Monthly Archives: February 2009

Face it, life at the tail end of February, when it looks as if you are doomed to an eternity of winter, can be pretty dire. Life at the tail end of February when the nightly news seems to be one endless conspiracy to make you as depressed as humanly possible is worse. Unemployment is way up, consumer spending is way down, there are cutbacks and bailouts and plane crashes galore and only a man in the White House to maek us feel better, and he’s not too thrilled, either. To misquote one favorite nihilist, stare into the abyss, and eventually, the abyss might blink. But it won’t be any lighter.

I do not take kindly to the blues. I do not particularly care to wallow in misery, my own or others’, simply because as I see it, life is far too short. You might as well try to be happy when you can, in a few all too brief moments, and if you do it long enough, or hard enough, it just might add up to a series of instances you can look back upon in your disgruntled, disillusioned old age and say, with all the inborn pessimism of the nonogenarian, that it could have been – worse.

I therefore propose a return to – passion. That great, all-consuming fire in your belly that gets your motor revving and sets your soul soaring above your own petty limitations and poor excuses for not feeding that fire.

Now, most of us have a very narrow definition of – passion. It seems to imply things like X-rated scenarios and other people.

Not so. Passion can be anything that turns you on. Satin sheets, a dirty weekend and a willing co-conspirator are all very nice, but eventually, one way or another, the dreaded Monday morning of the mind will arrive, and there you’ll be, wondering why the phone doesn’t ring, your inbox is empty, you have received no text messages within the last 15 seconds. Or else how that scorching fireball of seething lust turned into the useless, apathetic couch potato you have been stuck with ever since.

Passion, my friends, is not lust.

Well, if it isn’t, then what IS it?

To begin with, it’s an individual thing. My passion – any one of them, and I have quite a few – may well be your untimate turn-off or kill clause. And vice versa. Your vice could be my versa. That’s not the point.

Say you for insecurity reasons of your own claim that, nope, there’s really nothing you’re passionate about. You have no creative talent or gift, there’s ho hidden Picasso in your run-of-the-mill genes.

Passion is not creativity, and creativity is another thing we generally define in the narrowest of terms. Screw those definitions.

Start by asking yourself one question. Close your eyes. Sit comfortably.

Now, ask yourself: What makes YOU happy to do that does NOT involve other people? What activity can you do for you?

Not because it might make you famous, not because you might make a zillion bucks off it, not because it might garner you some personal acceptance and approval you have sorely lacked in your sad and bathetic life.

What do you do because you cannot bear the idea of NOT doing it, whatever “it” is?

Maybe it’s ruining your eardrums with strange noises, maybe it’s the pursuit of culinary perfection, maybe it’s spending the entire weekend watching every season of “Law and Order”. Sorting your stamp collection. Committing the perfect murder to paper. Whatever. Anything goes.

Just do it, as often as you can. If you can’t find the time, then make the time. Turn off the TV, for a change.

Who cares WHAT it is – when the whole issue is THAT it is, that it does – make you, even in a few all-too-brief timespan, happy. Fulfilled. It makes you forget about all those things that bring you down – the mortgage, the bills. the endless catalog of misery known as the nightly news. It reminds you why is isn’t always bad to be alive.

It might even remind you that there is a life after all, the kind of life you want to live, as opposed to the life you’re doomed to live.

I’m warning you, though. A passion can be a dangerous thing. Take it too far and it can become an obsession. Don’t take it far enough, and it could become a regret, a regret of what you could have done if only you..

Go put your own stamp on the planet.

After all, what have you got to lose, except your sanity?

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In the spirit of all those “25 things you never knew” lists, here come mine, in no particular order. The bad news is, I actually had to think all this over. The good news is, it’s all downhill from there.

1. In order to get me in the mood to write on what I call The Effing Book, I have to clear my brain of the 21st century first. That’s where this blog comes in.

2. I will go to my grave without ever knowing who my father is, or was. I know only that I inherited his blood type and his eye color, among other things. This really narrows the field. Not.

3. I can go without makeup for days, sometimes for weeks. I cannot, however, live without perfume.

4. I love cats more than all dogs except Bassetts, and I’m not big on ferrets. Or reptiles. And if I ever buy a pedigreed cat, it will be a Turkish Van. More fun than a VW.

5. By the time I turned 12, I had known three stepfathers. One of them changed my life in ways big and small he could not have begun to imagine.

6. My first ever rock concert was at the West Palm Beach Auditorium, when I was nine years old. It was Alice Cooper. I brought my Dad. He loved every minute of it. It gave me a terminal case of rockaholism, that persists to this day.

7. The first album I ever owned that I’m not ashamed to admit to was Supertramp’s “Breakfast in America”. I can still listen to it today and not be embarrassed. The last album I got and received as a present on its European release day was Type O Negative’s “Dead Again”.

8. I was 22 before I ever saw a porn film. At a movie theater. With my boyfriend at the time. No, we didn’t.

9. I was 37 before I married for the first time. I’m still married. To the same man. That’s why I waited.

10. Now I know why mothers worship their sons. I worship my own. He’s the only other Capricorn in my life I consider a household god.

11. My sister is my all-time best female friend. With an added dimension, and added potential for danger. She’s known me too long.

12. Facebook is a total waste of time.

13. I have always believed that there is no such thing as owning too many books.

14. In a perfect world, I’d be eight inches taller. At least with heels, I’m halfway there.

15. My favorite candy bar is a Butterfinger. You can’t buy them over here. US friends – take note!

16. Yves Saint Laurent was the greatest fashion designer who ever lived. Period. Followed by Vivienne Westwood and Jean-Paul Gaultier, both of whom are still alive and make clothes for women who have tits and curves and who aren’t afraid to show them.

17. At one point in my life, I sported a two-foot faux Mohawk. Blue. With the attitude to match. I still have the attitude. Actually, I have more of it now, because I care less.

18. You can take the girl out of Goth(am), but you will never quite take the Goth out of the girl. I fully expect to be wearing ripped fishnets when I’m eighty. You have been warned!

19. If not for the Resident Buttkicker, I would never have begun to write anything at all.

20. I also owe a debt of gratitude to an Ethiopian goatherder, who discovered some very tasty Energizer berries around 1400 years ago. A world without coffee is not a world I want to live in.

21. My favorite writer of antiquity is Aristophanes. My favorite Roman poet is Martial, for being such a pottymouth. Both of them wrote punchlines that are still funny 2000+ years later.

22. A large bunch of Easter lilies will turn me into a pathetic puddle of gratitude.

23. Sexy is all in the attitude. I’ve known plenty of drop-dead gorgeous women who were as sexy as used dishrags. And lots of not-so-perfect human specimens of both genders who are not exactly gorgeous, but still drop-dead sexy.

24. Some guys love smart women, and plenty of other ones don’t. I hang out with the first category.

25. Flattery does get you everywhere.

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