I’m at Powell’s books, nursing a pretty good buzz and a whole lot of good vibes. Powell’s is rapidly becoming my second favorite place to hang out, after the George and Dragon in Seattle, where I spend a couple hours a week cheering on Liverpool. Speaking of the George, someone from the local LFC supporters’ club in Seattle approached me out of the blue last weekend and gave me a sticker: “LFC SEATTLE – Supporters Club”. I was pretty jazzed to receive it, and I got to meet and chat with both him and the club’s primary organizer, who almost tripped over his shoes indicating they need website help. Nice to know even in a recession my skills are in demand.
I put the sticker on my laptop. My son is impressed. He sees the stickers as signs of accomplishment, of milestones earned; which, as a first grader, I’m sure is perfectly understandable. Among the road-warrior crowd, though, stickers are an oddball element. I gather that Apple fanboys dare not desecrate their pure Apple-logo covers with stickers, while PC laptop users are not hip enough to be generally into the sticker thing. That, or I haven’t outgrown my 7-year-old phase.
I have a metric fuck-ton of things to say and a metric centiliter of discretion right now.
I’ll give you five reasons why: Madras Royale, St. Elizabeth Sour, Village (?) (see, at that point my memory starts to get fuzzy), and then, after a change of venue, a Cask-Conditioned Jubalale, and a Nitro Jubalale. A fun night. A very fun night. Entertaining and informative and promising and energizing and engaging and, well, just damned invigorating. I started out after work at the Park Kitchen, which is a very cool but small restaurant/bar in the Pearl District, and from there to the Deschutes Brewery, where the beer is FUCKING STRONG and where ESPN lulls you into a kind of stupor such that when you walk out of there to head to Powell’s Books, not 2 blocks away, you head in the wrong direction. But it’s all good. A few extra blocks of walking among the interesting downtown Portland streets is never time misspent.
I used the term “vex” tonight. This is a word straight out of Jane Austen or Thomas Hardy. It is surprisingly appropriate tonight, for I’m vexed. Not angry – no, not by a long shot – nor frustrated, exactly, nor indecisive, again inexactly, but unsure, uncertain, and with more than a little self-reflection and pondering going on. Not in the What Is My Ultimate Purpose On This Green Orb sense, but more like Where Do I Go From Here sense. I guess if life were easy everybody would do it.
OK, Anthony, so you’re feeling so expansive and happy and, well, let’s face it, buzzed, how do you feel?
Fulfilled. I am surrounding myself more and more with people who share some of the same fundamental attitudes towards life and people that I do. Life is meant to be lived, and to be enjoyed, and that things are mostly good, in spite of everything, and that optimism is a better way to approach your days than pessimism. A healthy, snarky, dose of cynicism serves (very occasionally) to offset the ruby-red roses that I cast in front of me, but not too much, and not too consistently, lest I degenerate into an embittered old layabout, more content to complain than to act. To do. To participate, to throw one’s hat in the ring, to do battle, to compete, to win or fail as circumstances and my own efforts warrant.
And I’m ready to compete.
And if you doubt me, even for an instant, you have yet more to learn. Above all things, perhaps (love of my children being the one untouchable constant), I exist to challenge myself. I am tired of (as a friend put it tonight, so eloquently, if so simply) “tying my shoelaces together”. I want to stride purposefully, to run, to bring those I value along for the ride, to ride simultaneously, together, in purposeful collaboration. To join together, ad-hoc, as energies and purposes align, and achieve remarkable things.
And, as a writer, I want to document these things. The ups and downs, the progressions and reversals. The temporary, euphoric highs (such as tonight) and the (also temporary) challenging lows. Writing helps ease the demons back in their cage, and let my better angels take flight. Writing is cathartic, and revealing, and (depending on who you are) sometimes intentionally obfuscatory, and you really have no choice but to read or not-read, to absorb or not. Filter it how you will, my intent remains the same. My existence, my subjective existence, plagiarized by my mind and fingers and keyboard, and delivered in emphatic detail. I hope you keep reading, because I certainly intend to keep writing.