Muschamp Rd

Lonely in Europe

March 10th, 2001

Of Nürnberg my new Germanic home, I tolerate it through a strict diet of Italian food and beer. The music of Townes Van Zandt has also been a comfort in these wayward times. My traveling companions have all gone home leaving me once more alone in this infamous Bavarian town. I exist despite work which will come to yet another end on the 16th. Thence I will set out on my travels to the Balkans.

Assuming I survive the dreaded Yugoslavian border police I will return to Germany on April 1st at the latest to most likely journey home to the mountains, forests and wind swept beaches of my BC.

Trevor and I discussed the necessity of an ocean or a large body of water to an idealistic existence. Some winding stream is all well and fine but the lapping of the waves and the omnipresent saltiness soaking the air... You live with it all your life and suddenly to loose it, you notice its return like sleeping in your own bed. It is just right.

I've lived and travelled some in my quarter of a century crawling on the rock orbiting some insignificant star that so much is made of. And I say this, Nürnberg is not my kinda town. I've seen the pubs Irish or otherwise and these are the friendliest faces you see. Those of the numerous Italian restaurants which I regularly eat at are also welcoming.

My latest find, a few blocks towards the U-Bahn as the tram travels, had a sweet little lass with a very pleasant sway of the hips. She even spoke some English though she can't pour beer worth a damn. Her ineptitude at the taps was her chief flaw. For she was fair of face with an indeterminate hair color, not blond but not brunette, long though and tied back smartly. I intend to return to the bare beams and surprising capacity of some Italian restaurant "just to watch her float across the floor" as my man would say.

The music in this cavernous cellar of a tavern is much less abrasive than the wail of guitars that confronts the lonely in his quest for refreshment at the other Irish tavern across the Altstaat. Music is my chief joy in life I think. There is no guilt to the pleasure it gives. I always have a song in my head like Neil's last tour prophesied.

One of my favourite bands of yore now a mere broken reflection of its former vibrance will stumble into Nürnberg next month. Else the poster was aged indeed and they were here last year. I photographed the poster, plastered to the back of some trash can just inside the city walls lest people disbelieve me as is often the case.

I walked by numerous cranes staining the sky with their modern industriousness. Sometimes they seek to patch up the old like Notre dame and this establishment which is encircled by scaffolds. But often new additions to the squat Nürnberg skyline are being undertaken.

I fear my Parisian ink cartridge tend to blot more than the Canadian one it replaced which served so well for so long. Tis a good pen I was given for my summer of toil, though no longer pristine it remains un-lost years after the fact having penned many letters and signed many a cheque.

Vancouver is often criticized for its grey dreariness but I believe Nürnberg to be much damper and of a particular morbidness no doubt enhanced by the sentence of a contract I've agreed to. Perhaps its Nazi heritage contributes, but I believe the character of the place was determined earlier. In the middle ages many barbaric tortures wan execution techniques appear to have arisen here.

The influx...
Drink deep of the milky goodness. My pint of Guinness appears.
... of Turks, supposedly temporary, but now permanent gives the city a more Eastern flavour despite its German republik heritage. I seem to dwell in a strong Turkish area for many grocery stores and even a Turkish soccer team has a fan club within blocks of me.

Of course there are Chinese food restaurants, the most numerous people on the Earth, I await the rise of Chung Kuo. Nürnberg has an abundance of Italian restaurants which are my haven of food ordering ability though I didn't appreciate the European tradition of sitting after a meal. Alone and I often am, what am I suppose to do?

Hence the rise of this journal. I also wok on my John Ralston Saul and occasionally work on my Japanese or should I write 日本語? What I should devote my time to is the finding of some German wench. But bird hunting has never been one of my skills. In fact I appear to be particularly inept and the language barrier does not help my campaigns.

My trip to Paris exemplifies this, loosing money was unfortunate, it still bothers me but I wish I hadn't soured Sophie so, she truly is nice and I was not turned to stone by her gaze though she's unlikely to be mistaken for Sophia Loren anytime soon.

I wonder just how much space I can fill with my observations in under three weeks. I bought some writing paper which I had intended to use to write Sophie, Jo, and Owen my chief correspondents. And I seem to have accumulated and sent more than my share of post cards. I hope some mail is waiting for me upon returning to B.C.

