15 April 2019> 4 nights til we move in to our new home. Yesterday we went to go see it + meet the current owners. Nice guys that are super organized + gave us the low-down on everything, they even gave us a book on the history of the house. Still can't believe we're gonna be home owners. Wheel take a brake now from logging dreams to ketch up in the reel moondough, winter of 1996... after we returned from France we still had some debt and nowhere else to go so we went down to Mexico to work on our mom's house + get some writing done. Then we returned to California, bought a van + went to Tucson, where we were reunited w/ our bedder-½ (although we met her 4 years before, we only dated briefly):
February 3, 1995—Axixic
Just finished my book and I don't even know the title. I still have a lot of editing to do, but most of the information is down. It's got 24 chapters, just like The Illiad, which I have just embarked upon—the template of the classic tragedy. I'm trying to draw parallels to give structure to my unnamed story. Even if it sucks, it was cathartic. Therapeutic release of loaded guilt. Lode. Load? That word is loaded. I haven't been writing in here (journal) since I've been writing.
David came last weekend. He had a job to do in Aguas Calientes with Xerox so he figured he'd stop by. We went to Los Baños and met Frank, Eloise's son, our great uncle who I don't remember even meeting. It was a trip. His dog kept chewing loudly on his crotch and Frank was going on about mundane things and I was staring at this monstrous machine eating the water hyacinth on the lake thinking there must be a story there, "The Lirio Eaters"—a sci-fi story about unmanned weed-eaters that float around on the surface eating weeds they in turn use for fuel, self-sustaining, and they get out of control. They build them to run off the hyacinth that they set out to destroy. Something about that strikes me.
David left and like familial tag team, mom came in later that night. So now she's here being overly friendly and courteous. She means well. I feel good for once. That story was a big burden to carry (just like the dead Indian in the story). It's not said correctly but at least it's on paper in some form. I'm going to get a Negra Modelo. [then we quoted Vine Deloria, Jr. at length]
It's been a while since I've written. Long since finished "Clear Lake, Black Hills" [what we'd enp up calling, Strip Mine, our 1st pancake of an unpublished novel] still not sure about the title, but I've been editing it. More so, I've been working to pay off my debts so I can go climbing. All I thought about today was climbing—I miss it so much I almost want to cry. Just the feeling I get around granite, on a road trip, I've almost forgotten what it's like, but my soul is saturated with wistful longing. Getting back to par as far as health goes. Working, eating right, light hiking (ten miles to the top of the mountains every other day). I've only been drinking two cups of coffee in the morning, not that much alcohol.
Lake Chapala is covered with pig-shit-eating hyacinth (lirio) and it extends like a flat plain as far as the eye can see, can't even see the water. Looks like safari country, African Savannah (at least what I imagine it to be like.) If the winds are right, they scatter the plants in swirls to the other end of the lake. I see this when I hike way up in the mountains. The mountain rises steep and you can quickly get a fresh perspective. When I sit in the house here in Axixic, writing, workers come through, every which way, with loads of bricks and buckets of cement. People I've never seen. It's a machine gone mad, this house, I don't know who's in charge, walls collapse or rise, roofs come down, all apparently random and who knows where the orders are coming from or whose paying them. At least in my over-active imagination.
February 15, 1995—Axixic
Time has no meaning. I'm not even depressed. Just dry. I paint, and then paint to uncover. I scrape, then plaster, then paint. I don't give myself time to think about how worthless I am and how terrible "Clear Lake in the Black Hills" is. I think maybe I'll wake up and it will seem good. I'm trapped within myself. This lucid maze.
So I'm painting to cover up the old decaying walls and mom is just watching me with a joint in her hand blabbing on about all this stuff [...], don't know what to believe, nothing from her mouth shocks me.
February 20, 1995—Axixic, Mexico
First entry as an electronic journal. Kind of nice since I can write with my eyes closed. Makes me think about punctuation whether the natural order of things is to just have words that represent concept flow on end. I guess the whole Idea is to reproduce stream of thought. Do we think in periods, commas, or do we even think in words at all? Everything is just kind of jumping around and not as organized and clear as writing, but then again it's only us that need to understand. Writing needs to get to the bare bones of it. The metaphorical template.
Another nice feature of having this journal on hard disk, is that it doesn't necessarily have to be in chronological order. You can pull up certain entries, and can organize in the 'Journal' folder by name, date, place or whatever. And dreams are already going in their respective dream folder. And it is a journal that has no beginning or end. It is just a void to put down my thoughts and juxtapose them as I see fit.
Nothing doing in reality here. But I'm not really in input mode. I'm in regurgitation mode, writing a lot, and going through old stuff, and sorting and sifting through the content of past experiences. And working a lot to try to pay off my $880 credit card bill, which as of today, I've worked it off. Thought the check is not in the mail. This the first time I've been up to par in who knows how long. But I still have to work to pay off my return ticket and I'd like to save up some money to take a road trip when I get back. I need to climb! I have a sad longing for clean granite. I guess when I think about it, that's what I miss most, is a certain feel about the rock. I'm almost getting teary eyed trying to put my finger on what exactly it is. It's not really the climbing, it's being up there, on the side of a cliff. Or the feeling when you've finished, or even during a climb you look down and see you're gear laid in the pine needles, or amidst desert shrubbery and it's like right here right now, I'm living large, perception is intensely acute and senses are alive. It is one of the few things left I have nostalgic yearnings for. I just hope I haven't got too out of shape.
In hibernation mode, but not so much to not appreciate the smaller details of small town life in Mexico. In my errands, like today, I'll stop for a carrot juice and there will be a little girl next to me, in her school uniform, clutching a ten peso bill, ordering a beet juice. She totally had me.
February 22, 1995—Guanajuato, Mexico
[dream we already logged here]
I finally got fed up with Mom's shit and had to get away. One second she would be bringing me food and mineral water while I was writing, saying she didn't care if I wrote, rather than working for her to pay off my debts. But nothing with her is unconditional. It carries this pay-back guilt trip, i'm under her thumb, in her home, working for her. I'd bust my ass off working, running errands for her, only to have her bitch about things I didn't do or bitching about how I did it wrong or accuse me of doing things like taking the bricks out of this hole. That was the straw that broke the camel's back—
There's this huge hole in the courtyard. I slaved in the sun for days, scraping, painting—until I was dizzy with heat exhaustion and sunburnt. And then I was going through the bushes extracting all the pieces of cement and chipped paint, combing it out. I came across a couple of bricks laying in the dirt so I took them out. It was flat dirt underneath, she told me once that there was hole there, but now it was filled up. So after all that work she comes and bitches at me for removing the plastic tarp that was covering the hole. I did nothing of the sort unless I've gone insane. But yes, i removed the debris and garbage that was holding it down. Her mind is as fucked up + cluttered as the garden, cobbled together, probably from smoking so much pot. All these emotions resurface from Mountain View—Palo Alto times. The hole became this metaphor for all these buried emotions. And evidently I was the instigator, opening old gaping wounds. There were some other things, like—"you didn't paint behind the bush because you forgot. . . " when the truth is I didn't paint in the bushes against the wall because it was a royal pain in the arse and no one will see it. And then I would take a lunch break and she would come around and talk about Quentin Tarantino this and Roger that—asking me all these questions about tabloid bullshit and—"oh, what's he really like?" and "ooh, you're going to work with Natasja Kinski" blah, blah and I tell her to just shut up already. That's all she talks about. She doesn't believe in me unless I jump the bandwagon of "famous" celebrities that she reads about in the National Enquirer and People magazine. I told her I wasn't sure I would go to France because I wanted to work on something I believe in. But this just goes in one ear and out the other.
