Welcome to The Woods

Four weeks and two days ago, I left the city that never loved me; for I had to leave: I had to fall deeper, further into love – and closer to a pattern of life befitting a serious writer. 

Sarah, life partner and best friend she is, naturally loved the idea of living in the woods for a year with me. It was, after all, our idea. 

But it wasn’t our first idea; we were planning to move to LA – only fate would have it otherwise, and our plans would change just a week before we were slated to take up residence in a cheap AirBNB in LA for two weeks (Giving us enough time to find a permanent residence).

It was a solid plan, but it just didn’t feel right. 

So, sitting in bed together, as we are now, Sarah doing her thing, me mine, we began to discuss the idea of somewhere not LA. 

Price was a big factor. Frankly, we wanted a home. 

A day or two before, I had looked on Craigslist at homes in a handful of rural Midwest cities. The prices made me swoon; however – besides the fact I had already done the Midwest – I knew it wasn’t in the cards. Call it inner voice. As I said to Sarah last night, all my biggest mistakes have been the result of listening to other people. Today, I listen to me. Fuck you. 

So we zoomed out on google maps in bed that evening: looking first in South LA, then east toward Nevada, then north to the Oregon border, until finally – after the longest thirty minutes of our life – we landed on a small Califonia mountain town, and then something magical happened: we got excited. 

Why? I don’t know. It was just the right place. Something inside us felt calm. Just the way it feels to be here this evening, looking out our bedroom across the deck and onto the National Forest. 

We came here from a small apartment where we had barely managed to stay together through the newness of our relationship. We truthfully were barely sure of what we were doing. 

But we did it. 

We drove up on a Friday to see the place, returning directly to pack our entire apartment on the following Saturday, and then, four Sundays ago, we towed our car behind a uhaul up here, which was an adventure in itself. 

We blew a tire. We had to stop to load a double stainless fridge into the uhaul in 110 degree heat, and we had barely slept for two days. 

Our relationship was road tested on the trip up. Lord knows it had been battle tested in the city where we met. In that tiny apartment. Those fucked up people. That city. San-dago: you fucking overhyped transplant filled millennial shithole. 

Needless to say, we are happier here. Much. 

Sarah quit her job. I got my writing room. And we both get to call the first true house we have ever lived in together, home.  

It has been an incredible experience these four weeks, full of stories I will be sharing soon in the form of a collection of non-fiction episodes published here. 

This weekend we will be hosting the first of a series of guests scheduled to visit us, and we look forward to firing up the BBQ, looking up at the stars, and thinking back on the darkest nights. Nights when moving to the woods to write novels was only a dream. Nights when we had nothing but each other and a dream. 

And LA, it will still be there. Waiting for me to arrive. Waiting for my stories. Waiting on the day when we take up part time residence – our cabin here waiting for us. Because we live in the woods now. Because this is home. 

Cherries in The Bowl

There were cherries in the bowl,
Ripe and sweet beneath plump plum-colored skins

But now only pits and stems remain,
Strewn about like entrails no longer contained,
In fructose puddles, which will soon bring ants on parade –

But if I wash the bowl, how will I remember the cherries I ate
The fructose that sweetened, for a moment, this sour day
And hopefully helped my constipation, keeping the pink plasma in my stool at bay

Ah it’s probably just the stress, the love of a damn miserable girl,
And nothing more than a case for water and maybe Preperation H,
But it breaks my heart, why I ate cherries today.

Because in another life, we’ll drink cherry wine
And instead of me eating cherries and whining, feeling like I’m dying, saying:

It’s just the stress
It’s just the stress

I won’t have the love of a damn miserable girl.

Of Note: An Ode To The Practicing Poet

Just wrote a poem and deleted it
Next song.

Okay, now I Breathe
And so….

But the song is sad.

Only I listen, because I am in love,
And so I breathe.

And next;

Yes. I breathe

Only, I wish life didnt trivialize and parody itself,
Because I need this:

Lily Allen, Something’s Not Right –
Pan 2015,

Now Odezsa, Kusanagi

Feels as rich as umami

pause.

It. has. been a. tough. week.

Smoke, and – pause. . .

My nightstand is mine,
Replete with blue bandana, overflowing with books
I’d brag –
But you wouldnt know them anyway:
My tastes in books as alienating as my tastes in persons,
Or so the bourgeous prole in me said
But now I must put him to bed
So the poet in me may sleep,
That the man again may have a life of peace
For there are beasts – wolves too,
To whom we are sheep,
But we may rest now

For the beasts too need sleep.

And a famous persons name may now be added here to lend credibility,

Oh, but I think you not the credulity –

To believe me of such insecurity,

As if my poem werent good enough for me
That I wouldnt publish it. 

