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      CommentAuthormister hex
    • CommentTimeAug 25th 2014
    Why the hell not. I'm feeling loquacious.


    Flecky died. That sucks. Robin Williams, too. That also sucks. And though Flecky wasn't as famous as Robin Williams, they were cut from the same cloth : jokers, comedians, never showing their feelings thru the wise-cracks but feeling so much, they couldn't help but be broken. Trust me; I know the feeling.

    It was a little more than a year ago and my friend Patrick - which is my name - died. OD'd. Relapsed and goodbye. It was a shock, he was a live-wire and then he was nothing. He wasn't there anymore and you could never talk to him, ever again.

    And something terrible happens and you want to fall apart but a part of you says : You are not authorized to do that. You have duties and responsibilities. But you want to fall apart so very, very badly. Like Margaret Atwood said, you're not waving but drowning.

    I've kicked the shit out of my own depression more times than Batman has done like-wise to the Joker and all his other foes. By a factor of five. Look! I'M DOING IT RIGHT NOW.

    But if saving the universe meant committing suicide, I know for a fact that Batman would say "Hand me a knife." I hope I never get to that point.

    My mental health can best be described as "somewhat fragile". I've been drafted into a war I don't want. In a prison. Prisoners have a reasonable expectation of at least the possibility of release. Draftees are there for the duration. I am not a number, I am not a free man, I am a convict and a conscript and the only way out is death. Then again, I knew that a long time ago.

    Whatever, man. Stay strong. It's the only way to stay.


    My love life is a dystopian nightmare but I SAW MY FRIENDS and we had a fine time, laughing and working and playing on the Group-W Bench.

    I also saw the Guardians of the Galaxy. Good movie!

    Saw my Whitechapel Toronto folks in the flesh. The day before Flecky died. They are my tribe.


    You are my tribe.

    No picture. I don't have a camera and I have something in my eye.
  1.  (11363.42)
    It's a black day here today. So I'll post. Because I've got light. Oh, I've got light.

    Pitch black

    This is a crop from an artwork I made out of the last picture taken of me before it all went wrong. Before the bugs got into my skull and paralysed the left side of my body for months. Erased my memories. Changed my personality forever. I was 11 years old.

    There's only so much anyone with family can say on the public record. Worse things happened than I ever told here. I spent six years on the wrong medication, spiraling down, terrifying my wife and children. I was batshit crazy sometimes. Down a bottle of whisky, get naked and jump rooftop to rooftop shitting down chimneys crazy. My wife and I have been married 15 years last Thursday. She has stood by me through thick and thin, and let me tell you it's gotten subatomic-thin sometimes. I nearly lost her last year. All my friends were too close or too far away. At the bottom of the ninth I found that even the online world was closed to me. Social media was inhabited by people I knew professionally and fora that might have understood my predicament were either utter clusterfucks or safe places that my wife needed in order to keep her own head together. There was nowhere it was safe to speak. Except here. Still, I said little. Flecky, from the bottom of his own Mariana Trench, saw where I had sunk to and reached out to show me how to fight the dark.

    I fucking hate it when they say someone "lost the battle" with [insert horror here]. Flecky didn't lose. He fought all the way out past the breakers and kept me afloat for a bit. He fought right out through no man's land and deep into tiger country. He fought like a fucking champion.

    Little things can get you over the line at critical moments. At 9:35pm on Father's Day 2007 the phone rang and I climbed down to answer it. Reflex of some kind. Half an hour later the worst had passed and I went to bed. Sometimes a stranger telling you to fight, telling you that if he can make it you can, is all you need. Flecky was that voice for me a couple of times. Never met him. Never even saw a photograph until today. He was a fucking hero and I owe him big time. I want to give him a viking funeral and all I've got is a candle.


    Flint and tinder

    I've discovered what stability means. It's like some kind of superpower. I can get up and work all day and things get done, big things. I'm curating two shows in October and November. I have three new bodies of artwork under way. I've written and recorded a new song. I've been invited to play a festival. The hard SF story I wrote in April is being turned into a graphic novel by an illustrator whose work I love. I'm 10,000 words into my novel.

