Well: a surprise – ten years today since I started this blog.
Cue opening vamp for 'I'm Still Here.'
(MJ, you'll remember how much needs to be put into that song to carry it off...)
Current health update: last week was terrible, this week wasn't bad. I took advantage of seeing the senior HIV/HCV specialist on Thursday to ask him about long-term expectations, and whether I could choose him as my doctor when my current doctor retires late this year...
He said some things I knew, and some that were more unexpected: the HCV will probably be cured, we'll know for sure in early September; after the cure liver cancer remains a possibility, and cirrhosis doesn't simply go away –but the probability decreases steeply, and with patients who don't drink much (= me) a lot of the cirrhosis should clear up.
And yes, he's happy to be my doctor (he said 'I'd be honoured', which was kind); and since, of all the doctors at the very skilled Newcastle clinics, he is the best with general health and behaviour patterns (rather than focusing on treatment regimens), that sounds like a good idea to me– especially as it seems as though I may have somewhat more toxic medications for some time to come; I need someone who is good at the subtle balancing acts of the body's processes.
Time and change: even moving, finally though fitfully, from winter to spring brings everything to life –
but in a way that somehow emphasises its contingent, changing nature, and the sense that so many springs and summers are in the past.
There is some cross-focus among the papers I should be writing, which tangle with archetypes, with life and death and politics; and continuing to read Aion for the online Jung-Institut seminars, with its chaotic drift through images of transformation, eternity and existential focus; and reading the dark 'Dis' chapter of Kalsched's new book, which is both very striking and a battle to get through (why do I keep falling asleep?); and reading, tangentially though perhaps all too appositely, Geoff Ryman's WAS (one of the two great AIDS fantasies, along with Michael Bishop's Unicorn Mountain – but I've read the Bishop, while I've always struggled with the bitterness in the Ryman – but am fighting my way through it now)...
all these things, with sun and light and winter and spring, keep me watching life as though partly inside it, and partly outside.
A dream of two people, one the lead singer from Lord Huron (I first heard their ecstatic but strange 'The Man who Lives Forever' a few weeks ago; a gauntlet thrown down by the puer, by the Icarus of the young man who wants to transform the world, and be young forever – one that ends up holding its energy in the air by fusing IV and V, then, in the studio version, pushing as many circling, ecstatic lines toward upper registers as it can...) and a woman, more symbolic and less real, who marries me in a festive ceremony: and a relaxed eroticism between the three of us – but I sleep with the singer, who in the dream is utterly embodied and male, without anxiety about the world: he sleeps next to me, arms flung back, full of the intense abandon of the deeply physical –
it reminds me, as I have repeatedly been reminded over the past few months, of the eighth Duino Elegy – not the shattering first one, which always fascinated me when I was younger: but the eighth, where he speaks of
... the Open, which is so
deep in animals’ faces. Free from death.
We, only, can see death; the free animal
has its decline in back of it, forever,
and God in front, and when it moves, it moves
already in eternity, like a fountain.
In the dream, that is what the singer is: part of a living world as are the animals, moving endlessly in eternity, like a fountain.
In WAS and in the Kalsched, there is a focus on children who lose track of their childhoods – and who, through anxiety or horror, lose too much of their contact with the natural world, too early.
Stoppard's radio play 'Where Are They Now?' is about a boy in an English public school, one who is miserable, pushed around, angry – but Stoppard does something amazing on the last page, where we suddenly see the boy playing football, running toward the goal, ecstatically happy with the summer air, the energy, the cheers of his teammates –
But of course you can see the loss: children who lose track of their own humanity, or perhaps their own animal joy in the world, and spend their adult lives trying to get it back: though after so many years it has receded like a distant tide, no longer bolstered by the energy of the younger body, and it takes long patience and transformation to get near it again.
An odd moment today: Michael asked how my week had gone – I said I was feeling much better; and also that, aside from writing articles, everything else was going smoothly, up to date –
it may not sound like much; but the fact that I can experience my own time, my life, as something distinct from whether I am getting work done, as opposed to having the lack of productivity devalue my existence (as it has for much of my life) – this is both strange and deeply relaxing.
My analysands also seem to be full of life, of spring – even those who are struggling or frustrated are writing stories, rethinking their lives; there is a sense of new growth, of buds and rapid movement forward, emerging in all of them.
Makis and Nik are joking in a café, no apparent boundaries to their energy and happiness; people wander the streets on a sunny day, among the stalls of the market in the middle of town. Things are full of life... I seem to perceive it as a gestalt, as a remarkably dense world of experience (somewhat like my students when they are enjoying themselves performing in the local bars on weekends); I don't feel quite as though I am in the midst of that life, that liveliness, but it also doesn't seem that I can't have some contact with it, in some ways.
But there is still a sense of time, and distance, even as life goes on in front of me: as though I understand more deeply than I ever had that I could have spent more of my life out in the world, but that, as always, past years cannot, unfortunately, be retrieved. Which is, ultimately, not so bad: the possibility, the imagined alternate reality, can partly stand in for the missing reality: it is not such a disappointment.
A certain warmth, a certain light, to things in these past few days of spring.
Talking to analysands, bright sunlight crossing the room, energy growing during the session.
A dream where I sleep next to a man who is un-self-conscous, creative and vividly alive.
All of it still framed in past-ness, in possibilities that I no longer believe can quite be reached by me: but the energy appears in dreams, in conversations, in the feel of warmth on the skin....