July 31, 2003

I know my children think I?m mentally ill. So do most of the residents and staff here at Pine Needle Retirement Home. Thank goodness they all picture me as a dotty and benign old fool. I am tolerated with a smile and often a dismissive, "Okay, Zac. Whatever you say." So, I don't talk to them about the silver man or Varnastrama anymore.

Sometimes I think Varnastrama must be wishful thinking made manifest as hyper-real imagery, a sort of virtual reality of the conscious mind. However, If that were so, wouldn't irrationality infiltrate insidiously all of my thought processes, conscious and subconscious? And, aren't such delusions the product of a sudden and horribly painful experience that has distorted the ego. What and where is my painful experience? Yes! I have had pain in my life. Often it has been self inflicted pain as when Rebecca and I both left home and the Amish order at the ages of 18 and 19 respectively. That experience, however, included the hurtful knowledge that, if we didn't leave, the order would eventually shun us for our beliefs and behaviors. And, no one, including our own families, would speak to us ever again. The leave taking was accompanied by the sensation that we were caught between two opposing and equally unsatisfactory positions, the proverbial devil and deep blue sea. I suppose that I have existed in that position for much of my life, and that the constant feeling of being trapped could cause a delusion like Varnastrama and such behavior as my silver man performances (I will write more about these, dear journal, I promise.).

But, Varnastrama IS real to me. And, what is reality anyway? It is just a dream that we each dream. We each live a life that is different from all others, but is limited by the hand of the playwright, who is not God. Nor is this Shakespeare-like metaphor correct, for it is the nature of the playwright's particular language, the paper upon which he writes, and the writing instrument he holds in his hand that determine the meanings, as well as the look and feel of the text he composes. My silver man performances are symbolic of these determining factors. He is a character that exists within the text of the play as a metallic ghost and he reflects the performances of the actors around him. So, I understand that each of our realities are delusions, or at the very least illusions.

It doesn't matter. I would not give either of these up. With all its problems Varnastrama is better than Earth. Varnastrama is united. Race, creed, sexuality differ, but are not cause for division and hate. Varnastrama is pansexual. Fundamentalism in all matters is tempered by rational thought. No one group of persons believe themselves to own the truth and to have the right to impose their truth on others. Medicine is more advanced and people stay healthy longer. I am not as old there and I have all the good things that I have had here; my family, children, the farm, and Peter .

Dr. Dot - Ruth hired him to help me "do away with these odd thoughts" - asked me when my "delusions" (his word) about Varnastrama began. The question came at the end of a protracted silence that filled several of our encounters. He had been staring fixedly into a dark corner of his office ceiling the entire session, so his question took me by surprise, and sparked a pleasant reminiscence. As a result I have determined to create a history about the discovery of Varnastrama.

But, more of that tomorrow, or perhaps the next day, since I seem to have only time to finish one of these entries every other day.

Right now I'm off to my Aquacise group.

E-mail me! My e-mail address is ZacSfuts@aol.com.

July 29, 2003

Last night I had a nightmare about Varnastrama and woke up early and depressed. In the dream Peter and I were once again in the Loar ship. Both of us appeared to be in our 30’s, so I must have been reliving our first capture by the Loar. We were in an empty cavernous salmon colored metallic room. The walls seemed to both make and reflect light, and the floor was soft smooth and warm. I was naked, and I swear that floor felt like living flesh against my feet. Two of the Loar held me still and they caressed my arms and back. It felt like butterflies brushing against me. My skin tingled and I was at once repelled and stimulated sexually. I knew what was to come because I was watching them rape Peter. He lay on the floor about fifteen feet from me, his body writhing in pain and pleasure, loud groans escaping from his filled mouth. Two of the Loar had mounted him and - I don’t know what else to call it - they were inseminating him. I awoke, sitting up in bed covered with sweat.

I will devote an entire future entry, dear journal, to a thorough description of the Loar’s apparently parasitic sexuality.

E-mail me! My e-mail address is ZacSfuts@aol.com.

