If you have just arrived at The Library in Purgatory, the first chapter is here.

"I never found the girl, I never got rich. Follow me."

~Leonard Cohen

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Chapter VII.9

FROG (prince) Dances About Architecture


Started the VIPP class today; things going by a little faster than they did the last two days and should hopefully get better.  Not much time for writing tonight, hopefully more tomorrow.  Still need to write about Tristan but started Emotional Intelligence today—actually, read it back in ’99, but wanted to jot down a couple of quotes I’ve highlighted today. 

It is with the heart that one sees rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.  ~Antoine de Saint Exupéry, The Little Prince

Seen from the intellect, their self-sacrifice was arguably irrational; seen from the heart, it was the only choice to make.”[1]

Both of these quotes wonderfully point to the dichotomy/chasm that I have not been able to resolve between my heart, which knows that Gwen is “the one”, and my head, which says, “She doesn’t love you; run like hell.”  And actually, maybe I shouldn’t say, “can’t resolve” as I have certainly made a decision—that I would go with my heart.  I can’t deny that there is certainly some wishful thinking involved in that on my part as well; as Joseph Campbell said, “Dreams are private myths; myths are shared dreams.”


Actions that spring from the emotional mind carry a particularly strong sense of certainty, a by-product of a streamlined, simplified way of looking at things that can be absolutely bewildering to the rational mind.[2]

So, the emotional heart, in spite of reason, and buttressed by high myth wins out over the mind, for reasons that I cannot explain and which now, to disbelieve, would be the same as going against my very nature/soul.  Huh?  Exactly.  Further:

Our most intense feelings are involuntarily reactions; we cannot decide when they will erupt.  “Love,” wrote Stendhal, “Is like a fever that comes and goes independently of the will.[3]

If the emotions caused by a single event invariably continued to dominate us after it had passed, and regardless of what else was happening around us, then our feelings would be poor guides to action.”[4]

Rightly so, which leaves me at one of two conclusions:  If I still feel the same way about her after all these years, it is either true love; or I am crazy.  I believe the former!

The trouble is that, especially when the appraisal is fast and automatic, we may not realize that what was once the cause is no longer so. […]  In that sense, we can have no idea of what is actually going on, though we may have the conviction of certainty that we know exactly what is happening.[5]

The above, I would say, is similar to me forgetting and believing, falsely, that I tried to make a symbol out of Gwen back in ’98-9; yet somehow seems more appropriate to my state of mind when I went out to San Diego and just could have hardly, even if I’d tried, been more wrong.

Had meant to write this down since FRI and keep forgetting:  Getting dressed FRI to head to the training center, pulling on my 5.11’s and then boots, felt like a knight putting on his old, comfortable, armor.  It made me smile.

Finally, can get back to Tristan after all the time I’ve spent on this most incredible and amazing dream.

“[…] neither could find rest or comfort except when they saw one another.  But when they saw each other they were deeply troubled by this, since they could not have their way together for the shyness and modesty that robbed them of their joy.[6]

Reminds me of Gwen and me, particularly when I visited her in AUG98 in CO Springs.

My dearest lady, sweet Isolde, you and you alone and the passion you inspire have turned my wits and robbed me of my reason!  I have gone astray so utterly that I shall never find my way again!  All that I see irks and oppresses me, it all grows trite and meaningless.  Nothing in the wide world is dear to my heart but you.”[7]

I have pages and pages of journal writings to the truth of the above.

“[…] I mean steadfast friendship in love, which never fails to comfort us and bears roses as well as thorns and solace as well as trouble.  In such friendship joy always lurks among the woes; however often it is clouded, it will bring forth gladness in the end.[8]

So there is hope, even if what it appears as right now is thorns and woe.

Now that their shyness was over they gloried and reveled their intimacy, and this was wise and sensible.  For lovers who hide their feelings, having once revealed them, who set a watch on their modesty and so turn strangers in love, are robbers of themselves.  The more they veil themselves the more they despoil themselves and adulterate joy with sorrow.”[9]

And when I read this, I had to wonder how much it applied to me.  There were many things that I just couldn’t say to Gwen because it would have been completely inappropriate—though she did get some of it when I sent her “the book”.  The biggest thing, the crucial difference, as far as I can tell, is that I drank from the ‘potion’ but she did not—at least not at that time.  I think I articulated things pretty well; at least as good as, I could, considering my poor understanding of the situation, how I felt about her.