So yah, the hole. This huge mythical hole in mother's yard. I was in it up to my neck, I mean really? 28 years old and what am I doing? Working for my mom. How demoralizing. There's no place I can go where I feel unconditionally respected and comfortable. I never have that feeling unless it's some place I rent, like now in a hotel room in Guanajuato. It's no wonder I'm always on the run. I decided to just walk it off along the lake and then decided I would just work my ass off and be a mindless slave serving my time to pay back the money I used to get myself through college. So I go to Chapala to buy more paint, what's that make? About 50 gallons of paint I've slopped on these walls. Seriously. And I bought these glass bricks for her, and she bitches at me cuz they're the wrong kind and I told her they didn't have the kind she wanted, checking every hardware store, that we had bought out the other store. "It's beyond my fucking limited physical ability to get whatever vision she has of "glass bricks" if she can't articulate it. And her spanish is a joke, considering she's lived here 20 years. I changed my plane ticket a week more so I'd have time to finish "Clear Water, Black Hills" (knowing she was leaving before then) which was going beautifully, making improvements on it up to chapter 10 when this all went down. I asked her for $100 that she owed me since I counted my hours and I'd made $980 and she paid off my $880 credit card bill. But then she's all—"what about the $61 parking tickets?" (that I never asked her to pay, that I had no intention of paying as was my prerogative, but she opened my mail and paid it without asking). And she asked me to kick this plastic bag into a hole that's full of cement—"stomp on it more" she kept saying."
"Mom. It's gonna drop through and cave in."
"Just jump on it, I've already thrown hundreds of bricks down there."
This big infinite hole between us. She can't water the garden because the hole soaks up all the water like an infinite sink, connected to the sewage or septic tank system. I stomp on the bag of cement and it falls into the abyss and she blames me for it, the hole expanding, standing for way more than it is... it's about what lays beneath the surface. I calmly go upstairs, grab a toothbrush, the "Tropic of Capricorn", a change of underwear, "Desolation Angels" and a T-shirt, but I forgot an extra pair of socks. I marched out the door and hopped on the bus to Jocotepec, because as the crow flies (around the lake) it's on the way to Patzcuaro, Michoacan.
I sat in the dirt lot terminal debating. Some guys told me I could go to the cruceros and flag something down but it wouldn't be going direct to Patzcuaro. I had to go to Guadalajara first and I had to go through Chapala (and past Ajijic again) because the bus from Jocotepec would take me to the wrong terminal. Whatever, I just wanted to be in motion. When I got to Guadalajara I had to take this dilapidated piece of shit through hours of hot, tarry side streets to the "nueva central". Hey, I'm once again at the crossroad from whence I wrote that poem. These same streets that I went to school. The same street that I passed last year or the year before on the way to Citlapetl with Todd, Matt and Eric. And now in a different mindset again. One I never would've imagined. Future and past are remarkable things. The smell of marijuana and bricks burning as mom drove us to school. Or ten years later rushing with the climbers on trains, busses and black coffee, ice axes on our huge packs, mountaineering boots on our feet. And now, 3 years after that. This time travelling physically light but mentally heavy.
Two lines went to Patzcuaro, I had just arrived to miss the 3:45 and then there was an 11:00 p.m. that got there at 4 in the morning. I started to buy it and figured there was no hurry, that maybe something else would come up. I checked around. The nueva central is divided up into 9 different terminals. Bigger than most airports. I wish travel in the U.S. could be so easy. Go to the bus station and get a direct bus to most every city for about $20 at most. It occurred to me I was free to go anywhere. But there was no map anywhere. I remembered seeing a map in the travel agent when I changed my ticked, a topographical 3-d map and I remembered Patzcuaro being high up there in the green 8,000+ range. Mexico City was up there too, but I wasn't in the mood for that sprawl. Then again, it would've been a good place to lose myself. I started asking about Guanajuato because it had a nice ring to it and I'd never been there, and I also remember it being high up on the slope of a mountain. I was relying on memory of that map which was making things hard. But what the hell, as Vonnegut said, "unexpected travel plans are dancing lessons from god."
The ticket agents were eyeing me strangely, gringo with only a satchel, but he speaks spanish with no accent, "Cuando es el proximo a Patzcuaro? Lago de Moreno? Guanajuato?" No importa donde, just get me the hell outta here. Got a ticket on the next bus to Guanajuato from the lady I almost bought the ticket to Patzcuaro from. She didn't say anything, didn't mention that Guanajuato was 4 hours in the opposite direction as Patzcuaro. i reclined in the luxurious bus with cheesy mexican videos and then "Romancing the Stone". And here I am, shacked up in a hotel with no windows in a town I've never been to before. I've slept off the hole drama. Read a lot of "Desolation Angels" trying to give Kerouac an honest chance, but it is pretentious verbal diarrhea that is really no better than this here journal. I guess that should make me feel good? These guys get so wrapped up in themselves that they don't write stories, archetypes and myths which every human being can relate to. It's a diarrhea diary like this is, but I wouldn't expect anybody to read this. This is just stream of consciousness like the stream of consciousness pouring from each and every of the 5 billion or so people on this planet at this second of time. My stream of consciousness is no better than anyone else's unless I can make complete, clear sense of it and mold it into archetypal structure that will trigger something in readers in their own streams of existence. I could give a flying fuck what Kerouac had for breakfast when he forced himself to hang out on a fire lookout for 63 days. It's not what you do, it's the way that you do it.