    Now here's the kicker: there's an abandoned 130-year-old church in my neighbourhood, scheduled for demolition only because the municipal council that owns it has no money for restoration. That resolution was passed two years ago and it's still standing because they also don't have the money to demolish it. Every petition to save it has failed because each proposal has required ratepayers' money to complete. So I went to the Heritage Society with a mad plan to turn it into a gallery and studio. On Friday it seemed like the longest of long shots but by Monday it had legs. Lots of legs. The community seems to be rallying behind me. This is at least in part because I aim to raise the half a million dollars to do it. When $5000 might as well be $5 million to me for all I can scratch up, this seems like idiocy. When the shitty little terrace around the corner from my rented house sells for $1.5 million, then the realisation hits that to some folk it's lunch money. I have contacts. Tentative contacts, but I'm making the calls.

    I'm not delusional. I'm probably going to fail. Trying, however, will cost me nothing. If I fail I'll be back exactly where I am, having met a lot of people and learned a lot of things. I have no idea how to do this but I'm not scared. This is what stability feels like. The strength to do the things I dream of, without the fear. The ability to just get up every morning and go to work at the studio, bash through most of my day list (I always write them about 10% too big) and come home tired but not fraught. Aware that there's more to do tomorrow but not exhausted by the thought of it. Excited about the future but not on fire with delusions of grandeur. I'm getting used to this. Hitting my stride. I know that there are limits and that I'm not sure where they are yet, but I'm alert to them and will be kind to myself when I hit them. This is possible. It can get this good.

    This way, grab my hand

    @razrangel, @hex, if I can fucking make it you can. Every day, every hour, every minute if you have to, repeat after me: ALL THE OPTIONS ARE ABOVE THE GRASS. I can't do shit for Flecky. He's gone. I can pay it forward though. My email's in my profile. I'm on Facebook and Twitter under my own name. I'm online most hours of the day. If it's too fucking hard and there's noone, hit me up. You can live through this.
  2.  (11363.43)
    yes you are right @kay ' lost his fight ' was a shit and useless statement ....... Just doesn't cut

    I understand now I should have put the information in a separate thread.

    To be really honest I had no words ... none - I just waffled emotionally, and still I have no words

    all I know for sure Flecky liked this forum very much and found comfort in it, and found comfort in helping others, as he rarely found comfort

    to quote Flecky " what the fuck do I know ? "
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2014
    I wrote a little something something last weekend. Saturday or Sunday. It didn't go through, I got logged out or whatevs, so I decided not to.
    I have not felt like talking about myself since Monday morning.

    So. My roommate.

    A little over two years ago I got an email from her saying "I have to get out of my marriage." She was in New Mexico, married to a man who was in the American military. She had been there for three years. They had a two-ish-year-old.
    I said "Get on a plane, I'll meet you at the airport, mi casa, etc." And she did. Sans kid.
    It was Pride weekend. We did Pride, she cried, we cried, there was some drinking. Two months later I left her with a job, a bank account in her maiden name, a cheap cellphone bill, and my Toronto apartment.

    Four months ago I got back from Montreal, and needed some couches to stay on. She was one of them (and happy to "repay the life debt"). She had just moved into an amazing apartment with her boyfriend, a two-bedroom, right next to her workplace, the "aqua lounge" (sex club with a pool) where she is a manager. She is very happy with her life. Less so with the boyfriend. After crashing for a month or two, she broke up with him and offered me the second bedroom on an indefinite basis. I, having a job lined up and knowing I could afford the rent, happily took her up on it.

    This summer has not been her summer. Her grandmother died in July. The boyfriend has not been fantastically supportive. The couple she was dating were pretty supportive, until there was some triangular drama and they called it quits.
    In late July she dumped the boyfriend and told him to move out. He was staying elsewhere the night of the home invasion. I was out of town; she was sleeping in my bed, which is a futon mattress on the floor underneath the mini-door to the fire escape. She woke up. There was someone standing over her. She apparently let out some sort of guttural banshee yell and threw herself at him, at which point he beat a hasty retreat, along with his friend standing on the fire escape, and her iPad. Acceptable losses.

    She was babysat quite well by friends until I got back a few days later. I have been babysitting her ever since.