“‘It is in God’s hands,” said Tristan.  ‘Whether it be life or death, it has poisoned me most sweetly!  I have no idea what the other will be like, but this death suits me well!  If my adorable Isolde were to go on being the death of me in this fashion I would woo death everlasting!’”[10]

What harms love more than doubt and suspicion?  What constricts a lover’s heart so much as doubt?[11]

“‘Oh Lord in thy mercy and goodness have us both in thy keeping!  Stand guard over Isolde on this path!  Guide her every step!  Make the blameless woman somehow aware of this vile ambush which has been set for us, lest she say or do anything that could give rise to ugly thoughts.  Oh my Lord, have pity on her and me!  I commend our lives and honour this night to thee!’”[12]

This, as well as later when Isolde’s honor is tested before God by trial of fire, struck me as rather…I don’t know, odd.  I mean here are a couple, who arguably fell in love against their wills, have been having an affair while living in the house of the guy who is being cheated on, and yet they can place themselves in God’s protection?  I, on the other hand, tried to do the honorable thing by both Gwen and Ivan.  I may come back to this later—I’m just not getting the idea at the moment.

Dream— Hypoglycemic Gwen
I am in a little coffee shop or restaurant with Gwen  She is standing a couple of arm lengths  from me, possibly paying for her coffee or putting something—cream or sugar—in it.  I see that she looks a little weak-kneed and dazed.  Instantly I know that she is hypoglycemic and am by her side in an instant, letting her lean against me, holding her up.

I need to get something—medicine—for her, but have to leave her to do so.  I grab this person and tell them to give her 4oz of his coke if I’m not back in five minutes, demonstrating that 4oz is about three “fingers” from the can.  He gives me this look like I am an idiot and wasting his time.  I’m out the door and then it hits me and I quickly poke my head back through the door—Ivan is holding Gwen and I say, “I guess you would know what to do/how much 4oz is since you were her husband.”

I barely remembered this dream and didn’t know what to make of it.  A long-shot association came to me as I started writing the dream down but now, for the life of me, I can’t remember.

More from Tristan:

They also hid their feelings very thoroughly; for when it was not propitious for them to seize their chance together, they deemed the will sufficient, which often consoles a pair of lovers.  Hope and expectation of how to accomplish the desire on which the heart is set never fail to give it a blossoming vigor and a living ecstasy.  Here is true attachment, such are the best instincts in matter of love and affection—that when one cannot have the deed in a way that is serviceable to love, one should forgo it, and take the will for the deed.  Whenever there is a sure will but no good opportunity, lovers should assuage their longing with that same sure will.[13]

I’m not exactly sure why I highlighted this section.  If I had to guess, I would say that I was thinking about ’98-9 when there was no way in hell I could even tell Gwen how I felt about her—that “we” didn’t have a chance so all I could do was lover from a distance.

For when anyone enters at Love’s door who has not been admitted from within, it cannot be accounted Love, since it is either Deceit or Force.”[14]

A simple but powerful truth beautifully put.

Love and her concerns are not assigned to the streets nor yet to the open country.  She is hidden away in the wilds, the country that leads to her refuge makes and arduous going…[15]

He desired so much to be with her that he overlooked the wrong that he suffered at her hands.”[16]

But I will ask one thing:  to whichever corners of the earth you go, take care of yourself, my life![17]

One week down and two to go; showed up here 22JUN but it was already 14JUL in my head.  A couple of nights ago, my sister asked what the time difference was and I replied, “About 250 years,” that about sums it up.

Was spending my half hour of pain on the elliptical earlier this evening and thinking that it was coming up on two months since the last time Gwen and I talked—two very long months.  And I wondered, having no idea, what she was thinking that night and what she was thinking now.  Best I can see it, then, either she just didn’t care and hung up the phone that way, or she felt that she had hurt me.  Whichever of those it may have been—and there might be others—I have to assume, based upon actions, or lack thereof since, that she either still feels nothing or still believes that she hurt me and is fearful of reestablishing contact.

