I’ve hit a blank spot.
I know them well. I’ve done all I can do today and yet there is still some part of me bristling beneath the surface. Outwards, I think I come off as quiet, focused and calm, perhaps a bit raffish and with a certain excitable energy-depending on your perceptions.
Case in point, this morning.
After a fragmented sleep, mostly because Im staving off alchohol to clear my head, I wake up, french press myself a strong black coffee with a tea spoon of ice cold water and pour it into that nice muted white distressed mug I snagged as a parting gift from my last job. Okay, I stole it. Don’t tell.
I shuffle back to bed. I would like to think that at this time I would like to:
A- Be in the arms of a partner
B-Sit with my thoughts
C-Start writing my manuscript for the great work for which I’ll make my name
I regret to inform you- this is not the case.
Instead, I look through my phone. Then I look through my phone some more. Then I check my bank account (You know, just in case I had any sudden impetus to shop on amazon in my sleep) after which, I contemplate the day . Idleness can take a lot of time.
Oh, nice room
Oh, whose the hottie
God why does EVERYONE have a beard now?
God, I hate meal prep services
This person is lame, why am I following them?
Mm, I definitely prefer French Minimalism to Japanese Minimalism
Oh, I need that
Shit, I can’t afford that
Jesus Christ people I don’t care about your dogs.
How did THIS photo get in my archive?
DM for collab- Fuck you-reported
Necessary idleness past, I walk into the living room. A refreshing thing since I’ve but only occupied studios til now. I rinse my cup, shuffle toward the bathroom and gander at myself. Apart from my hairline, I think I look decent. My model days are over. P90x, protein shakes and local mall jobs were a fab ego boost when it lasted, to be sure. Still, I look good. I am not out of shape, I forbid it- so long as I can help it. Still, I can pick myself apart all day
I wish I had a lower hairline
I wish I had a stronger jawline
Your shoulders look good but why can’t you tone your abdomine?!
Maybe I should run more?
The press half full, I pour another cup, splash some icy h2o, and sit in an easy chair draped with a long tan throw blanket I sort of love.
I have no tv, no music is calling me and I’m already annoyed by the content I see on my phone. So I sit. Silence is a tepid drink. Its at this point I feel a small feeling I seldom acknowledge working its way up my solar plexus, past my ribcage through my core and into my consciousness.
“Hello, hows the coffee?”
“Who are you, may I ask?
“The feeling inside you. “
“What would that be?”
Oh dear. I know him well. In this span of time, Im already at its door.
“What brings you here?”, I ask.
“You summoned me, you know just as well as I do”
At that moment, I take a pause. He can be rather antagonistic, but god knows he leads me to where I need to go. What brings these feelings about, I wonder? What’s the nexus of “the big empty”, as they say?
Well, at this point in time, I live in a small town called “Cottonwood”, in Northern Arizona. I will be the first to tell you that post my overseas travels, it was never on my itinerary. Please don’t construe this as snobbery on my part. The people here are always cordial. I’ve got me a nice quiet little spot where the silence is sublime in the morning. The air is clean. The Rio Verde river is barely a mile away and there are plenty of places to hike, run, or aimlessly wander. In the desert at night, usually at 2 during my semi frequent insomnia spells, you can hear coyotes. Javelinas ( basically the rodents of unusual size from Princess Bride only significantly smaller) roam parking lots looking for trash. I’ve encountered camel spiders on morning walks, which are about as intimidating as a thimble when seen outside of Reddit.
Outside the critters, there’s Old Town, with its touristed commercial charm. Wineries. Yes, apparently we have wine and cafes with the usual 5-dollar drip coffee avocado toast and overpriced spins on basically Dennys. Antique shops in case you need a lifesize John Waye cutout, Marilyn Monroe doll or coca cola advert.
There’s also, and let’s not forget, podunk. Plenty of it. Remember. We are in Arizona. Trucks and “all-terrain vehicles”..ugh.. laden with every reprehensible far right tableau you can excrete from a a truck stop level intellect positively litter the bumpers. Hey, I’m not political, just observant.
