Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Grand Finale

Act 1: "Try To Remember the Times That Were Good"

Lately I've found myself obsessed with the ending of The Sopranos.

Surely you remember it: Tony and two-thirds of his family, sitting in Holsten's diner, casually munching on onion rings while the tabletop jukebox played Journey's anthemic Don't Stop Believin', a song which suddenly seemed to take on an odd menace given the setting. Tony had just made an uneasy peace with the New York mob, but both he and we understood that threats to him still lurked in every shadow simply by virtue of the life he'd chosen, what had already killed off almost everyone around him, turning him, maybe through sheer good luck, into the Jersey crew's last man standing. So there he sat, grabbing a bite with the people he truly loved, the blood family he'd tried to protect but whom he had inadvertently poisoned via the same cycle of ruthless violence that created him. Only one person was missing at the table: his daughter, the one whose voice he had come back to at the beginning of the year after being shot by his uncle and put into a coma. She was trying to parallel park outside and once she finished she'd come in and sit next to her father and the Sopranos would be together again as it had always been. We watch her finally pull into the space after three tries, watch her stride across the street to the front door of Holsten's. Tony hears the bell ring on the front door and looks up. Then an abrupt cut-to-black. Nothing.

At the time, the way The Sopranos ended felt like a cheap parlor trick, the final triumph of creator David Chase's more cynical tendencies and a big "fuck you" to the audience. At the time, the sudden cut-to-black felt like Chase telling us that life would go on for Tony; we simply wouldn't be around to see it. Of course, the reality of that ending was that nothing could be further from the truth because the reality was that Tony was killed at the end of The Sopranos, he simply wasn't around to see it and therefore neither were we. If you doubt this interpretation of what's gone on to be perhaps the most controversial finale in TV series history, go back and watch it again -- and this time, look closer. As Chase would say in a later interview, all you need to know about what really happened at the end of that iconic scene is there in the minutes, hour, and weeks that came before it. In the end, he practically spells it out on the walls.

Watch the man in the gray Members Only jacket get up from his seat at the bar and walk into the bathroom behind and to the right of Tony just before Meadow presumably walks in. Remember that the title of the final season opener was "Members Only," and in it Tony was shot by Junior and Eugene Pontecorvo carries out a hit in a restaurant wearing the same jacket. Think back on the conversation Tony has with the recently murdered Bobby Bacala on the lake, when Bobby muses on being whacked that "you probably don't even hear it when it happens" and how Silvio didn't hear the initial shots that killed Gerry Torciano right in front of him. Notice the split-second that Jay and the Americans' This Magic Moment is shown on the jukebox at Tony's table, the same song that played after Bobby made his first kill. The woman who walks in who bears an uncanny resemblance to Janice. The two black men who look strangely like the guys who once tried unsuccessfully to kill Tony. The scout leader who looks and dresses like Phil Leotardo and who makes his finger into a gun. Remember Paulie's comment about the orange cat -- the one that seems to stare intently at a picture of Christopher -- being a bad omen. Now look over Tony's right shoulder at the giant painting of the orange tiger on Holsten's wall and remember Adriana's affinity for orange tiger print. Also on the wall, the inescapable image of the Inn at the Oaks, which represented the final acceptance of death -- what Tony Blundetto called "home" -- in Tony's dream-state after he was shot. As Chase said, it's all there. Everyone is in place at Holsten's for Tony's final reckoning, his life truly flashing before his eyes just before the end comes.

Then there's the pattern. Tony hears the bell, looks up, the shot reverses and we see what he sees, his family coming one-by-one through the door. First Carmela. Then A.J. Then Tony hears the bell, looks up, and sees -- nothing -- because there's nothing to see. Tony is dead, shot in the head in front of his family by the man in the Members Only jacket. Rather than show us Tony being killed Chase does something far more diabolical and powerful: he makes us experience it. This choice represents perhaps the truest stroke of genius in a show that was full of them from beginning to end. It makes you understand that almost nothing you saw up to that point was by accident. Every single little detail mattered and it was all leading you to the same place -- to the death of Tony Soprano. That's what this extended tragedy was always about: his rise, attempt and failure at moral redemption, and ultimate fall.