I'll have to redouble myself to the eternal quest, get back in the gym, sort out my apartment situation assuming work allows me. I intend to voice my complaints and secure my promotion else I may look for another job along with Trev. A couple of weeks ago I would have said I couldn't be persuaded to stay longer especially at this laughable salary. All the work I seem to do was suppose to be done by others originally.

The place beings to fill up and not just with hardened UK punters some of the fairer sex though often intertwined with their partners filter in through the shadows. I intend to drink the day away scribbling in this book for posterity. I'll have to find someone to read these ramblings someday.

Neil and Townes found their partners. Malcolm Lowry stole some Canadian femme. Blake was married I believe even Oscar Wilde was married with kids. Kafka now there was a troubled soul, I have trouble identifying with him due to his obsession with his father. Ah poor Gregor an interesting problem did he pose. Was he a bug or did he just think he was? Perhaps like Brian Wilson he just didn't want to get out of bed who can't identify with that?

Nietzsche the one German writer I've studied in depth did not marry. Though he did exchange many letters with one lass and people still maintain he caught syphilis at a whore house.

I like his tale of walking in, striking a chord on the piano and leaving. It had more style. Even in Prague I avoided the painted ladies. There is some immediate release but I seek companionship.

Johnny Cash, the man in black, the solitary man, he has June to tell his daemons to. She helped him from straying to far, though Johnny hit bottom hard and often but his ship scraped off the reef and sails today.

One hundred pages in three weeks that sounds like a challenge that I'd be hard pressed to accomplish. I'm often alone with my thoughts, muddied as they are. But to pen a hundred pages, even avoiding writing any lengthy correspondence in that time and concentrating on these assembled scribbles. I had hoped to read four chapters of Mr. Saul this weekend and my previous experience with rickety central European trains was not one of literary outburst. Perhaps the EC will be smoother. I had also hoped to read a classic or two which I've acquired.

And despite having sent 30 at least I intend to mark my travels with a few more post cards and Townes Van Zandt quotations. My new hero of sorts is Townes, he was a bit more abusive than I when it comes to the sauce. He was also less practical and more willing to follow his muse and his heart. Must I be forever pragmatic?

What I really want is to own some bar in some friendly town that needs a Canadian to add to its cosmopolitaness. That is what I'm now working towards. I also intend to try my hand at a play with an eye towards the big screen or maybe even writing a novel from my spirit. If Miller can get famous with his sex infested rambles there must be a market for my own particular slant on life.

In the Kafka bookstore in Prague they were selling the Tropics in English. Beer, books, and CDs that is what you can get in English over here. I must consider moving towards happiness wherever that may be, though my mom may loath to see me go. Perhaps once Sam returns from her travels I will feel less guilty weighing anchor and sailing to some far way port. London or Yokohama perhaps. Except there is a shortage of Scandinavian blonds in Japan perhaps Dublin but where is the adventure in an English speaking foreign country. Antwerp has its appeal still though I don't speak Flemish.

French or Japanese I've never been one to lust after the ever polite and petite Japanese nor was I enamoured with the haughty Parisian airs. Where must a lonesome preacher of unwanted disbelieved facts go to find contentment? Some lonesome cave, where I can grown an epic beard and subsist on Juniper berries?

"Man must be overcome", but what of women? Are "they meant to be loved and not understood" or like Russ Meyer do I really need some "cock hungry Pole" as he so eloquently puts it.

Her face was crystal,
fair and fine.
Her breath was morning,
and her lips were wine.
Her eyes were laughter
and her touch divine.
Her face was crystal
and she was mine.

Happy words from Townes or were these sad too? Looking back at some lost love perhaps? Bob also on his second album at an age within spiting distance of mine penned perhaps his most beautiful song.

If your travelling the North country fair,
Where the wind blows heavy on the border line.
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine.

Be sure her hair hangs long,
Falls and flows all down her breast.
Be sure her hair hangs long,
That's the way I remember her best.

I have a way with a word or a phrase but rarely to I turn it to the eternal quest. Rarely do I say what I should or at least what would have the most pleasant effect regardless of the truth. "Above all else to thy ownself be true," but at what expense, happiness? There have already been enough martyrs and people who style themselves as such in this world.

