nicotine nightdreams

I’m on the patch. It works, really. There’s a few side effects, like the incredibly vivid dreams, but they’re tolerable. I have always been a vivid dreamer, but last night was something else. It has even occurred to me that one of the reasons I have been attracted to certain substances was because they suppressed my dreams and allowed me peaceful sleep. Very early in the Bush Administration I started taking an anti-anxiety med that was just kicking in around 9/11, which was useful. A few weeks ago I stopped taking it. I’m feeling very serene. My life is just as chaotic as ever, but I feel unruffled.

Came up with a good line today. While dealing with a particularly stubborn individual I found myself asking them, ‘Do you know what happens to people who refuse to learn?’

To which they replied, ‘No, what?’

‘They become a lesson to others.’

Believe it or not, this actually shut them up and got them back on task.

I’ve been thinking about some heavy stuff lately. About kids and marriage and how I’ve decided to live my life. It’s funny, I think there was about five years there where women didn’t even look at me but that’s changed lately. It’s like I was surrounded by some kind of aura that has suddenly dispersed. I only quit smoking today so it can’t be that, and it’s not like I’ve lost weight or gotten a sharp haircut, either. In any case, I’m thinking about what’s next.

Ever since I got divorced I’ve been extremely allergic to commitment. I value my freedom above possessions or the illusion of security. Of course, freedom is an illusion as well; as Schopenhaeur said, ‘A man can do what he wants but not want what he wants’. I try to be mindful of the choices that I make and to have reasons for the things that I do even when it may appear that I’m being capricious; I generally resist explaining my motives for my actions because I don’t have the time or the energy for the inevitable arguments or lectures about how foolish I am. I admit I am even occasionally dishonest with those who press to know my mind by giving flip or shallow rationales for my behavior. As a result I think most people who know me believe I lack ambition or drive. The truth is that my ambitions are many and each is enormous beyond containment in a single life; my drive is such that I follow them anyway. To list my ambitions would be an exercise in masturbatory megalomania, as well as the surest way to reduce them to dust. Some ideas are too fragile to survive outside the incubator of the mind; for example, I have learned that the novel that you talk about is the one that never gets written. There’s a song where Bowie sings ‘Don’t tell God your plans’ and I have taken this advice to heart.

It’s at least ten hours later and I’m still smoke-free. I’ll probably put the next chapter of my fanfic novel tomorrow.

7 Responses to “nicotine nightdreams”

  1. congratulations on the patch! Thats a big deal.

  2. Thanks. I am only on day two, but I’m feeling good!

  3. i know you hate people messing with your nicotine withdrawal and sometimes i think you don’t like the platitudes, so i say, with absolute impunity that stopping smoking was one of the best decisions of my life – the freedom from addiction is perfection. I’m currently on a health kick re: eating and the ability to take control of my cravings and dismiss them is sublime.

    although i spend some time idly contemplating KFC buckets.

    you would make *such* a wonderful father. 🙂

  4. I cannot tell you how happy I am that you are quitting smoking. You always have been able to do what you _really_ set your mind to. That includes commitments; believe it or not, you are really good at commitment. It’s just that you are very careful about what you commit to. When you do make a commitment, you are tenacious. Look at us. There have been many chances over the years for our friendship to simply fade away. But, I have always been able to rely on you. You have always been, if not on an everyday level, on a fundamental level, committed to our friendship. Sometimes I get frustrated with you precisely because of your ability to commit to an idea. I see it as inertia. I know you have ambitions and goals. I sometimes wonder if you are able to relinquish you commitment to those things in your life that keep you from moving closer to your goals. It is good to see you relinquishing one of those. I hope that you can look back, as dahlia has, and say “quitting smoking was one of the best decisions of my life.” Let me know how I can help.

    And as far as the women looking at you thing: You look SO good with short hair and a good, clean shave. So GET A HAIRCUT!!! 😉

    Peace to you my brother.

  5. I completely agree with the above and also to again say THANK YOU for helping ME quite ten years ago. I never would’ve gotten through it sanely or completely without you. I got to sing in Carnegie Hall last year… something that NEVER would’ve happened if still a chimney! I hope your strength and support that you gave me so selflessly helps you with this!
    (((Love & Hugs from the Desert!)))

  6. I, for one, never thought you were unambitious, Sir Winston. That being said, I’d love to see what happens if you focused on just one thing for a while. (I have the same problem, but when I zero in, I really, really zero in.)

    As for the “novel that you talk about is the one you don’t write” thing…ummmm…not so. Didn’t I come up with the idea for my forthcoming book in your car? (Yes, it took three years to finish the bloody thing, but I had professional issues getting in the way.) It can be done. It takes patience and persistence: Audrey Niffenegger took something like eight years to finish The Time Traveler’s Wife, but when she did it was a huge seller, critically-acclaimed, and optioned for movie rights before it ever even came out. (It’s also a damned fine read.) The hardest part is getting that first raw draft finished from point A to point B–the rest is revision and editing, which are far easier.

    Good luck on the quitting smoking front…we’re nearing that time ourselves, I think. Done by the end of the academic year, that’s our goal, because this summer we’re working on a “project” together that requires it. My college’s health plan now pays for that new anti-smoking drug, so once I’ve caught up with the move I plan on taking advantage. (Tried the Patch, but it gave me terrifically painful rashes.)

    And should you desire to get away and feel serenity, I remind you that we have a lovely view of the Wisconsin bluffs out our living room window.

    Be well, create, explore, inspire.

  7. Aw shucks, y’all make me feel like I’m George Bailey or something…
    But I hear and understand. Thank you.

    Day 3 smoke free is in full swing…
    my unlimited love to y’all

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