E-mails to my therapist, 2006

Compiled by Lem Huntington

The following are all real.

[ No Subject ]

Sunday, September 17, 2006 1:58 AM

Lisa,

I've been thinking about things. I haven't really been angry, but I have had some dreams that remixed familiar themes.

The dream about the highschool graduation theater production that I've been told to rehearse for at the last minute is now blending with the dream where I'm in a gigantic movie theater with endless, vast tents spooling film after film. Somehow these two meld with the dream about the space-age luxury hotel.

The dream about my family has now boiled itself down to me, my brother, and my sister all awkwardly trying to occupy the same ugly, poorly furnished room.

By the way, in my dreams I've acquired the ability to find a magic elevator that will transport me to a new and superior dream, although there's no way of knowing what kind of place I'll be transported to.

On top of all that, that is to say, during my waking life, I remain pretty depressed and useless.

Last night, I took some Depakote, then drank White Russians at a party, then smoked some hash, then finished the evening off with a Seroquel. I have to say, it was one of the most solid buzzes I've ever experienced. Not the most powerful, or the most pleasurable, just the most-- unyielding. Like chewing gum or doing opium.

After we broke up on April 1st, Lauren and I went our separate ways. She departed on a road trip to Seattle that she'd been planning. When I jumped out the window, my roommate called Lauren to tell her about it and she OD'd on heroin. She survived, and told me about it the last time we saw each other, after I had left the hospital.

I loved her very much, and I had only known her four months. Have these passions been real? Or have I, and people like me, been made the victim of a cosmic joke where our emotions are comically exaggerated phantasms?

See you Wednesday,

Lem

 

[ No Subject ]

Thursday, September 28, 2006 11:02 AM

Lisa,
I feel a bit funny about calling you so I'm e-mailing instead.

Last night I visited my friend Regina who had an operation on Tuesday. We watched TV for a while, and then I came home and stayed up until about 1 or 1:30 a.m. I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep between 3 and 4:30 a.m., so I slept late this morning, until 10:30 a.m. I stayed up late watching chunks of this Japanese cartoon dubbed into Spanish that I used to watch when I was a kid living in Guatemala, it's called Mazinger and it's about a flying super robot. What woke me up was a strange dream. I don't remember much of it, but here's some highlights: I managed to get hold of some mushrooms from my roommate, and I left them on top of a plastic box. My mother was poking around for them and I was worried about keeping them hidden from her. When I went looking for them later, they had sort of crumbled away. Then a bunch of people, including a long-lost friend from college and some of the guys from this Corn documentary I worked on last year that's screening this Friday all invited me to join in on an acoustic guitar jam session. That made me happy. Go, Lem! they shouted. The dream ended when I was riding in some kind of conveyance with Carrie. Here's what woke me up: Carrie was sitting with some other guy across from me. Kevin, a former co-worker, was to my left. As I leaned in toward Carrie, her face became more and more masculine, like Kevin's. At the same time, both her and Kevin's heads were increasing in size and turning to face me. I noticed an arm reaching down toward my crotch. All right, I thought, my dream is trying to tell me that I'm gay. I'm On To You, I told Kevin, removing his hand. Is That What You're Trying To Tell Me? I asked the dream. They all sat up straight and stared at me. I Need Everyone To Help me! I said as I woke up in a dark room. Today I'm going to see Carrie in the evening and maybe cook dinner with her. She's kind of depressed right now.

 

[ No Subject ]

Saturday, October 7, 2006 10:44 AM

Lisa,

Here's a rough sketch of the beginning of my breakdown. It all started when I visited the Christo gates in early 2005 with my friend Melinda. A guy with a cardboard sign saying Bad Advice: $1 told me to Find The Blue Gate. After that, I became obsessed with finding out what he meant.

I gradually started to become preoccupied with the color blue, and as the year rolled by, and I had access to more and more weed, I really started to get into this. Find the Blue Gate. What did this mean?

In hindsight, I guess the guy with the cardboard sign was just messing with me. But I desperately needed something to search for besides love.

I finally found the blue gate definitively in January of this year, when I went to Chicago on board one of the last flights of the now-defunct Indepence Air and realized that, in fact, I was sitting in The Blue Gate.