I should say here that, I simply have no idea.  If I had to guess: I did mean something to her, so the first is out.  I am actually surprised that I haven’t heard from her since then and I don’t know what to make of it; and ultimately, since I’ve had no contact with her, I really cannot begin to understand what is going on for her.  And that brings up the next question: I don’t know where she’s at—she may be quite happy without me around—and enough time is about to have passed that I can contact her without looking like a wuss; but should I?  In all honesty, I would love nothing more than for her to initiate contact, if simply because I want to feel like I have some worth to her.  However, I don’t know if this will happen.

01JUL06 (Doubt and Loathing in Baton Rouge)
Caught half of Playing By Heart his morning; will have to see the whole thing now.

In regards to writing last night, Gillian Anderson has a line that may fit about perfectly:  “My problem with you is that I’m attracted to you.”  It would so perfectly explain Gwen when I was in SD and could also, quite nicely, explain why I haven’t heard from her since.  The other great line was, “Talking about love makes as much sense as dancing about architecture.”  Too true!  And yet, if nothing else, my understanding of me has grown with all this writing re Gwen and me.

With, or maybe in, Tristan I can easily enough see myself in his role.  Yet, there are times when I can also identify with King Mark.  It certainly doesn’t make me happy to write the last part; the guy got played for a fool and for what…his love??  Was it really love, for him?  He had never met Isolde, only heard of her thru Tristan—it was largely an arranged marriage, purely to save Tristan’s life—and yet Mark did fall for Isolde upon meeting her, in spite of the fact that she never loved him, though he possessed her physically.  But then again, I knew Gwen and never gave her a second though, at least not till that day in Key West.

So I find myself sitting in a Barnes & Noble with a fading buzz, listening to the Smashing Pumpkins—not feeling the most lost I have ever felt but definitely adrift without a prevailing wind.  Here I am, in god-forsaken Baton Rouge, and I don’t know why exactly.  Adrift, back to the image of Corfu—a ship without a rudder— I continue on, but towards what I don’t know.

I still believe that my heart is correct, is right; but there is still that little (this time) portion of my head that keeps questioning, and I don’t begrudge it, though often ignoring it, some days better than others.  And it says that there has to be that girl, that woman out there, who would love me, who would think that I was worth something—imagine that.  I wonder why I feel like I’ve never had that, been that; that every time it was me telling some dame that she was worth something, if only she’d believe me, that I could see what she couldn’t.  Did they just never say or make me feel like I was worth something, did they say it and I didn’t hear or believe them, or what?  Did I feel like so much of a monster, so unlovable…?

In the last big dream, I felt so loved, cherished, valued, like I never had before; the warmth and glow lasted for days.  And the thing was, even though the Princess was worldlier, more experienced and lethal than myself, it was evident, in an unspoken way, that she recognized something in me, understood the implications, and valued it/me.  Her being strong, while I was getting my ass kicked, did not make me weak, did not lessen or cheapen me.  I’m not entirely sure how to explain it—her being up did not make me down or the converse.  And, it was the first time that I have ever felt that someone else was 100% there, looking out for me.

I think I remember writing, right after I got back from ‘Astan, that what I wanted more than anything else was to be/feel wanted by some dame; that a dame felt that I was worth something, felt like making an effort to chase me instead of it always being me at the plate swinging at the wild pitches, the knight in rusty armor.

I have to believe that this stems, in large part, from my childhood; most noticeably “growing up” so young when, on the day after Christmas, I told my parents, after they had told my sis and I that they were getting divorced, that my sis didn’t understand what they were saying and they needed to re-explain it to her.

I have always been the knight, since at least that day, if not earlier.  And suddenly, I wonder if I think or have thought, that it is my best, or one, asset—looking after people.  God knows it’s what I’ve done longer than just about anything other than breathe.  It’s funny in a way, I guess, I said that I was done being the knight in shining armor after Kim, or at least done with Princess’s in distress, but I don’t know that I ever stopped—at least not in attitude.  I mean, Christ, look at what I do for a living.  I can’t get it out of me—hell, some dame just walked by looking down, and before I could think anything else, I was wondering what was bothering her and how I could make her smile.

