Astara was last night, and it was pretty cool. I got to speak with Nybor a long, long time while Elspeth was downstairs watching films with Dawn, takayla, and my son. There were only six of us (missed you, webqatch). We had the ritual at 7:30, which was nice and cozy. Dawn made something which I can only call a vegetarian eggplant lasagna-like thing that was incredibly delicious. I never met a pagan who was a bad cook.
One thing Nybor had mentioned was back in high school, he once got hit in the brow with a baseball. It fractured his eyeball, and left him color blind and that eye has a huge jagged line running down the center of his vision. He had to stay lying down for a month in bed with his head in some vice-like thing, and it left him a lot of time to think. When people came to visit him, he'd play tic-tac-toe with them, and this gave him an idea of how to make a Turing machine with matchstick boxes and marbles. I thought I understood what he said, but now I can think of nothing but flaws, so I think I forgot some essential part.
Nybor also wanted me to write some science fiction for him he wanted to put in Analog. "I am really good with plots," he said, "but terrible with characters and dialogs." If he wants to do this, he's going to give me a list of plot points, names, and how the story goes. He already told the the whole plot from beginning to end. I just have to flesh everything out. He also told me to spend an hour each day writing fiction, no matter what comes out. He said he does this daily, and sometimes all he can to is write a words and a ton of things that rhyme with it. Because of this, he started doing poems, and his poems are the kind like like; they are clever, rhyme, and have pentameter. Don't get me wrong, I like some freestyle, but there a lot of freestyle I just don't get out there. I always "appreciate" poems that I think take a lot more work to get the flow right (this is being said by someone who is not a poet, please do not send me hate mail). The only freestyle poem I have ever liked enough to remember was "Fog" by Carl Sandburg, because I feel like I completely understand the imagery he was setting. San Francisco is really like that, especially from the upper floors of the St. Francis Hotel downtown. Anyway, I was flattered Nybor chose me to recite his ideas.
I also want to make a point here about someone else. I have no idea why I "chose" this person, or why this person has been in the back of my head, but twice in the last year, I almost gave up writing. Completely. I thought, "Fuck it, my life is too complicated, and every time I try to start writing, my life goes to hell, and God is telling me I should just give up." I even thought of giving up my will to write in some private ceremony, where I would erase all of my writings off my hard drive, take the drive out, and burn it on my barbecue. I'd burn all the copies of my book, and say, "Happy God? You defeated me! I'll never write, never be happy, never have an outlet, just close the blog and die a normal person, never referring to my past again if you will just leave me and my family the hell alone!!!" But I didn't. I knew some of my friends would flip out, and something said, "You'll hurt other fledgling writers who look up to you." About a year ago, someone told me his fiancee actually printed out my blogs and saved them. This fiancee also has been in contact with me about avenues I could use to help with my writing, and she's never given up. Yes, I know many of you have said the same things she's said, and most of all, my own wife, but you know how it is; you expect your significant other and friends to always support you even if you know you're doing something totally dumb. I might have been that when she started this, I didn't know her that well, and I thought she had no vested interest to encourage me, so why did she? She's not some starry-eyed 16 year old Goth who uses poetry as a form of pissing people off (not all Goths write poetry for that reason, but you see what I'm saying), doesn't want to break my marriage for some jealous reason, or someone who thinks she will ride my "coattails of fame." She actually has good ideas about stuff I was not aware of. I got to know her a little more as time went on, and found she's a smart but shy person who reads a lot and has trouble with crowds. How I used to be. And she's a very important part of a good friend's life, and I really, really want things to go right for them. I didn't want to stop writing because her words of encouragement were like a candle far away in the dark, and for a while, the only one I could see (even though a lot of you have 500 megawatt search lamps in my face screaming, "He-LLO???"). I guess I felt most of you, if I stopped writing, would say they understood, and she'd go, "Oh, you stupid fuck! What the hell did you do that for?"
You know, if someone said they'd pay me $1000 if I stabbed myself in the arm with a dull knife, I'd do it. I need the $1000. I probably wouldn't even question it, and it worries me that I wouldn't make sure they had the $1000 first. But if you asked me to do it to a friend? Not even for millions. I have contempt for myself because I spend every waking minute days with my thoughts and feelings, but I hold my friends in a much more sacred space.
I was afraid I'd hurt my friends if I stopped, and this girl made me realize that without actually saying that aloud. I won't mention her name so I won't embarrass her, some of you know anyway, and I hope she's reading this, because yesterday, after Nybor spoke with me, all I want to do was call you and say: