Tuesday, March 31, 2009

American Zen Apartment

...or This. Is. Spartan!

No way does my new place look this good but I have to check and see which pictures of my grandson I've already uploaded to my email so I don't erase any that I haven't saved (my cell phone camera's memory's maxed out with Gavin and Buddy the dog pics). Next time, ya'll will get the ten cent tour, promise.

I'm not necessarily an advocate of the Spartan lifestyle (although I loved 300, airbrushed abs and all). There's something to be said for kitchen counters, a sofa, a bed that's non-inflatable or chairs that aren't so rickety they don't sway back and forth when you walk past them.Tables, I've also come to realize, are underappreciated pieces of furniture.

It's going to be home for at least the next year as I'd insisted on locking myself into a 12 month lease for my protection. I have no tv, no stereo, no internet access (I'm writing this at the local Hudson library, which gives you only an hour's worth of access at a predetermined terminal).

Therefore, in order to avoid feeding on my own mind, I'd begun devoting every spare minute since Friday to proofing American Zen from stem to stern. Which is apt.

My fictional bassist, the laid-back Rob Svenson, would advise me to take up the Zen lifestyle. Like it or not, I have. I finished my novel's final proofing by Sunday night so now I guess my monastic lifestyle will impel me to finish other projects. Either it'll be The Bone Bridge, American Zen II: Rock of Ages (also proofed in its incomplete state this w/e) or my hostage negotiation thriller, The Toy Cop. So far, the way it's panning out, American Zen II is getting my nocturnal attention.

If I had my druthers, though, I'd rather be blogging. As always, there's so much going on. I've read the White House has made its second round of automaker bailouts and restructuring conditional on Rick Wagoner quitting and the pathetic but always entertaining GOP dumbshow is up to its old tricks.

Man, would I love a bloody, quivering piece of that.

Unfortunately, internet access, as said, is both sporadic and fleeting. And it can't accurately be said that my ex is interested in dealing with the results that she'd singlehandedly brought about.

Living here is strange. I feel as if I'm housesitting. Or more accurately, I feel as if I'm living someone else's life, someone who doesn't or was ever meant to exist. Perhaps it's a reflection of the echoing emptiness of these four rooms.

Yet it would be the height of folly to assume that one can suddenly rip a man from his only kith and kin for over 15 years, bar him from visiting except when you have need of him, violate an earlier promise to not do exactly that to him and not make that man feel hollow and existential.

Zen is not for everyone. It wouldn't do for a guy like George W. Bush, a man famed for his aversion to introspection. Zen is also not for me.

Because there's also something to be said for the axiom that states, "Sometimes when you stare at the abyss, the abyss stares back at you."

Political blogging, as with writing novels, is a way for me to crawl over the lip of that insatiable, yawning abyss. It's my way of saying in the best possible words not only that "I was here" but, "I am here" as are 6.1 billion human beings.

Thank you for choosing to watch my life unfold, to watch for proof of life to the necessary exclusion of almost all others.

It's time to get back to work, to once again make Pottersville the place to go for alternative, vicious gonzo journalism on all matters both political and social.


At March 31, 2009 at 7:20 PM, Blogger Francis P said...

Here's hoping it works for you. we need you.

At March 31, 2009 at 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi jp, hope you are doing as OK as possible. we all are rooting for you. keep in touch.

At March 31, 2009 at 9:31 PM, Blogger Jill said...

Glad you're sort-of settled in and that you've decided to keep in touch. You know the door at B@B is always open for your rants. :-)

At March 31, 2009 at 9:49 PM, Anonymous Tengrain said...

Establishing a pattern helps me get over bumps in the road, because then I know what to do next. It gives me a sense of belonging and purpose when I cannot think things through.

Zen-fully yours,


At March 31, 2009 at 11:19 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

That's the spirit. You are midwifing yourself (Eeeouw, I know, not the best image. But a fact.)

You could become the pied piper of the recessionistas, y'know? But no more low-hanging fruit. Well, maybe during the lean times, but keep reaching higher, right?

At April 1, 2009 at 6:18 AM, Blogger Bukko Boomeranger said...

Apartment Zen: What is the feel of one man sitting, on a couch that does not exist?

At April 1, 2009 at 7:35 AM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"bar him from visiting except when you have need of him"

Just say no! Whatever she may 'need' from you? She burned that bridge, if she wants anything from you, she's the one that has to build a new bridge to get back to you!

I am so glad to see you with a new post, and I am glad you have a new life. If you can get a phone line, I'll share my dialup account with you. My wife and I have a $20/mo dialup account that we keep for emergencies (when we are on the road). We would be happy to share that with you at any time.

At April 1, 2009 at 7:35 AM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"bar him from visiting except when you have need of him"

Just say no! Whatever she may 'need' from you? She burned that bridge, if she wants anything from you, she's the one that has to build a new bridge to get back to you!

I am so glad to see you with a new post, and I am glad you have a new life. If you can get a phone line, I'll share my dialup account with you. My wife and I have a $20/mo dialup account that we keep for emergencies (when we are on the road). We would be happy to share that with you at any time.

At April 1, 2009 at 10:44 AM, Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

here's a zen koan i formulated during my third divorce:

if a tree falls in the forest and nobody hears it, is it still my fault?

new digs can grow on you. a small piece here, and there, suddenly, you're surrounded by stuff.

