Note to Future Jeremiah; 09.

Jeremiah TS Liend,
We try to do these things for us once a year. For us and for you, the reader. Just to piece it all together. Get an accurate self appraisal for the archive. We can look back and see what 06 did to us. Lets us list what we’ve achieved and how we’ve failed. It’s good I think. Healthy. Most of them are out there doing it now. As 09 lays in bed and waits for the reaper we think back and reflect and try to examine the individual events as a whole. We used to be able to cut a year off at the head and say; you sucked. Or; Sweet action. Or; How bizarre. I don’t think we can do that this year. Perhaps any longer. This one is one for the books. When you look at a fine piece of art you can appreciate it. Even if you are considered plebian and uneducated you can agree with the inner humanity of the piece. Are able to walk away feeling that your life has been bettered for receiving this message from another person just like you. A fearful inhabitant of this orbiting sphere.

It is like that with this year. Dissecting it must be more like examining a vast tapestry filled with thousands of stories all vying for attention. Rather than a bowl of fruit where one can say; I prefer the apples to the tangerines, we must look at the sheer complexity of the universe. How the simple act of gathering is innate to our character. Think of all the things you have gathered over your days on this planet. Think of all the stuff you have. If you are a person with nothing but the clothes on your back and this message you are the freest among us. Everywhere there are fetters to the past. Everywhere there is evidence of our existence. I have thousands of images of myself. If I were to take each and everyone and put them end to end I could encircle the planet. Our age has allowed us to share ourselves with the globe. Our every mundane act can be offered up to the datastream for anyone with the time and interest to see what is new.

Why then am I surrounded by all of these Goddamned things? I have everything I need but my freedom. I gave up my freedom earlier in the year. But that is getting ahead of myself. Let us start at the beginning. New Years was something else. It was the year I ceased being Ruthless. Ruth Baker and I are in love, and we are powerful. She is amazing and I don’t think I could have made it through the year with much joy at all without her love and support. So that goes in the good column. Check.

I got kicked out of school. Bemidji State University says I’m dumb. Or lazy. Or a healthy combination of both. I happen to be my own worst enemy. This is a revelation a long time in knowing. I did not go to class for a month, and I felt bad about it. What the hell are you supposed to do? Call into your professor and explain that you’ve come down with a dire case of pathos? I missed an opportunity to take a test about Japanese music wearing a kimono, and I will forever remember that as a bad day. I got a “C” in understanding politics. Which follows since I only got 69 votes for mayor, which is sexy but ineffectual. Would you like to know what I’ve learned about politics? Everyone enjoys saying;

“It’s just a big popularity contest.”

As if this is some highly unknown fact. Like the system is flawed for being what it is. I am aware that politics is a popularity contest. I simply thought I was more popular. My loss has steeled me against the drink, and I am proud to say that I did not consume a single alcoholic beverage in 09. That’s my contribution to Islam. Mohammed had it all figured out how alcohol can turn otherwise civilized and intelligent people into rutting assholes. Man, how many people have, like five or more friends or relatives with a DUI? There’s a fun question. Maybe it’s just Bemidji? Honestly I think I’m technically a resident of Bagley at this point. Which is a mark in the column of the surreal. I guess it makes sense that I live in the poorest county in Minnesota. The Headwaters Ghetto.

I made a few movies with Mike Bredon, and if you see him, please give him my regards. The other day he was wondering how to get $600 in a day. I told him to let me know if he figured it out. Probably it would be easy though. That’s something I’ve been considering recently. How, normal people would probably give cash moneys for things that I write or perform in. The same is true of many of us I believe. The age of the artisan has transitioned into the digital, but entertainment is not what it used to be. I like the film I make with Mike, and if you have not seen them, you should ask about them sometime.

I got to see my best friend Zak Holmes in February. He lived in Madison. He now lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand. It was the first time I had seen him since 2000. He was in town when my Grandfather Willard died. I hope he is well.

March is a blank. Which is unfortunate. Probably played a lot of Warhammer 40,0000. Miniature gaming has become a really welcome escape from reality. I control a small army of Ultramarines against alien legions. It represents the only control I have in the universe. The only real control I feel over anything anymore is when I am commanding future-soldiers in the year 40K. I hope one day to create my stories in a way that appeals to a broader audience than the Super-Nerd. Got to write a book “Nerd and Super-Nerd” and explain it all to the norms. Bill Gates is powerful evidence that we are entering the Time of the Nerd as hailed by Subgenius and Apocalypticians alike.

In April Granny got sick. Things got difficult from there on out. She went into the hospital on the 20th and Dr. Wilcox said she had between two weeks and six months. It is a ballpark no one wants to be in. Our options were few and since I was between school/work and as strong as ten weak men I offered to live with and care for her. It’s a samurai thing. If you remember your Japanese you know that samurai means “to serve” and in keeping with that mindset I took Grandma as my shogun. These are the ways I get through the day. April and May were very very bad. Granny was very very sick. This is an archive to my future self and if you have forgotten how bad it was it’s probably good.

