At this time of life it is time to take a good hard look at what is and what could be.
The obvious frailties: reading glasses, aching joints, the prospect of a life without enduring love.
If I had only invested in a surrogate child. All my fears may be allayed.
That, for the uninitiated, was irony. You know how I feel about those surrogate gaybies. Abandoned to nannies until they can talk. Dressed up like performing monkeys.
“They spent every weekend on Fire Island this season and didn’t take the baby once.”
I am judged by what I own, by the company I keep, the baby I can afford, the art on my walls, the boy in my bed, the ideas in my head, the club I belong to, the house of my dreams, the car in the drive, the clothes on my back, the God of my understanding. I am judged.
Who am I? Take all of this away and leave me on the streets of Brooklyn and I am content. I want to be just like you. My history erased. My name changed. Once again.
The fire sweeps through the apartment building. The fire captains excited by the prospect of a real fire, manageable, heroic. Nobody is injured. The windows are smashed. The art deco facade blackened.
The jews are on the streets blowing their horns for the new year.
“Are you Jewish?” The young Hasidic Jew asks me.
” No. I’m not a Jew.”
I change my mind the next time I am asked. “Yes,” I lie, “I’m a Jew.”
He takes out the ram’s horn. I stand there in front of this eager youth with boyish whiskers and a large black hat, (the bastard child hat of the sombrero and the fedora) and for ten minutes he chants incantations and blows his horn.
Delightful Prospect Park adjoining the Museum could have been designed by Capability Brown but was (of course) designed by Frederick Law Olmsted the designer of Central Park.
We ate at the new burger joint in Park Slope. My burger was made of Elk.
As I was ordering my elk burger I opened an urgent email. My friend’s brother had been shot dead on his farm in Maryland. He was found, partially eaten by animals, on his tractor. They have no idea if it is suicide or murder.
I filed the tragic news as ‘pending’. I called his Mother and offered condolences and help.
These streets. They yield all manner of fine opportunity. I can disappear on these streets.
Today it is dark, wet and grey. The wind is warm however, the rain splashes onto my face. The Little Dog sits patiently outside the coffee shop.
Yesterday I lay in the arms of a beautiful boy who wanted me to fuck him. His cat curled up in a shoe box.
After he came we lay watching Glee in bed.
Mawkish, sentimental nonsense, a world invented by gay men where periodically an entire orchestra will appear from nowhere and youngsters will start singing hearty cover versions of popular tunes. A world run by the LGBT community. Bullying each other with waspish bon mot.
The drama is lackluster and situational.
The one-dimensional characters problems are slight, their solutions are wholly achievable. They worry to the point of suicide about their home town until they are saved by the gay hero.
This new gay frontier, where blue-collar dads talk like Kant, where black trans boys walk freely and unchallenged around a mid-west high school in full drag… this homo-utopia merely betray the dreams these gay writers had about their own youth. The dream of freedom.
“You’re Fired!” “You’re Cut!”
But of course Kate has a drinking problem and a lost dream and Whoopie wants to be Maya Angelou.
I took the dog and the train into Manhattan where I met with old friend Oscar Humphries who looked amazingly well.
We have had our fair share of adventure (all over the world) these past ten years: Driving 24 hours into the Australian bush to a Bachelor and Spinster ball for the Sydney Morning Herald. Louche nights in Paris and London…
Son of Dame Edna Everage creator Barry Humphries he is perhaps one of the most talented yet self-destructive people I know. We went to an NA meeting on Prince St. Then dinner at Cafe Select. I just adore him.
I had a late date after dinner with a charming man. We brought cup cakes and drank hot chocolate on West 4th St.
I climbed into bed at midnight and fell straight to sleep.
Nightmare: The Cohen’s, David and his 6 children are looking after The Little Dog. I bump into the youngest son who tells me without compassion that “You’ll probably be sad when I tell you this but…” they had to put The Little Dog to sleep because it was too ‘nippy’.
Were I the Moor I would not be Iago.
