Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mania, the NBA and Flowers

First I apologize for the inconsistent punctuation and spacing in these last posts, brought on by a need to battle instant translation of everything I type into some unidentifiable Asian script that reminds me of Cambodian। I can't find the glitch yet, but it prevents me from correcting anything on the post page as I go; I can only paste in corrections from elsewhere, and even then the infection puts in a vertical mark resembling '!' without the lower dot and takes a space away, as if to leave an Asian cyberturd behind, as above.


I had a manic dream last night, something so rare I can't remember the last one। And it's the second night I've had one। I attribute it to taking my second dose of Effexor too late. I need to take it in the afternoon apparently. But just as depressive dreams often warn me of on oncoming depression and have prevented its clinical eruption by such caution, so likewise my body may be warning me of flipping past euthymia into hypomania if not careful.

In the first night's dream I battled an armored dwarf who came after me with a machete'; after I disarmed him, he picked up a battle-ax and assaulted me with increased vigor। Again I disarmed him easily and told him that if that sort of behavior turned him on, I might have to pay attention, but that his aggressions would be better served in some other way. He was crestfallen and felt diminished, though I didn't discount future attacks. I acted as if this sort of thing happened every day and that I was more than competent to deal with murderous dwarfs. Which reminds of the time when, while manic, I kept a police dog (German Shepherd) at bay with one hand, slapping him repeatedly when he tried to leap, keeping the other hand free to smoke, gesture, and reason with an arresting officer. The dog gave up; he realized that I was too quick for him and I don't know how hard I slap when I'm manic; very hard, I expect. I still have scars on my right hand from the occasional tooth.

In last night's dream we were in Mexico (Kathleen and I and her mother and Derek), where I would become enraged at the slightest deviation from my way, to the point of belittling my dear wife and shocking her mother while I ran around a beachside Mexican resort looking for conflict with with anyone from “the dark side।” I can't remember any physical altercations. It's pointless resisting me when in any case I'm manic, whether in a dream or reality. Either calm me down (which has been done by loved ones) or call the authorities.

At the supermarket yesterday late in the afternoon I snapped at Kathleen because I was “houchy” (so hungry I was grouchy), but luckily she didn't hear it। When my blood sugar dips too far I can get like that, in a mini-manic explosion of anger, but I got some Safeway sushi in time to quiet the demon.

This is the Scylla and Charybdis of my disease: in treating a depression you may overshoot into mania, and vice-versa। Yet as an informed consumer, the first logical step is to take my second dose of Effexor earlier; the second is to skip the second dose altogether. In addition I increased my mood-stabilizing agent, Klonopin, to 2 mg. last night, which made me sleep until noon, but I felt it a necessary precaution after two nights of manic dreams.

And yes, poetry has come back to me and I'm enjoying it। I have been posting at three boards and my poem, “Queen Melancholy,” was solicited by an editor. I also had two light verse pieces accepted. And I got a nice rejection from Poetry magazine, which, although a form letter, was one of the nicest form letters I've received. God bless you, Christian! (Unfortunately I had no record of my submitting there, so I can't tell what they rejected. Must have been one of my late at night brandy-drenched sorties into the world of publication that I failed to record.).

Today's question: Will Craig grow manic?

Today's answer: Not if he can help it। (It usually leads to an arrest, and he no like da police, though “he do the police in different voices.”)

I played at a rally Friday against Measure 'B' (to repeal liberal marijuana laws) in Fort Bragg and was well received, though I mistook their “Pot Luck” sign for food, afterward discovering they meant pooling alternative resources and burning them. I played at a Botanical Gardens soirĂ©e the week before and was well-received as well. (If I use “well” again in a sentence I shan't be feeling well.) I've been invited by a bass player to play Saturday Night at a local burger joint as well. (Now I'm

This brings up another component of my recovery that I neglected to mention in my last post। Though ECT and Invega (an anti-psychotic whose effects on me were similar to the demonic Haldol) made me worse in Jan/Feb of this year, I requested an MRI of my brain while hospitalized and they discovered a bilateral, chronic maxillary sinus infection (everyone in my family seems to have allergies but I never paid them no mind). I remembered a case as a family practitioner where a depressive perked up after I treated her chronic sinus infection, so I went to our family doctor and requested treatment. After a month's antibiotics (the first two weeks spitting up a lot of schmegg), not only was my depression better but my voice had improved markedly. It's timbre and resonance had returned, I was no longer singing through pockets of mucous that robbed me of my natural timbre. So add this to my list of fortuitous concatenation of circumstances in recovery under “physiochemical.”