I would even go so far as to say that I feel, deep down, that the only thing I have to offer anyone is my protection, understanding,— struggling here for the right words for my thoughts— that I am the ultimate band-aid.  But the reality is that, once the wound has healed, the band-aid is discarded—and so the only thing I have to offer is also the very reason that I will never be always needed/loved; that I am a tool, an aid, and therefore, temporary, at best.  I have always felt my best, most at home in the eye of the hurricane, in the middle of the crisis—as long as it was not my own—this was so beautifully played out with Kim and Colleen.  A poem in my latest book of poetry, Ten Fathoms Deep on the Road to Hell, captures this sentiment perfectly:

The Ferryman

“I am here,”
     he said,
“to help you
through the eye
of this storm.
For I have known
great suffering
   and pain.”
And with his charge
  on the other side
he came about
and tacked back
   into the darkness.

I don’t want that to be the whole of me, or even half of me!  I want to be more than that, but what?

It occurs to me, and I know the truth of it in my bones, that I will never completely get rid of that portion of me—even if I wanted to, and I’m not sure I do.  But I don’t want it to be the biggest thing on the menu of Me.  It is a cornerstone of who I am though.  I feel wounded now—wish I were in Mr. Sharkey Fin, drunk, with someone I trust and who cared driving, anywhere, as long as it was fast and the music was loud…to ease the poison/ache in my soul.  And I feel that way because I don’t know what else there is to me, what else I bring to the table, have to offer, that is uniquely me.  Everything about me, in one way, shape, or form, is built around this knight [rescuer] complex.

In Playing by Heart, Sean Connery says that, when you fall in love with someone, you see yourself through their eyes.  I though it was an interesting statement at the time; but now it strikes me because I have never known what anyone I’ve dated has ever seen in me, ever.  I didn’t with Gwen, though it would appear that that answer would be “not much.”  I could see it from my side, wishing that I could give Gwen my eyes so she could see herself like I did/do.  But I cannot recall, at least now, ever knowing why anyone dated me, what they got out of it.  I can easily point out how I helped, or tried to help, them; but beyond that, I don’t know what they say, what I offered, brought to the table.

It’s funny, writing this now; I remember being at La Sierra, first or second grade, and playing with my Legos in the living room.  I didn’t have a whole hell of a lot then but had managed to build my very distant Lego equivalent to the Battle of the Planet’s Phoenix jet/spaceship—I can still picture the thing (my Lego ship) in my head.  With the pieces I had left, I built what were really sad robots/drones to be the enemy.  By this time, I had already read Miracle at Midway in which Lt(jg) Wade McClusky, a dive-bomber pilot, was my hero.  He was wounded in the attack, yet managed to deliver his bombs on target and return his aircraft to his carrier.

The fantasy—with my Lego jet—was that I was the pilot, of course, and in the process of fighting these evil space robots/drones, was shot through the cockpit and wounded.  However, there was this dame (don’t ask me who she was ‘cause I don’t remember) who loved me and was my girlfriend (ahh, those wonderful ideas of love and girlfriends when you’re seven).  It was she who looked after me, took care of me, and nursed me back to health.  This was a new scenario/fantasy for me and I remember it making me giddy with happiness—that I would be the hero, my wound recognized, and that I was worth saving and looking after, not just a burden on someone, that I didn’t have only myself to rely on.

I know already that I will not totally resolve this on my own ‘cause I am too close to the issue (myself) and don’t have enough perspective.  I will need outside input from people trust.

Just as a side note—all the above is new/news to me, yet I think it is an important realization in order to progress and grow.

More from Tristan:

            Isolde my mistress,
            Isolde my beloved,
            In you my life,
            In you my death![18]

Here lovers can see from this story that one can bear a distant sorrow for an absent love with much greater ease than loving near at hand and missing love within one’s reach.[19]

She wanted the man who withdrew from her, pursued the man who fled from her.  This was his fault—she was deceived![20]

Switch the roles and I can’t help feeling that this describes Gwen and myself from at least San Diego (but probably sooner) on.

“‘Things are not as they were when we two endured one good, one ill, one joy, one sorrow together.  Alas, it is not so now!  Now I am wretched, but you are happy.  My thoughts are full of longing for your love, while yours, I imagine, long but little for me.  The pleasure I forgo for your sake—ah how it pains me!—you pursue as often as you please! [...]  It seems to me that I shall have little solace of you, and yet I can never free my heart from you.  Why have you robbed me of myself, seeing that you have so little desire for me and can so well do without me?’[21]

I could not have written half so well the soliloquy above, which perfectly encapsulates that little piece of my head that questions the wisdom of my heart most relentlessly.  I perfectly know and understand Tristan’s lament all too well.