    Things have become more comical but no less macabre. A raccoon made its way in through the window screen so kindly sliced open by the intruders, scared the cats half to death, and strew some garbage about before the ex-boyfriend (who, having literally no other friends anywhere, had come back to stay for an extra two weeks until he could rent another place) chased it out with a broom (and then neglected to clean up the mess).
    I am going to be nice and not talk about the ex-boyfriend's dirt and mess tolerance. It is high. Too fucking high. I don't think my placement of my bed under the fire-escape door really necessitated him stepping on it in his work-grimy combat boots every time he wanted to have a cigarette, but there was just no having of that conversation. But I digress.

    Today, my roommate, who is sweet and kind and friendly and extremely sexy, let herself into her parents' place and discovered their nine-year-old cat dead on the bedroom floor.

    I would very much like it if everyone could put out some happy vibes for this lady, because she could use some serious karma redress. I would also like her to approach sobriety without fear.
    (And I would like to throw her a housewarming party. This apartment has been violated more ways than [her workplace's usual clientele] and needs a spiritual cleansing and rechristening as hers, entirely hers, no boy throwing cigarette butts on the floor and no cats chronically vomiting out of anxiety, no intruders, two-legged or four-. Not even mine; I'm just the housekeeper and occasional motivational speaker.)
  3.  (11363.45)
    @flecksfriend - sorry man, I really didn't intend that as direct criticism of you. I'm deeply grateful that you came here to tell us about his passing. What was actually in my mind when I wrote that was all the shit in the tabloids about Robin Williams the previous week, or two, or three, or however long they could fucking milk it for. Parasites. I'd actually forgotten that you said that and probably wouldn't have posted it if I'd remembered. It's the paradigm I'm a bit dark about.
  4.  (11363.46)
    i didn't feel criticised just felt I could have been more mindful with my words.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2014
    @allana - holy crap, your poor friend. The home invasion bit would be horrifying all by itself... Definitely thinking about you guys.

    @flecksfriend - don't sweat it too much, we're not crazy picky about what goes in which thread (well maybe a little) and we sure don't have a solid process for announcing news like what you told us. We're just glad you did tell us. We're glad Flecky shared us with someone in his world and relieved that that is how much Fleck mattered that you knew right away we'd want to know. Thanks again.
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2014 edited

    - My Auntie Rose (not really my Aunt), who was the reason for my visit to England, passed away last week. She was one of those tough as nails women who you just assumed would live forever. Or at least to about 100. Very sad about that. So happy I got to see her one last time though. And I have the recipe for her famous fish cakes.

    - Flecky...I'll talk more on it in the other thread, but Flecky's death really hit me hard.

    - One of our neighbours reported us for our lack of upkeep in the backyard. It's a legitimate gripe, the backyard has sort of gotten on the weedy side this summer. We;ve been so busy that we've only managed to do small work on it over time. I just wish that our know...let us know that they had a problem and we would have worked something out. Instead we're taking time out of our much needed work to finish all the yardwork within seven days or we'll be subject to fines. Dad is practically having a nervous breakdown over it and my allergies have been so bad that I'm pretty sure I have a sinus infection now. I feel like absolute shit.

    - On top of this, I'm off to Edmonton on day job business. Not totally bad, but the preperations for it have been exhausting. Not to mention a client suddenly announced a tour and needs things NOW NOW NOW's been roughly 14 hour work days with any breaks being spent in the back yard, where I get an allergy attack that fucks me up. YAY.

    In general, this summer can go fuck itself. Horrible, awful thing.


    - Well, it finally happened. I GOT A BEER WRITING JOB!!! The pay is beyond minimal, but it's for a reputable local news source and gives me a decent readership and education in how things are done. I wrote my first story, a news piece regarding the selection of an executive chef for an upcoming brewpub, on Monday. Happy to say that I'm now a professional writer. Sent off a few pitches this week and got the go-ahead. September will be a busy month.

    - Have a contact with a national paper. We'll see where that goes.

    - Business trip will be in Edmonton and I'll be able to do a few things while there. I've already secured one photo job and will be on a roundtable where I'll be talking about the importance of having a solid bio/photo package...while also having my (new!) business cards on display. So on top of my official purpose there I'll be getting some work out of it. Will also have some time to myself to check out the beer scene or *gasp* relax a bit.

