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Showing posts from September, 2009

The Mississippi Triangle

It was long drive to Starksville on Friday night. I picked up my buddy from the temple and we flew over the causeway, into the forests, and conversation ensued.

A lot has transpired at the temple and I'm not sorry to have missed it. Sounds like the good old royal rumble is still going on. My friend is the new "first assistant" which is a vague term and it probably means he's responsible for everything and nothing. It will no doubt piss off the current first assistant, who acted as shusso when I was living there. Of course, being pissed off in a Zen temple looks a little different than it does in the streets of New Orleans, but it's still disruptive. When someone hits the han like they're cracking home runs or rattles the gong like some low-fi tape deck, you know a Zennie is pissed off.

I only know from first hand experience what it's like to have a cursing match with the shusso at 5 am about the air conditioner.

But sounds like it's still going on over t…

Where do we act from?

Monday turned into a dark day. I decided to stay home because I didn't feel quite right. I felt overwhelmed by the work I didn't finish and by the news that I'll be a big brother again. Funny, that news didn't prompt me to think about the future. Instead, I thought of the past.

I couldn't access how I felt. I was completely alien to myself. I wasn't doing anything I was supposed to. Depression started in on me after I tried to evade it by spending money on home improvements. The entire time I knew I should be at school, knew that hiding away from the world was a symptom of being an Alcoholic. I felt it coming, and I let it come.

I turned off all the lights in the house. Ran a bath. Lit candles. Sat in the bath until it was cold. Had incoherent thoughts about what I was doing wrong in life, followed by incoherent thoughts about what I should do different. Of course, the monastery always comes up as a place of refuge. At this point, I don't further the fantasy…

I'll be a big brother, again.

My dad informed me last night that I'll be a big brother again. I'll be 28 years older than this one!

I gathered that my sister, who lives up north, is upset. It's about the past. About how our father was back then, as a young gungy marine with a drinking problem.

He's much different now. That old person is gone as far as I'm concerned. I don't think the sister really feels that way and still seeks some reparations.

I'm not sure how I feel, but because I met with my father last night, I didn't get a chance to do any work, so I took today off. While I don't feel upset, I feel something, and I'm taking sometime to figure that out. I'll figure that out as I scrub the floor, dissemble an old couch, and buy a new one.

Saturday Day Trip!

After a great week of work (students were tested on irony, motifs, foreshadowing, theme, character traits, and did well!) I'm taking my new car, The Millennium Hawk, to Vermillionville, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Mr. C is my co-pilot. He's a social studies teachers.

Vermillionville is a Cajun village. I'm not sure what else to say about that, except I've never been to one, so I'm excited to go. I'm also excited to drive the Hawk, because it's a turbo, and I really want to open it up on the highway. I was also lucky to purchase some great cds (On sale + teacher discount): Elvis Costello, The Police, Blink 182, Fiest, and Elton John.

Well, I'm on the road again.


What a cruel thing for a Monday morning: rain. After the alarm went off at 5 am I had to gently address the self for five minutes; remember, that ½ hour extra feels like 5 seconds and is never worth it; remember, you have to make yourself sit now; remember, books don’t write themselves and most of the magic that goes into a novel is used just by waking yourself up to write the damn thing.
And so I got to the zafu five minutes late. I took a ten minute break from writing to eat and listen to NPR. But I got it done! Monday wake up is over! Now for the shower. School opens in 15 minutes and we’ve got 3 days of review before the test on Thursday. Professional Development Friday.

Tuesday Morning
Didn't sit this morning. Ate breakfast instead. I think I need to wake up just a little bit earlier. Which may sound crazy, since I'll be reaching into the 4am hour. I think this has less to do with breakfast, though. I've noticed my sitting practice starting to deteriorate. And I've …

Empty Pockets

All the way at the top of state, in Bastrop,Louisiana, I don't need any of my effects. No phone, no money clip (really a card clip), and no keys jingling at my side (after living at the temple, I amassed many keys to many doors, which conceal rooms I can't remember).

We drove for 7 hours to get here- a 1/2 extra for being confused and an 1 1/2 for traffic, but it was worth it. I really love driving, or as on this trip, playing navigator. This was my first trip with my I-phone, and I kept referring to the purple line we kept on. My girlfriend would ask me if I had seen a sign, and all I saw was the purple line, the purple line! Opps, we went past the purple line! And once or twice, I wanted her to slow down, because the satellite couldn't keep up with her. Poor, old, 3G.

We must have got the last cabin in Louisiana. It's very cute and comfortable, and very modern with its flat screen TV and the wireless Internet. I'm wondering why I ever stay at hotels.

The weather is …

All Before My Morning Coffee.

Today is going to be a good day, and not even an attack will change that.

On my way into a coffee shop, a man asked me for a dollar. I him how his day was going, and I think he called me rainbow bright.

As I stood in line, he came in and started harassing customers and asked me again. I asked him if he took plastic.

As I went to sit down, I made eye contact. I make eye contact, I can't help it, and it usually leads to love or fighting. The love is worth the staring problem. As I reached my seat, he "Iffed" or fainted a blow at me. I'm glad I didn't move. At least that made me feel manly.

And I told him I'd knock him out.

He left...and I stayed, thinking he must be outside, and that I could go out there show him what's up.

Right in front of the school I teach at. Where I tell kids to stay their hands, that only their actions matter.

Well, I didn't go fight him. This is a big thing for me- invitations to violence are hard to resist. And actually, there is a su…

They give out chips, and I like to count.

It's always amazing to watch people have just one drink. I had dinner with my girlfriend's parents for the first time and her father drank one beer. As a little boy, my legs would get tired from carrying beer for my father.

And I remember sitting in clubs, waiting for dad to get done with a meeting. I remember eating watermelon one day, and people were watching us. As my sister methodically picked seed after seed, they said, "Oh, She's an Al-anon."

As I buried my teeth to the rind, sucking the taste out of the green, they never said anything about me. Never even knew they were saving me a seat.

Cunning and baffling as this condition can be, it's always surprising to find my conviction sway: I am an alcoholic; I am not an alcoholic.

I think everyone is a little or a lot of something, and I see the range between Al-anon and Alcoholic. Some people are completely balanced and walk right down the middle. They require very little maintenance. Then there are people like…

Tuesday morning after the storm.

I was still trying to get a hold of my father and step mother on this day four years ago. I had left New Orleans about two weeks before. It was a summer spent waiting tables at a fancy restaurant on Bourbon and Beinville...a place that would send me home fore wearing the wrong socks, and my face was never smooth enough for the Matre'D.

I remember the tropical storm we had earlier that year. It tore ancient live oaks out of the ground. Crayfish literally ran through the streets in St. Bernard parish, their claws held high.

When I heard about the storm, I was in Pennsylvania, starting my student teaching. I'm pretty sure I cried because I thought my parents were dead. No one was sure. I remember sitting there with my mentor teacher and supervisor, and we were debating whether or not I should commence with the classroom or wait to hear when we could go back. I didn't go back.

This is a dividing line between New Orleanians. When I was at a little grocer in the quarter on Friday …