The Beginning of the Proverbial End…

The stuff I wrote yesterday is actually a pretty huge revelation for me; though still don’t have any answers to the question of what I bring to the table.  If this is the only reason that I came to Baton Rouge, the trip will have been well worth it.

I’ve said, within the last two months, that I like who I am, but now I have to wonder exactly what or who that is. 

So much of that is based on how I grew up and, probably more importantly, my quest or Twenty2 the Hard Way.  There is, not so much a sense of hurt there, as an appreciation of pain, sorrow, loneliness, depths, dark, wild, and frightening places; an understanding, knowledge, compassion, and empathy that has been hard won.  I’d definitely say that I am above average at understanding/sensing people…which begs the question, why is Gwen such a mystery to me.

When I think of Gwen—she is smart, beautiful, funny, compassionate—I am in awe of her, what she has accomplished, and what she will continue to do.  But maybe more than all that, just being around her makes me happy; just listening to her, watching her—I feel like I am home, that I am capable of doing anything.  Somehow, I feel that the words are falling short here for what I’m trying to describe.  She is fantastic and I wished like hell that could have given her my eyes, that she could see herself as I did, see the truth; not my truth but the universal truth that I saw.

I think a part of it may be the “otherness” of my quest, which has been the fire that I (my character) have been forged in.  I would say that the three biggest influences on me were my quest/22THW, the Navy, and Iraq (maybe, to a lesser degree, ‘Astan).  I was on fire before the Navy, cooled off while in it, and back on fire after till I cooled down some in Denver.  Was back on fire in Iraq; ‘Astan was cooler than Iraq.  And now I am learning from it, putting the pieces together, if you will.  It suddenly seems to me as if I had to go out and collect the pieces/experiences first—even if I didn’t learn the bigger lessons from them at the time—so that I could then put them all together, like a puzzle.  But towards what end, if not self-realization?  I’m not entirely sure; though I have felt like I have been in school for the last two months:  looking back and seeing myself in ways that I never have before through books, myths, and the stories I have been reading.  I still think I have a bit of learning left to do but am closer to a “graduation” than I ever have been before.

The absolutely biggest of these lessons so far—and I can’t even begin to tell you how fucking important/huge it was—was recognizing that “voice” in my head and getting rid of it.  I would not have been able to do/learn/accomplish anything else that I have if it was still hanging around.  It was probably the single largest impediment to anything and everything I was trying to do or become.

On a completely different note; it suddenly strikes me—given when I talked to Shane last NOV about Gwen and how I had this success and yet felt dead/empty…that I was the Wasteland/desert and calling Gwen breathed a whole new life into me.

Was thinking last night as I was dozing off, trying to picture, if not understand, where Gwen was at two months ago.  I have to believe that she was probably nervous, if not terrified, of being back in a serious relationship—and understandably so.  It is also possible that after some eighteen months since splitting up with Ivan she was just looking forward to some freedom, finding a new sense of herself, and having some fun.  Those were the two that occurred to me.  I could also see her being angry at me for bringing a whole bunch of stuff to the table that she may not have been ready for, again; though that seems a bit of stretch considering that she said I could fly out to see her.

In any case, that segued somehow into whether or not I should re-contact her in the next couple of weeks.  I can’t be the one, at this time (things always change) to reestablish contact.  It is her call and either she will or she won’t.  I have to believe that if, after five years, I was able to dig up the courage to email and then call her; she can do the same if she chooses.  I just hope that it doesn’t take that long.  I guess that brings up the next question, logically, which I don’t, off the top of my head, have an answer for: how much time, waiting, do I owe her, myself, before I start moving on?