Beer, one of two pleasures allowed me it seems. I never used to like the taste, I still don't exactly. I drink it as it is social. I pay for the light and the flatness to write upon and the whispers of English in the air through beer. Not that I need to get drunk nor the calories nor the slight muddying of my thoughts that will eventually occur, but I've been alone of late.

Too alone and corrupted, compromised and taken for granted, but that will come to an end, starting at the last working towards the fore. Perhaps the Balkans houses happiness. Somewhere amongst the battlefields and recently buried, Serbs, Croats, Muslims, and Bosnians perhaps there is someone for me. Or something for me I know there is more to life than the words of the dead and electronic equipment.

Another beer I'm owed that at least. My toil must be worth that much. My waistline doesn't need it but short of sitting alone and reading or listening to music I have nothing to do but jack off. Better to drink and write and wait for an epiphany. Perhaps I'll learn to spell yet but I doubt it. That's what editors and proofreaders are for. The got to earn their pay as they don't create. There is no spontaneity in their job. I think my life needs some more spontaneity.

An infusion of caffeine wouldn't hurt perhaps some Irish coffee is in order though i fear my writing will degrade to a level not worth the effort to record. Record and for what? Too many geniuses go ignored or worse persecuted dying bitter, alone, insane or all three in the case of Nietzsche. I don't want to follow in his footsteps in that regard.

Nietzsche wasn't one for the ether, he said "There is too much beer in the German intellect". Now there's a battle cry pity the Nazis didn't appropriate those words.

It would take an heroic effort to fill this book with my thoughts. I have enough thoughts too many in fact. I would sleep better and perhaps be less alone if I didn't overanalyse so much.

Granted I just bought this book in the afternoon, but it is far longer than 100 pages or it seems to me. My head grows heavy and my wrist grows sore and my writing gets more mundane. Where are the deep thoughts? The insights, the moments of clarity that reveal the true nature of man and the universe. At least I have a table and some Guinness to poison my liver and blister my tongue.

When will I cease to be a lone voice railing against the injustices of history, the hypocrisies of civilization and extolling the virtues of the obscure. My audience is ever shrinking. I write this for who? Posterity, it will probably get lost in Belgrade or by some luggage handler. Certainly it's not my life's work. Perhaps Owen will read it or Jo. She seems to genuinely care what I say, but does she care more? I may never know I'm too paralysed with analysis and self doubt to act short of ordering another beer that I will do. My boss will foot the bill it is not like someone else wouldn't do the same or worse.

I'm too good. Nice has never been in. I could be Machiavellian but I prefer to act with honour. I don't want the McKay name sullied with underhanded dealings, vanity and the vainglory pursuit of power. I'm no Napoleon, who wants to be short, bald, and fat? Tis odd that both Hitler and Napoleon could both be little ego maniacs that caused so much strife.

Never love a woman with hair dark like midnight and a dress made of satin all shimmering blue.

Now about that beer, I've got no place to go and nothing else to do. I've ran my errands, I got ink on my hands. It still is not too smoky and loud and my supposedly reserved table is not reserved until 7:30. I got here at 1:00 what is up with that shit. I'm almost tempted to sit here until then to see if they'll kick me out. I mean I've been drinking her for six hours and now they kick me out of my seat. Only in Calgary.

I could probably scrounge up another table though the population has increased seven times since I got here and free unreserved tables are scarce. I'm stubborn enough to drink alone beside the over affectionate German couple for hours but would I enjoy it?

This is a nice corner table with a padded bench and actual light to write by not some hard stool hunched over a barrel like I endured last time I visited this establishment. Saturday night must be hopping to have to reserve seven hours in advance. It is partially a restaurant. But is is also a pub. I earned this seat by the blisters on my feet, the alcohol in my belly and the hole in my wallet. Though as I plan to bill this back to GVC what do I truly care about the cost of Guinness.

Speaking of which the increase in patrons has lead to a decrease in service. I know they have some all right looking waitresses in the evening. The curly headed dyed red German girl hailed the Irish bartender in German. I scooted in to order another pint. He always seems taken back when I tell him to surprise me with a beer. Like I have a choice when I order in German, I always say Weizen Dunkel and let the chips fall where they may. This beer is in a mug like the last time I was here with a reddish hue. It tastes the best too, though a slight blandness pervades it. The universal thing about beer is the more you drink the easier it goes down until you hit the wall.