In following him I follow but myself;
Heaven is my judge, not I for love and duty,
But seeming so for my peculiar end.
For when my outward action doth demonstrate
The native act and figure of my heart
In compliment extern, ’tis not long after
But I will wear my heart upon my sleeve
For daws to peck at. I am not what I am
The weekend was a great deal of fun.
On Sunday I went hiking in Ojai with Anna and her friend Marge. We found a wonderful trail by the Matiliga creek and hopped from boulder to boulder along the river bed. It was extraordinary to see how the Little Dog learned to negotiate what at first perplexed him. The first time we crossed the river he waded through the water, the second time he followed me jumping over the rocks, the third he found his own path, from then on he would guide me.
We explored the town of Ojai which is pleasant enough although a little heavy with craft/art shops and white people. We counted only two black faces. No Asians, no Indians, no Afro-Caribbean. Just white, hippy looking rich people.
Had lunch at Farmer and the Cook as per Jen’s recommendation. A shack on El Roblar Drive which reminded me of The Goods Shed in Canterbury. The Mexican food was a little bland but the produce looked spectacular. The staff were lovely. Big crush on Brandon the red-head,
To tell you the truth, I am not a great fan of Mexican food. It is always so stodgy but, I suppose, good pre hike fuel.
On Monday I stayed with the Piettes and my God Daughter Lily. We attended the Malibou Mountain Club soft ball match. I looked after the children whilst Jason played soft ball. Jennifer had her Out of The Box orders to attend to. It was a simple and lovely day.
The twins picked me up late last night.
Robby, the twin that hung around in the womb a full twenty minutes longer than Miles is urging me to go to breakfast at the bottom of the hill. It is 9am and it is already very hot here in Malibu.
The dog is sprawled on his bed in the sun.
Miles is on set somewhere nearby.
Last night Armand popped in and we took Robby’s car and had dinner at Dukes. Dukes, the restaurant of little culinary interest at the bottom of the hill. Why? Mainly because I found one of the waiters attractive. I met him in Starbucks last week and he told me that he would ‘hook us up’. I didn’t eat anything because the food looked so rancid. They had burgers and Caesar Salad and calamari and beer.
We were not hooked up.
Yesterday afternoon, after my long walk with Miles down Rambla Pacifico, my Australian friend Daniel turned up with a bottle of white wine. I poured him a glass and looked at it longingly. Crisp white wine on a warm Californian afternoon.
We have many friends in common in Sydney and it was so nice to hear all the news. I am sure if I just looked on Facebook I could have found out for myself but it was lovely listening to him tell me all about everything and everybody…the weather and the burgeoning Australian economy. The drought has ended, the reservoirs are full.
We headed into Malibu where we ate lunch at the Deli. The once very fat man who runs the Deli has lost 130lbs just by NOT eating white bread. He looks so much happier.
After lunch, as we were wandering around the absurdly priced shopping Mall, a beautiful man with a bleeding dog begged me to tell him where the vet was. His beautiful labrador had been bitten in her face by a Rattle Snake. My worst nightmare.
I pointed him in the right direction.
He had been sucking the poison out of her face. I hope she survived.
Armand stayed long after I went to bed. Teaching Robby how to use his synthesiser.
This morning I squeezed fresh grapefruit from my tree. Ruby red. Delicious.
Today I am staying at the house all day.
An Australian friend may come over but if he doesn’t it’s no big deal.
I like being here. It’s a beautiful spring day. The garden is blooming. Sadly, the HUGE agave planted just as you enter the main part of the garden is beginning to send out it’s once in a life time flower spike which means that after it has bloomed it will die. I am going to miss it. It looks like a huge spear of asparagus.
The twins are out all day. Robby is at an audition and darling Miles has a job interview with a production company. I am so proud of them. They work so hard, they are both so focused on making their Hollywood dream come true.
As much as I didn’t want the role of mother hen I actually quite enjoy nurturing them both. Cooking, washing etc. In turn they make me laugh and insist that I jump in the car and go with them when ever they go on an adventure.
