Zwei Bei Zwei

Frohe Weihnachten yall! This year I’m celebrating Christmas. Not bullshit capitalist consumerism Christmas, or imaginary baby messiah story turned capitalist consumerism Christmas. I am consciously and purposely rewriting this season for my own enjoyment. I want to tie sparkly lights and colors and reindeer shit to the feeling that I’ve been hoarding since I arrived here. Magic. It’s mine and I want to feel a flood of nostalgia for it every time I see a damn Christmas tree. Fuck all the past traumas that have made me hate the season for most of my life. Delete, rewrite. My fucking story.

On the bullshit capitalist consumerist note, however, I did buy myself a Christmas present. (Not really, just coincidentally timed) I wasn’t able to bring any of my paints to Germany- you can’t ship them. It was alright, I haven’t been painting so much in the last couple years. But I am feeling it right now. So a nice bare bones setup is headed my way. Luckily I’ve been homeless/poor/starving most of my painting career, so I only need six colors and a canvas to do what I need to do.

Six colors and a canvas. That would make a good book title.

Speaking of, I also have tentatively started another poetry book. The first was all about fucking the idea that your output has to be “good” in order to justify doing the thing. Do it anyway. The poetry is not great and the illustrations aren’t either. But it’s a goddamn achievement that I am so fucking proud of.

The next book project is an adventure in simplicity. So many of the poems in Rohheit were built around a couplet- I felt like I needed to make a ‘real’ poem out of a little two liner that I really liked. Here I’m abandoning that. We’re going to hike through my twisted shit two lines at a time, however they stand. I’m not sure how long this one will be, or what kind of illustrations may come with- but I’m letting go of another societally instilled “rule’ about how I should make things. We’ll see what happens.

With razor blades All art is made

Go make some magic, bitches.

Living For It

I’ve been here in Deutschland for exactly a month. It feels simultaneiously like I just stepped off the plane and like I’ve been home for years. Even though I’m still settling in, taking care of details, and learning (the hard way) all the nuances of a completely new land- I’m continuously struck by the realization that I’m here.

My CPTSD keeps kicking in and telling me that this isn’t real- or that this fragile beautiful thing is going to come crashing down any minute. My shit-brain has imagined at least a thousand ways that this could end just when I’ve achieved it. It’s funny- when I’m depressed I really don’t give a shit if I die- I’m not afraid. When I’m doing well and living happy, I start to worry excessively about dying right as things get good. I’ll take it though. It’s worth it.

Fuck it- it’s all the more reason to live it. Maybe that’s why, for the first time in my life, I’m more excited each day than the one before. Excited to walk to the store, talk to the chashier, go to work, walk home… breathe the air. Crunch the leaves. Every bit of it makes me fall in love. I keep thinking it will wear off and normalize. It just keeps getting better.

I thought that fairytale shit was made up for TV.

The other half of this magical math equation is my new line of work. I took a major pay cut to come here. I was not only worried about making ends meet, but about ‘taking a step backwards’ after I had worked my ass off for years to get where I was career-wise back in the States. I gave it up on a gamble- not only a solid career but one that had a trajectory upwards.

It’s all a sad and hilarious false god. You can only see it once you’re out of the mire. When your entire life is your career, and everyone in your life is in the same bubble- every day and every week and every year- you get your threads caught in the machine and it takes you. You forget. My job before was stressful. Fucking stressful. You tell yourself it’s worth it for the pay, that the extra you put in will pay off, that the reward is doing your shit at top performance. It’s a lie. You become so comfortable in the pain- it’s terrifying to give it up.

I’ve never worked a job before where the running joke with coworkers is about who woke up at 2AM last night in a panic, convinced that you forgot something the day before. Nightmares, midnight panic, blood pressure and body aches. It makes you tired in your soul- because it never ends. Every day is fresh stress, new fires, and you become less than yourself. Six days a week for years.

I’m making around half yearly what I did before. I’m happy as fuck. For the first time, I’m living a life first and going to work second. Work is just a thing I do a few hours in between all the other rad shit I do all day. The job has no stress- there aren’t a thousand ways to fuck up everyday with no way to fix my mistakes- I have tasks to do and that’s all I have to worry about.

Coworkers in my new workplace talk about ‘busy days’ and ‘heavy work’ and worry that they’re throwing too much at me when I’ve just started. I just smile. There’s no use trying to explain what a joy it is, or what soul crushing anxiety I’m accustomed to. ‘For the money.’ Nope.

I’m never going back. Give me ‘basic’ work forever. I’ve got fucking living to do.

Off and On Relationships With Myself

I’ve been reminded that I have neglected this weird little blog. I’d like to say it was for good reason, but the reality was I just wanted to disappear for a while. I do that from time to time- drop off social media and out of social circles. It’s good for the soul.