Now Henry Miller, that's another story—even though it's in the stream-of-consciousness diarrhea vein. He's got something to say, he's not absorbed so much in himself as in his surroundings, like this mad, writing, wind-up top unleashing itself in the world, in and out of the bureaucracy of the telegraph co., in and out of characters (physically, in the case of woman), all selflessly to put them on paper, fucking like a mad man, raping, pillaging, experiencing in an exploiting uninhibited fashion not necessarily for his means but for the sake of writing. Like a tool, wind-up toy society lets loose to give us a reality check. I guess what it is, is it's like Kerouac is trying to hard to be who he is, trying to create his experience, while Miller is just willingly letting go, in serendipitous fashion, letting the chaotic tide sweep him over and he's riding the flood waters with a pen, using it like a surfboard. ... albeit he somehow manages to glorify borderline rape situations and makes mooching of friends seem cool. Miller makes me not want to write because he's said it, whereas Kerouac inspires me to write so people have something else to read besides his shit.
Getting back to the mom thing... "mom", what a word. That's something that means a lot to everyone. Maybe that's why I have such a desire to write, to write clear and concise things that will go straight to people's heads, because I know whatever I tell her or whatever I write her, will go in one ear and out the other. She's not the only one in denial in lala land. That's why I'm writing "Clear Water, Black Hills". That whole country is in denial and you can't just say "hey you guys are all in denial". No one wants to hear that. People need to be helped, their issues articulated. They need a release. They need a story they can relate to though there not usually sure why, to escape their minds, and let them return, refreshed.
[we didn't have a camraw in those days, but there's a few pics from Ajijic here
+ here's a few pics from GTO when we went there a few yrs ago:]
February 25, 1995—Guanajuato, Mexico
I only know the date from my hotel slip. I changed to Posada San Francisco, cheaper (about $10 a night) and better. Right near downtown. I got in late last night so I couldn't really search around then, had to trust the taxi drivers judgment. What a town, I'm overwhelmed. Had to put that pen down and just observe. Some things I can never describe and just had to appreciate them for what they are, being in a certain place at a certain time, seeing the reaction of someone's face, brief flashes, needy and desperate glimpses, children, old men, people, real people. I had breakfast and people watched then wandered around. These people at this tourist booth were nice and helpful and wanted to take me on a tour and all that and I'm like —"quiero ir al Cerro no mas, como puedo ir?"
"El Cerro, cual cerro?" Those fucking beautiful mountains right up there, the spires that reflect something inside me and call to me. I can see them from here, you can't hide them from me. So I just started walking through the jagged and jaded streets over the subterranean streets of stone like catacombs. This place is a trip, but I wanted to be up,... up these alleys barely wide enough to pass between juxtaposed colorful homes all at different angles. These people must have to park their cars miles away and walk up and down to get to their houses.
Eventually I got to this statue on a hill with a view of Guanajuato's splendour, the colors and angles, the roof tops and stone streets, all in disorder, going this way and that. Nestled in the ravine that has no flat areas. Why would anyone build a city here? It's insane how cities crop up and how they turn out, adapting themselves to the environment, people layering things, decomposing and rebuilding, the stone alleys carrying hundreds of years of footsteps and drama. And these underground passageways, a great place for vampires.
There was a carretera heading east from where the statue was so I started walking on it towards the mountains. One mountain in particular had sheer cliffs, overhanging headwalls and spires that jutted out. I wanted to go there, surely I could. I continued along the freeway, up and up, until houses petered out. There was an electrical plant and then the road veered away in another direction so I set off cross country, up and down these gulleys. I saw a man and asked him if there was a trail. He said—"hay muchos senderos" then told me he lost his brother and son and was looking for them.
There were many little cattle trails criss-crossing the steep terrain that started to resemble its original state. Pine trees and vegetation. I saw a big trail and made for it. Bingo! A full-on elephant trail passing under these mountains, by these huge wide-mouthed caves with expansive flat roofs, all jagged with slabs going into darkness. Found some cool bouldering problems. The caves were covered with graffiti, some of it interesting and colorful reminding me of primitive cave paintings. I went off the trail to climb to the top of the mountain. As I was going up I saw a guy on the main trail with a backpack that had the air of a climber. I scrambled to the top then watched him. He put down his pack and started bouldering around near this insane looking spire. The rock I was on was chossy but that rock looked better.
I went down and approached him as he was bouldering. His name was Daniel and indeed he was a climber, waiting for some of his friends to show up to climb. One of five climbers in all of Guanajuato. There was some bolted routes around. Face routes up steep pocketed faces, a lot like the rock near Los Alamos at the overlook. Even a few cracks. Some guy from Bariloche put up most of the routes. A lot of it was dicey, but the routes looked good. It was funny to be talking climbing in Spanish, a lot of terms were the same. These guys had gotten a hold of a few magazines and learned from them. Some other guys showed up, one of them had shoes that would fit me.
They went up some 5.10c. They guy that first tried it wasn't very good and backed off. But this Daniel guy just walked up it. They were sloppy in their belaying and style (pushing the first guy to the bolt and then belaying from above clipping only one bolt of the "reunion" or anchors, with just one quickdraw. Then Daniel went up this 5.11a and the guy let me borrow his shoes and harness. I was wearing jeans and the shoes fit really big but what the hell. And chalk was too expensive for them to use. It was just a trip to be climbing in Guanajuato. I got almost to the top and got "mamado" or pumped out. It was steep and weird, secret pockets, but I made it up after a rest. My first climb in about four months.
I watched after that, not wanting to impose too much on their generosity. I was glad to just be around rock. What is it about the bottom of a cliff face? Why do people always make petroglyphs (or in this case graffiti) at the base of cliffs? I returned to town with plans to meet them tomorrow there. I walked around more then ate some ceviche tostadas and sopa de mariscos at the mercado. Heavenly! He even brought my beer with shrimps doused in chili adorning the rim of the can.
Hung out feeling lonely, lots of cute girls here giving me that eye and it would be so easy to bring one back up here, but then I started to think how strange human's are, how they get desperate and want to share themselves like that. But maybe I should, since I don't have much luck with girls I get to know and get all sorts of their clinging emotions attached. I started thinking about prostitutes—what an abstract juxtaposition of sex, which in itself is complicated enough, and sex, at face value a means to procreate. For what, recreation? Woman providing a service for desperate men. That's something that can't exist in the animal world. Females should only want to have sex to have babies. But for humans it went on to be a form of personal validation and pleasure and now, paying for sex. In one sense you pay so you don't have to deal with the aftermath of emotions. But I think it would strike me as twisted and i'd feel like shit after. I need to channel my loneliness into places, to people watching, to... climbing! Funny, I saw this gorgeous (though blonde) American girl walk by me with a cool dog while I was watching them climb. She was with some mexican hippie guy. I wandered up to look at these other routes once they'd gone by and she was up there with her top off and the most perfect breasts. The guy was fondling them. I turned to the cliff and started looking at all the routes pretending i didn't see them. Now it's time to wander the nocturnal subterranean streets to look for vampires of Guanajuato.