This morning Miles and I walked to the PCH down the new road and had breakfast. We met a couple from Carbon who had lost their dog. My heart wept for them.
We earned our breakfast with that exhausting 5 mile walk.
Yesterday I watched Dorian Gray with Toby at his home in Hollywood. I am thinking of recutting it. We are going to recut it. Parts of that film are so clever, mostly the parts Joel Plotch cut.
After lunch I sat with John who I had not seen for a month or so. Not for any other reason that he has been on a long family holiday. I have been in NYC. We had a great deal to catch up on. I told him about my session with Jill on Monday. I found seeing her very rewarding. I had forgotten just how a therapist can take the sting out of ones tail.
I told him what was going on in NYC with The Penguin, he looked very pleased with himself. ”I told you so.” He never ever liked The Penguin. The Penguin knew John didn’t approve.
Yet, for all of his self-congratulation he was compassionate and kind. He doesn’t/didn’t want to see me suffer but equally he could see what was going on from the very beginning.
I talked with Jill about this next touchy subject and shared it with John.
Can I mention the touchy subject?
Apart from the touchy subject Jill called me a ‘late bloomer’. She said that my heart had been broken. We talked about love addiction. Making a person your higher power rather than God. We talked about going into Pine Grove and getting my power back. I talked about having no consequences…or at least any that scare me. We talked about nihilism.
I don’t know if I can mention the touchy bit. It is so freshly revealed.
I can’t. All I can say is…it’s about grieving.
Dan called to tell me that the shelves I designed for his apartment look spectacular.
I was in bed by 10.30. Up at 5.30 this morning.
The past ten days we have immersed ourselves in the ‘project’. I am learning to be collaborative which is unusually hard for a man like me who largely expects to get things his own way. The more we explore the clearer the picture becomes. Have you heard of a film called Cathy Come Home? I am drawn to it.
I like my life right now. Doing what I feel I was put here to do.
We are running all over town. Dane drives me. His sweet face lightening the mood of the day. Last night Charles stopped by and the twins arrived. Miles has been in Australia filming Whale Wars on a boat for three months.
Youth and enthusiasm.
Meeting writers, first ad’s, lawyers and the like. Hanging out in obscure offices and community rooms. Have to be discreet here. Agreed not to write about any of it but I wanted you to know darling that I am safe and well and we are working hard to make things better for you.
The garden is desperate to be planted with vegetables. On Saturday we were in Santa Barbra and met a lively old lady with great looking baby tomato plants.
The goats need to be bought.
I dreamt about Jake again. Again, it was conciliatory. There are times that I wish I could share what is going on with him because I know he would love it. Isn’t that odd? Perhaps I am close to totally forgiving him? The last time we spoke was in July which means that we have not spoken for longer than we actually knew each other.
My NYC bf understands my predicament. It seems that we have all experienced mad love, crushing obsession and the like.
Do, if you want to, look at the DEATH AND LOVE IN PATMOS blog because, at your request, I have transcribed the diary entries.
Also, my current ARTIST TO BUY pick of the week is:
who opens tonight at the Josh Lilley Gallery in London.
I walk through the door and hand my will and my life over to you. You, in this instance, is Dr Eddy..a wonderful surgeon.
I said, as he was checking my testes, “Well. at least I get my balls played with…” which, of course, he must hear a million times a year from anxious men willing a joke out of a miserable situation.
Tested testes, blood tests, more scans…I hand my will and my life over to you Kent and Canterbury Hospital.
This wouldn’t be the first time. After our car accident, when I was a kid, I stayed in the very same hospital for 5 weeks with major head injuries. It must have been very traumatic for my Mother to have seen me smashed to pieces at the edge of the road..after having lost the big dog like that..what must it have been like to see your own child covered in blood?
Being in hospital is like returning to the womb…like taking heroin.
Georgina drove me to Canterbury and on the way home we stopped in Tankerton where we had a wonderful lunch at JoJo’s. Croque Monsieur.
