Saturday, July 31, 2021

AKATHISIA (aka torture)

 Dear Friends on the Internet & In Real Life,


From Dec 2020 to Mar 2021 I had akathisia. What is akathisia you ask? Well, I’ll tell you — it’s something that I don’t wish on anyone, even Marjorie Taylor Green. 


But what is it? Well I’ll tell you…it’s nothing good. It is hypothesized to have been the cause of David Foster Wallace’s suicide when he quit taking anti-depressants after 20 years. It is also wildly speculated to have played a part in the Sandy Hook shooting, as Adam Lanza was prescribed an anti-depressant that he only took sporadically (ie, not as prescribed.) It is also well documented that Bruce Springsteen and my youtube nemesis Dr Jordan Peterson experienced akathisia after taking/quitting prescribed medication.*


*the main cause of akathisia is taking Abilify (a drug prescribed for Tourette’s, schizophrenia and sometimes depression). The second main cause of akathisia is withdrawing from benzodiazapines (Xanax, Klonopin,etc…). The other main cause is being on any SSRI or anti-psychotic or anti-nausea medication.


You can look all this stuff up on the Internet. The Internet will tell you all sorts of awful things about akathisia, but what it won’t tell you is how awful it really is. There is no way of describing it, but I will try…in a minute. First though, I wrote this semi automatic poem about it & I’d appreciate if you read it — 





You left to solve a celtic cable knot 

So I felt around for ghosts in my suitcase,

Not having dragged them from Florida

But acquiring them upon arrival


Already striking cords in my

Backpack’s secret chambers, already

Papering the attic with their cut-out voices


I tune into one host w/ a tremorous

                                     androgynous

                                             tone


I ask it to tell me

The story of akathisia &


It gives me the director’s cut,

                     the 3D version

                        the prequel 

                  and the score all@once


It turns out our nerves are twined of

           finest lavender silk strands

It turns out they have worms of their own


Microscopic,

          dangerous, like the virus

              but worse? Maybe?


Capable of embedding

  glassy fibers in our greyest zones,

Capable of wielding bigger shards & burning

    the homes of butterflies



Then came 

           the holding onto doorframes & crying for angels —

              who are not people, and not as busy as God—

                 to end my recurring

                   1st day of school 


The trust in chemicals, mine & others,

           mined & othered, mind &

                       authored

        out of pure desperation to 

return to chapter one & rewrite & edit & rewrite

                       & edit


I moaned & groaned like these new

Indiana ghosts as my maggoty core was chewed


Silk worms gone wild w/ their art bombs in my legs

My map redrawn in hard-to-read lilac


Every mistake a returned message

From life’s analog-to-digital delivery systems,


Long decades of unpaid postage

Against a century of political outrage


Long hot miles to Main Street

But that’s where you & I agreed to meet


7-28-21


Thank you. 



Akathisia for me started out as terrifying & invasive thoughts racing through my mind at inappropriate times (ie, when life was going just fine) I thought I was just “being negative” or a worry-wort or a Virgo. But when I say terrifying & invasive, I mean way beyond normal human worries.  About a month after that, some physical symptoms began — I couldn’t sit still, I felt like “jumping out of my skin” , like I had drunk 8 cups of coffee when I hadn’t even drunk one, like someone was pointing a gun at my head, like the butterflies in my stomach had invaded my shoulders & hips & vertebrae…and the only solution was to keep moving. Changing positions. Rocking back & forth. Rubbing hands together. Pacing. Vocalizing sadly. Walking. Running. Cleaning the shower with a toothbrush.


By the third month I was really just looking for a way to end it. I couldn’t bear to be tortured by my own nervous system any longer. I was mentally attenuated by the terrifying thoughts. And I constantly felt like I was about to start crying, yet I was unable to. That is a surprisingly uncomfortable feeling when it happens all day, every day.