Were I undedicated, I wouldnt be so hated.
Chasing wildest dreams like he’s gonna make it
Heaven knows how long my talent felt wasted.

But I want to feel talent –
To have tasted it –
Written, rewritten, and written it again

Oh give me my sweet sin again,
That I wont waste it:

Deleting poems
Erasing omens and odes

Worse crimes fitting a criminal,
I say

Because today,
You wrote more than code 

And that is of note.

Non-Fiction 

If I had to choose between writing and sex, I’d choose pen over penis eight days a week. Why I’ve gone with such a seemingly daft metaphor, I know all too clearly; for my writing is growing into as compulsory an act as masturbating was for me at fifteen, only I’ve no Portnoy’s Complaint  – quite the contrary in fact; if I don’t write, I’ll be riddled with guilt, which in many ways I am, owing to the fact that my fiction remains less than fiction: it’s fairy dust. And until I dedicate myself to the the four manuscripts living rent free in my head, that’s all it will ever be. I don’t have to search long and hard to discover there exists no more tragic fact about me. 

I am, however, working to remedy this; only, I need be honest with myself: if I have one regret about my previous entry, it’s that I veiled my feelings in prose, which can be incredibly false. Not that I intended to do so, only I did nonetheless. And it was false because I wrote of courage and becoming oneself, and the undeniability of my identity as a writer – without talking about the pain. 

The pain being almost the central fact of my existence; precisely what’s got me up in bed, writing this word by word at three thirty am. My how incredibly angst ridden I am. 

At thirty one, I’ve managed to fortify myself with world class skills in a technical field I care naught for. I have actually failed in my field as a result of my lack of passion (That or fate). 

Wanting – needing – to write desperately, I have two options: take a high paying job, or make a go at the one thing I have been successful with in a related field. Of course there is always a third option. I’ll get to that.

As passionless as I am about the business of moneymaking, which every adult knows is all consuming, it’s my passion as a writer that haunts me. Then there are the excuses: If I was single. If I had committed myself to writing fiction at a younger age. If I had financial independence. 

Same shit countless frauds like me probably say to themselves. And I feel a fraud. Absofuckknglutely. 

Three years ago I went through a terrible breakup and simultaneously nearly died of blood poisoning, which I had contracted on a business trip (Misery is strippers and steaks with insurance industry execs in Ohio). After that I smoked some DMT, took some LSD (God no not at the same time!), and awoke fully to myself being a writer. And I was in some ways for a time. I allowed myself the freedom to fall into dire financial straits, and I slept around like a nihilist pig; however, when I was sober I spent my time reading more novels than I had since I was fourteen (Having read non-fiction almost exclusively for years). I also amassed a personal library that can be said to belong only to a writer, owing both to its copious volume and eclectic contents (My tastes I will not comment on). 

During this period of freedom and bacchanalia, I also began to spend much more time alone and in nature – more than I had since a child. I filled a few journals cover to cover, and I got to know myself in ways I never had. This blog also served me well – as a kind of cloud drive to upload all of the new software my consciousness was running on. 

Of course, I wouldn’t be Lawrence Black if I didn’t find love again. Talk about a whirlwind [love]. It’s not unlike what I imagine heroin or some mind numbing opiate to be like: blindingly comforting and then you wake up months later wondering what the fuck happened, and suddenly you remember yourself and begin facing how much you lost touch with You in trying to please the muse. This I am most guilty of. 

I want it all. Fuck me. Unfortunately there are only twenty four goddamn hours in a day, and I certainly do not possess the bandwidth to write code and push pixels all day long, in addition to writing. As Stephen King writes in On Writing: life is not a support system for art – it’s the other way around. 

This I am figuring out how to arrange – no matter how much pluck and daring it requires. Lord knows – well, in this case, my girlfriend knows – that I am committed to my art above all. And by my art, I mean my inner peace. The shit that allows me to stay sane. 

So, what will Lawrence do next? 

I know this much: I will be honest. Not thinking about what some heartless or shallow ex who may reads this thinks of my life. I’m done with that ego mindfuck. If I am to be, I am to be honest about my life in my own writing. 

In ten days I may be living in a cabin in the woods, or I may be crashing on a floor or a couch. Fuck if I care either way. All I know is that I must write. Because not writing fiction is killing me. And I can’t write any more fiction here. 

– Oh yeah, that third option. Well, I may be doing menial technical work but I need my mental bandwidth for greater things, and I know a place with cheap cabins.