Georgina waited for me in one of the long hospital corridors and a man in a wheel chair asked her to help him take a pee. She declined his offer.
Yesterday I drove to Calais and dropped the car at the ferry terminal saving me $500 in fees. I sat on the boat and marveled at how ugly and badly dressed everyone was. On the way there I ate a sandwich and on the way back I ate fish and chips.
On the train home I met a really beautiful twenty year old blonde boy who took one look at my pink shoes and..well, he knew what the story was/is. Anyway, bright as a button, cheeky chappy decorator who I may see later on in the year when he gets back from Australia. I love men like him.
Somebody else, spotting my pink shoes, called me a homo. I began to think vengeful thoughts..then I met the blonde man and things took a turn for the better.
The rain has fallen steadily over Malibu these past weeks. As unseasonal as it may be it comes as a great relief to those of us who live up here during what is normally described as Fire Season. One can only hope that it remains damp rather than tinder dry.
An encouraging weekend of old and new friends. New friends include a charming Pepperdine student who came for tea on Sunday evening and another internet date who was almost perfect…but not. He was intelligent, handsome and age appropriate. Our unusual date started at Intelligensia on Abbott Kinney, a trip to Home Depo to buy chlorine tablets and lunch at Sauce.
I replaced the cap that I lost at Stronghold.
I have no idea if we will ever see each other again but he made the possibility of meeting someone appropriate in the future very real and that in itself was a great diversion from my crazy head.
At lunch we both discussed our recent relationship issues and rather amazingly he became quite emotional: he had been the Jake half of his relationship. Eager to hold onto someone who loved him but wanted to sleep with other men.
Today there is another house viewing and I must make a start on my script.
Saturday therapy went well. Today I went to an early session in the Palisades. I emerge from these groups feeling stronger and more complete. All in all it has been a very gratifying weekend. I am somehow not prone to the great fear. Perhaps this has something to do with the full moon or maybe I am just not taking any notice of the demons.
The house is so beautiful today. The spa is working. Ashley pays her rent on time. The work on the road to the PCH has resumed. The dogs are well behaved. Why go and ruin it with invasive surgery?
I am making a huge oxtail stew for our dinner. The sort of recipe that takes two days to do properly. Every day I must do something creative in some sort of way.
Life is serving up a great and perfect opportunity. I can feel it. After the heavy rain, the plants are convinced it is springtime. New growth, budding cacti and the great orchid trees in the garden are suddenly covered in succulent pink flowers.
Barry from Whitstable is on his way here to stay en route to his new life in Australia. It will be fun to have him here.
Had to take a couple of days away from my blog. Firstly, I think my reason for writing it had become skewed. Secondly, when all one has to write about is the blog itself..hmmm. You understand.
Malibu. The garden has been totally cleaned up by the new gardeners. This annual sweep gives me so much pleasure. The most rewarding $800 a man could ever spend.
Exciting news: friends are seriously thinking about buying the house. When they contacted me I was relieved then I began to wonder why I was selling it? Where else in the world would I be able to live like this? The view, the land, the house…it’s all so beautiful.
The repaired road will make it so much better living here (I can walk to the local shops) but rather than thinking it would make it better for me..my fucked up head thinks it would make it better for someone else. That’s insane! I deserve it too.
I had to get away from the blog because I was indeed writing about Jake far too much and whilst I needed to I also have to stop.
This is the problem with obsessive thinking, and who ever wrote that I should get off the Jake thang is right..I really have to start thinking beyond the object of my obsession.
My friend Anna is moving into the house with me. She is having a blast with her new film (traveling all over the world) but needs a place to live. We are very similar in as much as we both daily invent our lives. So, next Tuesday I have room-mate.
My friend Ashley needs a place too so we are all going to live here together. The only remaining booking is for October so we are going to vacate for that.
I achieve so much more when I am with other like-minded people. Whenever Anna is here I get important things done that would otherwise remain undone. I can be mother hen, make breakfast, organize walks, sit down and write. All I have to overcome is the obsessive urge to clean the house and keep order. I have to let that go.
