This is the third in a series of narratives, in which I attempt to outline the sordid details, leading up to my family forming the conclusion, that I had mental issues, that they would like to see me have addressed. Some of these details have already come to light, but I am attempting to compile a synopsis, so that I can leave it with Dr, Garratt, when I next visit his offices in Mendocino, this coming Friday.
Then Came Ireland
Upon completing the construction project, in February of 2011, and releasing the creative energy of the right side of my brain, I set out to write about the therapeutic experience I had undergone, the previous summer. I had been ruminating all winter, and mulling over both the patterns of negative self-talk and distorted thinking, plus my emergence from panic attack syndrome. There was just so much to assimilate.
Now, I surveyed my narrative on my therapeutic journey, and I was pleased. I had written the vast majority of it in one day, and then could not stop writing. I went directly into an account of my military experiences, delving back to 1972, during an emotionally charged 21 month period of time, when I was drafted, and required to go overseas for sixteen months.
In an effort to regain more specific memories, I asked each of my siblings, with whom I had exchanged correspondence, to ransack their attics for any of those letters/cassette tapes that may still be in existence. From amongst my mother, and two of my siblings, I obtained much of the correspondence that took place between me, and my eight siblings, during this tempestuous time period, from January, 1972 to October, of 1973. I had a box of letters myself, from siblings, friends, my then-girl friend, and of course, my parents.
I immersed myself in a roller-coaster of emotion, beginning with my reading of the letters, and then writing 250,000 words of prose, covering my experiences in the three venues, in which I served. I accomplished this feat in about six weeks. Additionally, on a whim, I asked Annie to google the name of a fellow, whom I had met over in Korea, partially because he had a unique name, and partially because he had been a musician when I knew him, and I thought it possible that he would appear in a musical venue.
Mahlon Masling Blue appeared in a series of photos, depicting him playing music onstage in a nightclub on Hatteras Island, North Carolina. Through this photo, we were able to get an address and phone number, so that I could reconnect with Mahlon, and then another military brother, from SoCal, named Tim Carroll. All of this reaching back into a volatile time in my life, certainly had me perched on an emotional crest, while I wrote, and tried to sort it all out.
I was using a laptop given to me by Casey, for my 58th birthday, during that period of time when I was seeing Dr. Jill, my panic attack therapist. It was a computer, whose insides had been removed and replaced by a neighbor who tinkered with computers in his spare time. Thus, my re-entry into the world of technology had begun. This particular model proved unreliable, and caused me a fair amount of distress, because it inexplicably lost documents, and failed to save others.
I had been writing this military narrative in my mind for thirty-seven years, and it just would not be stopped. I worked in the wee hours, primarily, during a March and April, unprecedented in our time up on the ridge, with the amount of precipitation, most of it snow. I could not have worked outside, except to try and scrounge enough firewood, to make it through to summer, no matter how important it seemed.
A result of reconnecting with long-ago friends, is that I now became part of their lives. Mahlon was battling cancer of the esophagus, with all of its negative ramifications, and seemed pleased to have me back in his life. I wanted so badly to do something for my sick brother, that I asked him if he had access to marijuana, because we had indulged together overseas, and I thought that it might help him with his sickness. When the answer proved negative, I set about sending Mahlon first oatmeal cookies, and then later, the oil he would need to make the cookies. It was just much more efficient.
I garnered the good will of Mahlon and his family, by extending the California trademark goodness, and also provided another emotional blockbuster to ponder, along with the other developments. Upon completing the military piece, I went into a lengthy piece on my upbringing, in a large, close-knit Catholic family. I followed this up with an account of our move up here on the ridge, and yet another on the birth of Casey. These three narratives provided another 100,000 words of my writing.
When June 6th finally arrived, and the rain stopped, I went to work in the construction game, with a crew headed by Casey. I did very little writing during the next eight weeks, while I beat my body to a wreck, trying to play ball in a young man’s game, that of construction. I was working four days a week and trying to keep up with garden and home maintenance, and having a rough time of it all. The one thing that stands out during this two-month period is its lack of emotion and drama.
I did extend my tech knowledge to include the initiation of a blog, the first post of which was “Six Days a Week,” followed by the other pieces that were sitting on my computer. The other thing that pertains to tech advances, is the fact that my sister JT bought Terra Jean for me, a Mac BookPro, a computer of such ease and comfort, as to allow me to focus my passion and energy on writing, and not on amping about tech issues. All flowed smoothly onward.
And then came Ireland.