July 27, 2003

I have been reading over my entry for this past Friday, 07/25/03. I made Jim and Peter sound like evil Republican conservatives who hate my guts. They are not, and they do not. Nor do I hate them. I do not place them on the same level with Bush, Cheney, and Ashcroft. We do have political differences, and these make us all angry at times. Peter is straight, but so much like my Peter in many ways that I can't help but feel affection for him. He knows I'm gay and he doesn't say anything to others in the home about that because I'm out to some residents and not to others. Old Millie Denkle, for instance, would walk the halls of “The Manor” putting curses on me at the top of her lungs, asking God to instantly transport me to hell. I’m sure she would drive the entire staff and all the residents mad (She does manage to do that on a daily basis.) Anyway, Journal, I had to get this off my caved in old chest.

Otherwise, this is a typical Sunday. I will drive to Orchard Hill to be with Ruth and her family this afternoon. We will have dinner, talk, and argue, as usual. I will return to "Prickly Manor" as I call it, and work on a drawing of the hunk who is on the cover of the current Advocate magazine issue (Scott Merritt). I read the article about him yesterday and it seems as though his life is almost as complicated as mine has been. Ah, so there is hope for the fellow to achieve a measure of calm based in rational thought instead of emotional tempest during his old age.

E-mail me! My e-mail address is ZacSfuts@aol.com.

July 25, 2003

A river of light pours through the french doors in the resident's main lounge. Beyond the patio I can see a few of the younger citizens of Millersville, Pennsylvania going about their morning business as though nothing has changed. And, on the surface, nothing has. Everything remains the same here in the Pennsylvania dutch farm country. The corn is finally making tassels. The incessant spring and summer rain and chill has gone. A "Plain" lady - she is wearing a white bonnet, magenta dress, and white apron - hangs the wash out on a pulley line. She cranks each hung article away from her with her left arm, and it ascends in jerks toward an out building about 75 feet from her house. A farmer drives his wagon toward the feed store that I know is just over the hill, and I am sitting here reading the Lancaster Intelligencer Journal (our local newspaper) as I am apt to do every morning. I am accompanied by Jim and Peter's never-ending political argument which I am trying to ignore. Peter, however, snaps my opened paper from behind with his index finger and says "So, I suppose you still think we shouldn't be in Iraq, and, that we shouldn't have killed the maniacal bastard's evil sons?" To which, I, being a liberal democrat, am supposed to beat a hasty retreat with tail between legs, and make some politically correct statement like, "I pray for the safety of our troops in Iraq?" Instead, I say, "gentlemen, we've been through this too often. You know my opinion - we shouldn't be there in the first place - and you've used it to cause half the residents of Pine Needle Retirement Home not to speak to me. Our president is wrong! Our country is wrong and I refuse to make further comment."

I got up as quickly as I could, pushing my arthritic frame into a tilted version of the vertical with the aid of my cain, and walked stiffly to my apartment. Arriving in my rooms, I sat on the old couch that once stood opposite the fireplace at Orchard Hill and ran my hand through the wisps of hair still in residence on my pate. I took pen and paper from the drawer in the old desk turned-side-table and began to write.

I have been meaning to address this topic for months, dear journal, ever since "Duh-bu-yah" declared Gulf War II OVER back in May. Last count, 34 american soldiers have died since that day. And, I can't help wonder how many unnamed Iraqis have died as well. Even Teddy Roosevelt had an excuse to invade Cuba back in 1898, all be it, not a very good one. "They sunk our battle ship!" In Iraq however, there is no direct connection to our invasion and the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as so many believe. We act like ancient Roman barbarians. But instead of putting our victims heads on spikes for public view in the forum, we take digital photographs and display them for the citizens of Iraq and the world to view in their morning and evening papers, the morning and evening news, and on the Internet. The New Roman Republic!

I wrote a sort of a poem about my feelings. It is partially a response to a piece sent by a well meaning good friend via e-mail and it is titled "The Stand." Perhaps you've read it. It was widely circulated during Gulf War II. I will not include it here as it is a piece of drivel. Not a stand at all, it is but the repetition of every platitude offered in support of a preemptive strike in Iraq. I will include my rebuttal below.

My Stand

Isaac Stolzfuts

I as born on September 11, 1919.
I was with my great grand children
On September 11th, 2001,
My 82nd birthday, and
We celebrated by playing together.
Drawing pictures, they told me what they saw;
The farm, our orchard, friends at school,
Their Mom and Dad.
The TV’s white-noise-background
Suddenly startorian to my mind
Though the anchor man’s voice
Even and measured announced
Pulled us away
And, no longer laughing at play,
We watched "live" as thousands died.