The German girl waved goodbye that's the best I get in my life. Perhaps I should go to my old area of town even though she didn't speak English she was always good with the Weizen Dunkel. Jessie, Sam guessed her name was, an industrious lass. Wee though as Sam noted. That has never been an issue of mine and she seemed well proportioned.

Maybe I will head down number 8 tram line but it doesn't seem to mesh well with having diner at my new Italian establishment. Both could be done but what would be accomplished. I will just be alone in a different spot.

I seem to be outlasting the others, though new arrivals are also confused by the ridiculously early reservation cards placed on some tables.

The difference between pubs and people here and pubs and people back home is people bring their kids and even their babies to a pub here. Back home the dimly lit smokiness and the sheer intimidating prominence of the bar would ensure this place to be baby carriage free. That's not the case today at 4:22 pm. Perhaps I'll order some more food that will wake me up and lessen the effect of the beer.

Having consulted the menu nothing strikes my fancy, I'll hold until diner at the Italian place with the appealing waitress. The if I still have the strength I'll stumble to another place I might be recognized. Drink another round or two at my own expense I should claim even more than I do.

Maybe my new appearance of a writer will perk someone's interest, with the exception of people at work and people selling something I speak to no one. Mike is an exception, but I met him through work and I don't care for him too much but as a fellow Canadian he's one of the few acquaintances I have.

I seem to have more acquaintances now and less friends. I used to use that word too liberally, no more, I know who are friends and who are merely acquaintances and I'm very clear about that distinction now.

This bar seems popular with German couples, perhaps it is the dim light or the quasi foreignness of it. Normally a pub on a Saturday afternoon would be filled with guys, this place has no TV for the punters though to watch their "footie".

The juxtaposition of the bar gives it it's charm. The island of English in a sea of German. The shining oak and brass bar beneath the medieval stone arches of the cellar. The old busting barrels and the new glossy ads for St. Patrick's day.

I plan to spend St. Patrick's Day in Vienna but next year I would like to go to Dublin itself. I plan to book both hostels shortly. The Austrian one next week and the Dublin one as many months in advance as I can.

Where will I be on St. Andrew's Day? I have to seek to popularize that day. Maybe I'll throw a party in my new apartment, but I'm running out of people to invite if it falls on a weekend I'll be all right but it will be hard to get people to leave the valley on a Tuesday.

PJ O'Shea's is filling up but it gets a lot more crowded than this. When I first arrived it was like a morgue not a pub. Now there is a din of laughter and chatter above the now lively music. People drinking, eating, babies crying, lovers loving, this is why I want to own a pub. They bring temporary respite from your worldly troubles. Of course I can't find happiness here yet. Maybe after diner at Jessie's pub but it is pure regulars and I'll not be able to order in English.

Yes I definitely think I'll make a return visit to my latest little Italian restaurant. A friendly face, a bit of English from the waitress, a burst of garlic on the pallet not to mention the alluring waitress. Then if I still have the energy and the gumption I'll take the U-Bahn and tram to the little pub on Stephenstrasse to see Jessie and listen some god awful music and drink my Weizen Dunkel.

What will be the first thing to do upon returning to Canada besides sleeping? I don't miss the food or the beer. Maybe one of my friends will surprise me with some gathering. I won't hold my breath. How many years has my birthday gone uncelebrated since my 19th not counting family? Maybe I'll pull a Steve on the next one. They always fall at an awkward time.

"May you live in awkward times" that should be the Chinese curse it is much more obvious than the use of interesting but coneys the same or similar meaning.

Maybe after I subject Owen to this I'll send it off to Jo or... What am I going to do with it, put it beside my still unfinished complete works of Oscar Wilde? I'm not that pretentious though I have no delusions of being a poet. I think Oscar should have to stuck to prose, I won't make that mistake.

I'm definitely wasting away over here. I need to hit the gym and suffer through the return from yet another long layoff. Maybe I'll try to find an ultimate or soccer team. I fear I wouldn't hold up as a prop in men's rugger.

I definitely got to get home, I'm not accomplishing anything over here. I can listen to Townes Van Zandt and drink beer back home. I've never been big on churches so why I need to see another I don't know. Museums and art galleries are too pretentious. Those that can paint should paint. Those that can't don't need to subject the world to their pompous opinions of what is art.