Despite the severity of my symptoms, I still regarded it as only an episode of severe depression/anxiety. I never thought it could be the Abilify I had started taking in the Fall of ’20. I had never even heard of akathisia (shocking — i thought I knew EVerything). Tony was pretty scared & kept saying “I feel like I should take you to the hospital.”


And maybe he should have. It took my doctor about 3 months to figure out what was going on. And as soon as I stopped taking the Abilify I felt “normal” again.


Those long lists of side effects they reel off in pharmaceutical commercials are no joke. “Restless leg syndrome” can be more unpleasant than it sounds. And “suicidal ideation” can be overwhelming. If you are on any medication and something changes drastically w/ your mood/health, always make sure it’s not the medication causing your symptoms.


After my experience, I scoured the internet for more info on akathisia and found it lurking in the bios of more people than I expected. The overall consensus is that it is unbelievably horrible. At least if I ever have it again, I’ll know what I’m dealing with and be able to get help quicker.


And hopefully this terrific blog is shedding light on something that isn’t well-known but is happening more & more often now that practically everyone is on some kind of prescribed meds. Have any of you experienced the kind of symptoms I described after taking a prescribed medication? Let me know. 


Here’s some further reading you can do on the subject

https://www.akathisia.life/drugs-that-cause-akathisia

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Praise Poem for Elliot Page

 PRAISE

            Elliot Page

  for making so many

        movie pictures

     from inside a closet —


his little hands & feet,

             wrists & ankles

splicing scenes between

               the slats

of the accordion doors —


hundreds of frames

             serving as visors

into any # of parallel 

              universes


In scene 3, take 7

he is pregnant

he has a super useless power

he rides a pink bicycle

he plays a white violin


*Snap*  he’s grown from

                     girl to man

in a ghost town, a trailer park,

    a post-apocalyptic past &

a now that still doesn’t quite

                     understand.


12-3-20





Comments and critique welcome

Monday, February 22, 2021

Unrecognizable Octopus!!!

 FRIENDS,


In the Spring of 2020 I decided to write a series of Praise Poems that might possibly grow into a chapbook. It’s not the most original idea, but I wanted to celebrate small conquests in a quarantined existence. The original goal was to write one a day, but I fell quite short of that. That’s okay, because I still wrote way more than any chapbook could contain. I’m in the process of sorting the good from the bad, and as I do, I’ve found a few that are not quite publishable, but which I don’t mind sharing here in the Octo Diary. I welcome any commentary or critique anyone wants to offer.


This first one is about everyone’s favorite barstool poet, Rupi Kaur….





PRAISE Rupi 

Perched on the lip of her barstool

Like a vulture upon a gargoyle

Atop the tallest bank-owned tower

In Edgeville


She perches defiantly, serenely,

Then does a little swivel, twisting the

Barstool’s head toward the clouds &

Off she flies,


Or raptures, making the slightest sound,

A tap gurgling its last breath of ale

Few can even detect it

Let alone cum from its rarefied

Hush


She opens her folded hand to blow

A kiss & shows a tiny word

Written in bold 50 pt type —

             ‘SO


She swandives from the edge

Of the sky & into the depths

Of herself


6-1-20

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Are We Vignette? (Almost)

 FRIENDS, COUNTRYMEN, & Some Sucky Trolls:



Lend me your Sears catalog spans of attention.


What can I say about this year? There was a lot of down time, then a lot of cabin fever, then a lot of time on the porch & in the yard. In our natural Florida habitat w/ all the clover & bumble bees & raccoons!


There could’ve been lots of arts & crafts & belles lettres going on. And there was some of that, but not nearly as much as I had planned. We did a couple episodes of the Buzbee & Whitman show but found our enthusiasm for the broadcasting arts had waned. But more on my failed arts projects later…


…what I’ve really enjoyed this year is YOUR arts projects & social studies adventures & technical advances. You’ve all come a long way. And I loved seeing how you filled your extended time slots so creatively.