After that things started to move a little quicker, or just more erratically. I blundered through my Chicago hiatus, where I abortively tried to start a rock band with three other guys and failed because the drummer and guitar player couldn't stand each other and I couldn't sing because I was too burned out.

I returned from Chicago, and the girl I was in love with was immediately whisked away to Florida to work on some shitty TV show. So I spent February and March killing myself on Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel (if you ever see the episodes about Mexico or Puerto Rico, I edited about a third of those, probably with a lot of manic energy.)

It was insane; I had found a woman I really liked, but between my working nights and her being out of town I never had a chance. When she came back into town we hung out steadily for maybe a week or two; I even quit my job at Anthony Bourdain so we could spend more time together. But it was over.

As of April 1st, I was jobless and single, and the only comfort I had was that Chris, the lead guitar player I mentioned earlier, was coming to New York to live with me for a month and a half to try and get some kind of live performance off the ground. I went back on days the week before he arrived.

The weekend before he came, the following happened:

Thursday 6 April: I went on a date with Ciara Lacey, a girl I was super interested in. The date went so-so. I'm not that great with women.

Friday 7 April: I had a second date with Ciara Lacey, but it was among other people and it seemed like she was bringing a guy along. Okay. I had started running with the Blue Gate idea after reading a book about Jungian psychology, and I was on an archetype hunt, so that Friday night I found Tiger, a part of myself I visualized as being a powerful, dangerous creature. I'll spare you the details in this e-mail but by the end of the evening Ciara and I were nuzzling up against each other on the dance floor (!) of a bar and the other guy was going home in disgust. She didn't go home with me but she considered it.

Saturday 8 April: I had promised my sister that I would visit her, so I did. We ran around together and went to a punk rock show, where I threw myself around a bit and had a fantastic drunken time. It was good for the two of us, because as you know we're a bit distant.

Sunday 9 April: I worked on the other end of things the following day, when I took the train up to D.C. to visit my brother. We had a different, but fun time strolling the Washington Mall and visiting the Native American museum where I really got into the exhibits (by this time, I was exploring the psychological power of all colors, not just blue, in the Native American and Tibetan Buddhist traditioins). When my brother drove me to my dad's house in Northern Virginia, he told me about his recent experience of a spirit quest, where he camped alone in the woods and hallucinated in the darkness.

That evening I hung out with my dad, we had Clams Casino (I now believe my hallucinations later that evening were partially the result of indigestion) and in general, a surprisingly good, relaxed time.

I went to sleep in my grandmother's old room and woke in the middle of the night a couple times. The second time I noticed that whereas before there had been a dim light outside the window, now there was total darkness. This started me thinking. What could be causing total darkness to fall over this room. Something... bad?

My eyes focused on the black corner of the room...

 

Re:

Sunday, October 8, 2006 7:38 PM

Thanks, Lisa, I appreciate what you're getting at. Don't worry, I'm still marvellously depressed. The Wellbutrin has done nothing more than make me irritable so far. The morning after seeing the ghosts, my dad and I had breakfast at a diner near my grandmother's house that as God is my witness, I'd never seen before. During breakfast, my dad exclaimed, Bhodisattva! for no good reason. Understandably, that went to my head.

After that, we went to the Masonic temple on my prompting where I wandered through the grounds looking for a secret entrance that would be unlocked by the key I had discovered the night before (I wish I could find the thing! It's this weird plastic tool that I found in my grandmother's bedroom). The groundskeeper let us through the back gate based on the confidence I had acquired from having The Key, and my dad was impressed-- without knowing what I was thinking, he said You Had The Key To The Temple. Good old dad.

I was pretty happy with myself by the time I got to New York. Basically, what I had concluded was: my study of archetypes had opened my eyes to a side of the world that I never knew existed. Whether it was supernatural or merely in some liminal space, I had clearly stumbled upon an extraordinary new set of abilities.

This hubris only strengthened when I arrived home, and Chris came marching up the sidewalk with a suitcase and a guitar. I immediately set about showing him the neighborhood. We hit a bar in Williamsburg that was decorated for Easter. Listen, Chris, I said urgently. We Need To Save New York.

