An Epilogue?

I’m turning 35 in a few days. It won’t be many long seasons until I’m 38, which was all the time Jack Harris had on earth. I’m starting to think about my future more, trying to focus more on projects that will advance me in the world. My I Ching readings have been auspicious and so far the oracle has been trustworthy.

A short story based in small part on what I thought to be Jack’s memories of the Armentieres sector in the summer of 1915 (a few weeks prior to his death) has been published.

I earned no money from this, and I have made no claims promoting the work as anything but a work of fiction. But a fraction of those memories will live on in print now, even if few copies of the anthology it’s in are likely to be sold.

It’s also a spinoff of a very ambitious novel I’m still waiting to hear about months later. I confirmed with the publisher that it’s still in the slush pile awaiting review. That novel has elements of Count William’s story in it as well, and of my experiences in 2012-2013. Again, it’s being treated as a work of fiction with no outrageous claims made about its origins.

I’ve been doing well on some medication I was given initially for pain. It’s called gabapentin, a naturally-occurring brain chemical that I seem to have lacked. It’s made me much calmer and more stable without ruining my ability to write, so I’ve been going back through a backlog of old short stories and rewriting them. I may try to publish a single author anthology next year, we’ll see. Most of these stories have never actually seen a print edition and I feel my work will be incomplete without a polished, published edition of these stories to form the definitive version.

I still have some trauma to deal with, but it’s all stuff from the last 35 years thankfully. I’m going to begin intensive outpatient therapy for that soon to hopefully get back into the workforce. I have a good lead on a security job and two good references with the company I’m applying to. I’ve had to quit weed and may quit for good but that’s not a bad thing. If I can get and keep a good job there is a chance my father might co-sign for me to get a trailer. It’s a far cry from the charming Georgian cottage of my dreams but at least it will be mine, and I won’t have to worry about landlords any more.

I’m starting to feel a bit of tender feeling creeping back in as I get less scared and more prepared to handle life. Maybe I’ll go back into the church. We’ll see. Right now I’m still dealing with awkward feelings about Christianity and religion in general. When I see people I care about complaining about how Christians treat them it’s not really helpful to butt in with a “not all Christians” take even if I find the theology that hurt them abhorrent and contrary to the spirit of the law. It’s really impossible to defend something so dominated by hateful, hurtful people and I feel apologetics fall flat in light of what people’s lived experiences have been.

I’m also tangling with Marxist dialectics now, trying the idea, testing it, and it seems diametrically opposed to the metaphysics of things I once believed yet at the same time, the logic of dialectical materialism is hard to dismiss. Most of the critiques I’ve seen have been superficial at best. Admittedly I’m grappling with some rather extreme views of my own and I wonder if I’m not a Marxist-Leninist deep down. I do wonder if I would feel different about Marxism-Leninism if I lived in a liberal social democracy rather than a laissez-faire dystopia but it’s impossible to say. What I can say is I will not call myself a Christian if I embrace Marxism-Leninism as they are mutually exclusive. It’s a bit stressful, grappling over my personal beliefs like this, but no matter which way I look it’s clear that the world as it stands can’t be sustained. Something has to give.

Maybe this is simply a turn of seasons. The Word does say that there’s a time to every purpose under Heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Perhaps I’m focused on the material because it’s the season to tend to material needs. I hope I will find some shred of prosperity, from whatever’s left for working class stiffs like me. If I can do even half as well as my parents did at my age I will be satisfied. If I survive to age 40, even moreso.

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