Quiet Time



One realization I made this year was I am the master of my crafts. All of them. Up until now I have considered myself a foolish little dilettante playing at being an artist, or writer, or musician, or surgeon. But now I see that I am good at these things (not gifted, but finally arriving at my own latent pace). And you all are even better at your things than I am at mine.   


That’s okay. It’s not a competition. I always have been competitive though. I was an athlete before I was an artist. I grew up in a frat house full of brothers and was forced to compete at everything, even when I didn’t feel like it (most of the time.)


But I gave up being competitive this year. I’m just ready to plant flowers & vegetate. To read all the books on my to-read pile. To worry about growing old w/ depression & mental illness. To continue on the spiritual journey I started in 2017. 


Publicity Photo 2020


FIGHT CLUB


Speaking of the spirit journey, which I don’t speak of much because of y’alls’ maturity level on the subject— (Yeah, I got all your backward Zeppelin warm-fuxxies. And such. They made me cry & laugh at the same time. That’s what comedy is to me now — first the tears then the laughter. Must walk the path of darkness right into the whoopie cushion of light. [fun fact —didst thou know Led Zeppelin almost named theirself/theyselves “Whoopie Cushion”? Somehow I think their majesty would’ve been lost no matter how great the song writing, had they gone with that name]) —


Anyway, the spirit journey—which started with some shaky automatic writing in late ’17 and progressed to a vivid & violent encounter w/ the spirit world in March & April of 2019— is something I still don’t want to pour out here in this blog because it is an ongoing exegesis. 


One thing I did not want this spirit journey to be was me writing predictions for the future. That was not my intent with the auto-writing this time around. I’m nowhere near the psychic writer that D Foster Wallace was, but if you’re a quiet & astute reader you’ll find the virus, the search for a vaccine, the race riots of the summer, plus something about all game show hosts being sadists —(I’m looking at you ellen, and even you late alex!)— all made it into the mix.  


No, the thing I wished to address with my written meditations, the thing I wrapped up in white light as I scribbled away in the night, the thing I prayed rabidly for has been wiped out, at least temporarily, by this virus. And that’s a morbid twist I didn’t expect, but it has worked much faster than the legal system ever would!

Quantum Quintuplet Cartoon Doodle



ART


I told you how much I’ve enjoyed your creative efforts during our mutual quarantine, but let me say a little bit about these new scribbles you see before you — 


    first of all I know what you’re thinking “Vin, you are most definitely not the master of your craft”


But what if I told you I drew all these (most of them) w/ my eyes closed. I’m pretty much blind as a bat these days no matter how much light there is. I’m not even sure if DOTS are possible for me anymore. So there you have it…my new technique invented out of necessity. 


Art is something I wish I was better at, or went to school for, or could’ve handled going to school for; I did go to school for a few weeks, and then I flipped out (mostly about the cost of art school, but also my inferiority complex kicked into high gear around so much talent — see paragraph above about competitivity).


But I’m also glad that my artwork retains a child-like spirit, an unschooled sloppiness that no amount of framing & matting could disguise. I think it’s fitting for my quintuplet comediennes too!


4/5 Quints Ice Skate in Berlin



TRANSITION


I know I declared my transition COMPLETE on 4-25-19. I was feeling mighty masculine & toxically aggressive*, potent*, volatile* around that time. And I was looking pretty strong & fuzzy too. But I’m happy to say my transition was not complete.


I’ve changed & transformed some more since then. This really is an exercise in patience. I keep wanting to say, Yes I can see a dude in the mirror at all times. But there are stretches of time where I go back to looking quite feminine too.  And having to cover my fabulous soul patch w/ a mask has resulted in much misgendering during the pandemic. 

But someday I will be able to do one of those slideshows that starts with my first day on T and ends with Whitmanesque Whitman gazing through grey whiskers at an amazed audience.


