Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Living Alone

I finally have the incredible luxury to do whatever I want. My time is my own. I have no set schedule: can stay up as late as I wish, sleep in as late as I can, eat when I'm hungry, and don't have to worry about the needs of anyone who expects me to feed them, talk to them, listen to them, or to do what they want when I don't. I consider this a luxury. Others might consider it a lonely, sad, wasted life. For a writer, time to be alone with something to say is like food for the soul. Other's might find my solitary life dull beyond belief. I luxuriate in it. I have achieved my life's ambition--to live a quiet, peaceful, solitary life with time to write.

I have friends who come to visit me, but they all know that dropping in on me is not the thing to do. I need a little warning that company is coming. My cottage is not accessible without coming through a locked gate with Roscoe in the yard. Roscoe is the big, yellow Lab you've seen in photos I post on days when I have nothing to say and still want to hear from you. Some of you have commented that Roscoe looks like the sort of sweetie who would welcome anyone--this is not the case. Roscoe is the best guard dog I have ever known. He hates all men just on general principle. If I have scheduled work on the house, and have a strange man coming over, he has to call me when he arrives out front, so I can meet him at the gate. Roscoe will be aggressive toward strange men, so it is important that a man coming into the yard listen to my instructions. I say, "Don't look at Roscoe. Talk directly to me. As long as I seem unalarmed by your presence, Roscoe will behave. He minds me, but don't try to pet him. Don't talk to him. He's a guard dog. It's his job to protect. As long as I don't seem worried about you, he won't be aggressive. Some men will not come into the yard even after I assure them that if they follow my instructions they will be safe. I'm fine with that. Better they should be afraid to enter the property, than think they can ignore my warnings about Roscoe. And if they won't take my instructions about a dog, they won't listen to what I want them to do on the house, won't take me seriously.

Cyrus, though huge and scary looking, is the gentlest dog I've ever known. His nine years as a shelter dog has left it's mark on him. From his behavior, I'd say he probably had some very hard times. He wears the scars of battle with other dogs. He's terrified of any sound that might be gunshot. This coming month is going to be hard on Cryus. The occasional firework is popping off almost every night now. And in Utah we have two holidays that require huge fireworks displays and they are in my vicinity. He was probably kenneled most of the time. So, for Cyrus, my small house is probably like a very luxurious kennel with company. He has three beds: one by my computer, and one on either side of my bed. He is content to hang with me. The only time he willingly leaves the house is when I get up in the morning. I fix myself my first latte of the morning, grab my smokes and out we go. He does what he needs to do and then wants to go quickly back into the house. I fix his breakfast and give him his morning meds. Then usually I sit down in front of the computer.

I get email alerts from several news sources, so the minute I touch the space bar about six emails await my perusal. I check the blog. I check my heddaspam email. If nothing's urgent there, I turn on MSNBC and check the days news stories. Usually this is a huge disappointment since Contessa Brewer or Bruster or whatever the fuck her name is, is always annoying to me. I'm not sure what it is about her--maybe it's her voice, or her long hair, or her slightly vapid way of covering a particular story--but whatever it is, I find myself saying , "Shut the fuck up!" at least a couple of times every half hour.

I take a break from this strenuous schedule mid-day for a walk with Cyrus. He doesn't want to leave the house, but he is obedient. I say, "Let's go for a walk, Cyrus." He pretends he doesn't hear me, but when I put my straw hat on, grab a couple of grocery bags and his leash, he gets up and follows me out, but he will not leave the yard unless he's on leash. He walks well with me, no pulling or resistance. He's a good dog.

So, there you have it, my small life. Oddly, it is you I find most interesting. Your interests, your lives, your passions that are most engaging to me these days. I envy some of you your skills with this technology. Dcup, at Politits, has the most beautiful site. She not only writes well, she is also a terrific photographer and graphic artist. I have the feeling she does everything well. She's a wife, mother, writer, cook, photographer, artist and working woman. If that old Helen Reddy song, I Am Woman, applied to anyone, it is Dcup:

You can bend but never break me
'cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
'cause you've deepened the conviction in my soul


Anonymous said...

Awwww. Thanks, but I just do what I have to do. You know how that it. And writing is one of those things.

Your life sounds quite nice to me. I'd love peace and quiet in which to write.