“What is the use of waiting so long, for ever avoiding one’s pleasure?  Why maintain a love from which no good can come?  I have suffered such pains and grief for her love that I may surely withdraw from it.  There is no profit for me in upholding it.  She has forgotten me entirely, for her feelings have changed.”[22]

Projection of Desire

2112 —New Journal
More from Tristan:

“Unable to have their desire and that which they love most, they act within their means and do things out of desperation whereby they often double their affliction.”[23]

“He made this image so that he might tell it what is in his heart—his right thinking and mad aberration, his pain, his joy of love; for he did not know to whom to reveal is longing or desire.”[24]

I found it interesting that Tristan builds an image of Isolde to comfort him.  Back in ’98-9 Mad About You and Helen Hunt played the same role.  In addition, just this year, in ‘Astan, I scribbled pages and pages of my crazy (and often half-drunk) feelings and thoughts to a Gwen that may very well not have existed anywhere except in my head.

I don’t think I’ve ever said it like that before, and the realization that come with it are that it was easier to—I didn’t have to worry about being misunderstood, a monster, or worse.  I did try to convey some that to the real Gwen because that was important to me, but at the same time, given our distance, separation, [my fear of fucking up] etc. it was also very important to me not to pile all this crap on her without the background…the bigger picture (am struggling here for the right phrase) or her OK, or knowledge of what she was getting into.  And lastly, I needed to feel that someone, anyone, special cared about me—even if it was only a symbol—because again, I couldn’t ask or corral Gwen into that corner.

So, I did make a symbol out of her, an image (Baar, Wolf and Otter creating an image out of snow/ice (the Ice Princess) to talk to and tell stories to, someone/thing to listen to them and their tale).  I could have picked anyone, I guess, but I picked her.  Again, this is all set against the backdrop of ‘Astan and the responsibilities I had and the stress that came with the job.  I understand, now better than ever, why I did what I.

Gwen and I picked up back so fast—only that one day on the phone—I couldn’t just start dropping stuff on her and I wasn’t about to ask her, especially given our previous history.  In that same vein, I couldn’t ask her, as much as I hoped she did, to care about me.  And lastly, even though I was inclined to, given the OPSEC considerations, the distance, and inability to gauge reactions, and wanting so badly not to fuck it all up again this time, I was much more inclined to say little or less and much more cautiously.  All of which—for sake of ease—led to an imaginary Gwen who understood me and what was going on, cared, listened, and interacted.  The problem is when I am lying next to her with her in my arms in San Diego and having a conversation with the Gwen in my head but not saying anything to the girl next to me.  That is not good.

Think this is the first 4th I’ve spent back in the states since I hung out with Jason “all” those years ago back in ’03; what a crazy night that was.

Here is the last quote from Tristan, which perfectly captures how I felt that Valentine’s Day back in ’98:

“It (the love potion) stands for something that threatens to overwhelm the senses and ultimately the will of the best-intentioned people, something that assails them from without, often suddenly, as a fate, something that infects their whole being to the point of frenzy—like a poison.”[25]

As I’m on the elliptical it occurs to me out of the blue that, within the context of The Princess Dream, that maybe Iraq and/or (more likely) ‘Astan was the edge of town/ogre and that Gwen rescued me from the feeling of “being dead”—as the Princess—and our time apart now is my recovery, where she sleeps with me at night but only after I have fallen asleep and leaving before I wake up.

I realize that some parts of it may be a stretch while others fit perfectly.  Iraq/’Astan, Iraq particularly, I was on fire—I didn’t need anyone or anything, only my fucking righteous rage, all else be damned…and to hell.  Yet, given my success (what with buying a place and moving and all) I still felt dead—my ass handed to me fighting something I could never hope to beat—and in that regards, Iraq/’Astan probably don’t signify the Ogre as much as the bad part of town.

The internal feeling of being dead to the world is the result of fighting the Ogre—but what is the Ogre????

In any case, here comes the Princess/Gwen breathing new life into me, saving me from this death/deadness.  And so I am brought to the Princess’s/Gwen’s chambers and placed in her bed— SD.  I’d have to go back and look, but I think that the fact that I wrote, not premeditatedly, that the Princess came to me only after I’d been asleep and left before I woke up ties in here somehow, with our separation.

In the shower this morning, something occurred to me re Gwen that struck me as important but I haven’t been able to remember it all day long.  All I can remember thinking is that her not talking didn’t scare me half as much as her talking and me not hearing what she was saying—that scares the hell out of me and, to a degree, I feel like that happened in SD.  I was in a different state of mind, a different place and wasn’t even cognizant of the things that I should have been listening for.  It just kills me ‘cause I feel like I let her down.