February 27, 1995—Guadalajara, Mexico
On a bus bound for Chapala after a much needed climbing adventure in Guanajuato. After meeting Jaime and Daniel and the others and doing that one climb, I went back to my hotel and took a siesta. It was still light, the days go on forever here. Went next door to the mercado and had another amazing sea food soup and ceviche and a beer served with a heap of chili-doused shrimp adorning the brim. I roamed and goggled at the Guanajuato girls, ended up at the Jardin de la Reunion where there seemed to be the highest concentration. University girls, seemingly knowledgeable of the world, at least through fashion and the way they carried themselves.
Ran into Jaime who introduced me to a slew of his friends. Eventually we tried to go to "The Grill", this trendy hip club that felt like the states, but they wouldn't let me in because I was a slob and sported a dirty T-shirt. That was the only shirt I had with me, so we went to this guy "Mike's" house, where Jaime and Mike took pity on me (passing the callejoneras on the way). This guy Mike's real name was really Martin Enrique, but he was trying hard to mold into the American image—was majoring in English at the university (though I didn't hear him speak a word of it). He kept complimenting me on my spanish and asked me where I learned it and I said "en las calles, oyendo y repitiendo".
Mike was being all polite, earnest and father-like, trying to dress me up in his clothes. He wanted me to tuck in the shirt and even wanted to comb my hair. I told him not to worry about it, that all I needed was a collar, but finally Jaime came to my rescue and told him to quit acting like he was my father and they were getting into this argument. We went back to the grill and once I was in I just took off the collared shirt. Daniel was already there, the most kickback and liberal one of the group, and a bunch of their college friends. Lots of cute girls, morenas dressed in sleek black, but most of them probably 17. We hung out at the Grill all night, a colonial style building turned neon night club with rave Music and girls dancing on tables. It got really crowded and hot and I didn't have much money for drinks so I split to wander into the subterranean night.
I met up with them in the morning at the Jardin. Then we meandered through the streets paying random social calls, "you got to meet this person, he's a great pianist." Or we'd pick up people to climb. This time, being that it was Sunday, that were more climbers from Leon and Salamanca hangdogging their way up routes. I suggested we check out the backside. The view was very cool, reminded me a lot of the overlook at Los Alamos. Did three climbs, a 5.10a that I did with no problem, a 5.11a that I fell at the crux but finished, then a supposed 5.10 that was much harder than the 5.11a. Burly tweeker climbs, finger-pockets and strange little tiny doorknob holds. Good quality routes, but short. I was pretty "mamado" after that and greasing off everything cuz of the lack of chalk and unnerved by the lack of safety (TRing off one bolt anchors), and having Ace's that fit weird and wearing jeans. But it was still climbing. And of course they pumped loud music, trying to impress me with their collection, Cranberries, Chili Peppers,... I escaped on a little side excursion to get a perspective. I hiked to this bluff where I had this great view. Very exposed and harsh landscape with sections of green-copper soil, goats and more cool rock everywhere.
My budget was running low otherwise I would have stayed. I wasn't sure how much the bus ride back was and I had 100 pesos to my name. I grazed sparingly on elotes, bread and ceviche tostadas. Meanwhile at the Jardin, all the tourist are sitting in the outdoor cafes, were they were all the day before. That's all they see of Guanajuato. I don't know why that annoyed me, normally I like to hang out in places like that, like when you're in France or something, but here when kids come around begging at your table? Maybe I was just jealous that I didn't have enough money to be living in that status. It's just weird how gringos or Europeans come to Guanajuato to seek out other gringos or Europeans to talk to.
Now at the crossroads again, the same bus I used to commute on daily from Guadalajara to Chapala. The diesel engine under my butt. Going back, refreshed at least, to deal with Mom and suffer more humiliation. Resign myself to be an indentured servant, working to pay off my sins accrued in the university. The price of knowledge, thinking I was learning about the world when this is it now, and it seems all those tedious homework assignments aren't doing shit for me now except give more meaning to travel. Motion as being a juxtaposed dance of time and space and to verify that the world is out there and it's mine, all mine, every photon of it, every sound wave,... and to realize my place in it, that it's all in my head, through experience.
Ahh, this same bus that Gabriel and I would take to tend to the roosters and the garden. Always enthusiastically, we'd grab a window seat, open the window and observe, letting the wind blow on our faces like when a dog sticks his head out a window. Mexico where i feel more at home than i do in the U.S. Mexico where I "came of age". Then losing my virginity at the age of 15 in the same room I'm writing this book.
Shit, this is the 2nd class bus and were stopped in that hick town I forget the name of. I guess I knew it was I just didn't want to wait for 1st class. So let's see, right now I'm $100 up, or I guess I should say $39. I have another 9 days here @ 8 hr./day, that's $566, barely enough to cover getting my ass out of here, and I spent $100 this weekend. At least I'm paid up on plastic.
March 3, 1994—Ajijic, Mexico
I'm in this upstairs patio waiting for an 18 year old girl that I don't even know what her name is. The floor is green and I am surrounded by plants and I can see the stars. Fireworks explode in the sky. It is the first friday of Lent. Why am I so anxious and apprehensive to meet her? She's the one who approached me and and asked me out. I don't even remember her name but she's pretty. I have high hopes of a fling but then I'll meet her and she'll be a nice girl and I won't have the nerve. I'm not sure I have the nerve anyway. I just like the idea of a one night stand but I don't think I could ever go through with it. I try to justify it—"relax and be an observer. Watch your body get into a tangle"—I tell myself. "It's just your body, your mind is untouchable." My eyes burn because I was up all last night thinking about chapter 0 for Clear Water, Black Hills.
March 5, 1995—Ajijic
Things have changed. I called Kevin in Nice and the movie has been pushed back til September. He went all the way out there and is depressed as shit, but writing. What is that something in our mutual past experiences that makes us write? What honey do we hunt for and why? What drives this insane pen, what is it trying to say and who is it saying it to? So far only to myself. So here I am in some shitty little town and I should at least be happy it's free room and board and i'm paying off debts. But all at the price of swallowing my pride... some say humility is a virtue. September i can return to France to work on RPM... that's April, May, June, July, August,...5 months away. What to do til then? I guess keep the same plan, go back to the states and buy a minivan and go to the southwest, load up my climbing gear, my laptop and whatever else fits and leave everything else behind. No more possessions attaching me to previous places or past lives. Go onward and search for the honey on the cliffs. Sift the honey combs through the basket of my senses and savor the sweet nectar.