The arts or at least the classical arts are dying. Everything is modernized, thankfully the power of one man telling a story still holds. We'll see what the butchers in Hollywood do to Tolkien.

Occasionally they do well such as "Blade Runner". I'll have to read some Dick once I end my self imposed ban on SF and fantasy. Perhaps after I finish Saul, Nietzsche, Voltaire, Kafka and some other crap I'll get onto Dick, the new Pratchett and re-reading Tolkien.

It appears I've lost my list of books I intend to read. I know "Briefing for a descent into hell" was on it as was "A sickness unto death" nothing but cheery reads for me. I don't know how I lost it, it was part of my personal organizer and I still have that. I even have my useless French phone card. Maybe I threw it out with the 2000 calendar? It might still be saved at home but if I chucked it, my reading list is lost for all time. I've got the majority of it read or memorized but it is still a blow.

First 300+ DM and now my reading list. I hope my vacation has unexpected happiness rather than a string of disasters driving me further inward. The Tesla museum is very "Musk" and Greece and Bulgaria hold the promise of a friendly face should I escape Belgrade. I hope all my packages reach me in time and my visas sort themselves out in Vienna.

Well best get the cheque and trek to the Italian place. There is a waitress there that has got some floating to do.

"Well the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley." My waitress is not here. Even the head waiter with the broken hand who mixes German, French, Italian and even a little English in when he talks is missing. It is still a bit early for dinner in Europe after all it is only 5:51 pm. I'm thinking of switching to wine but it costs more and I don't even like it too much.

The amusing head waiter (owner?) arrived, I think his wife is serving me. The back half of the restaurant is dark. But the place is instantly lively with Italian and German and spewing from his mouth. Too bad my waitress isn't here maybe I'll try again next week. The place is called Ristorante "Pentolino" for the record. My old restaurant by my previous apartment was the "House of Goa".

I don't think I'll continue on to Jessie's pub, I'd rather save my strength for St. Patrick's Day in Vienna. I need to catch up on my sleep because the one thing I know about travelling is, it isn't restful. If I take another week or so off this summer I plan to spend it at my mom's. I always wanted to fast plus I've been meaning to redo my webpage and/or build a computer and install linux just for the experience. I'd rather install OpenBSD, I'll have to look into it.

I'll also have to see a doctor and get a clean bill of health before I go on my fruit juice fast. I want to see the look on Leon's face when I ask for time off to fast.

Well Pils comes in puny glasses and doesn't taste very good to me, I think I'll stick to dark beer and Weizen. Like I told Mike, Pils looks too much like piss.

I was thinking of my bar again. I plan to open it up someday while still working full time in software development that way the sucker doesn't have to make any money in the first year or so. I'll need a reliable partner/head chef/bartender as I won't be able to devote myself to the bar full time. I figure evenings helping out in your own bar can't be that unenjoyable. I'll do that until I'm rich from stock options or some other means or the bar is profitable. Then I can get out of the software business and enjoy life, writing, reading, spending time at my bar. I won't get rich but it sounds like a happy life.

I ordered a cafe mocha and I ended up with espresso. Don't know how the head waiter screwed that up. I knew they would have Cappuccino, should have stuck to that.

My grey cloaked angel arrived. She's wearing under her thick grey overcoat a tight pink top, too bad my latest table doesn't have such a great view of the bar whence behind she works. While she is no super model, her skin isn't flawless and perhaps her face isn't perfectly shaped but she is still the friendliest face I've seen today at least it seems that way to me. And she remembered me and greeted me in English which has a certain nostalgia.

I wonder how I'll feel in my proposed year in Japan. Unlike my German sentence, Japan would be self imposed exile. The Japanese are eager to speak English and I actually can get by in Japanese even reading the characters. I'll get better once I resume studying in Vancouver.

My angelic waitress is still a bit sick. She just greet some stern faced Asian businessman in English. Her English is far from perfect but it was an unexpected surprise when I discovered it last Thursday.

Usually, especially in France, you get a lot of male waiters and for the most part unless you especially ask the menu and the staff is pure German. That's why I always eat Italian. Besides being my favourite ethnic food I can decipher lasagne in any language.

The place is livening up as it approaches 7pm. It is still less than 1/3 full. And has no where near the business that P.J. O'Shea's or L'Commedian has had while I've been there.

