Travels with Myself

The Occasional Blogs of Doug Jordan, Author

37. Dating 2

I had been dating for about three months and already beginning to feel discouraged. Rather than feel the excitement of the new, I felt only increasing cynicism. I may have been living as if my hair was on fire but my energy was being sapped. But I was compelled to carry on, and match.com kept sending me prospects.

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36. Dating, Oh My

I preferred ‘organic dating’ – going out with people I already knew, if only slightly, or be introduced to somebody – but I knew the name of the game in 2018 was on-line dating. Kinda like a lottery – if I wanted to win a prize I had to buy a ticket – and maybe just as soul-destroying. I took a deep breath and posted my bond and my profile on match.com.

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35. The Question of Suicide

After that dream, and all through that awful summer of Emily yo-yo-ing me I had considered hanging myself more than a few times from various staircases, but now, while visiting Marlene, I thought the branch of the tree reaching over her headstone would do nicely. I wondered where I had put my rope.

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34. WOTS 2

Word on the Street (WOTS) is one of the biggest [outdoor] book fairs in the world, certainly the biggest in Canada. And you’ve got to admit, it’s a clever name, both of them.

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33. WOTS

If I was to be a real author, not a closet pretender, I needed to sell a lot more of my books.
Despite my reservations, and fear, I wanted to get wider exposure. I wanted affirmation. Endless ego needs may have been at the base of all this, but if I wanted exposure, I had to promote my books. As any author, successful and otherwise, will attest, the better mousetrap gets no attention by itself.

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32. Hair on Fire

It may have looked like desperation to others, and maybe it was, but to me it was about regaining my life force, to live with eros, not in a rocking chair.

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31. Lost

My plunge into the abyss lasted four months. Maybe abyss is the wrong metaphor; it didn’t feel like falling into a black hole. It felt more like I was walking underwater, trudging, dragging my feet on a sandy bottom with an undertow holding me under. And maybe this agitated aimlessness lasted longer than four months. It wasn’t as if I suddenly woke up one day and felt well. But from August to December I have only fractured memory of what happened to me. Here’s a list of what I do remember.

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30. Jump with Me

I drove back to Ottawa the next day. She called me at four o’clock. We talked for two hours. The upshot of the whole conversation was simple.
‘I’ll jump with you.’
Okay,’ I said, ‘We’ll jump together.’

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29. Into The Abyss

I knew I was having an emotional episode, even though I had never experienced anything like this before. This is what is commonly called a ‘nervous breakdown’; though professional people don’t use the term anymore, it nevertheless feels apt if you are experiencing one.

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28. Yo-Yo

I wanted her back, but after my anger and petulance, how was that possible now?
Help came from an unexpected quarter: A former neighbour who was also friends with Emily.
‘I’m going to fix this.’ she said.

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27. Writing Mania

One Sunday afternoon of hopeless staring I suddenly saw my story unfolding in my head. I rolled out of bed and sat down at my computer. The words started to flow from my fingers. And in the erratic days and nights of the next three weeks, I wrote. And wrote. And wrote.

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26. The Flute

I drove to the cemetery to consult with Marlene, but she had nothing to say to me. In the fog of my grief I had hoped Emily would be the answer to my next stage of life. Now I felt completely alone. I was a mess, an admixture of anger and anxiety, possessiveness and petulance.

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24. Moving Day

All through that fall and winter I had been gently but steadily moving ahead with the task of downsizing my household. It was a painful but necessary step to me redefining my life following Marlene’s death. I now had too much house, and too much stuff for one man living alone.

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23. Time to Move

I only felt alive when I was with her. But even then, I knew this was more fantasy than real. I knew I had to get my life in order, and my finances in order, and start over. The confusing part was when the fantasy and the reality merged.

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Observations on Blogging

Of the 105 subscribers, about 55 (not always the same 55) are reported as ‘Open’ed but of those only about half Click through to the blog site itself. This is not surprising really, it’s only my tender ego that expects all my readers are eager to read my latest post.

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22. Reading, Writing, ‘Rithmetic

Little did I realize I was also tampering yet again with my core identity. We are creatures of habit and we are especially attached to our own territory: house and office are core to our sense of self.

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21. Falling and Flying – 2

As our relationship progressed, I began to ask myself what sort of relationship I really had with Emily. ‘You are too unstable for us to think about this relationship. It has only been a few months and you are grieving hard for Marlene. And so am I. We are not ready for a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.’ Emily found lots of evidence of my instability. There were many signs:

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20. Falling and Flying

At the Kingston station I noticed a young couple greeting each other with an excited kiss on the platform. I smiled at this public display of affection and then a dull yearning began in my chest. I suddenly had an impulse to text Emily. Was she available to have dinner with me that evening when I got back?

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19. False Hope

The fog of grief was real enough: I lost concentration, I had no plans, I was forgetful. I couldn’t sleep. I knew there were things I needed to do to start putting my life back together, but not today, maybe tomorrow. I went to grief counseling; I read many books about grief. I finally read The Emperor of all Maladies. All I wanted to do was escape all this grieving stuff.
And there she was.

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18 Parallel Universe

During the period of Marlene’s illness, and dying, I was consumed with the obvious activity – caring for the patient. Caring for myself was an

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17. Grief 3

This post [Grief 3] may feel a bit like Rach 3, that difficult and challenging piano concerto by Sergei Rachmaninov, at first compelling, but then

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16. Marlene’s Grief

Was Marlene shocked at the confirmation of her cancer?  Did she go through the classic stages of grief in her journey with cancer? Did I?  Not

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15. About Grief

Maybe the ancients had it right, grief is one continuous blur with no clear steps or stages, and no certain period, only a gradual diminishing of pain.

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14. Fallout

One of our long-time friends had observed at the time Marlene’s mother had died from esophageal cancer, ‘there’s always a casualty with cancer’; even if

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12. The Funeral

A funeral may be one of the most striking symbols of the human condition. Every tribe in human history is marked for its cultural attention

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11. The Race to the End

In the ensuing weeks my daily routine was almost entirely focused on the care and comforting of Marlene. I designed an excel spreadsheet to monitor

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8. Life Transitions

Every life transition brings its own emotional response, even when you are the architect of your own transition. Many transitions are gradual, even semi-conscious. You

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2. Master Class

I never took a writing course. There was a basic styles handbook in university, and I’m sure I had marginal feedback from various TAs who

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1. The Journey Begins

How many of you have thought, ‘maybe I should write a book’? If you’re reading this blog, I suspect, most of you.  Everyone has a

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Introduction

Travels with Myself (with apologies to John Steinbeck) is the story of my journey to become an author. This is also the narrative of the

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