In the very first episode of the show, Tony panicked over the ducks leaving his pool and understood that it represented his fear of losing his family. In the end, he lost them by being killed right in front of their faces.

Tony never heard it coming. And neither did we.

Act 2: "You're Going Home"

It's been so long since I've written.

Yes, technically I write almost every weekday, upwards of 4,800 words a week, for The Daily Banter, but for me it's not the same as writing. I bang out polemics which I sometimes feel very strongly about but which can, I admit, occasionally be little more than the fulfillment of a job requirement. This doesn't in any way mean that I don't care and don't take pride in the work I do for Banter, only that I miss the comfort of expressing the parts of my personality that don't want anything at all to do with politics or media or generally being a smart-ass, and those parts are many. I always wrote because I needed to, not for anyone else but for myself; I don't do that anymore. I don't do it for reasons purely practical and for reasons I try to convince myself are purely practical: because I simply don't have the time or don't have the will. There are so many days that I just do not give a shit about the Republicans in Congress, or Barack Obama, or the latest scandal, or who's outraged over whose crude joke, or what insufferable thing Glenn Greenwald said this week. There are so many days when I spit fiery opinions into the ether that I barely believe and hate myself for pretending to hold to ferociously. You can typically spot these instances by way of a counterintuitive and yet incredibly obvious tell: they're the ones I defend with the most egregious amount of venom. I fight back the hardest and in the most personal manner when I believe my own bullshit the least. This is the unnatural order of things. And I'm beginning to think that it's literally killing me.

Ironically, all the poison I regularly unleash is nothing compared to the poison I keep inside. It churns constantly, feeling at all times like it's threatening to eat a hole through my sometimes fragile psyche. When things were at their worst in my life a few years ago, it was my ability to express what I was going through -- the release of putting it down and pushing it far away from me -- that saved me from going completely crazy. But I don't do that anymore. No, at face value things are nowhere near as relentlessly punishing as they were from mid-2009 through the next couple of years, when a combination of pain and paralysis caused by the collapse of my marriage and being removed from my child left me floating adrift and alone: no real home to speak of and no real sense of who I was as a person, what beliefs I still had to cling to, or where to turn to make the almost constant anguish stop. But something is still wrong -- naggingly, achingly wrong -- and I'm finally having to truly come to terms with the fact that it isn't something being generated from without but from within. I have a beautiful and caring girlfriend, whom I love (dearly). I live in sunny Los Angeles (again). I don't do drugs or drink too much (they don't work in the end). I have major financial considerations that I at all times feel like I'm being crushed by and they cause me to work almost inhuman hours just to keep my head above water (but it's not as if it's the first time in my life that I've been in this position). Like everyone else, I deal with good and bad and try to navigate the world as best I can. And yet I don't sleep most nights. I often wake up crying. I rarely want to get out of bed. I sometimes dread leaving my home. Even when I'm laughing, I can feel desperate and broken inside. And always present at the front of my mind is that the older I get, the more hopeless my future is going to seem.

