Janathon day five was freezing cold with high winds. By the time dinner was over and the kids to bed, the ice had rolled in on some really powerful winds coming down from the Arctic. Squeezing in through the cracks in the windows, sucking at the vents leading out from the dryer, the oven, the creaking old window frames, the wind spoke of winter’s long embrace. So, yoga. I did some stretching and core stuff, trying to get grounded. Just beat. No sleep. I dreamed that a guy I hired, a former Army staff sergeant, lost his job. This isn’t a fantasy. We both worked at a place going through rapid-fire leadership changes, and heads were rolling. I still have nightmares.

I took a part-time job down the street delivering pizzas. It’s like twenty years were erased from my life, and I’d never gone to college, become a fine dining chef, a hotel front house manager, an exchange student recruiter, a swimming pool designer, music journalist, environmental services manager. Back at the pizza, people looking at me like an alien grandfather because I took boxes to a trash bin without being asked. I delivered pizzas. The only cool thing, money aside, was taking a peek inside the homes of total strangers. Blech. Basically people are high and tired and overworked. People are tired of shovelling the walk, couldn’t give a damn about even dressing to come to the door despite the 25F weather.

The weird thing about the fracking industry is seeing a handful of guys in a large, 300k McMansion with basically little or no furniture, filthy, shit piled in the corner like someone pushed everything from the center of the rooms into  laundry and garbage corners for wrestling matches. I see that about once a night. Outside, house looks jake. Artisan Shaker shingles, flagstone walkways somewhat shoveled clean of snow, evergreen shrubs once shapely sprouting spare beardly twigs.  Inside, house looks like a drunken teen-age tantrum. Dirty floors, heavy coveralls and boots in a muck room. Every room looks muckish. There’s never any music playing, the TVs on, an avalanche of different abandoned beverage containers from nameless occasions building on available horizontal surfaces. Piles of clothes and pizza boxes shoved against walls, like little nesting birds, they line their nests before the pad’s been placed, the well’s been capped, so soon they’ll fly away.

Job interview on Monday, you are calling my name. Brought the money home, made it rain. Outside the rain was blowing sideways. The moon, a fat orange troll lifted the clouds higher and higher, dragging away the blanket of warm air that had kept the snow away. The temps were dropping with my spirits. I’m having one of those dark nights of the soul.

I played Skyrim and drank cocoa, in ‘god mode’, leaping off mountains with nary a scratch, getting my armor crisped by dragons.

Janathon Day 6 I awoke to find kids’ school cancelled. I entertained a one year-old and a six year-old all day. Snow blanketed everything. The old born has been recovering from some fairly tenacious flu, so we stayed inside and built forts. I delivered pizzas again, got stiffed on all but one delivery. Crushing solitude. Instead of looking for jobs during nap time this fine Tuesday, I had to do a massive overhaul of my security protocols. Seems the phone my old company issued me allowed the bastards access to my email, to my contacts and everything. I found my inbox erased back to December 22nd. I panicked, but then I threw everything into encryption and recovered my data. They keep trying to catch me riding dirty.

Very awkward day. The kids wore me out. I took a moment to study some homonyms and homographs to reconnect with my inner nerd. Going to resume slow progress on some projects tomorrow when the kids.are squared away at school.  Stood in the snow outside people’s houses. One of the pizzas I delivered was three-foot across, a massive platter of goo that I barely managed to squeeze in through the car door. The guy who ordered it was pissed he couldn’t fit it through his porch door without tilting it. I had to carry it up three flights of stairs in the snow over my head like a giant flat cardboard umbrella.

Had a dream I found a sad mare and cheered her up. I combed her and rubbed her down, told her she was my special girl. I adopted her, but then her face and upper body turned into a microcephalic pinhead character from the movie Freaks. Her teeth and nose protruded goonishly, her ears two fattened dumplings twisting out from her newly budding skull like spring cabbages,  and she lay sprawled in the road, cackling and mewling, pawing the deep, muddy ruts. What started as a special bond between human and equine beings had turned into something sort of grotesque and unsustainable, like a Dairy Queen Waffle Bowl.

It’s lower face continued to mutate into a  lumpy mass of skinless bone, chattering its teeth, it’s exposed long nasal bone made of soft, flapping cartilage, flapping and sucking like a clogged vacuüm cleaner in and out of it’s nasal cavity.Weird. The bit of skin around its wide, frightened, human eyes flecked with dirt and tears.

Don’t be hating, patrolling, trying to catch me ridin’ dirty. I’m losing my way. I use my dreams to escape this madness. I use my art to capture and subdue it. I’m trying to get back into writing, but this type of insanely unstable living is what drove me away from it in the first place. The more I wrote, the weirder things got, until one day, writing an angry, nonplussed review of Def Leppard’s horrible “Pour Some Sugar On Me” single, having chosen to buy typewriter ribbon rather than a can of corned beef hash, with federal agents busting down my door to arrest one of my unmedicated flop house roomies, I decided to stop writing altogether, that I’d accidentally stepped into a story I couldn’t understand and didn’t enjoy.

I became a slave instead. I was hoarding money to escape, but it was better than sleeping in a storage space, or my car with a bat, showering in apartment complex swimming pools. Seeming as how another roomie’s pitbull had escaped during the federal raid and attacked a neighbor, I found myself completely homeless and typing in a rented storage space by the light of a shadeless table lamp next to a bedroll…I decided not to kill myself, but explore my self-loathing a bit more. I let it happen. Of course i wrote about it. I was a flowering writer, and me blossoms were heavy with nectar and shit. As a slave – no experience, not very good at it – I had to renovate a basement for use as a D & S dungeon, tie people up, work as a photographer’s assistant (we did tasteful portraiture in verdant gardens, using giant deflector/diffuser panels to get that soft light into the cracks of people’s eyes and worry lines around the mouth). Completely surreal. I tied someone up one time and went upstairs and made a pb&j, washed it down with some bourbon, grabbed a candle, a lighter, and went back to work. I didn’t even get a proper lunch break, working two jobs, nipples all burnt and messed up, bad voodoo.  That gig lasted a couple of weeks, until one bright cold morning the photographer who’d been boarding me met Jesus in a parking lot and she threw my gear into the street one morning while I was out getting a new job). i was like, what the fuck, why did you do that. She started calling me unclean and stuff. I was like, good luck, and good-bye. I moved back into my car. I’d never taken my stuff out of storage. I never had any illusions about living with a dominatrix landlord. Shit was bound to get spicy quick.

It was then that I decided to quit the magazine, stop writing and learn carpentry, to work outside, get healthy, go Vegan, start wearing Western wear, become normal.

Apparently my plan failed. I’m writing again.