March 7, 1995—Ajijic
Friday night I was stood up by the 18 year old, i knew it was too good to true. But hey, humility is a virtue. After all, why am I still hung up on this Jess girl? Cuz she's the only girl that ever dumped me on my ass and that made me never forget her. Even if she is a small mouse. Hmm. I wonder what she'll think if she reads Clear Water, Black Hills? Seth and Jessica, it sounds almost obsessive. Saturday night I went out with these friends of Tom's who I've probably met before I just don't remember. I remember Gaylon talking a lot about this Chippy guy, and I also found out that Kimi fucked this guy after she came down to Ajijic with her fiancee Scott (who was the kid who got attacked by Zorro [my wolf-dog when i was a kid]). It all sounds like a fucking soap opera. Claudia (Chippy's sister) and two friends of theirs came along as well. Chippy and Claudia were born here but one parent is British and they've spent time back and forth. All four spoke perfect English and Spanish it was interesting how they bounced back and forth to express certain things. This Australian Tennis player (Steth?) who looked like Sean Penn with long hair on speed showed up with his girlfriend. It was a little uncomfortable for me as they all seemed like they had been best friends since they were little kids, and I was just tossed in there (Tom's doing) to put a wrinkle in their comfortable bubble. We went to the Posada and it was packed. 35 peso cover charge, but same as it ever was. I was having nostalgic moments of first getting drunk when I was 13 or 14. Claudia was kind of cute but not my type, even though I think we were thrown together by Tom and Chippy to see if we would get along.
Another option, in the grand scheme of things is to head to Argentina, except I'd get there as it was getting to be winter. And Jeff might be coming up here soon. Either way you look at it, I need at least $1000 when I get back. If I get back. Right now, I'm about even and if I work past this it would take me a month to make that much. No way, I'm out of here to see if I can't get something published.
March 9, 1995—Axixic.
I am sitting naked in the sun amidst my hanging laundry. Mom left in a taxi and I've done my washing with the old machine. Pouring the water from a garden hose into the tub, and then siphoning it out into the drain. But the squeaky wringer, that's what really strikes me. The squeegy rollers gobbling up your wet soapy clothes and flattening them dry. It's the old machines that touch closer to the metaphorical framework of what actions stand for. I remember a conversation with a little girl in a Laundromat in the Black Hills... she told me that washing your laundry was like the seasons. Let's see if I can get this right... fall is when your clothes are dirty and you stick them in with soap. Winter is the wash. Spring is the rinse cycle. Summer is the drier.
Last night I was watching the National Geographic special, "the incredible machine" and they said the human body replaces it's skin every couple of weeks. That's about how often I wash my clothes. Unless I'm on the road, in which case I wear what I'm wearing into the shower and wash them as I go. A John Updike short story I read this morning, "The Persistence of Desire" mentioned that the body replaces all its cells every seven years. I like the way he juxtaposes concepts like that. He doesn't tell you what to think about it—he just mentions it in passing and lets you make what you want of it. That's how writing should be.
I found a good Mexican radio station at last (getting sick of the dozen tapes I brought). It's college radio from the autonoma and they had a d.j. that I liked for the reasons as stated above. She'd play a song, good stuff from all over the world. And in between songs she would rattle of random facts, like the number of deaths due to abortions in countries where it's legal, and where it's illegal. Need she say more? Let people use that facts how they want. I also like it because they have a lot of interviews with poets and alternative types. The way they talk, while seemingly pretentious, is different that the way your average Mexican talks. They say 'mira' and 'este' a lot with a lot of gaps and pauses and an accent that is more Argentinian.
So how and where does this find me? 90 hours of work logged painting, etc. I thought my credit card was paid off, but I just realized that Kevin charged his computer on my credit card and paid the money to Mom (to pay her back for my plane ticket to France). I am so glad she's gone. This is about as low as you go, it's humiliating. 28 years old and I'm working on my Mom's house. I thought I was doing her a favor, to give her a chance to make ammends, because I know she is lonely and in a guilt-ridden denial for not being around for 90% of my childhood. I had it figured out 10 years ago when I went through all of this in high school, distancing myself from this situation. I'm just torturing myself trying to get through to her. She's found her peace in denial and built the walls high, and she is so high all the time, it's her way of coping. She can't go back in time and be a good mother. She was going through her usual blah blah blah about how she taught us this and that and basically, in a nut shell she tries to make it out that we are the way we are because of her. And I'm torn between just letting her think that and having self-respect. I need to say something because it's degrading and demoralizing otherwise. She has nothing to do with the way I am except biologically, and me learning from her errors. I guess that's everybody's struggle, to be accepted on their own merits. I realized she doesn't know me in the slightest bit and I don't care to let her in. She cheapens things by the way she speaks of them and I'm sure it's from all the pot. She's this cess pool of marijuana and new age mumbo-jumbo and blabs on about whatever piece of garbage surfaces in her head at the time.
Much as I've wanted to just run away from this situation, I need to stick it out, get some money, help her have a nice home to live and have a portfolio of writing to start shopping around when I get back to the states.
I've got the plan... buy a car and a printer. Maybe Granini's Mazda, or a cheap used van. Get my stuff from David's, go through my shit up at Mom's. Take what I need, that will fit in the car—my rack, clothes, journals and this computer. Pay my taxes. Throw everything else out. Make a clean break then head to the southwest to take up residence somewhere, maybe Albuquerque, and get whatever job I can while I try to sell myself. At least until September, when RPM has been pushed back til. Just like my plan in South Dakota, work, climb, write. Maybe even get a dog.
I was painting the other day and this stray dog came down the street and started climbing up my ladder like he knew me. He was a scrawny version of Lobo, he definitely had wolf in him. He had a bloody infected cut from a rope around his neck. The rope had been torn. Maybe he had been tied to a tree in the mountains to die. It was love at first sight, I wanted to clean him up and take him in. But that would be it, a 20 year commitment. Having to get him quarantined to go to the states. And wherever I stay the dog would have to come along. He would have made a great climbing dog.
He sat at the base of my ladder for hours until he wandered off to follow an old lady with a bag of food. I resolved that if he came back I would take him. I would give up going to France. I would lead a semi-stable lifestyle just to have that dog (almost the same thing to go through to have a girlfriend.) So I have eight days to write and work. I 'm looking forward to painting the outside just for the sense of closure. I've already done all the trim and everything inside. It just remains to get the rollers out and cover up the outside walls in a fresh coat. In Spanish a 'coat' is a 'hand'. I'm not sure I get that as well as coat. I like things that make sense literally and pack more than surface value.