Starting to get into Emotional Intelligence; not been getting as much reading done as I thought I might—just exhausted at the end of each day.  Anyway, what follows are some quotes that struck me as I’ve been reading the last week.

“The emotional/rational dichotomy approximates the folk distinction between ‘heart; and ‘head’; knowing something is right ‘in your heart’ is a different order of conviction—somehow a deeper kind of certainty—than thinking so with your rational mind.”[26]

It was my thinking, some two months ago, that Gwen’s heart was fighting with her head about me.  Things have become so confused that it is hard for me to say anymore, but I think, to a degree, it was/is still probably true.  I know that, in regards to this whole situation, I have finally bowed to my heart and feel a very deep conviction that it is correct.


I’ve been a bit slack here in Baton Rouge, but when I was home, when I’d wake up in the morning, would lay quietly for a bit, thinking about Gwen, as if I was there with her, sending her good vibes.  In any case, woke up some time last night/this morning and felt that she was with me—giving me a backrub, breathing on my neck.  This went beyond a dream.  It felt like she was somewhere thinking about being with me.

Later, setting up the range, I was sitting at the end of the picnic table and I felt as if she was there, or her soul was intertwined with mine, sitting behind me with her arms around me and her chin on my shoulder.  It gave me the chills—in a happy way.  I had the same feeling several more times during the morning.

At the end of the day, while I was sitting and watching the students clean their Glocks, I felt like she was standing behind me, again, with her chin on my shoulder, watching what I was watching, engrossed in what I was doing as if she was curious about it.

The first thing that comes to mind is that I must be crazy.  But the impression I was left with was that she was there—was interested in what I was doing, wanted to know, wanted to see what made up a day in my life in Baton Rouge.  I don’t know how to explain it other than that— wishful thinking?  I don’t know.  At the end of the day, all I know is that I miss her more than I miss my own life.

Finished up on the range today—only a week left in this godforsaken town; can’t wait to get back home.

After all these years, have finally started typing up Twenty2 the Hard Way and am making a good dent in it.  Want to have as much of it on my laptop as possible before I go to Africa so I can tweak it while over there.

Spent the last three days or so typing up 22THW and finished up tonight; was struck at some of the similarities to other myths/legends, most notably between the Prologue and Parzival. 

It was also interesting to see that there were several stories in which a female featured prominently in a role that strikes me as being very similar, at least in nature, to that of the Princess in my last dream.  It’s worth noting that in each of them I am noticed by/for the act of writing (Flash Forward- 08NOV10).  With the exception of Lori D., all of them are strangers, yet they recognize something about me that sets me apart—to a one, they all understand me.

I feel like things have slowed down and I’m adrift again with no prevailing wind.  Even Gwen feels a very long ways away tonight and it makes me sad.


“Prolonged absence of attunement between parent and child takes a tremendous emotional toll on the child.  When a parent consistently fails to show any empathy with a particular range of emotion in the child—joy, fears, needing to cuddle—the child begins to avoid expressing, and perhaps even feeling, those same emotions…But there is hope in ‘reparative’ relationships:  “Relationships throughout life—with friends or relatives, for example, or in psychotherapy—continually reshape our working model of relationships  An imbalance at one point can be corrected later; it’s an ongoing, lifelong process.””[27]

Read the above and it really resonated with me, particularly the last part.  In ‘98/99 Gwen was, among other things, a ‘reparative’ relationship.  I remember agonizing, wanting to tell her things that I’d never told anyone—to trust her, to trust myself—because I knew that if I didn’t, if I didn’t break with the habit/cycle I was in I wouldn’t ever be able to and it would ultimately kill me. 

I remember being terrified (in ‘98/99), knowing that I had to talk to Gwen, trusting that I could, and still being petrified that she’d think I was a monster, that I’d hurt her.  Yet, knowing if I didn’t break the cycle of silence it would eat me up, drag me under.  I remember, at one point, telling her that, rather than risking hurting her or Ivan, I’d just disappear from their lives and they’d never hear from me again.  I meant it, even though all I wanted to do was talk to her till I ran out of words!  I didn’t want her to rescue/save me, only help me save myself; much as in Ariadne giving Theseus the ball of string before he entered the labyrinth to find the Minotaur.