The Lakers won handily last night, another reason for me to rejoice। They are now 6-0 in the playoffs. Only one team that started with such a record in the playoffs has ever failed to win a championship. Yes I know there are lies, damned lies, and statistics, but my beloved Lakers are the best passing team in the league now, displaying oodles of patience to get the best shot while fast-breaking when appropriate. They have no supernatural point (passing, play-making) guard like the Hornets' Chris Paul, but the triangle offense they employ doesn't need one; in it, every player must act as a point guard, a passer, and we are blessed with a number of big men who can pass—Gasol, Odom, Turiaf and Walton (although Walton is really more of a tweener, a swing man). If only Radmonivich could pass we would have five starters who were gifted passers, and good passing has overcome poor rebounding against Utah so far, though I expect them to win a couple of games in predicting a six-game series which the Lakers should win 4-2. If the Lakers sweep I will be surprised.

Meanwhile ugly eastern basketball proceeds, with the wrestling matches of the Celtics vs। the Cavaliers, and the suffocating Detroit defense against the mad three-point shooting Magic। It will likely be Boston and Detroit in the East semifinals and the Lakers and the Hornets in the West, because right now San Antonio, defending champion, seems completely befuddled by Chris Paul, who finished second only to Kobe in the MVP balloting, and based solely on this year's statistics, probably deserved it more.


I tried bark in my garden to discourage the cats, as Laurel suggested, but it has been no use। Next I shall try deer netting, and though the aesthetic of draping my porch railing and and flower borders in nylon squares does little for me, my plants will otherwise remain small if at all while the cats keep tramping and the deer keep chomping. The only annual flowers to do well so far are alyssum, which is low to the ground, thus survives trampling, and is apparently not deer-licious. As for perennials, the jasmine and the mints (apple mint, cat mint, mint) and sages (sage and pineapple sage) are doing OK. And to be fair, more of my drugstore (hothouse) flowers have survived than I expected, some clinging to life like the marigolds and petunias, some testing life like the pansies, while some thrive like the alyssum, something I hope for my newly planted sea thrift and lobelia, since they are also essentially ground covers. I should mention that an evil neighborhood cat has torn down whole stems repeatedly from the calla lily just for the fun of it. I caught him in the act. Strange behavior for a cat. Maybe he thinks it's Easter.

On the coast it's cold and windy, so low-lying thick-leaved plants do best। Ice plant would be ideal but since I grew up with it everywhere (in SoCal) I have no intention of planting such a common thing. I'm not a botanical snob but I know what I like, just like Disney: Color! Color! Color! More color than foliage if I can help it. BTW, it's peak rhododendron season out here and a lovely time to visit the Mendocino Coast, just don't move here, please.

How quickly over a thousand words shoot from my fingertips!

Lastly, a new poem:


It's hard to say whether fog is addition or subtraction
as it leaches color from shore pines, pinus contortus,
painting them slate while the sea's horizon
is lost in indistinction like a chalk line blurred।
All is dulled, dunned, drabbed, sullied
or alternately whitewashed by the bright gray
Flimsier than a negligee, thick as a cataract,
softening all by spell of the sea's breath,
a brume grown opaque as a drop cloth,
it's a lie cast over reality, else a new one
Reach out, rub it between your fingers;
nothing remains but a lick of humidity.

(“brume” = haze)

Kiloneutral but cautious

Thine in Truth and Art


1 comment:

  1. Craig:

    I've had similar responses to Venlafaxine when I took it before bed -- vivid dreams and very disconcerting.

    I'm in a poetry downturn right now. Can't even come up with a line if my life depended on it.

    I don't think I've read Queen Melancholy. Congrats on having it accepted.

    Our plants are just beginning to come into their own up here in the Great White North and I've always been interested in planting a couple of rhododendrons, but they're expensive. Do you know if they can root from cuttings?

    Like your blog BTW.




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