Confessions

THE METAMORPHOSIS: SNAPSHOTS OF THE ARTIST AS A CREATURE OF CHANGE

by
Daulton Dickey

[Click here to read Part I]

Part II 

1.

An egg stands on the counter beside a sheathed blade. It topples over without rolling and falls next to the blade, leaning against its sheath.

I grab the egg and stuff it into a carton in the refrigerator.

—Not yet, but when the time comes, we’ll use it.

I shove the blade into a drawer and fall into a lake, which has replaced the kitchen floor.

Unable to swim, I flounder and sink to the bottom.

I can’t hold my breath, so I clench my eyes and wait for death.

My concentration, in that moment, establishes silence, darkness.

“I” disappear as pure consciousness takes hold:

Not darkness, but grayness—the end of a gradient cast by a powerful and all-consuming light.

I sense it but I can’t fall into it, so I try, and I break my concentration and open my eyes.

Sitting half-lotus on my bed, I glance around the room.

I amble into the kitchen and open the fridge and the egg pops out of the carton and rolls and shatters, spilling a fetus resembling me onto the floor. (more…)

The Metamorphosis: Snapshots of the Artist as a Creature of Change

by
Daulton Dickey.

Part I

1.

Night spills from the yolk of the sun and sprays shadows and darkness across the city. Chrome beasts slither up and down the road, screeching and roaring. I stare at a dent in the wall and go blind. Through the topology of darkness, I slip away: my mind and body drop like clothe, but the universe remains. Darkness spills shadows. Chrome beasts. A heart in the window thumps, thumps, thumps. The blinds bounce and rattle in unison with the heartbeat. A skip now and then signifies arrhythmia.

I pull the strings dangling near the window frame and open the blinds. Each blind in the scaffolding transforms into a moth and flutters away. The heart in the window beats, beats, beats. After half a dozen beats, it withers and shrinks and transforms into a dead fly, which lands on its back on the windowsill.

A bounce. Rattle. Skip. (more…)

Ten of Our Favorite Articles of the Year

#1

Andy Kaufman and the Physics of Human Response

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#2

Andy Kaufman: Architect of Reality

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#3

Tyler Returned, a Story By Jessica McHugh

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Our Ten Most Popular Articles of the Year

# 1

In a Psych Ward on Suicide Watch: A True Story

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#2

How Misogynists Think: Confessions of a Former Misogynist

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#3

Gustave Courbet and the Origin of the World

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How to Fail at Crowdfunding and Get Tanked by an Old Celebrity

by
Daulton Dickey.

25552118_528693620831390_7355383202780091910_nFew things are worse than poverty. Struggling to make ends meet from week to week, month to month takes a toll on you, both mentally and physically. Stress and anxiety corrupt your mind, deprives you of sleep, destroys your appetite. Stomach pains are common with me. Sometimes excruciating pain prevents me from doing—or even wanting to do—anything. Toss bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) into the picture and you’ve got a mess on your hands. Even on Klonopin and Prozac, I’m a mess. My anxiety slices through the mellowing effects of the drugs and locks me in a sort of stasis and I fight to overcome my anxiety and live a somewhat effective life.

Poverty spikes my anxiety, especially when bills pile up and rent is due and we don’t have enough money to cover everything. The stress sometimes paralyzes me, as it does now: currently, we’re behind on rent—we were short last month, we don’t have enough to cover next month’s rent, and no way of generating that money in such a short amount of time. In addition, my car tires are in rough shape. I have to fill them every day. It’s only a matter of time before I step outside to go to work and find four flat, dead tires. (more…)

Eggs—a True Story

by
Daulton Dickey.

1.

25398812_526091877758231_1953643807065118555_nCracking an egg always produces something worth sharing. Sometimes it’s worth eating, sometimes it’s worth serving to others, and sometimes it produces a decayed and grotesque mess of rotten flesh and meat not meant to survive for long.

Eggs sustain life. To Salvador Dali, they signified imagery he saw in the womb, a symbol of desire to return to what he called the “intrauterine paradise.” You can fertilize an egg to create life or you can dwell on eggs plucked from chickens pumped with chemicals—or, if you’re Milo Moiré, you can push paint-filled eggs from your vagina and create a painting as they explode on a canvas beneath you.

