The secret is to get out of the house. Wear long underwear. Listen to the ice whirl, moan and whistle. I’m going to get out my new ice skates after I drink a cup of hot chocolate. The lake has frozen solid all the way across to New York State with no snow cover. A hundred miles of an ice rink. I was standing on the ice, in some places a foot thick, thinking about the joy of walking on thick, not thin, ice for a change. Feeling solidly alive without dread, fear, anxiety about tomorrow — For a few frozen, white, quiet moments I was worry-free. Not thinking about money. Realizing that if i didn’t have any money instead of a little, I could not worry about money alot more. I think I will spend every last dime of my money so i don’t have to worry about spending it. I’ll just save enough money for fifteen tanks of gas, which will take me anywhere in the United States when my electricity gets turned off and the gas company refuses to refuel.
Pictured above: Buddhist Monk arrives for winter retreat at Camp Casey. He smokes, he drinks coffee, he reads, he sleeps, he thinks, he thinks some more, he sits at a desk and sketches little pictures that resemble kites in a black book. He eats, he makes hot chocolate, he sleeps, he thinks, he sews a button on his coat, he smokes, he smokes hash, he smokes cigarettes, he is always shoveling something into his mouth or down his throat. Anything but alcohol. Anything. Keep the Voo-Doo Vodka Devil away from my door! He owns one pair of pants and one shirt. He is penniless, and yet I have witnessed him give a bum on the street his last dollar and his last cigarette. He has taken me one step closer to enlightenment. Slowly, through the years I have come understand his thought process. He is living without a safety net, beyond the bounds of social acceptability. You know, that two step that the rest of us do in order to fit in? Or at least fit in as misfits, artists, wierdos, etc. We all pretend to be independent of societal pressures, but we march to different drummers in a very straight line. Do you know how straight YOUR line is? Let me tell you about my line. It is now laced with Adderol. I am severely ADHD. Look it up if you have to. It has destroyed my life. so far. Things are going to change very rapidly now that I know what the matter is. I remember the I.Q. test I took when I was twelve. My score was 81. Below retarded. I believed it. My teacher believed it. My parents believed it. My boyfriend believed it. Idiots. The score was 181. Watch out, world, here I come…………….
I am so sorry but it seems I have become a bore. Everything I think and do is boring, repetitious, insignifigant and substandard not to mention mediocre, trite, vanilla, pastel, mixed media. Even the squirrels outside my window are starting to wonder, “When is she going to pull out of this bore-ass phase and get back in the game?” Well, it will be happening soon because I am about to run out of money. When I get down to a tank of gas and a cheese sandwich, I will be back on the road, and the road is where I do my best work. A tiny room in Red Hook, a tent in Alabama, couches of friends from Jersey to Louisiana. Hi Diddly Dee, the gypsy life for me! I wish that I did not need to be motivated by desperation and fear but it seems to work for me. Have you tried it?
Today’s press release from Haiti includes a recipe for the dirt cookies that mother’s are feeding their children to fend off hunger pangs. Recipe: Dirt, salt, water, shortening. Mix Dirt with Water to create mud in a consistency not unlike cake batter. Add salt and shortening until mud is consistency of cookie dough. Press mixture into small pie shapes. Dry in sun. Serve with nothing.
That bit of news puts our own recession worries in perspective, although we are not as far from dirt cookies as we may think. Forever the prepared pessimist, I tracked down a woman living in the deep hills of Vermont who has baked extraordinary dirt cookies laced with hay and/or manure since before I was born. I could not ask her for any baking advice. Upon arrival I found her flopped stone dead on her porch floor.
My advice: Don’t eat dirt. More advice: get some money soon, however you can, LOTS of it and hide it.
Dr. Casey has had a mental breakdown and is having difficulties dialing the phone numbers of friends who might come to her aid. It occurred suddenly, the day after her skiing mania and subsequent remorse over buying ski equipment that she feels she will never use again. It was snowing for the fourth day and Dr. Casey no longer saw the snow as white and had no desire to walk in it, let alone ski down it. The skis are in the back of her car and will remain there as a constant reminder of how totally fucked up she is. It appears that her latest personality, Bernice, is a professional downhill skier. It was Bernice would bought the skis and Bernice who skied yesterday. Bernice left Camp Casey this morning for Switzerland, and Dr. Casey has returned, only to discover the skis, and worse, the receipt: Absolutely No Refunds. Camp Casey will remain a one-woman mental institution until Dr. Casey developes another personality with a PhD in Multiple Personality Syndrome. Neighbors in the area have suggested that Dr. Casey get in her car and drive either South or West until she spots a palm tree. They have offered to pay travel expenses. Dr. Casey has written recently of the environment in which she has completely lost her mind:
It gets so dark here at night, that when you drive the eight miles you must travel to get a loaf of bread you have to guess where the road is. You have headlights, sure, but headlights are quite useless in total blackness. You use the line in the middle of the road as a guide, but you cannot see the sides of the road, so when you are here, you feel the need to stay here and not get in the car unless there is a large moon in a clear sky. You go without the bread until daybreak.
If you are feeling sad, the sadness will fill the room you are sitting in and when the sun goes down, it will wrap around you like a strait-jacket; suffocating your interests. If you are happy, your happiness will expand like a baking cupcake and warm your sockless toes. You will sit in the dark and the quiet soaking in a happiness that is so immediate it becomes a physical presence you can talk to.
Once in a great while you will hear the moaning of a train whistle across the lake, an owl, the crackling flame of the gas stove, branches moving in the wind. Each sound is an awakening from the dead quiet that has taken you directly to the workings of your emotions. The quiet enters your brain and grants an interview. It enters your groin and causes a baseless arousal. You stay busy staring out the window, listening to the repeated sound of your own internal voice saying, I should, I should, over and over. I should. In a couple of hours, the “I shoulds” fade away.