January 1999 Archives

My personal dream censors

Last night I watched this guy get his head cut off.

He was an innocent small town resident who somehow discovered a local cult.

Unfortunately, the (very secret) cult was the rest of the small town.

I remember wondering in my sleeping consciousness whether I would see any gore.

And the censors in my dream factory did a nice job, in the end. The poor guy did get his head cut off, but I didn't see it. I saw the suggestion of it: the raising of the sword, the swift stroke.

I woke immediately after that point in a room I hardly recognize.

I'm sleeping on my frameless futon these days, waiting for this weekend when we'll load boxes and furniture into a trailer.

Somewhere in that process, a home will emerge from the empty and cold place where I'm laying my head.

At least the potential is there.


This whole website fits snugly in a small corner of one zip drive, with room to spare for unfinished projects and budding ideas that will eventually be unfinished projects.

Once in a while, there'll be something tht pops from the disk to my server space, and then you'll get a glimpse of me. Slight, but slightly clear.

I'm looking into this or that thing, looking for inspiration or something else that will drive me over the edge into a new place.

So I have this idea that we should write stories about our parents.

Good stories. Bad stories. Hard stories.


Real ones, I say.

I want stories that explore the realization that our parents are people, too. It is a universal realization.

Yet it continues to be remarkably striking.

And though some stories may not individually seem to honor our parents, a set of stories stacked together side-by-side, honest to the last, will do something far better: it will honor the truth.

I think that's worth a thought.

Anyone got a story for me?

Sometimes skill doesn't matter

With mind tricks and other various and nefarious methods of subterfuge, Amy convinced me to learn to salsa with her.

So last night after climbing (and a fine night of climbing it was!) I quickly changed out of my climbing clothes and into what I thought would be comfortable clothing for salsa: a pair of loose corduroys and a colored t-shirt.

We wandered six blocks to the local community center, where we joined twenty-or-so other people and our instructor, Juan, who is from Colombia.

He threw on the music and the next thing we knew, we were dancing salsa, merengue, and cumbia.

Fifty minutes later, the music stopped.

To be frank, I'm just too tall and lanky to ever be a good dancer, and I feel like an Oz scarecrow most of the time when music is playing and I'm moving.

I can play anything you like on just about any instrument you hand me. But I just can't dance.

No matter.

By the time we finished, I realized that for fifty minutes, I forgot about work or money or real estate or the nature of the human soul.

And while those are important things at the right times, once in a while it might just feel good to throw on the music and one two three and one two three and one two three and one two three.



I'm climbing tonight and all I can say in this wet and beautiful part of the world is "Thank God for indoor rock gyms."

Not that I would choose a stuffy stinky studridden gym over the great outdoors, given the choice. But this might be the best time to remind you all that I live in Portland, Oregon.

It is a city famed for rain.

It is also a green and lush place, the kind of place that exists in most people's dreams.

Amy and I were watching a certain famed trilogy this weekend, and when we got to the last film, and the green forested moon, she looked at me and said, "I remember looking at that forest and wishing I could live there someday."

I looked back and said, "Well, some of it was filmed in the redwoods in California. And some of it was filmed in Ecola State Park. Here in Oregon."

"You do live here."


Somewhere between here and there I caught a cold and I have been coughing and sniffling around all weekend.

It is the kind of cold that subtly weakens a body; it tires one out before time is up.


After a bright and clear week, the clouds have recovered their positions.

It was a dark day. Dusk and dawn stretched into each other.

Day never quite arrived in the midst of the grey blur. Or we ignored it.

In the middle of uncertainty, wrapped in the mist of the cool and dark day, I close my eyes and lift my head.

I press my lips together.

I am still.


I'm always amazed by the big deal we make about the shift from one day to another.

Humans are intrinsically ritualistic, so the whole thing makes sense. It is important to us to keep track of the number of times the earth goes 'round the sun.

And the best way to do that is to mark one day as special, wait 364 (or more) days for it to come around again, and drink like fish when it does.

As for me, I've never really understood the whole thing.

But this year, everything changed all at once.

On the 30th, Lars and Anne packed all of their belongings into their blue VW bus and left for Calgary.

On the 31st, Doug and I (and Amy and my sister and my friend Tim, who were gracious as ever) packed up all of our stuff and moved out of Trinity Place.

The problem is this: everything went to storage, I went to Amy's for the next 20 days, and Doug went wherever they'll have him.

In eighteen days now, we'll move into an excellent small house, half a mile from where I used to live, and that much closer to work.

In the end, it all worked out.

But I haven't had enough time to think about everything that has changed.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 1999 listed from newest to oldest.

December 1998 is the previous archive.

February 1999 is the next archive.

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