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Time Squatter
On Losing It on the Overton Railroad
By way of apology to numerous friends who have fallen prey to one writer’s failure to recall the place of a day.
***
This one always wondered what losing it would be like.
I mean, that’s why he had committed the remainder of his little life to write.
Writing is a race against insanity, the thought runner carrying his bottled wits cradled like a football against the defamation of untiring Time.
In 2009, he became unable to carry his people management tasks in his head and had to begin taking notes.
Time gains a step.
In 2010 he began writing fulltime in an attempt to regain a lost step.
In 2017 he quit work altogether and wrote overtime, until some psychotic episode happened during a sleep seizure in which he shattered his nose in seven pieces smashing it against desk and floor over four-lost hours of blood spraying unsleep.
Cheated, Time gains a double step.
In 2018, he had a choice, live in the ghetto, out of a backpack, in an area where no paleface might leave his room without taking his every possession, or live on the Overton Railroad. On the road he went.
Time gains three steps.
After four months in Portland, completing record works, he headed east, and found insanity waiting for him.
Time gusts a scalding breath.
He gets nervous, mentally dislocated and anxious for one to three days when he knows that he will not lay his head in the same space again.
Time yawns wide.
In the east, he rarely stays 2 nights in a place. The tactical pack, his mobile house, remains zipped and unpacked, just hauled about, left waiting like a yoke posing as a butler. He doesn’t open it until he lands for a week in one place.
His writing, he is told, is getting better on the Overton Railroad. Finishing books, though, the management of small time, slips by.
Time roars on high.
Returning to Utah for an annual visit, he finally feels at home—although he has none—and three books are made, loose strands of an unraveling mind turned into cord, dangled like fishing line in the stream of Time.
On the road again, back east, his calendar, which he has been keeping to ease his increasingly numb and expanding mind—a mind that is devolving out of Time, fails to bring peace. The calendar is confusing him—he doesn’t know where or who or how long he will be.
Time pauses with cosmic patience—waiting for his feeble steps.
Over three December weeks, he thought he had caught up, was racing through a book, receiving compliments from readers old and new, accepting greetings from friends old and new, feeling like he had regained one of those stolen steps.
Five of those friends, old, new, older, new and new, reminded him, in their own timbred ways, that he was wondering in a daze.
Time reclines, its quarry limping into its maw, awaiting the fool who had forgotten the very day, who checks his train ticket every day, unable to remember the time a moment after he replaces it in the pocket of that 20-year-old coat.
One friend, kinder than the rest, worried about the inability to mark boxes on a calendar with certainty, asked about his seizures—yes, they’ve been near to constant…maybe a blood-starved brain is reeling along this railway to dissipation.
He is very sorry for these many, recent, miscommunications and fumbled relations.
Time, too majestic to gloat, turns away.
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c8January 1, 2020 11:51 AM UTC

"Writing is a race against insanity, the thought runner carrying his bottled wits cradled like a football against the defamation of untiring Time."

Who writes like that? More genius from your pen. Entire series could be written about "thought runners." And you didn't even liken Time to a steroid-ridden linebacker! Happy New Year to ye, JL! (btw your turn on 3rd Rail was great)

Wandering the grim back-alleys of the hinternets I stumbled on this letter from Phil effin Dick about Julian Jaynes' book 'The Origin of Consciousness In The Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind,' penned in 1977, where I probably saw the Time magazine article and asked for it for Christmas that year. Gramma, greatly puzzled by the title, got it for me. Yeah, wasted youth. But I reckoned you'd be interested in Dick's excited take, relating as it does to our prior ruminations. Excerpt:

"Extraordinary as it may seem to us, when a king died, his people continued to hear his voice on an inner basis, for some time after he was dead; this is why in the most ancient cultures throughout the world the dead king's body was provided with food, etc., since he, in the form of his voice, was very much alive to his followers. However, somewhere between two and one thousand B.C. man began not to hear these inner command voices; as Jaynes puts it, The gods fell silent. Man made frantic and even somewhat tragic efforts to get the gods to talk to him as before; for example, this is what the Delphic Sibyls did: they spoke for the god Apollo, but by that time (600 B.C. to 100 A.D.) only a few simple peasant girls could hear the godly voices. And finally even they could not. By 100 A.D. no one could hear the voices of the gods anymore."

https://www.julianjaynes.org/jjsforum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=400

PS. Old cure for refractory epilepsy is a ketogenic diet. At a minimum, if you're able, stop eating the pro-inflammatory sugar and limit carbs, getting majority of calories from fats, see if it helps. Eggs, coconut oil (medium-chain triglycerides), avocado, walnuts, butter, meats. Sounds like you adapted a similar diet recently, keep at it and best wishes.
responds:January 1, 2020 6:24 PM UTC

Thanks for the compliments and advice. I'm down over 40 pounds since going paleo, but the siezures are worse.

Happy new year, c8