    Hey You Guys:

    @allana, holy crap I'm so sorry to hear about your friend.
    @Hex, hell yeah, we're your tribe.
    @raz, @kay, and @hex, There's a lot I want to say, but I can't find the words right now. Just know that I'm in the trenches with you, offering a cigarette.
  5.  (11363.49)
    thank you all, your words are a comfort
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2014 edited
    It's been ages since I've done one of these.


    My Menieres disease returned and it has developed into constant tinnitus. But over the months I have learned coping mechanisms. More on that below.

    Flecky - man. It reminded me of losses from when my life was a lot less stable. People are so fragile, it reminded me to get in touch with friends and family and let them know how important they are to me. It must have been really hard for Fleckysfriend to come here and share the news. Respect goes out to him/her/them for that.

    It hasn't been officially announced yet but a broadcast project I set up some 30 months ago is going to close due to various complexities. This makes me feel very sad. It was filled with extraordinary people making and sharing things that reminded me that humans are always so much more than the sum of their parts. What an absolute fucking shame. I need to figure out how to bounce back from this.


    I quit my job a while back. It was scary and exciting and my life has been so much better since.

    As a coping mechanism for my menieres I started recording natural white noise (streams, rain on umbrellas etc) as something that would help relieve the tinnitus. But this soon escalated into what is becoming obsessive field recording. It then led on to me writing music again which is something I stopped doing years ago. So I'm in a very inspired, creative frame of mind at present.


    I still visit here on a daily basis, its been quiet. Its not the same as it was when the big one used to tell us to go fuck ourselves, regularly. But I do drop into the chat room occasionally to make unreasonable demands on people. So there is that. I hope you are all doing well and living excellent lives. Its always a genuine moment of happiness to read about your amazing projects and ideas. Stay amazing.
  6.  (11363.51)

    I've got this friend. When he was about 12, his grandmother staying with his immediate family, dying of cancer. His mother fell apart. He started shooting the morphine laying around. Full blown junkidom by 17 led him to stealing cars, living on the streets. Being arrested and thrown in prison at 18 was the only thing that got him clean. He came into my life a year or two out of prison, completely sober. I was at my lowest, lonliest point. He kept me afloat, he kept me sane, he made sure I was fed and got out of the house. He'd visit me weekly, bring me food shopping, take me out for dinner, even bought me a bicycle on a whim. He was my everything. We were each other's stability. After two years, things got messy and bad between us. We maintain email contact, and as confidants when needed, with a strange kind of trust, and an if-you-need-anything understanding. Without me around, he became less strict about his sobriety, drinking socially. Last year, walking down the sidewalk, he got hit by a car. His leg was fractured, it set wrong, leaving him in constant pain. And then was broke enough to move back in with his folks, which was a bad sign. He's been working with a lawyer, waiting on a massive settlement for his injuries, preparing for a revision surgery. And then, he was arrested in a drug sweep. His family doesn't know, and he's probably going to end up going back to prison. Meanwhile, his mother was just diagnosed with cancer. It's bad. She had an immediate hysterectomy, chemo right afterwards. It's in her lymph system. It's not hopeful. he's not getting any better, and living at home, watching his mother in the same situation his grandmother was in is not going to improve matters. Best case scenario he'll go back to prison and get clean, but in doing so, he'll be locked up while his mother dies. I'm so so so so worried about him. He's worried about him. I think about him every day. I've tried to get to hang out with him, but he's not even got enough cash to pay for the gas to get to me. I don't know what to do. He's ridiculously important to me. He's started fighting with his Dad. It's not going to end well.

    So clearly, Flecky really hit close to home. I've had four exes who had heroin problems at some point, three best friends as well. I've not lost any, not yet. (well, there is one old friend I can't seem to find online or anything, and I fear, but I push that out of my mind) I was always cheering for Flecky. I never sent him the post card I got in New Mexico like I said I would; I lost it during my trip, found it when I moved, and had meant to ask him for his current address so I could mail it to him. I'm sorry, Flecky. I don't mean to lose Flecky in a sea of other people. I really did dig the guy - he was one of my favorites. I cried when I read of his passing.

    I follow Chris Arnade on twitter and flickr and tumblr. He's a photographer that has befriended many homeless junkies up in the Bronx, telling their stories. Just this morning, one of his friends died. This is all ..... it's a lot. My heart is breaking.