Reimagining 

Have the courage to stop the world and start over at two am,
While the night is still and your days may yet be seized;
Have the courage to use your dreams as metaphors for the things you truly want:
Reimagining your life as one does who has become brave enough to see heroes as peers rather than role models


David Foster Wallace, (Whom, like Kerouac, I cannot really read for fear of going insane) said something to Rolling Stone’s David Lipsky about how of course in the end, we end up becoming ourselves. The statement was about growing up and the futility of our parent’s worries about who we will become in light of the inevitability of who we ultimately are. 

I find it deeply calming to reflect on this – the idea that we end up becoming ourselves; it reminds me that I am becoming who I was meant to be – not just despite my mistakes, but because of them. 

Without this, this idea that I am becoming myself, then it’s all a waste (Funny how I once thought I couldn’t fail at anything); however, I trust life: it has taken me this far, given me this clear a picture; and finally, at thirty one, I’m beginning to feel that there is a pattern to my life, one in which I am destined for certain things and bound to suffer in vain pursuit of others. And it has been in my failures, in vain pursuits, that I have discovered the futility of following roads not meant for me. 

I suppose I feel there is simply no longer any escaping or denying who I am. Lord knows I tried. Heaven fuck I tried Bunny, Mousie. 

Thankfully it is not dreams of soul and passion that have perished but merely the ideas my ego had concocted to give myself some false importance at not doing the thing I was born to do. If I am being obtuse it’s simply my way of not wanting to outline what it’s like to spend ten thousand hours on a diversion. Not that the time invested will go unused, just that it’s no more than financial potential. But the goal of my life was never about just money. And perhaps that’s where I betrayed myself…. Trails off

Life is a great, grand adventure – in which I am the hero. And true, I’m not a very likable one. But no plausible hero is – at least none capable of inspiring me. Commonplace is the contentment that fills the days of the bourgeois; however, there shall be no longer the air of quiet desperation in my hours; I banish despair from my bones. Simply in writing, simply in reflecting –  in trusting life, and in being honest with myself. Simply in reimagining myself to be who I wish. 

Because you can also fail at what you don’t want.  

I’m Proud of Myself

For knowing that my story is not what happens to me but what I make of it
For teaching myself to sail when I was 14
For falling in love again and again (My heart is like the fucking energizer bunny).
For moving on
For the success I had in my twenties
For the success I am building again now
For allowing myself to rediscover and reappraise who I am
For letting go
For forgiving myself
For being lovable
For writing on here for almost 8 years
For the books I have read
For the book collection I have amassed
For teaching myself to code
For building businesses
For picking up new hobbies at thirty
For taking psychedelics
For serving in the Navy at the age of 17
For moving to Santa Barbara alone when I was twenty four
For moving to Seattle when I was twenty five
For moving to Milwaukee alone when I was twenty six
For moving to LA when I was twenty seven
For having been loved by the greatest women I have ever known
For being a good boyfriend in all of my relationships but not always
For self-awareness
For growth
For being a great dog dad
For learning to like myself (Amen.)
For learning about depth psychology
For moving back home when I had to
For letting myself fall
For not letting the world get to me
For knowing exactly who I am
For continuing to evolve
For never giving up
For building that boat when I was 16
For cutting shitty people out of my life without apology to myself
For facing all of the dark things in me I needed to face in my twenties
For confronting life head on today
For being a damn good person and not letting an ex permanently convince me otherwise
For not making heroes of tragic figures
For not being the victim of myself
For loving my fate because I know I am the master of it
For taking care of my body and health and learning about those things on my own
For knowing how to cook a perfect roast chicken
For having the self-respect to be a dick when appropriate
For not letting any doctrine rule me
For not letting my heart turn cold
For not being a nihilist
For not believing in a human god
For being a humanist
For having my own, unique, rational and intelligent beliefs
For trusting life today
For trusting myself
For evolving my style to reflect who I am
For holding onto my true childhood ideals
For the love I gave
For snorkeling so many days last summer
For wanting to buy another skateboard
For having the dreams I do and knowing I will do them
For all the time I spent alone, just sitting
For loving all the right things
For what I have learned on my own about stoicism, mythology, and psychology
For being my own best friend
For being a good friend to others
For learning to not take shit personally (Huge)
For being confident and comfortable
For being such a huge Ed Ricketts fan
For overcoming my circumstances despite everything! (u have no fukn idea bitch). lol
For taking charge of my life
For being serious about my dreams
For turning my biggest defeats into my greatest motivators
For speaking up for myself
For not pitying myself
For knowing that consciousness is a computer
For teaching myself and writing poetry
For being a friend to those who need it
For protecting myself
For being such a conscious, loving parent to my own inner child
For becoming myself
For being a strong person
For being the hero of my own story
For all I know about hip-hop, cars, watches (growing), beer, cactus (growing), etc.
For speaking my mind and never being a calculating, manipulative person
For defining my circumstances rather than letting them define me
For revisioning the past so that I am no longer afraid of living in it
For being spiritual
For being the better version of the person I wanted to be
For not being afraid to ask or to act
For knowing exactly where I am going
For having no regrets
For having so much gratitude
For getting new tattoos
For remembering my spiritual grandfathers
For being whatever the fuck I want – society’s boxes be damned
For being the biggest hippie/yuppie/edgy/nerdy paradox in the world
For still loving my exes
For not being bitter anymore lol!
For laughing
For cultivating my tastes in the things I love
For not watching TV (lol, that shit’s not for me)
For having had such great pull out game that I didn’t have kids haha
For taking the time to write this
For being honest
For staying curious in my ignorance but comfortable in my knowledge
For hacking the fuck out of my mind so that it’s so good
For being humble, sweet, and kind
and for walking onto the rugby pitch for the first time