Here's something I've been longing to say for quite a while because I always felt like it was important: My divorce taught me something that I desperately needed to learn. It taught me something I was supposed to learn twelve long years ago, when I was in rehab for a devastating heroin addiction. Put simply, it taught me the truth of the Serenity Prayer. Anyone who's read my book, Dead Star Twilight, knows that that seemingly trite nostrum is a common refrain for those who hold tightly to the wisdom of "The Program." While I always understood the idea of it, I never actually accepted it -- until I finally put my arms in the water and began to paddle after almost three years at sea in the wake of my break-up from my wife. It was then, at long last, that I "got it." You have to accept that there are some things you simply can't change or control, another person's actions being one of them. I couldn't do anything about what had happened to me. I was completely at the mercy of what someone else wanted for both her life and mine, with our daughter caught in the middle, and I had only two very clear choices when it came to how I dealt with it: in the immortal words of Andy Dufresne, I had to get busy living or get busy dying. So I made a choice to come back out west, to the Pacific, which, again according to Philosopher Dufresne, has no memory -- hopefully no memory of what happened to me the last time I was in L.A. My drive across the entire country was the metaphoric made literal, a sudden bolt of physical momentum that finally led me forward for the first time in a long time -- appreciating each new day rather than uselessly looking back on anything that had happened in the past, any of the immutable events of history that had led me to each precious new second in time. It was good. It was the lesson I needed.

But it's a difficult outlook to maintain when you realize that each time your child visits from her expensive three-story home in Dallas, you have to convert your bedroom into hers and play a personally heartbreaking game of pretend, hoping she doesn't notice or care about the difference. When you're struggling with the kinds of money issues that seem to have ceased being a problem for other people years ago. When you can't understand why anything can make you cry. When you truly come to believe, finally, at the age of 43, that there's a very good chance you're not going to live to see old age, nor would you much want to.

Yesterday, I was wandering a local Rite-Aid, looking for a bottle of water and a bottle of Tylenol. As I moved through the aisles, I noticed that the music playing on the overhead speaker system was Tears for Fears' Everybody Wants To Rule the World, a seminal song from my high school years. I try not to look back on those days too much because nostalgia gets you nowhere; again, the past is past and there's no changing it. But I do miss the optimism of that era, the knowledge that no matter what went wrong, there would always be time to fix it. Tears for Fears then segued into Bon Jovi's Who Says You Can't Go Home. A New Jersey band. Singing about going home.

Act 3: "Every Guy Who Ran That Crew..."

There aren't enough superlatives to fully and properly express the impact that James Gandolfini had on television as an art form and, as has been almost universally acknowledged, on those he came into contact with throughout his career. He died last week at the far-too-young age of 51 of a massive heart attack -- cut to black, likely didn't even hear it coming -- but by creating the most complex, indelible and influential character in dramatic television history, he ensured that his legacy will live on for a very long time indeed. Like his alter-ego Tony Soprano, he was taken from us so quickly that we barely had time to process it, each, some have argued, a victim of his own bad choices. In Tony's case it was a life of crime; in James's case, a potential lack of attention to the deterioration of his heart. Either way, the end result is the same: death, an abrupt nothingness. I'm left wondering, though, whether Gandolfini ever looked back on his work on The Sopranos and felt somewhat haunted by it, if he pondered whether he'd ever do something that good, create something that undeniably flawless, again. An artist, of course, isn't merely to be judged by his or her current output but is in reality the sum of it over a large swath of time; provided they've got real talent, people tend to judge artists by what they've done throughout their lives, not simply what they're doing at any one moment. But creative types themselves don't always see it that way; they can go completely fucking crazy, unleashing their own private hell, simply by doing nothing more than constantly asking if their best days as a painter, actor, musician, writer, and so on are behind them.

I don't claim by any means to be a great writer, but I admit that I now go back and look at the material I wrote for years on this site and in Dead Star Twilight and it's as if I'm reading the work of someone else. I remember the act of writing but I can't for the life of me explain how I came up with the words that I did. What I read from years ago feels fearless and passionate, far too fearless and passionate to come from the person I know now to be me, the person I live with every day and night. That person is timid, frightened almost all the time, aware maybe of the best way to proceed but once again too trapped under the weight of mid-life stasis to actually proceed that way. That person has proven time and time again that it all comes back to this: feeling despondent, feeling overwhelmed, absolutely sure that his best days are behind him. Only now it's worse because I'm finally willing to -- have no choice but to, really -- admit that a lot of the past wasn't all that great. So if the past was bad and it's the best it's going to get and there's no other way to live but for today, what the hell do you do? How do you continue to move forward?