They still haven't brought my Tiramisu they keep bringing it up in conversation though. I went to this other Italian restaurant not L'Commedian but very close to my second apartment. It had spaghetti with pesto. The pesto wasn't as good as mine. But the Tiramisu was tasty. I think Tiramisu is inherently good. I mean it is a dessert with chocolate and cream, how can it be bad?

Perhaps my waitress just broke a glass someone did. The staff is huddled around the taps and the head waiter seems a bit agitated. The waitress isn't my type at all, assuming I have a type. She is fairly tall but not a giant and quite thin two things I don't obsess over. She's modestly endowed and has a slightly husky complexion not as dark as an Italian or Spaniard but not fair skinned and blond haired like Northern Europeans. Maybe she has some Eastern European blood.

Regardless I have a soft spot in my hardened against Nürnberg heart for this place. The atmosphere is lively but intimate. The head waiter is amusing and genuinely concerned with your enjoyment of the meal. He seems to be having some trouble with the Asians. If I spoke German and they spoke Japanese perhaps I could help out. They were older men with dark skin, but I only caught a fleeting glance so I can't say for sure if they are 日本人. I've got to work on my Kanji in when I can.

I really should be in France. At least I know some French. I still pronounce some German words like French for example "Liebling des Tages" and "toiletten". At least the Germans don't charge for toilets. Not only do most public toilets in France cost money but even some cafes charge you too, even while you're eating there! Germany is not immune to this, rest stops on the autobahn have attended washrooms and supposedly if these didn't exist the toilets would be disgusting.

This table too has a reservation. Perhaps I can move to a smaller table. I'll ask. I'm at the table I had last time. It is draftier with worse light but it is better to watch the waitress glide from.

I'm seated by a family with a kid and a baby. One Thursday a trio of Francophones sat there. Both the baby, who's carriage is to my left and the child have stared at me with big brown eyes. Gameboy and Pokemon are universal or at least known the world over, I doubt Alpha Centaurians know of it.

Two of the French people have returned the baby faced guy and the curly redheaded woman. The kid calls the head waiter "Papa" and ran off to show her gameboy score. I don't think they're related though. She's been tramping around the restaurant looking for the waiter. The people who 'reserved' my table even though I was sitting at it and there is a whole empty back half of the restaurant may have arrived.

If I didn't think he was a nice guy I'd say it is another example of the Germans screwing the non-Germans. I've ran into some rude Germans but also some nice ones. Even those that don't know English, honestly don't know English, some refuse to speak it unless you press them, have been kind to me.

But on the whole there are some haughty Germans who definitely don't want me around speaking my English. For a people who travel far and wide they can be resentful of visitors and immigrants. I'll have to see what Austria is like. They are Germanic and have known right wing extremist, anti-immigrant politicians in their government.

I'll have to come back on a quiet night, Sunday is a bit obsessive but towards the end of my stay at Rent-a-home I ate at the "House of Goa" almost every night. It was about a block from my house. This is three or four blocks away. Yet another regular quasi staff arrived, he was privileged enough for the hug and kiss on the cheek with the waitress. He looks Italian and combined with one other fellow who arrived brings the staff including cook to six which considering there is less than twenty, perhaps a dozen customers, a lot of the din is provided by the head waiter.

Well I can't stay here forever even the family is leaving. The little girl is reluctant, the place is too much like home for her. Like a big family diner at her uncle's. She runs around screaming while crying and showing everyone her Pokemon. Her latest find is to chat in that universal childlike manner to my pink and black clad waitress while she resets their table. The parents appear to have left, she must live near by.

The head waiter just adjusted some track lighting so instead of being dark I have a stark spotlight trained on my writing. The shock of it hurt my eyes. I think all the main tables are reserved now, the staff is inflated and it is getting later so now people will be heading out.

My eating schedule is radically different than North America sometimes I don't eat for hours and hours. Rarely do I have three square meals sometimes only one, or one and a pastry like I had yesterday.

Well I must be going. I believe my waitresses name to be "Maxine", the little girl has taken to crying that instead of "Papa". Perhaps another night I will speak a few words to her as she seems to know more English than "Hello" and "Goodbye" though she was reluctant at first to help me in English.