[*These are not adjectives I want to embody as a male, and I don’t believe that these traits reflect masculinity on the whole; however I struggle with these bursts of self-dominion now, just as I went through bouts of sadness and low energy as an estrogen being. Hormones >: / Am I right?]


So….now let’s talk about my other transition. The one that took me from Baby Boomer to Gen Xer to Millennial Snowflake — all in the course of 50 years.

Pub Photo w/ initials



INCLUSIVITY


I began my life as a Baby Boomer only because I was born to Baby Boomers. I was expected to mirror their traits & values — hard work, self control, emotions way way on that back burner meant for melting butter…comparing yourself to everyone else & making sure you were just like them…but better. Not in any overt competitive way…but a sly comparison, a tallying of goods and accomplishments.


Only after moving away from home was I able to fully experience the traits & values of my poor little generation - Gen X. Oh what high ideals this generation possessed! Unfortunately we were pretty damaged by our lack of greatness to fulfill the promise of our ideals. But we also possessed enough of the hard work ethic of our parents to push through our slumps and create the world we wanted. We made progress, especially social progress, but also technological progress. And that’s what we were good for.


And only lately do I feel that I have been absorbed into the massive mosh pit of emotions that is The Millennial Generation. You who are the product of my gen’s loins do possess that high idealism, the urge for social progress and the verbal communication skills & digital intuition we passed down to you.


But you are Gen X on speed.  Our identity crisis became your mess to clean up. And while Gen Xers made progress in incorporating natural human emotions into the capitalist machinery that made up the bulk of our lives, Millennials required the capitalist machine to bend to their emotional will.


Wolf Howls to Warm Up in Iceland



Millenials are sensitive (as snowflakes apparently). This is just fine with me, as a bleeding heart libertarded artist dude, I like what the millennial & zillennial generations have allowed us to consider that we were never allowed to consider before. Mainly, that each one of us is a special stardust masterpiece—a unicorn that can’t be lumped into some Venn diagram of what a man or woman or Latino or black or Asian or disabled, etc…human is.


This, I learned, is called inclusivity and I was eager to participate in the new social order. As a Baby Boomer-Gen X prototype, designed to compete and compare at all costs, this seemed like a damn fine idea.  Even though it required some self-censorship, some uncomfortable realizations, some tears, some guilt…I felt like things were not going to go back to the old Boomer way anytime soon, so I might as well embrace something that I’d silently believed in all along.


When I was doing the ‘zine, I often made a point to specifically express that submissions were open to women, queer folks, people of color, etc… This did not mean I didn’t want subs from white guys, it just meant that I was already getting a lot of subs from white guys. I occasionally solicited work from poets I had friended online, and even then the men were more likely to submit stuff than the women. [Maybe because I have a masculine name now & they thought I was being predatory? Or why, I don’t know]


Anyway, I feel like this in itself offended some people, and I am still wondering why? I’m not a social justice warrior out to crucify those who aren’t on board with the identity politics of the day. But I’m also one who believes being a decent human doesn’t fatally wound anyone’s freedom of speech. So… I’m still in the dark as to why things are still so divided in these two camps.


If anyone wants to chime in, please do so.

Asleep in Austin



 I dragged the line into a space so new & vacant


                   My frenemies will never find it


             Maybe I do speak in the voice

                                                     of a Trumpet,


when the solo needs interrupting


                                          But remember


                               how Bush corrupted our vocab in the oughties


        & how like Obama (aka boring) we sounded


till 2016…


[piece of a poem I wrote in Oct ’19]



IN CONCLUSION


Thank you for reading this far, if you have. This is my progress report for 2020. And most of my progress is into blindness & old age. But I’m happy with what I’ve accumulated from these years on planet — I have a lot to take back to the mothership.


This is a terrible photo & I wanted to delete it but new Blogger doesn't have a delete photo option anymore. Sucky. Music lessons in Austin.


