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Picuris Peak, 6:16 a.m.

Picuris Peak at dawn

Picuris in back, covered with clouds

Got up at 4:45 a.m. with a bursting bladder. Sky already turning gray from black. Back to bed, obviously, dragging dream baggage. Then that thing where you can’t breathe. Panic attack. Long slow breaths, brain racing for distraction so things settle down. Nope. Shit. Back out of bed, put on bathrobe, out to living room and computer desk. Laptop only (silent), wake from sleep, turn on network. No coffee. Atrocity stream on Twitter takes focus off breathing. Good, but Jesus! Drunk brain-damaged apes in Ukraine looting corpses, etc. Wife wakes up, makes coffee (!), feeds cat, goes off to exercise. How does she do that? Impossible for me. Will also come home cheerful. She lives in moment, I live in dread.

Check book sales at Amazon and iBooks. Huh. Two more since last checked at 2:00 a.m. Could be worse, but motorcycle on hold. Also house. Don’t click on Realtor.com, you fucker. Too late. What’s this? “Only” $170K and right down the road? Oh no, that address! Someone built a spec house there? Frame construction, fake adobe, new but shitty. Anyone could tell. Reeling at thought of newbies buying in deserted area where I used to hike. Why “used to”? Evil vibes. Wife and I walked into violent plein-air butt-fucking where house now sits. (Get a room, right? Now they can.) Realtor copy says “priced below market value to sell quickly.” Usual Taos bullshit. Refrain from gratuitous spamming of listing agent. Back to bed wearing robe.

Time passes. Late morning better, psycho-defensive measures taken. Do. Not. Hurt. Your. Self. Light under bushel still lit. No panic or answers. Moment is everything. Goons not my problem, wherever they are. Roof over head. Food in fridge. Money in bank. Fuck real estate, withdraw projections, get creative. Oddly calm. Take shower, wash hair. Look better in mirror. Don’t think about hearing or teeth.

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Old Taos

old Taos adobe

Not ours, but nearby

I can’t believe I don’t have any other posts by this name. There could be a whole series! This is a neighbor’s house. I’ll just let you take it in.

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Wednesday Evening

lamp on table in Taos, NM

The Holy Javelina and the Rat

Man, I need a break. I’ve needed a break for years from trying to please, and please what, anyway? So here we are, ooookay…

The new book* has had a pleasant, quiet splash which if replicated on a daily basis would improve more things than I can name. No less a reader than my sister-in-law’s husband said it was “revealing, honest, raw and occasionally bitter sweet” and called me brave. He didn’t have a lot of fun, though. My sister loved it and read it through in one night! (She’s in it, of course.) Another reader saw apects of her own family and called it “so raw and close to the rotten truth.” Music to my ears, chilluns, and making some bucks off the shit that rained down ain’t no bad thing, either. Big “har” on that. Thanks to all of it, however, even if I never wrote about family again, I still win—potentially—and that is a hoot.

(You devils are all supposed to understand why.)

* Buy links in footer below ↓

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Everybody Dance Now

storm cloud over New Mexico

Raining somewhere if we let it

The old dude marched across the sagebrush-covered mesa, scuffing his boots in the dust and marveling (once again) that he was all alone under God’s big sky in the middle of nowhere that was somewhere in his heart or else he wouldn’t be there. Scuff, stride, pant. It was hotter than it should have been, he thought, by Earth time only 10:00 a.m., but the hot blade of the sun at seven thousand feet could cut through anything. He wasn’t hot so much as microwaved; no blood or blisters, but the marrow bubbled softly in his bones and had nowhere to run.

The sweat that soaked his hat ran down his face as he remembered. Everywhere he looked inside his thoughts were fine young dudes who neither knew nor cared about the titanic struggles of his youth, the wars and lusts and glorious adventures he’d had to keep inside his heart, but there was nothing he could do except keep moving. He understood the game but started late and knew he’d always feel this way, unless the past exploded or was eaten by a cloud.

Thirty miles away, a giant floating peacock of a New Mexico storm pissed a little rain. The old dude watched a foot-long skink scurry to the shade behind a sagebrush and wait for him to pass. All he wanted was a second chance, and all the lizard wanted was him gone.

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The Helen Chronicles: When Your Mother Falls Apart

Let’s try this GIANT image just for fun

My latest book, The HELEN CHRONICLES, (32,788 words) is now live at Amazon. If you don’t have a Kindle, the free Kindle app (see sidebar at that link) works with everything else. Even better for this Apple fanboy, it’s available on iBooks, too.

Behold the introduction from the book:

The HELEN CHRONICLES is an annotated, chronological collection of blog posts that tell the story of my mother’s chaotic last few years under the influence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, paranoia, schizophrenia, delusions, and hallucinations. (If that says “family” to you, you’re in the right place.) The events described took place between August 7, 2008, and April 7, 2012. My original accounts, no longer available online, were sometimes rough, emotional, and repetitive. Over the top is also fair. I’ve cleaned them up as best I can and added notes.

This is not the story of her life—that would be quite different—but the drama at the end, the clang and shudder of the final rolling train wreck, presented in real-time dispatches through the eyes of an oldest son who tried to do the right thing out of love and duty at great risk to himself. The reader should also know that for the thirty years preceding the time frame of this book, my adult relationship with Helen was difficult at best. There was never a single visit without a crisis or eruption in the first few hours. My father died in 1987. By August, 2008, however, when the action in this book begins, I hadn’t visited Helen for about five years, and she lived just six hundred miles away.

A few essential details did go missing at the time or had to be suppressed. Please see the epilogue, “The Untold Story of Helen’s Capture,” written especially for this book, to learn how touch and go it was. One way or the other, Helen made it impossible for us to help her, as if she’d really moved on years ago and left us with her shadow. We all did the best we could, and this is how it happened.

It makes a damned good story, too, one I hope never happens to you. If it already has, then at least you know you’re not alone. This is the thing I had to do before I could do anything else, and I want it public. It’s my way of saying good-bye to a whole bunch of things and hello to the unknown.

Blogging will recommence, and there are other things to write. I have a lot to say.

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