In the last season of The Sopranos, David Chase put Tony Soprano on the final path toward his inescapable end. Tony was shot and awoke from a near-death experience to find that he'd been given a second chance to redeem himself and possibly live out his years in peace with his family. But it took almost no time at all for him to return to the life he'd come to know all too well and enjoy far too much. He cheated on Carmela, killed Christopher, arrogantly and ignominiously gave up on his treatment and was consequently dumped by Dr. Melfi, and with all of this, the wheels were set in motion for Tony's doom. Again, as Chase said, it was all there. Anyone could see it. In fact, if you go back and watch all of Season Six of the show from start to finish with the knowledge that Tony is killed at the very end of the final episode, it's impossible not to see just how obviously, meticulously, and brilliantly that outcome was set up.

Everything in his life led to what finally happened to him.

It'd be nice to believe that he could have changed it, could have averted his ultimate reckoning. But who can really say for sure? Maybe he hadn't, in fact, chosen it. Maybe it was something he couldn't change and something he therefore had to simply accept. Maybe his death, like his life, was inevitable. It was the only ending that made sense.


Jennifer Burk said...

I wish I had answers for you. This brought me to tears because not only is it beautifully written and excruciatingly honest, I have been there and I relate. I hope you find the peace you seek. Much love.

Anonymous said...

I have to say when the final episode ended as abruptly as it did, I was certain that the cable had gone out and that I was going to have to find another running of the show so I could see "the end." When it shortly became apparent the I had just watched the end, I was, along with many others, massively pissed off. I never saw the series as the kind of brilliant story-telling that you ascribe to it. In fact, I felt that I watched the last few seasons because I had watched so much of it that I couldn't stop. Watching The Sopranos on Sunday night became something I dreaded; a Bataan-death watch if you will.

One of things you learn in literary criticism at the meta level is that many readings are possible. One of things you also learn is not to trust the creator's or writer's intention. Chase may have thought that's what he was doing and included all of that imagery that you point to as way of signaling this was the end for Tony. But that may not at all be the effect he achieved. For me, it's too easy to say Tony was assassinated because it's to final a conclusion.

David Jauss in creating a taxonomy of endings for Chekhov stories, describes the "omitted climax." In it, there is no conclusion, the story just stops. This reading of final episode works just as well. We're left in a limbo state with nothing resolved. It's a state of dread and consternation. If anything, this reading opens the episode up to an infinite possibility of endings, Tony's death only one of them.

Gandolfini's death, on the other hand, has all the finality people felt missing -- and the irony that always comes with the death of a film or TV actor: the corpus is gone but the images of the man live on for as long as the medium and its successors can make it available.

Al said...

As I said then, DST helped me keep my shit together when I was flying on yet another plane to Chicago as my Dad was dying. I dove into your story because it took me out of mine. The Act 2 you just wrote above hit me like a train - I can't, simply cannot, fathom being away from my boys and I completely understand the desperate charade you must go through protecting your gorgeous little girl from the reality of the situation. You're a good Dad, even if you're not always there...and you sure as hell can write FAR better than you give yourself credit for. I don't have any solutions to offer. Just keep at it...tomorrow that damn sun will indeed come up again.

Nic said...

Stop selling yourself so short.

QuadCityPat said...

Chez, this is one of the best things I've ever read. I know who wrote Dead Star. You did. The passion, the self reflection, the honesty, its all still there man.

We're almost the same age, (I'm 45) and some of our experiences are similar and some are completely different.

I don't tell most people too much about myself, but I am often paralyzed by crippling self doubt and occasional depression. Thank you for an honest look at who you are, where you've been and where you're headed.

Quad City Pat

Claude Weaver said...