So…what about Shelter Cat & Trust Fund Baby? and The Octopus Review? and Singlewood? And regular old poetry submissions? and DOTS??? And Adventures in Reality? and all that stuff I used to just GIVE YOU FOR FREE?


There may be more…if I feel like it…remember…I’m only an 11% blogger & social media presence now.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

DOT PANDEMIC

Dear fellow plague vectors,


I am a pro at social isolation; how are you doing?

Hang in there; you’ll get used to yourself & all your own quirky charm.  Until then, offer yourself some kombucha and ask yourself some open ended, non threatening questions.  Try not to make yourself feel uncomfortable or scrutinized.  You might get nervous and try to run away from yourself…

If you approach yourself like you are your potential new best friend, who knows what might happen?? A whole new world could open up, OR you could die of the plague anyway…


Friends, my 3 favorite astrologers warned me that I should be more charming & less alarming in 2020, so here is the pretty landscape I ripped up in the Fall & promised to reimagine in the Spring. From memory alone! All I remember is how the sunlight pouring in the window made the couch look. And the mermaid sign. And that we were in Unit #8. 
(extra plague blessings to anyone who can read the T card : )))

I have so many ideas of what I’d like to be doing with all this time. I’m still trying to chap a book of poems. You all do not understand how difficult a chore this is for me. I’m not sure how you guys do it. I could keep submitting my books to contests, or I could patch them together myself (& perhaps include some art!!)  But neither way seems to be happening for me. I am so envious of people who can self edit & present a finite masterpiece.

Plus, I thought I was on a writing hiatus last year. and I was from May to August. But apparently I wrote tons between August & January & I don’t even remember it. Do we call that vacuum-of-consciousness? Yes, let’s.

I have dot fever. Pointillism plague. Stipple syphilus. All I wanna do is make some dots.   

not dots ^^^


Unfortunately, it gives me a headache. But I’m a do it anyway!!!!!!!
Dot cartoons. I have so many cartoons I wanna do… Shelter Cat & Trust Fund Baby (remember them?) I did one episode & it gave me such a headache I never did the next one.

I feel the qabalah in this work & call it 'Delta Jerk'


The Gentoo Emperors!!! There will be more from them I promise. They have so much to say.
And my newest cartoon family The Quintuplets, a group of toddler comediennes doing the publicity circuit.



I also want to revisit my TV show (Singlewood). I have ideas now. And we need ideas during a plague.

Singlewood dots c. 2012


Eeeyore (Tony, Moonchild) is also getting us technically ready to do some kind of broadcast/podcast/talking/laughing thing. He has all the technical skills. I have all the ideas. Together we will fight the negativity of the virus. With our proactive & Syd Barrettish antics.


One More Thing. And this is important, so listen up with your eyes:

I know a (the) lot of you were trying very hard to figure out what offends me. 
Is it WORDS? Nope, I love words. ( even words meant to hurt me don’t in themselves offend me)

Porn? Nope, I like porn a lot now that I’m the next guy. 

Dick jokes? Naw, I like a well crafted dick joke (that’s not a rape joke or a misogynist slur in disguise.) I made a pretty funny dick joke the other day, (you should’ve heard it. Now I’ve forgot it.)

The C word? The B word? The N word? The P word? The x word? The pH word? The brown word? The slang of the 1930s? 

No. What truly offends me on a visceral, splenetic level is:   Rumormongering. Gossip milling. Groupthink. Herd mentality. Mooing. Viral speculation. Fear of self. Camouflaging ones depth w/ a slick surface. Or hiding out in a crowd.

By the by,

    I know which two words offend all of you more than any others and, man….you’re weird : ))) 
i think this is weird too ^^^^^


******************ALSO, I have a serious question

What happens to our deployed troops during this outbreak? Are they quarantined somewhere? What about rogue groups like ISIS? 
Does the war on biology end the war on terror (for now?)
What about all the refugees in Europe, and all the families in cages by our border? What’s being done to to keep them safe?