D.K. Raed said...

Since July 4 falls on a Friday this year, I expect a pretty empty town because the 3-day weekend practically demands they all to run to Vegas. Vegas does a pretty good 4th. Unfortunately all the vegas morms will be running up here for the 24th, kind of like homing pigeons. Every Pioneer Day of my youth, my family would pile in our turquoise station wagon & head up to some 2-hump town in central UT where my dad grew up. Actually it was kind of fun to pretend we were farmers, ranchers or miners. I learned to ride a horse there & also drove a car on those dusty roads without being able see over the wheel (had to look THOUGH it). The hard-scrabble mining area where he grew up was a terrible example of mormism, being full of hard-drinkers, smokers & gamblers. Mines are played out, so today the area is all ATV trails.

Your day is your luxury to do what you want. I love the little descriptions you leave. Is Roscoe as agressive with women as strange men? And you are so right, if a repair guy won't listen to your about your dog, they sure won't be listening to you about whatever work you need done. Plus they will probably leave a mess for you to clean up.

Cyrus is sweetie & so lucky he found you (or you him, or however that goes).

Utah Savage said...

Yes dear, but some of us have a real hard time being pulled in ten different directions. You manage to do it with such grace and wit. I never had it in me.

Utah Savage said...

D.K. You story is great, bye the way. You are really a very interesting "fiction" writer. You should do more of it. I put quotes around fiction because I believe the best writing comes out of experience. Live an interesting life and you'll really have something to write about. Or, know interesting people.

And yes, Roscoe is not so hostile to woman as he is to men. Melea didn't get him until he was about six months old. We have the theory that a man might have done something to him that he didn't like. Who knows? Since he spends most of his time in the company of women, he likes and trusts us, so why shouldn't he be a bit suspicious of men? I am.

I hate July and August in this climate, almost as much as I hate December and January in this climate. Santa Barbara was my favorite place to live-- pretty much perfect weather year round. Not too hot, not too cold. But too expensive for me these days.

Randal Graves said...

to live a quiet, peaceful, solitary life with time to write

That would be quite nice. No, dearest wife, I'm kidding, you can come along. Just sit over there. No, over there.

Hell of a guard dog, Cerberus with only one head. I feel bad for Cyrus. I hate all the little fuckers with their stash of bottle rockets and Roman candles blowing up at 2am. Punk ass bastards.

D.K. Raed said...

Thanks UT S. These days, I consider myself an observer of interesting lives. I still recall the Santa Barbara home we almost bought in 1979, but it was $200K which seemed outrageous to us (this is why the rich get richer & why I will never be rich). San Diego was a cheaper alternative & has even better weather (my opinion). We'd still be there today if I didn't crave these empty arid places.

Most of my cats and even a few previous dogs also displayed fear of men. I figured it was their deeper voices. My current old dogs have gone/are going deaf, so we no longer have confrontations with every door bell ring. And the 4th & 24th fireworks no longer send them cringing into a closet.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I think DCup is really cool too.

DivaJood said...

Utah, you describe the joys of living alone quite well - and I love this kind of in the moment writing from you. You paint a picture of a life being well lived, and it resonates for me.

Utah Savage said...

Pagan, Diva, are you joining us in this adventure?

DivaJood said...

Yes, I am indeed. I am working on a story to be presented later.

Liquid said...


But what do I know?

I'm weird.

{{{{{Workin' on that short story for ya'...............HARD.}}}}}

Scarlet W. Blue said...

Sounds like a lovely life to me.

Hale McKay said...

Hello Miss Savage,

I have stopped in after "Liquid Illusion" dropped a dime that I should check out your writing. I think she did so because of my short story (Echoes of Eddie)which I've been running every Monday.

I liked your comment to D.K. about putting quotes around "fiction," because the best writing comes out of experience.

I don't know if I could learn to be alone and to relish it as you do, but there are times when peace and quiet can be elusive when I am writing.

There is an anonymous quote I found and like:

There is no pleasure in having nothing to do: the fun is having lots to do and not doing it.

I will return when I have more time to partake of some of your "fiction."

Utah Savage said...