It is fast becoming apparent to me that only the insane or self-deluded ever live a life without regrets, doubts, and depression. Nobody who has ever done anything worthwhile can say they never felt less than great. So your feelings, whatever they are, be thankful to and for them; because they prove your humanity and soul are still intact.

I cannot say this darkness with lift from you. I simply can't. But I will say that you are not alone in it. And that may make all the difference.

Matt MacDonald said...


In my thirty-six years on planet earth, I've learned that the six most thoughtlessly cruel words in the English language are "I know exactly how you feel," and so I refuse to say them. You know what you feel, I only know that reading this filled me with a dismay and a sense of furiousness I cannot dredge up and hammer into shape with an entire reference library at hand. Not a furiousness borne of anger toward you or your reactions to your situation and life, but rather a rage at the pain you're enduring as someone I feel an absurdly powerful kinship with, regardless of our never having crossed literal paths or shared a physical space in which our exhalations and exclamations coalesced.

You're a good man, a very good man, and you've endured more than most who've lived twice the time you've clocked ever will. You lash yourself bloody and kick yourself crippled and question the impetus just long enough to delay Round Two with a savagery that would knock the average sadist back on his heels. Please, for the love of fuck, cut yourself some slack and take some deep fucking breaths, and if that isn't enough, let me know and I'll drive to your place and we'll arm-wrestle for beers (you'll win, I'm a willowy prick) and I'll read you your favorite poet until the days take off their steel-toed boots so you can finally get some sleep.

Please hang in there. Your daughter needs you, your girlfriend needs you, your family needs you, but above all, YOU need you, goddammit.


Len said...

Chez, I only know you through your writing. But I can say with confidence that you are a very fine writer and seem like a good man. Those two things, especially the latter, have to count for something in this tough life.

As an anonymous Internet commenter I wouldn't presume to give you advice about your life. But I do hope you choose to stick with it. Our world needs more, not less, people like you, goddammit.

Thanks, Chez.

brite said...

Welcome back Chez. Don't for an instant think that you have somehow lost the passion and brilliance that imbues your writing...this piece proves it.
I wish I had some assvice to help you with your pain and hurt and fear, but I don't. So instead, with all my heart, with my mind focused and my intention clear:
I wish you well Chez...I wish you well.

Jessica said...

I don't have the words. I don't know you except for your blog and FB posts. I don't know exactly how you feel, though I am wandering in the same dark woods. But I know you have conviction and clarity and passion and a ferocious intelligence that won't let you give up. Don't give up. Please.

micheal said...

ahhhh, there you are, sir. ive missed you. your words have kept me from the brink several times. i dont say that to burden you with any responsibility, only to remind you that you are more than the sum of your parts. i could write more cliches, but ill only thank you for inviting us back inside. its been worth the wait

MexiGabacho said...



I'd love to end at that, because I feel like my words will neither add nor change anything, but I'm nearly the same age. My childhood was a nightmarish mess, that, like yours, wasn't nearly as good, adventuress, or full as I'd hoped. I have my son now which I had at a rather young age, and I look back over the last decade+ of failed relationships, arguments, failed financial decisions, etc. with a lamenting heart. I, too, will cry at almost ANYTHING now. I, too, am filled with self-doubt and a wondering of "What the fuck happened?!... Where did all that go?... Why did I let THAT woman get away?".

I have nothing to say to ease all of this, but perhaps to say that, (to quote a movie reference) "You are not alone. You are REALLY not alone.".

I think alot of men our age feel many of the same things. We all struggle externally, internally, financially, hopefully NOT sexually (since that is one of life's few joys left), but I guess all we are left with is some form of 'faith'. Maybe not in the religious kind, but in the kind that says "Well, I'm STILL here some-fucking-how", so let's just continue to give it a go. Writing that feels like such bullshit, but it is literally what gets me to continue some days.

Some day when you make it back out East in the Central Florida area, we'll have to grab a beer and bitch & moan... or maybe just a make a list of things we hate to put into a future religious text. Good luck, brother. We are all there!

