Well, my site appears to be down right now. I’m having quite a few server issues, it seems. Some of you have written to say you can’t see my site at all anymore since they changed my server a month ago. I’m trying to get it resolved. Thanks for being so patient.

I did something yesterday that I suggest all of you do right around now, when your head gets so full with anxiety and questions, when you feel like your eyes are going to fall out of your head.

I turned the television off. I turned the radio off. I turned the computer off. And I went outside.

I just don’t do it very often. Go outside, I mean. I went out to a meeting that was in a very pretty section of Santa Monica and enjoyed my drive. (Okay, I listened to the Pentagon briefing while I drove, but I was still outside, so it counted.) Jessica came over later that day and we went out for coffee. And Ray was in town for an audition, so we hung out with him for a couple of hours. Outside. It was such a nice day. And sure, we talked about the war because what else are you going to talk about, but we discussed what had been bothering us, what upset us and what worried us. Voicing that confusion helped.

But I didn’t spend the afternoon making phone calls. In fact, I missed one from Chris and Allison, filling me in on the honeymoon, so that bummed me out, but I hadn’t anticipated Jessica or Ray’s visits. We spent the afternoon talking, laughing, enjoying each other. That last sentence sounds both dirty and way too flowery. What has happened to my writing?

And then I calmed down.

It’s easy to get so worked up when the news coverage is so cyclical, just one update after another, updating the updates with no new information, without any answers to any questions. I just get so paranoid. “What’s that sound?” “Does that plane sound too close to the house?” “Why is that guy on the corner staring at me?”

Like yesterday, my latest consipracy theory where I accused all of you of abandoning me when I changed my front page. You know why my stats plummeted? Because I forgot to put the friggin’ stat counter on the new page. It was my fault. Because I’m an idiot. But I’m so quick to make the hysterical assumption, so willing to think it’s all over, it’s all crashing down, everything’s so horrible, that I don’t stop for a second and think rationally. I don’t allow logic or reason to get a moment to breathe.

“Settle down,” my dad used to say to me when I was in the throes of teenage angst. “Quit being so bonkers. You’ve gone gonzo.”

I knew I was overreacting when my dad would use words like “bonkers” and “gonzo.” That was never a good sign. It was always followed by, “You aren’t on stage right now.”

It wasn’t just turning off the television for a couple of hours that helped me calm down. You guys helped too. This letter helped, straight from the Department of Assholes:

[readermail]Shalom Mam,
browsing along and around and having found a link to Your site that was named sth like an impolite form of “dumbfuck”, of course I had to click. And oh surprise- what did I find? Some really sad propaganda about probably the most disgusting and ignorant scum our lovely planet still has to offer, lobotomized supporters of George “warhound” Bush. WOW! Allow me to return the emotional impact You caused- www.geocities.com/yak_martin .
I will not ask stuff like “Why is Bush NOT a serial killer? What was his death penalty job as Governor of Texas?”, “Does anybody notice that there still is NO relation between Iraq and Al Quaida?”, “How can they put a lunatic like Rumsfeld into his current position though he somehow seems to have forgotten it was HIM who was in charge of weapon sales to Iraq in 1984?”… yeah I’m a bastard- I DO ask ;)
Finally: I do not dance on the graves of the dead folks You mention on Your site, but that messed up mixture of people includes soldiers of a very sad regime who were not forced to start a war that is fought against international law.
get well soon, shalom (peace)!

yak

P.S.: My favourite band is They Might Be Giants, my favourite movie is Rumble Fish, the latest kick ass movie I have watched was Donnie Darko, I play a Les Paul guitar, Korg synthesizer, Squier Bass… all American.
[/readermail]

If anyone is fluent in dick, I need a translator. How could anybody interpret what I’m doing as pro-war? And how come internet terrorists are always the worst spellers?

Then I received this letter, which shows beautifully the spectrum of people who stop by this site.

[readermail]”I thought about not writing until the war ended. I thought about staying quiet until it was all over, until there was sense to everything.”

But that would defeat the purpose for writing. To make your own best sense out of what you have at the moment.

If it all ended tomorrow, and some great unknowable being came down and explained the purpose of every event, every loss, in your life to you, would you even be able to believe it?

If you were to believe it, would you still feel like writing?[/readermail]

So, listen. We’re not doing any good running around freaking out about every sound, every noise, every soundbite.

There’s this need to do something. This feeling to fix something, change it or make something better. But when you’re so worked up you feel trapped, blocked, helpless. You have to calm down, think, see how you really feel about everything. Only then can inspiration come. Only then can you find the strength to change.

Only then can you not look like an idiot online, making impulse decisions, shooting off at the mouth before you have all the facts.

And when I get really quiet, when I sit really still… these are the thoughts that float through my head:

I can’t believe there’s a murderer with a number one album and a rapist with an Academy Award. Why do I bother obeying the law? If I want to be famous, I’d better fuck someone up soon…

Why am I the only person in the country who clapped at the end of

Willard?…

I know I need to order more checks, and yet I also know I won’t actually remember to do it, to actually pick up the phone and order them, until I’ve run out. I’ve been staring at this order form for three weeks. What is wrong with me?…

I think Ray broke my digital camera, but I have no proof. Therefore I can’t actually accuse him. All I know is it worked, I lent it out, and now it doesn’t work. Is that enough proof? But then again, it might also be a problem with the batteries, but instead of testing it with new batteries and having a digital camera again, I’d rather just assume that Ray broke my camera and never touch it ever again. Again: what is wrong with me?…

I had a dream last night that was so funny I woke up laughing and was laughing for the next three minutes. Only until after I had breakfast did I realize it’s not really all that funny. Why can’t all of my dreams be that hysterical, and why don’t the things stay funny in the morning? How come Paul McCartney can write “Yesterday” during a particularly good REM period, and I’ll I can come up with is “What if Gabe made fun of Hilary in a play that doesn’t exist while I was painting a step stool?”…

Why did the cover of

The Piano Teacher make the movie sound like good French sexy-sexy? Why did it not say: Warning! Will make you cover your eyes, shriek like a little girl, and will scare you more than The Ring, all while being incredibly French? Who can I sue?…

Every year Omar and I buy each other birthday presents, as our birthdays are one day apart (I guess that’s technically not the only reason. He’s a friend and all, but you know, it’s the competitive Aries in us that makes us want to buy the other one the first, better present). This year he knows how much his fans love him, and he’s decided we must buy him either expensive presents, or things that don’t exist yet. That Omar, he’s just using you for your cash. Check that out. He expects you to buy his

Simpsons collection. Well, not YOU, but the ones of you who love Smallville more than you love oxygen…

My quiet thoughts are a little pissy. It’s a good thing nobody can hear what I think all day long. Nobody would ever talk to me again…

Why is my website down? Why can’t I get any mail? Why did I accuse everyone of abandoning me when all I did was make a stupid web design mistake? How can I continue to be so dumb but yet I still don’t burn my face off when I make dinner?…

Hmm. It’s not so much that I feel better… but when exactly am I supposed to feel inspired? How do artists do it?

I knew that my neighbors had calmed down and decided to go back to business as usual when they unleashed their lawnmowers and weed-wackers at eight this morning. Good mornin’!

Buy Glarkware. It’s so damn cool.

Currently reading

The Hours. Yes, I’m the last person on Earth to do it. Thanks for asking.

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