    I was asked to do the art for a comic of a writer friend of mine.

    I now get to go in to my pain medicine doctor for trigger point injections once a week! They stab the muscle knots with injections of marcaine and cortisone and it improves the pain greatly!

    My fellow got his old Macbook Pro from 2011 fixed (the GPU had to be "re-balled") and has given it to me, so now I have a computer that can run lighroom without lag, and my photographic output will probably pick up again. (oh, the backlog!)

    Because someone was awesome enough to purchase the brain MRI I claimed was touched by the visage of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I was able to order this. Hopefully I'll be able to get the raw data crunched by one of the third party programs and get some fucking answers about my genetic health!


    allana - your friend is having a shit time, indeed. I will think good things.

    oldhat: congrats on the job! I'm glad you've found what you were seeking.

    kay: It's nice to see someone fighting for the unloved buildings in derelict states. Good on you! Environmental aesthetics are important! So is art! Awesome!
  7.  (11363.52)

    I feel like vomiting, but there's nothing there .... feels like I'm detoxing again but without the hallucinations.
    Also a numbness but with an empty pain. and weakness, no motivation at all but a searching. and frightened. I fear
    Hearing more information. still in the throws of the school holidays too, and feeling physically exhausted.


    beautiful sunset driving to my partners house with my son who's only been home a day after returning from holiday
    With his father in Hrvatska. (My sons father is Croatian so we pref Hrvatska)

    Lovely welcome from my partners 5 yr old daughter while my partner (SFS) puts his granddaughter to bed. some greens (much needed) and tinned potatoes
    - the comfort food part.

    the kids go back to school monday : )

    I've remembered who I can talk to about Flecky, a professional who knew Flecky 'up nurth' in his 20's
    Her brother was a good childhood friend of Fleck's, she had to maintain a proffessional distance from Flecky when Flecky And I were in rehab. Ive known her since my first rehab visit back in the 90's she's pretty cool and amazing.
    I will call her Monday. I'm given to understand we are waiting for toxicology test results.


    hello to you all, and thank you for your comments.

    wishing you all well and kinda introducing myself . . .
  8.  (11363.53)
    @Paprika: Great stuff with the recordings! I'm going to go through and listen to more of them when I get a chance, they're really good.

    If you're in need of natural white noise, one thing you might not be aware of but that helps me a lot is this. This one is good too but I use the White Rain more often at the moment.
    • CommentTimeAug 31st 2014
    @Kay: Thanks mate, much appreciated. I'll check the noise generators out. (Nice tracks on soundcloud yourself!)
    • CommentTimeAug 31st 2014
    @flecksfriend I'm glad you're finding some solace here. We really loved Flecky and you, of course, are most welcome with us.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2014 edited
    hey there everyone.

    I've been away from this forum for almost a year now. No reason.. Sometimes people and life mean you end up drifting away from places such as this which is a shame. And it wasn't until the news of Flecky's death brought me back here among a lot of people, many of whom I know in places outside of WC, but some I hadn't seen for quite a while.

    So I think it's best that I keep everyone up to speed as to my current situation.

    There have been two developments that happened to me this year that frankly knocked me waaaay off normalcy and at one point all but took me out for good.

    - Since March, I've had to deal with a depressive episode that was completely unlike anything i'd ever experienced before. I encountered anxiety that meant days without sleep and a gradual shutting down of everything that began as crying and hulking rages, before ending up a hollowing out of all emotion and desire where i've been unable to write anything now for months. I couldn't bear to speak to anybody or look at anything. it got so bad that by Mid may, I was in a very bad place as if I had completely rotted away from the inside. It's best just to say... that plans were formulated and notes were being written. It was only an off-hand comment to a friend that alerted people to how I was feeling. I was taken to the doctors and put on medication, which along with my wife and therapist, thankfully altered my brain chemistry to open up to how i was actually feeling It's only been in the last few weeks that I've felt that I've now finally turned the corner. Things like this video from Thor Harris from Swans about his depression, and reading Mark Fisher's essay on Joy Division in his book "Ghosts Of My Life," allowed me to at least acknowledge and connect with things around me. I still fell unable to write though.