I’m proud of myself for living my creed.

I’m proud of myself for making little Lawrence proud.

Here’s to living your secret childhood myth.

The Past: Writing on The Revisioning of My Life in The Summer of My Years

I know where I’m going. 

I thought that I had known before, as a young-man of twenty four sometimes does, but I know now that the present could only ever get me so far in life. Eventually, if you are to have a future, you have to go back. You have to enter the cave you fear to find the treasure you seek (Joseph Campbell).

Once you do that, you’ll find your treasure. And once you have your treasure, you’ll never lose it. 

Now that I’ve begun to Re-see my past, to revise it, it’s up to my visioning of the future to carry me the rest of the way. 

As 50 Cent raps on ‘Don’t Push Me’: “I need to know where I’m heading cause I know where I’ve been”. 

I relate to this line, having now an increasingly compassionate, healthy, and empowering understanding of my [past]. I know exactly where the fuck I’ve been and just how damn difficult it was for me – as life is difficult for all of us in ways. 

I spent the better part of my first twenty-nine years of life nearsighted to the breadth of available reality: my happiness was narrow and my sorrow wide. 

Furthermore, I was shortsighted to life in that I wasn’t able to look ahead very far: I didn’t possess the clarity or the trust to understand life and thus my future at twenty six. But I don’t think I was meant to understand it back then. 

Twenty one year old me couldn’t create what thirty-one year old me has. Twenty-fucking-one me was a sensitive uptight prick. Thankfully, a good dose of heartbreak would fix that: upgrading me from a complete cock to more of just a regular dick. #levels. Huge improvement – but we’re not quite there yet; however, as fortune would have it, the fates would axe my life path more than I could have ever known, sending me down the road back to myself, again and again. 

I’ve loved and said goodbye to a coterie of marvelous, wonderful women. A couple of whom maybe didn’t break me as badly as losing bunny or mousie, but still, I have been loved by every woman I ever fell for. And I can only hope for them what I have found, which is that the heart goes on. And I hope they have grown from their mistakes as I mine. In due fairness, I too was pretty incomplete back then. 

Such is love in the spring of life: often fleeting. 

But now I find myself in the summer of my years knowing that, like Sinatra, come autumn, I will I think of my life as vintage wine from fine old kegs, from the brim to the dregs, pouring out sweet and clear. 

I was a guy who thought my story was over a time or two, or fifteen. To quote Rollo May’s definition of depression, I had an inability to construct a future. 

Ironically, I also had a terrible relationship with my past. I treated my adult past like my childhood past: I buried it in pity. I repressed it all beneath a tomb of sorrow. But I never grieved. I never honored it. 

Tonight, and lately, I’m finally looking back on the past with clear eyes. And I’m doing it because I finally am mature enough to, but also because I’ve come to learn just how important past is to one’s mythology. (Thank you Rollo May: Man’s Search for Himself, and The Cry for Myth. Also to the most high, C.G. Jung). 

We think of myth and we think of made up stories. But myth doesn’t mean that. As Rollo May explains, myth comes from 

…. (too tired to grab book, read this). 

To me myth is the truth, and I was blind to mine for a long time – consciously. So I lived the unconscious one, the repressed stuff, as we all do until we learn the facts of life we live blind to. 

And it’s mind blowing stuff. 

Don’t believe me? 

Fall in love again. 

Take a trip

Fall. 

Go.

I did, again and again. I never gave up. I never will. And not just because it’s great today, but because I went through the fucking shit I did to get here, and I know what I am made of. 

It would have been a terrible crime against myself to take a purely stoic perspective on the past, saying: I don’t have to suffer anymore; it was all psychological; it was all in my head. 

As much as that’s true, as much as my my mind has opened, it’s been the opening of my heart to life that has opened my eyes. And this, I owe the past for.