(I'm not freaking re-reading this, so whatever grammar/spelling/incoherence - including the word 'incoherence' - I really just refuse to accept as mistakes right now). Denial.

Matt said...

I want to echo the other comments above. I only know you through your writing, but I can't count the number of times that your passion and words have helped me through hard times, helped me shake off the darkness and look for something good or just made me giggle like a school girl at my desk. If nothing else, your writing about your daughter helped me overcome my fears and decide to have kids. My son Malcolm is the best thing that ever happened to me, so thank you for the things you have given me and I hope better days are ahead for you. I wish I could offer more, but hopefully my thanks and appreciation help.

Izar Talon said...

Chez,you are a wonderful writer. You were before and you still are now. Please just try to remember that.

But I know how hard it is to believe in yourself in the grip of depression. Depression and I are very well acquainted.

I am 37. For about the past year and a half, ever since I was left by my first (and only) girlfriend of around 3 years, I've spend almost every day in bed, not having the energy and not caring enough about life to bother getting up. I don't leave my bedroom most days, let alone my house; the last time I went out into public was about 6 months ago. I didn't bother shaving for over a year, until I finally had to a few weeks ago because I couldn't take the discomfort anymore.

(I live on SSI disability; I am unable to work. I have degenerative disk disease, attention deficit disorder, social anxiety disorder, clinical depression, and Tourette Syndrome. I've had major spine surgery 3 times since I was 19, and will need it gain before very long. Just to say that I'm not simply a bum.)

I can't sleep. I have night terrors when I try, and I scream myself awake. I end up going for about 3 days in a row with no sleep, until I finally pass out from sheer exhaustion and crash for half a day. And then I wake up and repeat the process. I've really just been counting the days until I die.

I don't feel like there's anything to live for anymore; nothing happy to look forward to, and nothing pleasant to look back on without thinking of Her and giving myself an anxiety attack. Before I met her I was at the absolute end of my rope, and just inches away from ending everything.

Then I met Her, the girl of my dreams, the first woman I had ever met who wanted to be with me, who didn't care about my problems, and she was BEAUTIFUL; for the first time in my life I was truly happy. She taught me to kiss; she taught me to love. And in the end she left.

I can't blame her, and I don't; my problems can make it difficult to live with me, and that she tried for so long, when no other woman would ever bother even trying at all, just proves what a wonderful woman she is. But now, without her, I'm in even worse shape than I was before, and several times I've come extremely close to carrying out my old plan.

But there are just a few things that I make it worth the trouble of keeping on, and your writing is one of them.

You ARE a great writer, Chez. Every day I come to DXM to see what you've written today, and go to the Banter to read what you and Bob and Ben have put up, and it's one of the VERY few things that I looking forward to in any way.

But, most especially, it is things like this, what you have written here, that give me something to look forward to, that are able to make me FEEL something again.

What YOU write, Chez.

You are a truly wonderful writer. You give me one of the extremely few things left in my life that make me feel like it might be worth staying around for tomorrow. Please, ever forget that.

I hope you'll be able to write more things like this in the near future, more things like you used to write. I love all of you writing, but stuff like this is special; it is one of the few things able anymore to make me feel something other than misery and fear, and I value you very much for that. Please remember that you do a wonderful thing with your writing, for at east one person out there.

Thank you, Chez.

-Aaron Litz

Dawn R. said...

There was so much I wanted to say to you on reading this post ... and then I wait a day and see it has all pretty much been said by others.

Except for one thing, and that is the provable fact that you are a man of strong character. I've never much trusted the goodness of people who have never really been tested; the lucky folks with the "normal" families who seem to be able to go through life with little more in the way of hardships than not getting into their first choice of college.

You, on the other hand, have been through fires of your own making and the fires others have built to scorch you. You've been a thoughtless, un-self disciplined prick, a self-serving douche who used thinking with his dick to avoid facing the hard things in himself...