    - The second major development is that I have admitted to myself and people around me that I am an alcoholic. I won't go into my life story, but I've always been a very heavy drinker since my early teens. In the last year though things got very messy and chaotic - fights, blackouts, shakes, the lot. The last 6 months were so bad that in June, when after another drinking session at a party, Sigga sat me down and told me that while she loved me, she was angry and concerned about my drinking. She could see my bank statements online and had found out that I was spending nearly all my spare cash (After rent and bills) on going out and drinking, and that I was always broke before the end of the month. she was also scared and hurt about my behaviour while on Holiday in Sweden when while drunk I told her about my writing of suicide notes before taking more beer and disappearing for 6 hours with no recollection of where or what I did. Sigga was crying, angry at me, and scared for my safety. It was the first time that anyone had properly described me with the word "Alcoholic." It was a bit of a shock to hear it, but while I did cut down for about a week it didn't stop me drinking. In fact it actually got worse over the following month as not only did the amount I was drinking (which was a lot) increase, it was when i started to hide the amounts I was drinking from her.

    It all culminated in July in the run up to the weekend that was the ATP Iceland music festival. I had been to many weekend events and festivals, such as rugby tours and various music festivals, where I had done some very crazy shit and experienced the lot from blackouts to near infidelity, but this weekend was different. Even though I had been drinking that whole week, it really took off on Wednesday. While on GV duty (interviews, meetings) I got totally smashed, twisted my ankle when I left the bar and when I got home, waited for Sigga to go to bed, whereupon I sneaked out the house to buy more beer to drink at home, hiding the cans once I'd finished. Over the weekend I chugged beer and vodka endlessly. I never went home, staying at the room provided for the paper by the festival. I don't remember a huge amount of the festival and it showed in my writing (One post I made, I was so drunk, i don't even remember writing it).

    When I woke up on the Sunday there were beer cans and vodka bottles everywhere. I felt a real pain different from the usual hangover/feelings of shame. It was so horrible and frightening, I ended up having a massive panic attack on the spot and felt the need to get home ASAP. But as there were no buses, I had to walk 8km to the Airport to get the flybus. I was crying pretty much the whole way and ended up walking out onto the road. almost into the past of an oncoming bus. It was hurting so bad that I wanted it all to end there and then and didn't get off the road. Luckily the bus swerved around me and eventually I came to my senses and sat down at the side of the road for a while.

    When I eventually got home, I admitted to Sigga that my drinking was out of control and I couldn't stop without help. I went into AA the following day.

    Today I'm 52 days sober, which has been the longest time I've been without alcohol since I was 13. The desire for drinking weirdly went away quickly, but It's now the living sober bit that's proving really hard. But I'm just keeping my head as low as i can and luckily the support from AA and Sigga and close friends has been so needed.


    - I started school yesterday! Despite all this shit in my life I somehow managed to pass my last semester with flying colours (I'm still not sure how that happened!). It's actually an exciting time as i also seem to have ended up on the board of the film student society council! Again I'm still not sure how that happened!

    and get this. One of my elective modules is..... COMICS!! It's what I was born for! I will be using WC to keep everyone abreast of what is being taught and to see what you all think of the quality of the course.

    - I am moving house tomorrow. Yes, after year of renting Sigga and I bought a house. my dreams of fostering a marxist-anarchist revolution has been dealt a blow as I'm now part of the bourgeois scum class! looking around the flat, everything is a mess, but we're supposed to be getting 20 people tomorrow to help so It should all go according to plan.

    - I also seem to have fallen into being a concert promoter with my first gig next month. I think the profession term for all of it is "passing bricks"


    Just a big shout out to everyone on this list and especially to flecksfriend. Well to the family. Hope you enjoy being here.
  9.  (11363.57)

    I'm so very proud of you, and happy that you've made such amazing, difficult, and positive steps! Bravo! Fifty two days is a long time!
    • CommentTimeSep 2nd 2014
    Bob. Grand to hear from you. Amazing in fact all things considered. You deserve a brilliant life. Really good to hear you're on the mend.
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2014
    Well done Bob!
    • CommentTimeSep 3rd 2014
    Congratulations, Bob. So glad to hear you came out on top.