Because I know that he reads this I often think of him when I am writing. It’s horrible. Trying to keep the flame burning.
Fragile, timid beautiful Jake. I want to remember him kindly. I really do. I don’t want to believe that he came into my life to take whatever he needed.
I want to be on Manhunt because he was on Manhunt. I want to meet men because he met men. I want to in spite of my own healthy needs.
The Manhunt thing is interesting. It has taken no time at all to be totally disinterested in that site. It cannot serve me. Why do I go there? Real people can serve me. Living in fantasy around what could be only leads to disaster..as we have witnessed these past few months.
So, I have been attending gay AA meetings, connecting with my sober comrades. Trying not to be negative, understanding that I still sit in a great deal of fear around gay men..I begin to relax.
There is a community of men and women at my disposal who are more than willing to open their arms to me.
I am, after all, a rather well-known gay man in recovery.
Lead by example.
Coming up to my sober birthday on October 1st. Traditionally this has always been a time of great reflection. A time to remember what I gave up to become the man I am now.
If I had continued along the path of least resistence…I may very well be dead. I will write about that last day of using on October 1st.
Fly East tomorrow for a few days. Have to take art to NYC. I really dread being in the city just in case I bump into him. I don’t know what I would do.
It’s like when I got sober..those first few months I could be around people drinking but I could not be around anyone taking drugs, it was too triggering. As I have said before, he is not real..he is a cypher.
As he shrinks away I attempt to own the possibilities. I am left with so much! I am left with all of this..the view, the hope, the love and of course the very human fight to survive. The fight to live. The fight to make art. The fight to breath in the new day.
I may very well have thrown away this past year obsessing over him. I pray that I learned something useful from knowing him. Please don’t let it have been a total waste?
My Australian friend Andrew visited yesterday. I met him in Sydney ten years ago. What a delicious man he is. I think you would all agree?
My AA sponsor told me in no uncertain terms that I was shirking from the very real health issue I have. He told me that I have to get it seen to as soon as possible.
The pictures published this morning are part of my photographic essay commissioned by The Sydney Morning Herald in 2004 celebrating the Condoblin Batchelors and Spinsters Ball held annually in the depths of New South Wales.
B & S Balls are thrown to introduce the youth of rural Australia who live many hours from each other in the arid outback.
The Ball is actually a huge drunken brawl and as a sober man I was amazed by two things: firstly how much alcohol was consumed and secondly how little violence there was.
I publish it to remind myself just how many things I have achieved.
The darkest part of the day is ironically the morning when I seem to forget just how damned capable I am. Need to calm down. Still experiencing waves of depression. Still at the mercy of my mad head. Mad head, thankfully not bed head-my hair is now cropped once again. However, when buzzed my head get recognized more than when I have long hair.
The dog is waiting to go to Runyon, waiting patiently at my feet whilst I type this. I am nearly out of the doldrums. I can feel myself emerging. Why did I get sober? Why did I go into therapy? Peace of mind. Not piece of mind-one of my mothers favorite expressions. ’I'll give him a piece of my mind.’ she would say.
The mantra for this week is BE PRESENT.
I remember getting up each day and feeling like there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do.
Added to all the other problems I am utterly home sick. Desperate to get back to my Island Jewel. Held here by all sorts of stuff that needs dealing with. The house, the garden, the book, the app, the art sale, what the fuck?
All I need to do is book an Air France flight to Paris and vanish but I am trying to be a good man. Trying to be the sort of guy who can wrestle from his life some sort of sobriety and ultimately some honor.
Where in the world could I go if I wanted to start again? I still love Memphis. I loved it. Who would I be when I got there?
What demons would I bring along with me?
Instead of running away I need to remember what I am capable of and invest time and energy in my work. Recently Obama opined that ‘change is hard.’ and I was appalled by his admission because I rarely admit that it’s the goddamned fucking truth don’t ya think?.