 

A dream I need dissected...

Monday, December 18, 2006 10:36 AM

Lisa, Maybe you can help me make sense of this one. It's a long dream, there's a lot of details I can't remember, but these are the highlights: I'm working on music with Chris. We're trying to write a song together. He writes the first part and I think I've found the perfect verse and chorus to go along with it, but as I play it, it ends up sounding like exactly what he's already written. Humoring me, he changes the tempo of the song to a medium tempo, between his fast tempo and my slow one.

We then try out some songs from the new album. They're amazing. One of them in particular is dark, svelte, rocking, with some incredible thin, interlacing guitar riffs by Chris. That should be track number two, I think to myself, like that U2 song Even Better Than The Real Thing which is even better than track one. We're really on to something, we both agree. Later, I poke my head up into the attic where my friend Beatrice is shuffling around her bedroom in a nightgown. I try to grab her ankles and she laughs. Her roommates are horrified; I lift myself up into the room to try to be friendly. I put my arms around a dark-haired girl wearing a Christmas outfit, who smiles at me in bemusement. I try to talk to the girl sitting just behind her shoulder, but she is still too frightened by my impulsiveness. Later in the dream, people bring me to Ted Kennedy. I hug him and roll around with him, exclaiming, Uncle Teddy! He explains that he's arranged for me to run for President. I'm shocked but thrilled. He leans in and explains with a grin that there were many objections. I nod, understanding. But I'm An Old Trader, he adds, alluding to the secret society that runs in my blood. The campaign begins with a flourish. At the first debate advertisement cocktail party, the other candidates make their appeals to the audience. I'm the last one up, and I blab something with my mouth full-- a sliver of cheese tumbles out of my mouth-- and simply stroll out the door. Of course, this turns out to be exactly what the American people loves and the next day I am the surprise favorite of the race. Whenever I see my face, I look like some handsome actor on TV that has my general complexion. The Jake Gyllenhall type. I finally trade places with this mirror person, realizing that it will be much more effective if he is the candidate. Flying in front of him, I lift the cape off my neck, reach back behind my head, and set it around his head. Then I am free to roll around, potbellied and in my underwear. I cackle, then realize that his voice is different from mine. Will he need to lip-sync to my voice in order to maintain the subterfuge? My new self walks triumphantly out of the back porch of the mansion, preceded by Linda Evans as Wonder Woman. It's amazing, I think to myself. She hasn't aged a day. Problems arise. A truck-sized brown paper package arrives COD. It cost 16,000 dollars. I don't have that kind of money, I ask around for someone who does.

I am besieged by small obstacles. I yell at my mother, It's Outrageous That I Don't Have An Assistant! I'm Running For President Here! She shrugs. This is what happened the last time. I see my sister getting a hot dog. All I want to do is stop the campaign and spend some quality time with her. I ask if she wants to have lunch with me, and she says Sure, but she doesn't seem too excited. Somehow things go sour and the dream ends as follows: I have been exposed and imprisoned. My former boss leads three of my friends in. From the flecks of blood on their faces I can tell they have been tortured. I won't tell you anything, I tell my accuser. Very Well Then. One of my friends, who is burly and lily white with a flat top, turns toward me threateningly and reaches for my tongue. I try to talk my way out of it. My accuser has turned into a cackling, funny little man. He toys with me. What Do You Think We're Going To Do To You, he asks innocently. I know what he means, he means they're going to horribly saw off my limbs, one by one, and even as I write this part of me is scared to send it to you via e-mail because the Freemasons will read it and they will know about the vision I had when I was hallucinating in the hospital and they will sadistically make my worse fears reality and this is how my life will end, blood spurting out of stumps, chainsaws growling, evil pasty white men laughing, me screaming. So I play dumb, and reply, I Think You're Going To Cut Off My Head. The Guillotine, I add to throw in a little corroborative historical flavor. The Guillotine, howls the little round-headed man, delighted, placing his hands casually around my neck. Whatever Does That Mean? Thank you so much for your help on this one- have a restful vacation & Happy Hanukkah- Lem