I ended up not talking to her as much as I wanted to but more than I ever had before with anyone else.  It was enough to keep alive, at the time, and give me hope.  And I wonder, probably not for the first time, why her?  I’d been looking for that dame who would understand me, recognize me, not be terrified of me, long before I met her.  I don’t know.  So many things re her from that time are so intertwined that I don’t honestly know if the different parts/threads can be separated.

Christ, I was so lost—getting out of the Navy—the whole Twenty2 the Hard Way suddenly on my back again and trying to find ANY argument to convince myself that I was not in love with my best friend’s wife, that she was not my soul mate.  I could have done better by her, god, so much better.  But I didn’t/couldn’t hold it together, ultimately.  I don’t know that that was a bad thing, but I only hope that I caused her far less pain than I feel like I did.

And now, I want to get to a place—all this learning I’ve done—where I’m emotionally on the same level as her, where I don’t need her to help me like I did then but can be an equal contributing, self-fulfilled and fulfilling partner.  And I’m left with a sneaking (and possibly wrong) suspicion that she may think that I’m still in the same place I was back then and that she doesn’t want to become, understandably, involved with that again.

“The emotional synchrony is unstated and outside conscious awareness, though a patient may bask in the sense of being deeply acknowledged and understood.”[28]

The things Gwen said and wrote…I’ve never felt so deeply understood or recognized as I did with her.  She likes to downplay this ability within herself…and I suddenly don’t know what I was going to write—only that never before, or since, have I felt that deeply, intimately, understood.  The only other time that comes close was in my The Princess dream, where you could arguably say that the Princess knew me better than I knew myself.

And I ask myself, in all deadly seriousness, why I think I love her now; because if it’s because of what she did or does for me—that won’t cut it.  She has seen me at my damn near worst and doesn’t think that I’m a monster; she, whether she credits herself or not, probably understands me better than any other woman and possibly anyone.  Still, those are not reasons that I want to be in love with her, and I don’t think they are.  Although good considerations, they are, ultimately, selfish, I think, self-centered.  None of them can be “The Reason”.

She makes me crazy.  I want to spend all my time with her doing whatever she is doing.  I want to run (Christ, did I say that?), sore knees and all, with her.  I want to bob in the swells with her.  I want to…whatever she is doing, that what interests me.

I’ve done some big things, finally made a bit of a name for myself, and am secure on that front; I’ve got time to give now.  And although there is still so much to learn and understand about each other, which is good, I don’t want her to feel like she’s a crutch for me.  I want to be an emotional equivalent, or, if anything, a little more for her than she has to be for me.  I want to feel like a healthy, functional, contributing partner.  And that’s true whether it ultimately ends up being Gwen or someone else.  That is, I feel, a large part of all the stuff I’ve been learning/realizing for the past ten weeks or so.

Driving out to JNETC this morning with Bobby when it struck me that the two-month anniversary of the last time I talked to Gwen had passed.  Although I’m not happy that it has been two months since I talked to her, was glad that I was busy enough that the date slipped by unnoticed.

I don’t think I could have seen myself making it two months two months ago and actually, could not be much happier with how I have passed the time. 

I don’t know how/if she will come back.

[2] Ibid, p. 291
[3] Ibid, p. 293
[4] Ibid, p. 293
[5] Ibid, p. 295-6
[6] Gottfried Von Strassburg, Tristan (A. T. Hatto translation), p. 198
[7] Ibid, p. 200
[8] Ibid, p. 203
[9] Ibid, p. 204
[10] Ibid, p. 206
[11] Ibid, p. 223
[12] Ibid, p. 235
[13] Ibid, p. 257
[14] Ibid, p. 265
[15] Ibid, p. 265-6
[16] Ibid, p. 276
[17] Ibid, p. 282
[18] Ibid, p. 293
[19] Ibid, p. 295
[20] Ibid, p. 296
[21] Ibid, p. 297
[22] Ibid, p. 301
[23] Ibid, p. 306
[24] Ibid, p. 317
[25] Ibid, intro, p. 1
[27] Ibid, p. 101
[28] Ibid, p. 102

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