Hi. I am still alive. And -- despite my newly diagnosed chronic lung disease -- I am fully intent on living at least as long as the younger of my two cats (aged three).
Somewhere in one of my letters to Mark (born on the Fourth of July -- Happy Birthday Mr) Simpson, which ended up incorporated in THE QUEEN IS DEAD, I mentioned a slumming day trip across Puget Sound from Seattle to the struggling, low-rent Navy shipyard "ghetto" that-- Well, that I now call home. And I added that, in between cruising the retro adult video arcades a block or two from base, I stopped by a thrift store run by the local Humane Society and, for US $0.25, bought a Henry Miller book "that I will probably never read."
For those of you who believe that "everything happens for a reason" (now, more than ever before in my life, I don't NOT believe ...):
Reading my quaint biographical romances, people often ask how on earth I managed to keep my head above water during the black years of famine and drought. I have explained, of course, and in these very books, that at the last ditch someone always came to my rescue. Anyone who has a steady purpose is bound to attract friends and supporters. What man ever accomplished anything alone? The impressive thing, however, is that aid, when it does come, never comes from the expected quarter – where it should come from as we think.
No, we are never alone. But one has to live apart to know it for the truth.
Many, many thanks to the friends (old friends and new ...) who came through in response to my last "postcard." More than I can adequately express, your support has helped me survive the bleakest months of my adult life.
Re: "Are you getting better?"
Though not a superstitious man, I've grown almost wary about discussing the latest on my lungs. For one thing, my lungs have been declared irreversibly damaged (inexplicably and mysteriously so ... my regular doctor, who I would have to name as one of the most saintly humans I have ever encountered, actually took it upon himself to apologize for the "primitive knowledge" of early 21st century medicine). Realistically, the best I can hope for is that my health improves just a little. So, I'll cautiously confess that yes, I am doing a little better. And that (touch ... wood...) I can now boast of consistently going a month at a time without coughing blood.
That said, when I did wake up the other week thinking of Kafka , at least now I know the deal:
moderate hemoptysis may be frightening to the patient but is seldom fatal
To everyone I'm overdue writing to I apologize. With heart. Last fall and winter I truly did slow down considerably. (Concurrent with being told that I might have lung cancer / should in any case think about a lung transplant, the same day I had a CT-scan so did my father. With unhappier results.)
But even though it's now summer (my least favorite time of year -- yes, I am finished complaining), lately I do seem to be showing some renewed signs of life:
* Last weekend I narrowly escaped the "stray cat" seductive power of a charming lost sailor vomiting on the late night Seattle-Bremerton ferry. (Mercifully, even as I against my better judgment sought to intervene on his behalf with the Homeland Security patrol, at the last moment his Navy buddies materialized and after some hesitation offered, "Uh, he's with us.")
* Work on the Second Edition of BARRACK BUDDIES, though somewhat delayed (-- again. This time by some pesky flashbacks I suffered on account of Gulf War II syndrome --) ...
. . . is finally shaping up. My approach to this project has been slow but extremely meticulous. (Any last-minute -- even stream-of-whatever -- e-mail commentaries on that first book -- or better yet, period US Army / USAF hi-res photo submissions -- would be very welcome.)
* I am hopeful of playing a strong role in the launch of a new Men's Studies/Masculinity Studies book program. Especially now that the conservative US Supreme Court has unexpectedly, poignantly, in no uncertain terms ditched 20th century prohibition of SODOMY.
* My last "postcard" concluded with a pledge that everyone who sent a donation toward my medical expenses would receive a complimentary copy of a limited edition "Best of Seadogphoto.com" CD-R to be issued sometime this summer. This pledge I remain intent on fulfilling before Labor Day. To include the kind-hearted souls who sent me five dollars -- and those individuals who contributed from international postal zones that will cost me five dollars to send a data disc to.
* At this writing, I am still working on special letters to: the guy in AU who probably didn't realize the can of worms he opened in mentioning his most recent CD purchase; K.O.; my comrade in CO; the man of the law in MA ...
Finally, very special thanks to my mysterious new friend in CA who knows about Birmans. . . .
PS I'm still thousands of dollars in debt for medical expenses, and am still dependent on outside patronage to try to keep making payments and keep on writing. As of this update, I promise to provide a numbered, limited edition photo CD-R (or, if you prefer, a one-of-a-kind, non-easy-listening, 80's industrial / "dark wave" / spoken word + original audio CD-R -- at your own risk!) to anyone who donates $20 or more via the PayPal button at the top of this page. For those who would prefer to mail a donation, my address is PO Box 1237, Bremerton, WA 98337 USA. Thanks.