And you stopped. You CHOSE to stop. You have continually re-created and re-created yourself in the image of the man you have decided to be. You've done this when it would be much easier to revert to the old tried and true. Just one example: When Jayne selfishly tore your daughter away so she could live with her sugar-daddy you could have walked away and given up -- instead, you're with your daughter in heart and soul and in person whenever possible.

You take the hard routes and you do it with an integrity and sheer level of bull-headed determination that is a true gut punch of inspiration.

You deserve better than you're giving yourself right now. And if I knew you IRL I'd personally kick you in the ass and tell you so.

Chez said...

Thanks so much for the kind words, Dawn. They mean a lot -- as do everyone's. One thing, though. I said two years ago that I was done mentioning the ex in a negative light of any kind and I mean that. It also extends to commenters. Just want to be clear.

But thank you. : )

Dawn R. said...

Re: the ex -- so noted, and apologies. As for the rest, it was truth and not kindness. Much as I value the latter, the former is what matters most -- at least, most of the time.

But really, that skirt? It doesn't make you look fat at all.

Anonymous said...

Yet another rant.
And, not to bury the lede.
This was touching. You are an expressive writer. It makes me unhappy that you not happy.
My last comment(last week) was regretfully nasty and hope this one will be absolutely positive.
Once again, I must commence commenting on the shallow nature of life in Los Angeles. It is hardly the city of angels.
Unless you are receiving HBO dough, one might as well be peddling oranges at Sepulveda and Pico.
Let's face it. You abandoned your first daughter. I truly hope she's is thriving. Former wife is now performing with the Dallas Symphony. Your favorite child has left Queens forever.
I'm really surprised that you haven't been invited to some tv/studio table. You bring so much.
Perhaps you are over-thinking it all?

Chez said...

So much to pick apart about my life while remaining comfortably anonymous.

Beth said...

What the ever-loving fuck is this?!
I mean, it's beautiful -- but it's also wrong.

I love your writing and outlook. Over the course of these five years, I have read all of your posts. I cannot say that for any other blog.

I do not believe your life is headed down hill. I can't understand why you are so assured that it will. Because you'll be older? And that's -got- to be bad? I think there's some faulty assumption making going on there.

You perceive your writing style as different (whether it is or not is not objectively proven) and it's automatic that it's a bad difference instead of a maturation?

I bet you $5 that you will look back on this time and see that it's a turning point for you in a good way. I'll let you know where you can send that check in June 2018.

Vincent Morello said...

I just wanted to say how much I identified with the parts that you shared about your personal life and experiences as well as what you continue to go through. It's almost as if in some ways you were telling my very own story. I will tell you that I was eventually hospitalized at the end of 2012 into the beginning of 2013. I was diagnosed with a form of bi-polar disorder. It was, in retrospect, the best thing that has ever happened to me. I had been walking around undiagnosed and untreated for the better part of 30 years. The resulting therapy that I undertook over the next four months and the work I did putting into practice what I learned has been life changing. I now feel better than I have in many years. I am hopeful and excited for the future in a way I haven't been probably since I was a teenager. Reading your piece here has given me some more inspiration to try to move forward and persue my writing as well. I have been urged by many to blog, so I think I may do just that. Its one of the many things I've recovered. I've recovered a lot of myself that I had forgotten about and it feels pretty good. I've also gotten more clarity over what is truly important to me and that those things need to be stimulated in my life. Always. Now it is a matter of fitting them in, and figuring if I can make a living with any of the. Sorry if this was too wordy. Again, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea who you are and I never watched more than a handful of Soprano essays. I came across your beautifully written essay while searching "deadened feeling" and "depression." I'm a 44-year old woman for whom depression has been a familiar companion since childhood. I've been under/unemployed for several years, and my marriage is on the rocks. Need I say more? Your writing made me feel less alone today. I am eternally grateful to you. Thank you.