At April 1, 2009 at 12:18 PM, Blogger Deb said...

I like it. It has potential and the layout looks cute. But then I think the Katrina Cottage is all most people need.

At April 1, 2009 at 4:34 PM, Blogger Rehctaw said...

To everything there is a season
Churn, churn, churn.

I'm sure as hell not going to tell you how to feel.

RE: what to do
That's a different story. Throw a pity party. Get it all out then leave it out. It's out of your control.
You're not much good to anybody as it stands. So fix what you can.

Not sure where/what Hudson, MA is or why that's your base. But unless it's four stop signs, look for a wireless connection nearby.
If you're rural, it's likely unprotected. Be creative.
Schools, McDonalds, Motels, Coffee shops all offer wireless service.
range can be boosted.

And get that tip jar set up!

At April 1, 2009 at 6:54 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

OK, Deb, didn't you read the part where I said that wasn't my apartment? I haven't even taken any pictures of it yet much less posted them.

Watchger backwards: Yeah, there must be wifi somewhere but when my laptop got fried last summer, it also fried my modem. Whatever the fuck I picked up on Limewire must've beee nuclear powered because everything but my Word files got wiped out. I can't play sounds, watch DVD's, play CD's or do much of anything. I got on at home with an ethernet cable, something I can't use now.

Yeah, I'll set up a tip jar once I set up a bank account, maybe tomorrow. Then, hopefully, someone here can walk me through the Paypal setup process.

At April 1, 2009 at 8:22 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

JP -- too late for your laptop, but a word to everyone else... LIMEWIRE is toxic! Do not ever load that crap on any computer. I am in I.T. for a living, so of course all my friends ask for my help. I'm usually only too happy to oblige, until I see they've got LimeWire loaded. Then it's usually too F'ed up for me to fix, and it calls for a total reformat and reinstall everything. I send them to a shop if they want to salvage anything.

Anyway, back down off my high horse, I'm glad to see you're connected, even if just a little. I really enjoy your posts. I have always just lurked, but wanted you to know you've been missed.

At April 1, 2009 at 9:56 PM, Anonymous Kootenay said...

I sure hope you can get back to regular access sometime soon. Have you caught the stuff Sy Hersh has been saying about Cheney - controlled hitmen lately? I miss your ever-insightful and entertaining commentary!

Please accept a vote for The Bone Bridge - I just loved that story - of course, I haven't read American Zen yet so that might change my mind.

Wonders can be worked with bricks, boards, and milk crates - seems like only yesterday I was living in an apartment with no furniture...as I recall I didn't like it very much, but it didn't last all that long. Do people there do garage sales? Old magazines can yield art for your walls, and a plant or two can make you feel like you're not totally divorced from your mother earth.

Hopefully you will enjoy creating a home-like environment - it's a challenge in your situation, but we gotta find fun wherever it presents itself!

At April 2, 2009 at 2:55 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.



At April 2, 2009 at 7:40 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I read on Dibgy's blog that Hersh revealed Cheney learned everything he knows about war from Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil War.

Which is typical of a five deferment chickenhawk, I guess.

At April 2, 2009 at 11:08 AM, Blogger Libby Spencer said...

Glad to hear you're okay. Things will get better. Nothing bad lasts forever.

At April 2, 2009 at 1:45 PM, Anonymous joel hanes said...

When I first moved to California, and lived alone in an apartment with 1 table 2 chairs 1 mattress 1 bookcase and no heat, my insightful sister gave me the collected Dorothy Sayers mysteries. Very non-Zen, but they proved just the ticket -- my mind spent those months in brilliant literate discourse in the south of England.

In your present difficulties, I am moved to recommend either the "Nicolo" series or the "Lymond" series by Dorothy Dunnett, which should be available at the library. Both are superb. Both are extended explorations of values : loyalty, love, honesty and deceit, ambition and greed, and the character with which we address our own troubles.

At April 2, 2009 at 5:19 PM, Blogger M. Bouffant said...

Hey Pork, just became re-housed after 14 mos. of shelters & urban camping.

One room, inflatable mattress, one chair, abandoned "desk" provided by the manager.

It's weird, to say the least. I am, as the yout' say, feeling you.

Keep your hand in at the library as best you can. I did when homeless.

So, it could be worse. At least you've kept a roof over your head.

At April 2, 2009 at 5:52 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Nothing bad lasts forever.

Except for the incipient, mean-spirited insanity and dementia of certain people I can think of.

At April 3, 2009 at 11:17 PM, Anonymous Michael Collins said...

Go for the gusto!

I lived in Manhattan for 9 glorious years. I had a townhouse apartment very close to the park with huge living room. It had a bed, glass top dinner table, two chairs, and an expansive built in bookshelf. There was art on the walls and a stereo. The bedroom was empty.

If I had to do it again, I'd add high speed internet access.

What more do you need?

At April 4, 2009 at 9:29 AM, Blogger jurassicpork said...


At April 4, 2009 at 5:36 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

"the incipient, mean-spirited insanity and dementia of certain people I can think of"...

But that is not your gig, unless you choose obsession, which doesn't get you far down the road.

Good luck in your new zen digs.

Practicing your own American Zen, eh?

Life imitates art?

At April 6, 2009 at 1:09 AM, Anonymous kim said...

What about sites like FreeCycle or other places on the internet to get free stuff?


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