Its a truly interesting mix out here. A cornucopia of bohemians who couldn’t really “manifest” the enlightened lifestyle 1900 a month sublet an unfinished room in Sedona and had to settle for Cottonwood, and people who look like supporting cast from an episode of “Roseanne”. One night while walking home from a former job, I noticed, I kid you not , local high schoolers hot rodding. That still happens? Another time , on a run, I saw several little boys on thier bikes riding through a forbidden wash, challenging one another to go in. Being a child of the late 80’s and early 90’s , I can only conclude that they were on some stranger things type of quest to
A- initiate a new kid into their gang
B-Summon an evil spirit
c-Initiate a new kid BY summoning an evil spirit
What I’m basically getting at is- I’m in a new world. One that should be familiar yet isn’t. Like some of sort half baked late eighties type of Americana with offshoots of New Age woo-woo thrown in. I don’t know how to identify with this. I’ve traveled the world-I doubt many of these people have left the valley.
So what’s home? Cause I don’t feel it.
“Wait a minute and hang on”, chimes that voice -“you didn’t feel it in vegas, or France for that matter!”
That’s true, I realize. This malaise is driving met to drink! Only a writer could think so much about thinking about something.
Ive been between jobs for a month, so i find myself at this standstill, vacillating between illumination and gnawing agitation.
So, here I am. In Cottonwood
Just the name alone evokes stagnation. Antiquated ideals. Tired concepts. Diners. Chewed Americana. Now now, I take pause, lets’s not be harsh on this place. I mean you crash landed here, its just being itself. It can’t help that you have your big city ways… you know, like enjoying stores other than wal mart.
When I got my place back in April, I knew from the 2nd night that it was not a permanent situation by any means. Only but a stopping point. A dull safe little berg to pause, realign, shake off the dust,get back in step with my country and proceed to the next venture. What is the next venture then?
There’s a darkness to being out of work that extends beyond lack of income. A little click here and a few scanned papers there and you’re out of the woods, if not a bit tighter.
No, the real danger is too much reflection. Too much idle time. The siren song of overthinking. That’s what I dread. When you’re in a town that you don’t synch up with and have yet to find a common relation with, what does one do? Attempts to find like-minded souls have only yielded forced awkward and pitiful results.
Go inward. What does that signify? More thinking. That’s when the doubts show up. The embarrassing happenstances and incidentals you have put out of your mind. The frenetic moments you thought long slipped into the furrows of your brain. There they are. Calling out.
That indecent proposal. That strange comment. That lost moment. That fretful glance. That series of seconds from years ago you would give your soul to take back. The fear. The regret. The jetlag. The moments are not unlike this. Wondering whats next.
So, dear reader, I circle back to my currant place of residence. Cottonwood. A town as lively as its name. Where cicadas are your wake-up call. Where dyskeki-clad crystal jockeys rub shoulders in the checkout line with NRA hat-doning Darrens. Where slacks are considered dress attire. Where the Mexican food is good, but not great. Where A “day out” to me is trip to goodwill and the print center, and maybe the bank. Where I can hear the local football team every friday night from my window. Where hot rodding is apparently still a thing and ma and pa taxis are your lifelines to places open past 10 pm.
There’s a term that I heard recently that stuck with me.
“It serves us in the moment”
Providing what is needed, when its needed, with no frills, only purpose.
Last but not least, a river runs through it.
I envy that river.
It knows about how to flow.
That’s all it is.
Its movement. Its purpose. It’s pure.
Things at this moment I feel I am not.
I’m tainted. I’m rattled. I care too much.
So, maybe, just maybe.. that’s why I’m here. Not in Bismark, or Baltimore, or Brooklyn, Seattle or LA. No places of urban stimuli. Because that’s how you get distracted. Thats how you don’t do what you’re called to do, whatever it is. Ive got some moments in my back pocket world. I need to share them. Perhaps not on a grand scale, or on a flashy stage. Christ, I don’t even know whos reading this. But, thats not my business. My business is to write it.
So, thank you Cottonwood
-I guess I got some work to do.