March 10, 1995—Axixic, Mexico
Mom left yesterday. I finished painting the house. Now it's all painted. Nothing left to do but go into limbo. I torched the Yucca plant down. No shit, it's the truth. Mom wanted it gone. Another chore for Derek to get his allowance money. The trunk about as wide around as a horse. I had to hack away at each stalk. there was a dozen or more blobs shooting off from the stalk. But they all had those dagger blades coming out so if you hack you'd joust your hand. Inside the darker recesses of the tree it was clogged full of dead daggers and cob webs, bird nests, chicken wire, scorpions, spiders, . . . whatever. It was this mysterious hive and I was hacking into it. It was freaking me out. Just yesterday I found a scorpion running across the floor of the garage. Something about the way they hold their tail with the barbed hook on the end. Looping over their own heads. They freak me out. I keep thinking of the stonefish. That feeling. Like once it happens, it's happened and you just have to deal with it. But it's that anticipation that's nerve wrecking. Waiting for that initial jab, that you can't even imagine what the pain is like. But the Yucca seemed like it was full of scorpions and black widows. So I went and got some newspaper and matches. I got the hose ready just in case. Los bomberos no estan en Ajijic. No hay. Nearest ones at the airport. I put the newspaper under some dry brittle dead daggers that spiraled around the trunk. A nest of brown dead fringing the trussed puff. It caught quickly, but gradually. A few dead leaves slowly burnt up and it seemed it was about to go out, when it just caught and went up in flames. There was a crackling intensity like atoms tearing apart and a cauldron of dark orange fire in the core of the dead nest in the ring of trunks. A fire ball rose into the sky. There was high pitch squeals and shrieks that I couldn't tell whether they were burning birds or some insect or gasses escaping. If they were birds I was hoping they would be smart enough to just fly away. The scorpions and spiders—I listened to hear them sizzle and cringe. I watched the base of the trunk to see if they would come running out, ready with the machete.
Then it got out of control, burning higher, giving off a lot of heat. I ran to turn on the hose, but there was no water. Now I was panicking and almost saw myself from the worlds point of view looking down on me. There I was standing in my mom's backyard, by myself, torching the hell out of this bush, seemed metaphorical, almost biblical or Freudian. What would the headlines say? I envisioned all of Ajijic going up in flames. Or Los bomberos coming all the way from the airport.
The thing about writing a journal is you've confined yourself to fact. Unless you're a liar or you've dubbed it fiction. Therefore fiction is a lie. Which is a contradiction using deductive reasoning, therefore it remains that the initial assumption of fact being a separate entity from fiction is a false pretense.
I'm turning Manta Ray into a Rip Van Winkle story. A guy goes to this island to be dropped off for a week and time basically stops (along with all the remora stuff as a side). He basically takes on the identity of the island. Now how to pursue this? He's this naive and unworldly physics student, who hasn't been to many places. He takes his tuition money and travels to central America. Finds out about a deal on going out to his own personal island. He pays for the diesel and helps to unload the cement. He explores the island but he can only stretch it out to an hour at most. Takes a nap. It seems no time has gone by, so why aren't I just writing this?
March 12, 1995—Axixic, Mexico
Six days left here. And to think I was considering staying longer. I am going stir crazy. I've done just about all the work there is to do. I have all this time to write but I have a severe block. Not so much a block as a loss of subjectivity, I can't tell what's good writing and what's bad, not just in what I'm writing, but in what I read. I figure I can just type in old stories that I don't have typed up, but they don't even seem like I wrote them. And if I'm not interested, who else will be? Too many words, I've spent too much time analyzing, thinking in metaphors, picking apart at the underlying meaning, that everything is cliche. But then I'll read something like Tobias Wolfe short story "Hunters in the Snow" and it seems awkward and poorly written, like i could do better.
I rented a few movies, whatever, they occupied my time. "High Heels" had some interesting color scheming and Rocio Muñoz is gorgeous. Plus it was in 'Spain' Spanish. I can't sleep. I can't dream. I am afraid of scorpions. Last night I slept out on the roof, under the stars. I wish I could just dream. I know the full moon is coming. And to make matters worse I found a huge bag of pot in the storage room. It would be so easy to just fry my brain away like mom, it's a few steps away, an escape. Then again, I can let myself get stung by a scorpion. Or pound my head with a hammer. I am considering quitting alcohol, coffee, everything. Actually I pretty much have. I have a beer like once a week if not less often and only drink coffee in the morning. It's just times like now when I am so fucking bored and want to dream, and the more you want to dream, the less you'll dream. And I can't write because I've lost subjectivity. I can only wait for inspiration.
I did start reading Jung's autobiography. Interesting the similarities, I imagine their universal. Fodder for stories swirls thru my head... the time I was little kid taking a shower with the maid in the old Ajijic house. My face right at her dark bush. This probably stands out because it was my first realization of what a woman was. Or that spoon, eating pozole, also when i was around 2 or 3... a wide blue spoon with white dots... seems like probably a common memory, 1st associations with food, like the red dot on the seagulls beak. Or that time when David gave me a watch. He told me to close my eyes and he stuck it under my pillow and I could hear it ticking. My first concept of time. And of course there's the traumatic things, Zorro attacking that kid, riding my big wheel off the curb and cracking my head open. Or splitting my chin ice skating. Dad taking me to Texas and telling me to draw pink elephants to hide the fact that we weren't going to Disneyland but that he was kidnapping me. And I vividly remember eating an elote on the corner steps of the plaza. Something I do now almost every day, but the memory of it stands for more than the simple action. The other thing is that it's hard to tell what's memory and what you've been reminded of or seen pictures of. And now I am lonely and these memories are all I have and they are slipping away. I am a worthless piece of flesh and the only thing I have to look forward to is death. Or love.
March 17, 1995—Guadalajara airport
St. Patty's day, no shamrock's 'round here, but I guess I'll be getting back to SFO just in time to drink green beer. Shit I got two hours to kill, may as well have one now. Why is it I like to get to airports early? I guess I just like watching people in airports. Romance entombed. Planes are big penises in the sky. Traveling by air is the biggest mind-fuck there is.
So I've polished "Clear Water, Black Hills" and I think it's good, but then again, what do I know? How can one be subjective about themselves? I also finished and polished "Manta Ray", "A Wake Full of Weeds" and "The Screening of Red Sleeves" as far as short stories go. And "Moth", "Astyanax Jordani", "The Oregon Trail", "Mining in the Black Hills", "Crossroads of the Summit" and "Rural Route #9" as far as poems go. All typed up, edited and ready to be fired up and sent out.
I look back on earlier work that I once thought was good and now I don't even bother to retype them in. I'll probably feel that way later about this stuff. Damn, I just hope their good to others, it's so hard to tell, but it would be nice to just write and not feel like some psychotic recluse, or having to work to go to all these places I'd like to go. I came out $735 dollars ahead which won't even cover my credit card bill, but what the hell, living on plastic is ok. I need a game plan now, I need focus before I enter the lair of Granini and Mom. I know it will take me a few minutes to lose my mind and panic. I am on a mission, a heist, pick up the dough, buy a car, do my taxes and get the fuck out of there via L.A. to hook up with Roger's agent and then into the desert! I miss Tucson right now more than anything. But I have a feeling I'd miss New Mexico more if I had given it a chance. So that's probably where I'll end up.
