One year and three weeks sober. Two years crippled. 160 pounds. Feeling better, most of the time. Need to loosen the gears again. Instead of just vomiting into a bucket, I'll write whatever comes to mind in my LiveJournal. Share the vomit!
Raymond Chandler's grave has a headstone and a footstone. The headstone was placed by his literary agent when he was buried, shortly after his passing from pneumonial peripheral vascular shock and prerenal uremia in 1959. The footstone was added in 2011, when his late wife’s ashes were interred above his. Cissy Chandler's ashes sat in a storage locker for 57 years; her husband was a lifelong alcoholic and had been too drunk (or heartbroken?) to inter them.
Raymond Chandler was a successful oil company executive until the Great Depression; in 1932, at age forty-four, he lost his job and decided to become a detective fiction writer. He was published in Black Mask, the best of the pulp magazines, a year later.
I started reading Chandler at 23, while I was working as a webmaster and production artist in Los Angeles. A living author I admired, Mickey Spillane, recommended Farewell, My Lovely, so I started there. Chandler is a hair too romantic for my tastes, although it was fun to read about another version of my city, sipping hot chocolate and daydreaming in a cafe window. I wanted to get married and cook nice meals for two in our little kitchen and spend my days writing a novel about someone I'd later meet in the form of Harry Bosch. (Connelly does it much better than I would have!)
Later this month, I will turn thirty-eight. Odd, how I can just navigate to my old blog and read what I wrote that day, twelve years and a lifetime ago. I can read comments from long-gone then-new friends. Heck, I could go back and edit it-- it's like time travel, but I can only touch it with my cursor. This world is so very strange. The information age and systems thinking are a chasm between myself and younger people, in spite of my early adoption. Having had something your entire life is not equal to learning it as an adult. Sometimes I'm grateful to be pre-Internet. People appreciate thank-you notes.
When we moved back to LA four years ago, the first books I unpacked were my hardboiled detective novels and anthologies-- I had just finished the video game L.A. Noire, so I was in that mindset. I organized them on shelf 3, second tier, at eye level. The following morning I put on some socks (I'd never had hardwood floors before, so I didn't know how noisy they could be!), made some coffee and drank it out of my beloved dark brown forties-style Kahlua mug while reading a short story from one of those books. It felt like the beginning of a cool adventure, but I blew it by making a lot of poor choices. It's a great apartment, but it was always too dark for Zorro (he needs a lot of sun to photosynthesize or whatever the Hell he does with all that light), and it's nowhere near our offices.
Lately I fantasize a lot about leaving and starting over. Not alone, but with Zorro-- I daydream that one of us gets an amazing offer up in peaceful, lovely Santa Clara, which we've visited twice this year. When I moved back to LA, I neglected to consider the fact that most of my friends had moved away, or that there wouldn't be room for me in their lives anymore. I love this city, but truthfully, there isn't much left for me here. I can stay indoors and read anywhere, and this place is bloody haunted.
A note on sobriety: your mileage may vary, but for me, everything has changed, even the sun. I care more and less about different things, and there's an ever looming "when?" in my head that I have to actively shut out, but I like people so much more than I did, although I want to spend less time with them. Zorro and I no longer argue, and I now recognize that my family does more damage than they heal.
I want to wash my hands of everything that brought me here. I want a redo. I don't care if I'm stuck in this old, limping body with terrible hair. I'll put on a cool headband that looks like somebody's underwear and make it work.
listening to: elvis presley / "wooden heart"