My family has nursed Granny back to health. That has to be it. Maybe I have miraculous healing powers? Maybe she is just tough as nails and needs some help. With the grace of God and the love of my family we have kept that woman in her house and comfortable since April. For her it is her third miracle. She should have died on the table when her aorta exploded. She should be catatonic and paralyzed after her hemorrhagic stroke. Medical science had written her off this last time as terminal and unable to improve. She’s never going to play the piano. But there again neither am I. Her career as an Olympic javelin thrower passed her by somewhere in the 60s. But she is still kicking. Still has a hand in the game.

As her primary caregiver I am driven mad and returned to reality on a regular basis. My emotional rollercoaster has been examined by the engineers of hell as an example. I am probably going to need years and years of therapy. But we knew that a long time ago. Poor Baker. Of a year we have been together 3/4s of it I have lived in Bagley with a 9 PM curfew. It took until the age of 29 for me to adhere to a curfew. No wonder people everywhere flip out and kill people. Say what you will about the violence, curfews are the worst. What the hell am I supposed to do with myself between the hours of 9 PM and 3 AM? For the first few months I cared for Grandma. There was no telling when she would need to get up for whatever reason. Sometimes I write. Facebook has taken up too much of my life, and yet it houses within it’s non-existent walls hundreds of people I love and admire. Damn it all. Damn all you wonderful people for being so damned interesting.

My birthday sucked. That’s the halfway point. Which is nice. Every year my birthday marks the middle of the road. Shaved my head like a samurai. Kept that hairdo for a few months waiting to ambush Jon Heller. Then I took some self portraits and was done. Surprised I didn’t get more of a response. Ruth was out of town on a grant review. Mallory was nice enough to cut my hair which I believe she still has contained in a George Michaels cassette. It was the same night as the Upstream TV fundraiser and man… it was just not pleasant for me. Sure Uncle Shurley played, which is always nice. But trying to get the attention of an Uncle Shurley crowd if you are not Uncle Shurley is like trying to fly a beluga whale. No matter how hard you lift you’re only going to be drown out.

I do escape now and then. Not often, but also for very briefly. The most time I spent doing any one thing, aside from spending time with Ruth, was directing Camelot. Which was great. Really a fantastic opportunity to work with a fantastic group of staff and students to put on a great show. I wish more people had come. I know who did not come, and I will shun you on the streets. Were you hunting? Because the shows were all at night, and you’re not supposed to be shooting deer during the night anyhow. The idea that someone would prefer to wander the freezing forest with a rifle, intent on laying down a defenseless herbivore, than go to Camelot? Well. It speaks to both my deficiency as a promoter and the cultural apathy endemic to our times. Probably I should have shot a program wrapped around an arrow at the mayor or something. Not to HIT him obviously. Just to be novel. Just to get the front page. Who does a person have to assault to get on the front page of the Pioneer these days?

Then it was Halloween. Ruth and I were The Baronesses and Destro. Then there was Thanksgiving, and we all ate too much. And then it was Christmas, and I got to return the favor for 29 years of Christmas gifts to my dear old Granny. And now we are here. And looking to the murky horizon. I have a lot of irons in a number of fires. I fell on my knees and prayed on Christmas night. I never ask for anything for myself in my prayers. I don’t think that’s what any God I would want to know would want to hear. That’s what Santa is for. It’s why Christmas sucks so much now that we’ve become a monoculture of consumerists. Consumers consuming consumptibles. Help out orphans or something. Sweet Jesus I should have. I prayed for you all. Everyone out there who needs something. I hope it works.

I did not make any money this year. Well, not ANY is none at all, so to be clear I made $4,600 or so. The financial aid people no longer return my mail. What the hell, you know? I also gained about 20 pounds, so I’m not hungry and cold. Many cannot say the same. This is the post Christmas period where I have cash. Right now I have $50 in small bills right next to me and I feel like the richest man in Christendom. Do you have any idea how many things I can buy with that money? Several flowers. Ammunition. Gum. Hot meat sandwiches. Probably all of a little of those things. We’ll see. I’ll let it burn a hole in my pocket if the weather stays cold.

I have about $30,000 submitted in grants. I hear about the first in February. I would very much like to become a little rich and famous now. I think I’m ready, maybe. I think perhaps the time has come to share my thoughts and dreams with the people and let them judge it for what it is. I am glad that I could help my Granny this year. It is probably one of the more important things I have done with my life. Last June I held my Grandfathers hand when he died, and that too was important to me.

There is a clockwork to it all. A reason to the seeming madness of the thing. It is the tapestry as a whole we must look to. Not just a scene. Not just the tragedy, but the victory as well. We must account for that which we value and discount that we do not. We must acknowledge the lesson and drive down the path with the surety that we are not alone. We must abandon that which weighs us down and bravely venture into the unknown. We are the pilots of our sphere. No one of us is more or less capable. Every morning we are given an opportunity to help make a difference. The Good Guys Winning is something you influence on a daily basis. All around you and everywhere you go you will find an ally to your cause and a friend for all time. I run to embrace the future with open arms, knowing that I command the tiller of my destiny on winds of fortune sent from above. In as much as I am floating on the sea, and unable to alter the tide of events. Bless you all in the coming year. Thank you all for everything you do and everything you are.


Jeremiah TS Liend


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