In the ancient world, eggs symbolized the potential for life, life itself, fertility, rebirth. Some ancient cultures believed the world itself hatched from an egg. Christians use the egg to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus—rebirth. Some cultures believed breaking an egg could destroy demons while others believed they possessed magical properties that could cure people. In American idiom, ‘to lay an egg’ is to fail while having ‘eggs on your face’ means you’ve in some way made a fool of yourself. (more…)

Notes of a Poor Bastard: Of Poverty and Parasites

by
Daulton Dickey.

(Note: This is the latest installment of an ongoing column. Click here to the index for previous installments.)

24852600_522175624816523_6155051481049473096_nI was working the counter when some old knucklehead sashayed through the doors and wanted a thermostat for his car. His complexion told you he had money: he was in his 60s and his face was smooth and more or less wrinkle free. Meat on people who don’t worry year in and year out about food and housing tend to maintain a youthful elegance. His face wasn’t taut or shiny, which ruled out plastic surgery. He was simply a man whose concerned lay outside the sphere of struggling to make ends meet.

Like most people with money who found their way into the part store, he was clueless. He knew the year and the model but not the make or the engine size or the OE thermostat temperature. He somehow knew he needed a thermostat and expected me to procure it for him. (more…)

Notes of a Poor Bastard: Fear and Anxiety

by
Daulton Dickey.

(Note: This is the latest installment of an ongoing column. Click here to the index for previous installments.)

img_4397So I’m sitting in my car outside the emergency room, windows down, smoking a cigarette. Signs every ten feet or so declare this property smoke free, but for the amount these swine charge me for a visit here, they can lick my sphincter if they think I’m going to haul ass across the street to choke down a square. To be honest, I don’t even know why I’m sitting here. I just got out, after more than two hours. Two long hours. And nothing accomplished.

It’s a few minutes before ten in the morning. I woke up at ten ’til seven, anticipating my alarm, and felt strange: lightheaded, hollow-boned my heart racing. I bolted up and checked my pulse. 130 bpm. How the fuck do you wake up with a heart rate that goddam high? Sweet Jesus, I’m fucked. This is how I die, like my father—a fucking heart attack.

Fear twisted my head in a vice. Tension behind my eyeballs threatened to jettison them from my skull. Every muscle in my body tensed. No, “tensed” isn’t the right word; they seized. And every nerve in my body, every axon in my brain, seemed to fray then scorch. (more…)

Wittgenstein, Art, and Random Prose: Excerpts from Notes and Journals

by
Daulton Dickey.

24067935_517319935302092_3441758750421270614_nOceans above and eyeballs below: the slant of the horizon twists and sways. Nothing forgotten, nothing forgiven. The detriment of the darkness settles on the hands of gloom. Night cracks. Fright moans. Terror settles into the white gold, a diamond-crusted experience.

Daulton sits on a windowsill staring at the sky, all loose and soiled, cracked and broken. Fear and anxiety courses through him. Trees in the distance rattle and crack, and the oceans churn and spit out waves that break and collapse onto the starry evening. (more…)

Notes of a Poor Bastard: My Adventures in Unemployment, Underemployment, and Bipolar Disorder, Part 6

by
Daulton Dickey.

(Note: This is the latest installment of an ongoing column. Click here to the index for previous installments.)

y.

ddickeyBenzo withdrawal sucks. I wouldn’t recommend it.

In my zeal to wean myself off Lamictal, it didn’t occur to me to taper off the Xanax. Instead, I took the remaining pills over the course of a few days and disposed of the bottle. That I could or would experience withdrawal didn’t occur to me until the symptoms descended on me.

I wasn’t quick to recognize the strangeness as withdrawal, which stoked my anxiety as I experienced topsy-turvy perceptions of reality—that’s the best way to describe it: “topsy-turvy.” Everything felt off-kilter, somehow. Even my visual perception shifted. Imagine consuming thirty cappuccinos loaded with espresso. Too much caffeine made “reality” appear as if I were experiencing it through a camera with a foggy lens and the gain cranked too high. (more…)