I was busy, however, working on the move to Germany. Which I’m happy to report has gone swimmingly. I made it! In some ways, it hasn’t hit me yet completely. But every day I have a moment where I realize- holy shit, I’m in Germany and I actually pursued a dream like a stubborn asshole and made it happen. There were a shit ton of roadblocks- Covid being the largest- and it certainly felt like a lost cause for months at a time. I gave up more than once. I made other plans. I turned down other opportunities in favor of pursuing the move to Germany, then regretted it, then redirected myself again, and again, and again. Honestly, I was a hot mess for about six months. I’m not usually an indecisive person, but trying to figure out how to move to a country that is currently not letting people from your country in rightfully causes some doubts.

For a while I lived in my truck, while working my regular job, because I was so goddamn determined to get the universe moving. I really like living in my truck, incidently, so that will be an on and off again feature of living in Germany, too. Most people are completely confused by the idea- but I love living low to the ground. Learning to live comfortably in a vehicle is a whole new universe, but I live for that kind of challenge and off the beaten path lifestyle. The Motherfucker is pretty well set up and modified for comfortable living, and is currently on a boat headed for my new home. Once a dirty street kid, always a dirty street kid. It never leaves you.

Every day I learn something new here, and every day I made a dumb mistake that is humbling and hilarious. And I will continue to do both, invariably, forever.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Deutschland!

It is official: I’m moving to Germany. I’m working out the details, and most are still up in the air, but by the end of the summer I will be there. I may or may not have a job lined up by then. Of course I would prefer to move to another country with employment in the bag, but if not I will absolutely just get on a plane with whatever fits in a suitcase and figure it the fuck out.

Most people find this prospect to be insanity. One, moving to another country at all, and two, doing it without much of a plan other than ‘figure it out.’ It is the type of thing I’ve done before- moving across the states with no plan- and it worked out for better or worse. I have started over from scratch a few times by now. I have ended up homeless. I have lived off one can of beans for three days because it cost seventy cents. I have lived in squats with no heat when the temperature was -30F. Some might call these experiences evidence of failure, and maybe they were. But the point is, I did the thing. I wanted to do something and go somewhere, so I did. Times were great, and times were rough. The rough times passed and good times came back. The rough ones are never far away. But I am not sitting in the place I was before all that, wondering what my life would have been and hating what it has become.

In the end, the ‘worst thing’ is being afraid to go and do. The worst thing is not failing, or ending up on hard times, or even dying. Fear is the worst thing. So, go and do. Fail spectacularly. Learn what hunger and loss really are. Who knows where I’ll be this time next year. Ich habe keine Ahnung. Doch ich bin aufgeregt, es herauszufinden!

ROHHEIT: I’m bleeding out

So, the crazy pile of mush that has fallen out of my head is officially published and out there in the world. I always wanted to write a book- about what I never knew- but it was one of those things you tell yourself that “other people” do. Not something that is achievable for you. I told myself that for nearly forty years. Then it suddenly dawned on me: why the fuck not? Who gives a shit if it’s terrible, or if no one buys it. Those are bad reasons not to do something. So I set to work on ROHHEIT while holed up in a hotel room, isolated, for three months- if you’ve ever spent significant amounts of time in hotel rooms in strange dead cities- you know that shit can get weird. It certainly did for me. There are things deep in all of us that we can either ignore and push away, or lean into. I scratched and dug at all the things I never want to look at- so that you can look at them instead. It’s rough, and it’s raw- but it is absolutely real.

This is the year I do all the things that I’ve told myself I never will. Because I fucking can.

So can you. Fuck it, love it, do it.

нахуй

I never know what to write about. Funny that I wrote a book, then. These types of things always give me flashbacks to LiveJournal. I hope to all that is unholy that my LJ is not archived somewhere waiting to be discovered. Unfortunately, I know that it is. Alongside my MySpace and 1996-era HTML website with flashing GIFs and embarrassing teenage thoughts. Please don’t go looking for all of that. I have erased that self from my mind, changed my name, and killed that person. Necromancy is dangerous.

I am working on the site and the book this weekend. I say ‘weekend’ but really I mean one short day in a sea of work. Round and round I go, six days a week. All in the name of success- or maybe just survival. We are heading into peak season in my profession and the mind-numbing circus ride is just shifting into overdrive. More and more I’m feeling chained to the spinning wheel. I’m applying for some big moves that would free me from the too-worn track, so we will see what happens. Ever the pessimist, I have already convinced myself that these things are unachievable for me. But as with everything, I try anyway.

I wrote a new poem in German last night, in the dead silence when sleep wouldn’t come:

Question

Der Hai hat noch die Katze gefragt
Warum magst du das Wasser nicht?
Und die Katze hat es ihm gesagt
Weil Wasser hasst das Licht

Here we go:

I’m officially launching my website and store- the store doesn’t have anything to buy yet. But it exists. Isn’t that really the point, in the end?

Probably not for a store.

My book of poetry and illustrations will eventually be available there. I’m shooting for January 2020 for publishing. It is poetry for people who hate poetry. I can’t promise that it’s any good, but it does live up to its title- Rohheit- which means ‘rawness’ in German. It is written in English, but some German is interspersed to highlight what English just can’t quite get at. I think the illustrations are hilarious, but you must have a particularly dark sense of humor to agree.

I will occasionally have original paintings for sale there as well.

We never made it
Though how we tried
We thought we would
And then we died — ‘Summary’–Rohheit