I'll have to flag down some staff to get the bill with six of 'em you'd think it would be easy. An early night to bed at 7:30. I'll probably listen to my new Gil Scott Heron CD and read some Saul first I don't need anymore beer, nor do I need to ramble further.

I hope to convince Moan to come here for diner once. I get tired of eating alone. I do everything alone it seems. I hope to discover a traveling companion at the hostel in Vienna. I really miss Trevor and the Spanish. My existence before was pretty dull and consisted almost exclusively of work. At least work is less hectic now. I might not have worked 40 hours this week.

I'll have to get the cheque before I wear out my welcome. As I hope to come here again and I don't want to become the rude American.

Well another sleepless night, my descent began in Calgary. While reading Chung Kou and using the internet too much I became what I am today which is disgusted with myself.

I have some beer in the fridge but what I really need is the Townes Van Zandt. I had read on the internet, the most convexing of mediums, that people would come up to Townes and tell him that his music had saved their life. And even though he never had a hit in his life and his chief claims to fame are inspiring other songwriters and being covered. But he hoped when he was gone his words would live on...

I shouldn't be writing. I listen, hard. I listen hard when I play Townes. It isn't casual music. You need to listen intently to appreciate the lyrics. Propping myself up in bed is a distraction. The first Townes album I bought ("Rear View Mirror") was like an epiphany. Just like "Voltaire's Bastards", just like "Man out of time", just like "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail".

Aaarrggh, the batteries just gave out. The adapter my aunt lent me is incompatible with the new style of plugs. But I being ever pragmatic and paranoid bought more batteries today. The first week or so I was here I didn't listen much to the music I brought. But the weekend I was ill and since I've been in the second apartment I've taken to listening to Townes while I'm in bed.

I've been able to sleep cause I allow myself to relax. Sometimes I concentrate too intently on the lyrics but since I've committed to memory so many of his songs, even allowing that I've tripled my Townes Van Zandt collection since I've been over here, the familiarity allows me to drift off.

Too bad even Townes can't solve all my problems. I don't know if it is wise to look for answers in songs. It hasn't served me well in the past. Nor has writing down my thoughts and feelings. Regardless I seem to get something out of sad mournful songs and from writing down my thoughts.

I carry on conversations in my head and I think writing is just documenting the voices in your head. Fiction is just putting your words in someone else's mouth. I don't know who said it, but it's true.

Rather than having long discussions with myself occasionally muttering out loud. I generally ramble on to someone in some letter but I always guard my thoughts and choose my words with care and consideration. One day I'll have to channel what daemons and dementias I have forth onto a page. Even if I have to make shit up I always believed I could produce some Lovecraftian. Horror is a genre I never really dug because I don't get scared easily. I get uneasy about heights but rare is a movie and never a book that puts a little chill down my spine. Perhaps that is why I never think to write a novel of the macabre.

At least you get to write a lot of descriptive passages in Horror. Descriptive passages and dialogue are my strengths. Combined with humour and sarcasm and hyperbole, plot and characterization I don't seem to do well.

I never dug the whole character biography approach. I just have people in a place talking. No pre-planned plot, no elaborate character bios, I just write. I'm not sure how this would work over a longer piece.

If I fill this book with my thoughts it will be ad-hoc and haphazard. Structureless barely constrained by paragraphs and sentences. I'll have to devise a real plan for a play or something upon my return to Canada.

I always have something to say. My circle of influence grows ever smaller though through my travels maybe I can spread the gospel a little wider.

But a written work could be put on the web or perhaps even published more formally. At the least it gives me something to do. I have lots I want to do but I waste time in not doing it. "I'm too tired." or "Tomorrow" or "When I get back to Canada" or "After I move" too many excuses and too many regrets.

To quote Kris Kristofferson "I'd rather regret something I did than didn't do." I have regrets on things I've done, but I seem to think more on things I shouldn't or should have done. I live too much in my head. More fantasies and dreams "but reality what does it mean?" as Curtis would croon cooly.

My wrist is sore and I am not in the mood though my mind races, aimlessly as always. If I could only focus on one task what could I accomplish? Maybe seeing the Tesla museum will inspire me. He did so much, overcame such hardship and disadvantages and did all or a significant portion of it while young. I hope I get there and that they have a gift shop. I want something tangible to prove I went there and that it was not just some day dream in my head.

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Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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