March 17, 1995—In the air over central Mexico
Why do I have to be so shy? There's this gorgeous French girl sitting across the aisle from me (she has a French passport). Her skin is bronzed, she has short dirty-brown hair and blue eyes. She looks around like she's very alert. I could tell right away she wasn't American. She looks restless and is looking around, laying down, rubbing the back of her neck. American girls just don't do that, not like that. They'd just sit there and read a magazine. So here I am, returning to America and I'm not too happy about it except I have a disk full of work to fire into black ink on paper and try my luck at publishing.
Back to this shy business, which is why I lugged out this computer to begin with. It is my biggest fault. Imagine all the fine people I haven't met because I'm so neurotic. I wait for them to come to me, but even if she did I'd probably turn to jell-o and break out in a panic-ridden sweat. What's wrong with me and how did I end up this way? Why am I most comfortable alone? The girl has her feet folded under her on the seat. She wears baggy beige trousers and a loose white shirt. Her clothes are very clean. Her skin exuberates health. What have I got to lose? She looks very bored and if anything I could entertain her by being neurotic.
I think my problem is I'm not in me. I'm out there in the world—that's why I like to travel so much. She's absolutely beautiful. Who is she? Where is she going? I'd like to know, but she will just slip away. Or if I met her I would be disappointed.
True romance exists only in the mind. I create whatever scenario I want.
But I'll never meet the girl across the aisle because this world is full of lonely people longing to be released from this imprisonment of self-consciousness. Realize these dreams, if not in reality at least on paper.
March 19, 1995—Menlo Park, California
My mind was racing all night and I couldn't sleep. Overflowing with inspiration—first of all, I slept in my new van. And well, I guess I should start chronologically. I got up the courage to talk to that girl when I got off the plane, made small talk but I couldn't ask her for her phone number. Oh well, she's gone.
Kevin and Mom picked me up and we went to get Mexican food. Then we went straight to computer attic to buy a printer (before even going home). Started printing stuff right off, through the night. Woke up early (remembering that I'm on this clean-get-away mission), got the car and truck trader, ignored the neurotic family blathering at breakfast as I thumbed through the pages dreaming of vehicles. David and I checked out this van that was $2000 and cruised the car lots.
We drove by this lowrider van parked in front of a car wash in Redwood city. Perfect. $2600. Kind of went through some wheeling and dealing trying to figure out how I was going to get the money and finally just decided to fuck everyone and take it out on my credit card. The owner was from Yucatan and was in Hurricane Gilbert like me. There's a name for the van, eh? Gilbert. We took it to his house, the type of scene with a bunch of Mexicans listening to Ranchero music, drinking beer and smoking pot, with balloons everywhere—like a perpetual block party. I didn't want to pay extra for the good stereo so he put another one in. Then we searched for a mechanic, found this free-lance type in the parking lot of K-mart. Checked clean. The owner was getting all agitated and impatient cuz the mechanic was being all nit-picky, going on about how he didn't check it out so thoroughly when he bought it and I told him that he was an idiot, and besides I was paying the $25 for the check up. Forked over the cash and drove it away. It's mine, all mine. Gilbert. Grey, sunroof, tinted windows, lots of room, fold out bed, stereo, mags (which I'd rather not have). Started printing up "Strip Mine" (It hit me when I woke up this morning that that was the title), but my printer was freaking out. What a pain, changing all the fonts and formatting.
March 23, 1995—Joshua Tree, California
I'm in J. tree, not to climb, but to reorganize my van. Is there a pen in here that works? It's windy as is the usual state of Joshua Tree. Windy and vacuous and blue sky (the clouds encroach occasionally). The perfect place to empty my van into the sterile sand of this abandoned cul-de-sac, then repack. I need to take a shit. Did so. Now it's raining, raining with no clouds in the sky. It's windy as shit but I'm in my grey steel shell. I've organized my stuff enough so I can at least move about and know where everything is.
I left Menlo Park in a mad hurry to get the fuck out of there. It would have made sense to stick around but no fucking way. Got my insurance for $84 and figured i should change Gilberto's title in AZ (or wherever). Had to get my stuff at David's. I have 3 crates of books and shitloads of tapes and CD's that I'm going to sell at Bookman's. Took off in the rain and missed the exit for I-5 so I was on 101 and figured I'd stop and see Diane and Thayne in Los Osos. They weren't there so I slept in a parking lot for a while then tried them again and they were home so I cruised over and then after an hour of conversation about the usual stuff—"Mom"s, their business, venting relationships—laden with words like "needy", "denial", "co-dependent", etc... not sure why, but i'm a bit more tolerant of Diane and Thayne then the rest of California.
Next morning we went to breakfast then oppressive rain chased me out, down the windy coast, hard to drive the van, one of the windshield wipers just flew off. Through L.A. rush hour traffic stop and go, should have stopped to call Roger but I hate L.A. Got through eventually and into Joshua tree, the heavenly plateau in the sky, where you can see horizon to horizon. That's all I need is a big sky.
March 26, 1995—Tucson, AZ
Back home. Sweet home where the sky never ends and is always blue. Drove straight through from Joshua Tree. The first thing I did was stop at Mailboxes etc. and got a mailbox and voice mail # I can put on resumes. Who needs a house? Called some people but no one was home.
Finally got a hold of Adriana and Diana and scammed some free spaghetti. Then I went to the climbing gym to get a membership and ask for a job. Jason Mullins is in charge now—things are hopping there, new walls, upcoming comps and it's packed with unfamiliar faces. Not sure I want to work there, but they might have guiding positions open over the summer. Took a shower after a short workout that made me realize how weak I really am. Then I met Heather at the Cup and scammed free Lasagna at her house. I gave her at least 100 cassettes because I was sick of carrying them around. I'm sick of carrying everything except my climbing gear and powerbook. Slept somewhere near the corner of Park and 10th st.
Woke up and did my toilet and coffee at McD's. Then I got a smog check and went through MVD hell. Had to get a new insurance policy from AZ state. So I started with $850 and after the dust cleared I'm left with $370. I went and opened a bank account and did errands. Sold $38 in tapes. Then met Jesus at Mikes Place (Gentle Bens burned down). Saw Erica and Dwayne first and they gave me the run down on Bruce. Evidently he doesn't go to classes and just climbs during the week and "wipes retarded peoples asses all weekend".
Pete Valerio, Dave H. and Sean showed up as well. Drank at least four pitchers of Black and Tan then dropped Jesus off, picked up Adriana and went and took a hot tub at Sean's. Got rid of Adriana and acquired Los Alamos Dave and some other Geek and went to Berky's (where 4th ave. social club used to be). It was lame and besides Sean was in bad company. Nevertheless, we tried out Congress. Saw Greg and Olive and hung out with them. He works in Sells, mapping for the Tohono O'dham.
