A Straight Shot of Politics

A blog from a gentleman of the Liberal political persuasion dedicated to right reason, clear thinking, cogent argument, and the public good.

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Location: Columbus, Ohio, United States

I have returned from darkness and quiet. I used to style myself as "Joe Claus", Santa Claus’ younger brother because that is what I still look like. I wrote my heart out about liberal politics until June of 2006, when all that could be said had been said. I wrote until I could write no more and I wrote what I best liked to read when I was young and hopeful: the short familiar essays in Engish and American periodicals of 50 to 100 years ago. The archetype of them were those of G.K. Chesterton, written in newspapers and gathered into numerous small books. I am ready to write them again. I am ready to write about life as seen by the impoverished, by the mentally ill, by the thirty years and more of American Buddhist converts, and by the sharp eyed people [so few now in number] with the watcher's disease, the people who watch and watch and watch. I am all of these.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Where Are The Springs of Yesteryear?

One of the peculiar things about my mental health condition and, maybe, about the medications which treat it, is the totally flat affect I now feel towards weather. In my imagination and memory I can still see and feel my heart lift on brilliant sunny days in October, where the sky was an impossible blue and the leaves were red and gold; or equally on windy and rainy days in April, with each of the flowering trees perfuming the air 20 feet in all directions; and finally on a true, holiday morning, midwinter snow, where the heavy low clouds and the deepening snowfall muffle the noises of the almost no cars growling in low gear over the, as yet, unplowed streets.

It was as quiet as my little vest pocket metropolitan area ever gets. And I clearly remember loving it with all my heart.

None of these things actually move me now. The day before yesterday I noticed--through the scramble of my brains from my boring, secretive, moderately lucrative temporary work--that the tidy, anonymous, office building in which my employers hide has that same heavy perfume of pink and white flowering crabapples on all sides of you, as a true bonus, as you head toward the security door that only the proper badge will open.

It should lift and clear my heart of the vapors of corporate self-importance and of morally diminutive people fretting over the corporate nonsense which allows them to run up their credit cards and live the same as yesterday through refinancing their house. It used to, but it doesn't.

These days I am liberated from such crabbed, constipated, and cellphone driven fretting by having looked over the edge, into an abyss and, very delicately, stepped a measured three feet back from it, where you can face it without vertigo if not without fear. And the medications even dull the fear.

It is as if the greyest, leaden, soggy, and bone seeping cold has somehow bled into all other weathers, making them as pale and wan as a water color painting deliberately and maliciously swiped with a damp sponge. Everything now is literally paler to my eye, the brightest colors slightly grayed and the milder colors dimmed to, though not past, the point of complete desaturation. Sounds have no real crispness, textures fade to the fingertips, and it feels as if my sense of touch has somehow dissipated into my arms and shoulders, with only a limited amount of it ever reaching my brain.

By dint of sheer will on most days, I have forced myself to overcome the inner brain fog that is the intellect's equivalent to this sensory deprivation. Other than the occasional lapses of transposed letters, disappearing words, or distracability with multiple tasks, I have kept my mind and eyes pretty well honed, even yet, for detailed observation and analysis.

But such skills have much more restricted time limits now [about 4 hours at one sitting] though the extended output of prose on this blog, which mildly surprises even me, is testimony to my success at keeping my mind from rusting in the heavy saturation of my sensory stagnation. The most startling thing to me about my own essays is the sustained length that most of them run to. I don't think they contain much slack or waste. "I made it. It must be wonderful." aside, it seems to me that their length is usually appropriated to the full and fair development of the topic. And, since I seem to have regular readers, someone else must agree.

It's a good thing I think this, or the muffled ache in my fingers after so much typing would keep me away from here at all.

Be that as it may, my sensory and emotional deprivation is a sad thing, like a nausea of and surfeit with, a tasty dish once relished. And, in fact, the sense modalities that seems the least affected by this deprivation are taste and smell. Thank heavens. Good eating is too pleasurable to abandon.

I sometimes entertain the absurd notion that the change is in the world and not in myself. It is a way of renewing the age-old philosophical question of whether, and to what degree, is there an objective world at all.

Whether it is really there or not, it is certainly less to me than it once was. I suppose, in some sense, that this is Nature's way of preparing me to give it all up and leave it all behind.


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