This quote souds like Dorothy Parker to my ears. Ears you are just now at 64 just reading her. What a fool I was not to dip into her wondrous world of words before now. I owe my introducto to Dorothy Parker to one of my first readers, Stella, at Swiftspeak.

Utah Savage said...

I'm listening to Randy Newman and thinking of the bloggers I know who live in reach of the mighty Mississippi. I'm worried about them and have been playing "Louisiana" today. "Their trying to wash us away."

"I Think It's Going to Rain Today"

Broken windows empty hallways,
Human kindness is over flowin'
And I think it goin' to rain today

BBC said...

I've lived alone for ten years. But that doesn't mean I don't have obligations to others that I like and love.

Long Beach also has a nice climate and I love the pier 55 fish market. The climate here this year has been fucked so far, but it's that way many places.

On July 4th you can bet that I won't be in town. I'll be out in the national park where no fireworks and drunks are allowed, I just can't handle that anymore and I want my peace.

Not saying I may not get a little drunk, but quietly.

BBC said...

Oh, and friends are well trained to to not visit me unless invited, or if I want to go visit with them.

I like my peace and quite here.

FranIAm said...

This was quite lovely to read and I always love to learn more about you.

Plus, now I know that I should not drop by unannounced! Although as a woman, I won't have as many issues with Roscoe and I will behave as you request.

For many years I lived alone and loved every minute of it. Now, I was working full time and that was a big hassle in many ways and draining, so I did not have the luxury of time to write etc.

Now I live with my husband (we got married in April '07 but I did not move in here until Thanksgiving '07)and my cat. My step-daughter is here about 40% of the time, she will be 12 on Monday.

Having never lived with anyone and starting to do so at 49 did concern me a bit, but it has worked out beautifully.

And not working gives me writing time - even if that time cannot yield a story for your collection. Oh how I would have loved to write that years ago when it was in me!!

I do need to find work, that whole "cash flow thang" is problematic at the moment.

In any case, I think what I got out of your post was the way in which we can sink into our own skins and just be.

Ahhhh. That feels good - no?

fairlane said...

I'll wager 3 Pence that Roscoe loves me.

We share a common ancestor.

Utah Savage said...

fairlane, you slay me.

Naj said...

Well, since you said you are interested in 'our' stories, I have got one for you:

I am pretty STUCK. In Temple Texas! Came to visit family members, whom I am finding increasingly useless, selfish; pretty much like myself. Now I want to go home and start packing for my 'separation'; and I am stuck in this suburb, although I don't know what is NOT a suburb in Temple TX, and there exists not even a taxi to take me away!

argh ... help!

Ghost Dansing said...

sometimes when i'm all alone...... i just don't know what to do with myself

Ghost Dansing said...

i know what you're thinking..... White Stripes didn't originally do that song....... you're correct, it was Dusty Springfield

Naj said...

Utah dear, your proposition is right on spot, as I am exploding with stories to tell; but my English SUCKS :)

Nonetheless, I am not shy to expose myself to correction and edition. However, you need to invite me with blogger forms. right now I am not allowed to see the blog :/

Utah Savage said...

Naj, go to my profile, and email me. I'll talk with you off of the, oh so public, comments page stage.

Pagan Sphinx said...

I say! I dig that Dusty Springfield tune. Am going to listen to hear White Stripes' version now. thanks ghost.

Utah Savage said...

Ghost, I think the White Stripes version of I Don't Know What to Do With Myself, is very interesting on a lot of levels. First though, lets get to the little details--what's with the strip of partical board at the top of the wall, just where it intersects with the ceiling? It's all I can remember of the piece. In the oddest way it reminded me of Janice Joplin. Janice with you're eyes closed. Open your eyes and plug your ears and it's a great looking babe doing a pole-dance. Put the two together and you should have a little something for everyone, but me--all I'm left with is the telling detail of the unfinished wall. Who's ever going to notice? Right? What man would ever think of looking away from that babe on the pole to the top of the wall, right?

Utah Savage said...

Hale mckay, welcome to my world. I'll come by on fiction Monday. Drop me a reminder, Okay?

Utah Savage said...

Sorry, hale, it took me so long to say hi, to welcome you to the commenters. I like your voice, hope to see you often. It's just that I can only do one little thing at a moment. Living alone requires that you do every damn thing. If you are a property owner, that's damn near a full time job.