I don’t hear much about these demographics in all the reports about the spread of the virus & they seem important, ‘mmmkay…I’m looking into it now… 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Uninstalling the Old Aeon

J/k! It’s my… 

Favorite Music of 2019

60. Bodega — Shiny New Model (dig the single but the rest of EP is very brief)

59. Ava Luna — Moon 2

58. Shikoswe — Back in the Tall Grass (love the single—haven’t heard whole album)
[thanks, Bagel!]

57. Vagabon — Vagabon   [thanks, Sheila!]

56. Plague Vendor — By Night (+ single)

55. The National — I Am Easy to Find 

54. We Were Promised Jetpacks — Repeating Patterns 

53. Art d’Ecco — Trespasser

52. Mondo Cozmo — (love the new single, hope there’s more!)
[thanks, Sheila]

51. Kiwi, Jr — Football Money (fratty but likeable)

50. GRLwood — I Sold My Soul to the Devil When I was 12 (great single, listening to EP now)

49. Surfbort — Friendship Music [(late ’18) thanks Bagel!]

48. Mannequin Pussy — Patience

47. Holiday Ghosts — West Bay Playroom

46. Dog Orchestra — Pity Party single (2018, always a year late on Dog Orchestra)

45. Blood Cultures — Best For You single [thanks Sheila!]

44. The Foreign Resort — Outnumbered

43. Pottery — No. 1

42. Pip Blom — Boat

41. Baxter Dury, Delilah Holliday, Etienne de Crecy — B.E.D. [thanks Bagel]

40. Alex McArtor — 2 singles (Touch & Party’s Over)

39. Julia Jacklin — Crushing

38. Crumb — Jinx

37. Tullycraft — The Railway Prince Hotel

36. The Regrettes — How Do You Love?

35. Ladytron — Ladytron (sounds like Ladytron)

34. Greys — Age Hasn’t Spoiled You

33. Def!cit — Appleseed

32. Methyl Ethel — Triage (my favorite single of the year on this album)

31. Vivian Girls — Memory

30. Guaxe — Guaxe [thanks, Bagel]

29. Body Type — EP2

28. Drab Majesty — Modern Mirror

27. Olden Yolk — Living Theater

26. Abjects — Never Give Up

25. The New Pornographers — In the Morse Code of Brakelights (sounds like The New Pronographers)

24. Mattiel — Satis Factory

23. Rubblebucket — Sun Machine

22. Panda Bear — Buoys

21. Seratones — Power (woo!)

20. Operators — Radiant Dawn

19. Polyenso — Year of the Dog

18. The Coathangers — The Devil You Know (sounds like the Coathangers)

17. Elbow — Giants of All Sizes (it was an Elbowy kindof year)

16. Sink Tapes — Enough to Flood the Cow

15. Du Blond — Lung Bread for Daddy [thanks Bagel]

14. Ride — This Is Not A Safe Place [thanks for not waiting 19 years to put out another album]

13. Guster — Look Alive

12. The Proper Ornaments — Six Lenins

11. Juliana Hatfield — Weird

10. Kim Gordon — No Home Record

9. FEELS — Post Earth

8. Wand — Laughing Matter

7. The Twilight Sad — It Won’t Be Like This All the Time

6. levitation room — headspace

5. Dry Cleaning — 2 EPs (Sweet Princess & Boundary Road Snacks & Drink)
[thanks Bagel]

4. SQUIIIIIID!!!! — Town Centre EP & single

3. Ezra Furman — 12 Nudes (yowzra)

2. Sofi Tukker — DANCING ON THE PEOPLE (perfect new year music)

1. FONTAINES, DC — Dogrel ( I didn’t want to give this first place because it’s so obvious, but it’s also undeniable)

*********

That's a ton of great music! Now I must compress it all into a 2-hour time slot by Saturday. 


Best wishes for 2020