Ian packed his notebook into his bag and started the walk home from the beach. He passed the invasive ice plants and tourists in their 100% organic cotton Gildan San Francisco sweatshirts. He smiled as he thought about the money trap Fishermans Wharf and noticed tags still attached to one shirt.
As his hangover subsided and his emotional state steadied, Ian found a new sense of curiosity for the folks on the trail. He tried getting eye contact, a favorite pastime of his with strangers. He listened in on their conversations. He thought about what they all have in common. He wondered what suffering they carried or if anyone thought he looked sad. He wondered if anyone would want to know his story. Which of these folks were single parents? Born in New York? Raised by a jazz musician mother that died of complications from Alzheimer's?
The thrill of being the stranger faded and Ian turned inward. He thought about his writing practice and why it was unsteady. He thought about what writing gave him. He knew it helped him. He liked the stillness in the world after he spent time writing. It gave him perspective. After writing his story felt little. His problems felt smaller.
The walking helped remove the headache, so Ian decided, feeling better, it was time to get on the horse again. He took a left on Clement street and stopped at Mannequins. He saw Bruce was working the bar. He found a seat, gave Bruce a nod, and asked for an Anchor Steam.
“Panties in a bunch?” Bruce asked. Noticing the red in Ian's eyes. Bruce was the best kind of generally nosy bartender.
“Can’t even get some peace on a Saturday morning?” Ian poked in reply.
“Nice of you to stop in so early. Rough night?” Bruce wiped down the bar next to Ian and then stood back, arms folded.
“Nah, great night actually, I told you about Laila before, right?”
“Ah shit yeah, she’s the one farming seaweed for the conservatory?”
“No, that was Grace. That was like 6 months ago.” Ian took a drink.
“Ah” Bruce shrugged.
“Doesn’t matter anyway. I don’t know what I’m doing”
“No one does kid.”
“Yeah, whatever. We’ve been friends for a while. She’s been with this guy I work with named Elliot, who I don’t like. Last night, after we sat together at a party, I felt this connection man, I don’t know. Something clicked between us. I left a little later and was waiting for a ride home outside. Then she ran out and kissed me. It was wild. Then I went home” Ian looked at his beer and took a drink, scanning the bar and noticing no one else was there.
“You left her there?” Bruce asked.
“Yeah, I don’t know, something wrong with that?”
“Never leave waves for waves brother.”
“Yeah, well, I don’t practice traditional misogyny like you, Bruce.” Ian took another drink of his beer and smiled to see how this shade would land. He knew Bruce well enough to know this was his kind of emotional bonding. This helped him feel seen. Bruce smiled back.
“Just an old dog brother” Bruce took a drink of water.
“So, I had another bottle of wine when I got home last night. And then I walked down to the beach this morning to work my headache off. I texted her about 30 minutes ago.” As Ian finished sharing, his phone, which was lying face down on the bar next to him, buzzed. He reached out and picked it up.
“Hi” it read. From Laila.
Had difficulty finding Ian again this week. Writing this story feels like diving a shipwreck and every now and then I have to come up for air. I guess this is part of the process. It’s been fun to feel like I’m wandering with Ian right now. I don’t know where he’s going. I’ve spent some time going back and editing the start to this story, Lovely Kiss, Kiss, Kiss, in an attempt to rediscover the bigger narrative here. I don’t think it helped much.
This week’s Holy mentions. Some rad shit that influenced my thinking in this episode.
Ween’s Tried and True
Came across this song on a Grateful Dead radio playlist on Spotify. Had to know more about it and found this video, which isn’t an official music video from what I can tell. Just a rad combination of things from a fan. The animation is called The Last Cartoon Man, a short made in 1973 by Jeff Hale and Derek Lamb. Jeff Hale was one of the original illustrators for Sesame Street. Anyways, it’s perfect surrealism for the song.
The lyrics that get me…
I went about the job of sowing thoughts... and feelings
Oh, some were good, some bad, I felt the cries... of healing
I think that’s what I’m trying to get at with this deeper exploration and character development with Ian. Trying to help him find some healing.
The Suffering That Hides in Plain Sight
This interactive NYTimes piece about the Auden poem Musée Des Beaux Arts is something. It thoughtfully dissects the poem and uses a really engaging interaction model. It’s slow. It builds. It helps you dive into the piece, the paintings and Auden himself. Just fucking dope all around. A key theme, which I really liked, something’s only a disaster if we notice it.
Emotionally Intelligent Masculinity
There is no link to this. I’ve just been thinking about it and wondering what it looks like. I don’t know if Emotional Intelligence needs any gendered differentiation, but there is intersectionality. Tried to bake some tried but true masculine dialogue into this story between Bruce and Ian as a way to think about it.
Keep noticing friends,