Then I ran into Rusty. Weird to see him back in Tucson as I learned to associate him with my alter ego in the Black Hills. He lives with Brian Grass. Same old shit but evidently Jess Fanzo is back in town and I don't know what to make of that as she is also single. Hmmm. Ended up sleeping near the park on 4th ave. and woke up in the middle of the night to the sounds of drug dealings and a dozen or so hoods smoking crack in front of my van. Once again did the McD's toilet thing. I wake up at 6:30 or so when it gets light and Tucson is still sleeping. Picked up Adriana and then met up with Sean, Dave H., Dave (L.A.), Hugh and Andrew and went up to Windy point. Adriana and I went off and did Slippery When Wet (5.6) which suited me fine since she wanted to do something easy and haven't climbed for 6 months. As it was she got to the belay ledge and freaked out and started crying—mostly due to a rescue helicopter that kept circling and hovering about 100 feet away. Eventually did the second pitch then met with the others. I led Crab Corner (5.8) which was a piece of cake then TR'd Easy Slider (5.10c) which was hard as shit. Did the Pizza and hot tub thing at Sean's and slept in the park again.
March 28, 1995—Tucson
My serendipitous reasoning for returning to Tucson is becoming apparent. The cards are still being shuffled but it's a full deck I'm dealing with. Sunday I organized my van, sold books, CD's, tapes, coins—whatever I could get my hands on. I even put my guitar on consignment. Cruised around making social calls, hung out with Mark at O'malleys (where I slept). Monday morning I'm hanging out with Heather at Pony when I run into Jess. Looking good as ever and, all quirky and bouncy. I walked her to class then went job hunting—stuff still in the air, bilingual computer teaching, translating computer manuals in San Miguel, Line Cook at the Good Earth. . . I actually got a job at this landscaping place, but I had a reality check the next morning when I was supposed to show up for work, finding out it was only $5/ hr. Those jobs are easy to come by if nothing else comes up. I called the lady in San Miguel and that pays $17/ hr, though it's only two hours a week.
Cooked dinner for Jess, sun-dried tomatoes pesto and Merlot and the conversation leads towards the inevitable, which i wasn't sure i was ready for... in any event, I had to go tutor Rebecca ($16 goes a long ways these days). She's such a freak of nature, she has this tuft of hair because she picks at her hair so much. I took her shopping after just to observe her shopping patterns and then ran into Rusty and Kyra and went to their house to watch this funky movie and ended up sleeping in front of his house. Didn't sleep much as I was thinking of Jess. The days blur, more job search, selling things, meandering around Tucson, have a few pitchers with Bruce or Chawn or Jesus, then of course I end up at Jess's and we go to Bentley's and she offers me a place to stay which is hard to decline, but I'm modest and choose the couch when given the choice. And we're talking through the doorway, and so I move to sitting on her bed talking,... and then laying, and then I'm holding her and it feels so damn comfortable and right, talking til 3:30 just kissing and getting the lay of the long last land. What am I doing, Derek? It's so real it scares me.
Woke up and went to the job resource center at U of A then ran into Lydia and Moon Dog at the Laundromat. I always run into her at the Laundromat. Then I run into Chris and she's back on her feet after an unhealthy two year relationship with that creepy guy that she didn't go a day without seeing. Talk about impressionable and needy. So I've got an interview in a few minutes with Cypress, splitting rock at $8.50/hr. I was just up front with this woman Terri at Geotemps (a temp agency for geological jobs) and said I was sick of the overqualified spiel and was willing to work my ass off. Then I run into Emily and she's looking fine, but batshit crazy. Shit, when it rains it pours. Why can't I just get serious? I know Jess is the one, but I'm too headstrong and proud. I'm so confused about all these loose ends from the past, but I feel they'll weave together into something tangible and it will all be clear.
Drove out to the Dragoons with Bruce on Friday and did Warpath (5.9+) Still same old Bruce, clumsy and sloppy, insisted onleading the first pitch, but took hours to do it and it stifled his confidence and self-esteem. The climb itself was overrated. Driven by Fear (5.8) was much better—kick-ass off-fist to hands to chicken-headed face. Bruce mucked up the ropes on rappel and we spent hours sorting it out. Saw some horses wandering around so jumped on one and started riding it around. Got back to Tucson and it was like I was gone for weeks. Everybody's freaking out, Terri Haag left a dozen messages about all these calls "where are you? If you want this job you better let me know."
March 31, 1995 —Tucson
Chilling at Heather's taking care of Kaya cuz she's out of town. Haven't had a chance to write in this journal as I'm rarely around power. My handwritten journal has only one page left. Things are ironing themselves out and I should have some sort of pattern.
After many interviews where i'm told i'm "overqualified," I came across this woman, Terri Haag, at Geotemps, a temporary job placement service for mining companies and what not. She dug the diversity of my resume, as opposed to being put off by it. "Where were you last week when we needed a cook to send off to a mine in the jungles of Venezuela?" I almost blew it by going to the Dragoons for a night and climbing with Bruce, but I came back and she has this thing lined up for me in Globe, where I'm a runner for a surveying team. They put me up in a hotel, meals, etc. and pay me $10 an hour! I can't complain. Getting paid to do what I like to do, hike in a new area.
Not only that but she lined up an interview for me for me so I have a job upon return, at Cypress mine. I went down there, and it's pretty disgusting but I have to just overlook it, and think of it as a learning experience, infiltrating into the enemies territory to know what this mining operation is all about. They seemed to like me, so hopefully I'll get the job. It's $8/ hour and they push overtime (I talk to some of the people there and they've been working for months without a day off, 12 hours a day.) I don't mind the 12 hour day bit, but I said I'd need a day or two off a week. I'm not that sick. So that's the job front. Copper.
April 1, 1995—Safford, AZ
Chilling in my suite at the Best Western. What a job—I can't complain. All expenses paid and $10/hr. to do what I'd normally be doing on my days off. And I get to stay in a hotel and not sleep in my van. Met Dave Matherly for dinner, the guy who I'll be doing the surveying with (for Kennicot Copper). Interesting guy—from Bozeman, photographer, has been down to South America and Central America on jobs, afficionado of Mayan ruins, etc... So this is the end of a 6 month journal that has been to California—> France—> California—> Mexico—> California—> Tucson—> and now to the beginning of my temporary re-emergence in the southwest, back home, my home base anyways. A good place to end this. My transition into professional homelessness and transiency. Now I'll do it with style.
[not sure what happened to the original journal, i think we transcribed it on our laptop + threw it out.... probly the last journal we kept by hand]
[continued... April-May, 1995 in SE U.S.]