll have a week or two housesittting in Davis to get that arranged.
I've been told all my life that i was made for CA...progressive and so laid back i won't be perturbed by mudslides, fires, or San Andreas hi-jinks. Of course, the Yellowstone supervolcano may also be due for an eruption that would wipe out the western U.S., which would merit one hell of a "gnarly". But with coastal wind conditions, San Fran might get only a half-inch of ash, unlike the 1-3 feet that would fall inland...so i've got that goin' for me.
Have i enjoyed my time here? I came to find peace, warmth, and healing after a decade in the cold, hard city, plus a spiritual journey that had disabled my emotional walls...and healing i found. Falling coconuts to open, beautiful storms and sunsets, more nudity than city life provides, and lush plants to tend (i bemoan the coming drop in upkeep for the greenery at my home - it's taken me all this time to get the whole thing beautified: candle-wood, frangipani, poinciana, passion vine, devil's trumpets, bridal tree, corn tree, and others i can't even name).
I came to take my baby steps in the public speaking of my own writings, and that's been a resounding success. Even more surprisingly, i've been able to delight any audience, from the young and hip to the old and cranky (or even fundamentalist!). My repertoire is honed, and it's time for a metropolitan, progressive pond in which to play.
Personally however, it's been more disaster than delight. The friend i came for above all, the one i thought of first whenever i wanted to share something i'd written, someone i'd cultivated for fifteen years and had hoped was ready for a friendship that would show the world how to do it, flickered out in a sociopathic, hurtful haze (Did i live here twice as long as planned partly to give her time to sort through her demons, and know i would still be here? Sure.). Number two on my friend list didn't bloom either. And my mother hasn't dealt well with her fear and control issues - she pretty much kicked me in the stomach every time i saw her these first few years. The one play i acted in was a horror show, with unexplained loathing for me emanating from my co-star. My romantic life was almost non-existent, and might have been better had nothing happened at all...one almost-lover came laden with post-traumatic issues, and focused so much unbalanced hatred at me that i feared for my life. I had one work client descend into bipolar depression - i should have left her, but was perhaps her only regular human contact, so in return for my amazing work and friendship i let myself be kicked in the face with paranoia, obsessiveness, and cruelty for many months. Another client transferred all her stress onto me...i tried to disentangle myself but she wouldn't let go, and i stayed with her because i thought i might be able to help her confront her control issues, or at least give her a little of the physical caring she had lived without for so long.
In many ways, i need to recover from my recovery.
On the plus side, my two aunts were a source of joy, and i had many clients who were a delight. The personal connections i made through my public speaking were breathtakingly humbling. My housemate chris was a rock, always there with support and the type of joyful irreverence that feeds my spirit. My other housemate irene has been descending into dementia these four years, but can still be a delight. I tried to get her out of the house once a day while she was still living at home, and i considered remaining here until she died. But her death has dragged on for over a year, and she doesn't want me to put my life on hold. So the other day, i had to say goodbye to her forever. So hard. My two closest physical companions, sarah and hank the rescue pit bulls, are away on a trip that has taken far longer than expected, and i won't even get to say goodbye. So sad.
Yet even in this broken, unfeeling world, and with my own flirtations with clinical depression, my creativity has persevered. I've written continually...essays, poems, and new versions of every classic fairy tale. Last month i recorded ten of my songs with a dear, dear friend. My little thoreau's cabin on this canal has been an unfailing sanctuary.
I love you all.
See you in San Fran.