It felt as though we were there
Engulfed in that black cloud of dust,
The taste of death in our mouths.
Rebecca (named after her Grandma)
Cried, “That’s just a movie, Grandpa,
Right?” And Abe Junior said,
"Where are all the super heroes?
When we need-um!"

Well, the super heroes are in Iraq today,
Fighting for what they believe.
I pray for their safety even as
Mr. Bush says, “ I pray for peace.”

I was born on September 11, 1919,
At the end of WW1 and the flue epidemic.
It was a Surreal world of horror
Born on September 11, 2001.
A world in which the lost lives of Iraq's
Women and children are not counted.
A world in which stolen artifacts
Testament to the beginning of civilization
Are casualties to Imperialist ambition.
A world in which a 21st century crusade has begun.

I do not believe in this war.
I do not believe in the "New American Century."

I do believe in a United States that stands for peace and trust.
I do believe in a United States that leads the world by example.
I do believe in a United States that bequeaths to the world
A vision of democracy and freedom.

Each American in Iraq is a hero and a patriot.
Each American who states his or her opinion
Opposing this war is also a hero and a patriot.

Dissent is one of the freedoms we believe in!
Would you have 225 years of national endeavor destroyed?
Do not call me anti-American.
Do not tell me that I did not suffer on September 11.
Do not tell me that I am not a patriot.

I was born on September 11, 1919.
My life always circled around Nine Eleven.
By birthright I am Nine Eleven.
I am a child of Nine Eleven.
I am freedom.
And, like Whitman I am part of you
And all of you are a part of me.
I am American.
I don't believe in this war of American conquest, and
I am a 21st century American patriot!

E-mail me at ZacSfuts@aol.com
My home page on AOL Hometown.

July 22, 2003

July 22, 2003

The past two weeks have been a bitch! The professor has visited repeatedly and describes with almost religious fervor his plans for “Sanctuary.” I feel like an ancient artifact because, if he has his way, the professor will excavate Sanctuary like an archeological site in order to place me in my proper historical context. Ruth has threatened to rip “Sanctuary” apart and throw everything away if I don’t agree to the professor’s plan, and I’ve hired a lawyer to defend my right to keep "Sanctuary" private. Abe came all the way from New Jersey to plead with me to “stop acting like a jackass, Papa. You know Ruth’s going to have her way eventually. Wouldn’t it be better if all your stuff was in a university library, rather than destroyed? And, you know she’ll do it.”

“So, if I agree to this insanity,” I said, “all my journals, drawings and photographs will be put on microfilm. The paper originals will be filed away, and forgotten in the bowels of some dusty archive and I won’t have access to any of my own work.”

“Right now your things are in danger of being destroyed in that leaky old attic. It seems to me that the guts of a climate controlled archive would be a much safer place for your journals and art work than Sanctuary is. Everything’s lying around in total confusion. You haven’t been up there in 5 years.

“No, not since I was forced out of my house and made to come here to the “Prickly Needle Retirement Home.”

“Dad, that’s not fair. You know that the farm was too much for you to handle. You still have your car. You have your own apartment with your own things at Pine Needle. You have a family that cares about you. Your life isn’t so bad, is it?”

And, so it went, on and on, ad infinitum, ad nausium. I got more and more agitated as Abe argued. The problem is that he’s right most of the time. I am too old to take care of the farm. Just climbing the 3 floors of steps to “Sanctuary” is a 15 minute ordeal. That’s why I don’t go there. I have keys to the house at Orchard Hill. I can go any time I want. It’s just too much of an effort to do so. The last time I tried to climb those steps my heart went into overdrive, and I got so dizzy that I had to grasp the hand rail with both hands and wait for several minutes after climbing only 4 or 5 steps. I had to repeat the process 6 times before I stood before the attic door and the signs I put on it almost 50 years ago.

“Do not enter!”

“Forbidden territory.”

“Stay out!
This means you!”

July 04, 2003

Ruth, my daughter, visited me early this morning. An unusual event, that, and she didn’t come to invite me to a July 4th family outing. Instead she had sort of a “getting rid of Papa” transaction on her mind.

I was in the middle of breakfast; cholesterol free scrambled eggs (ich!), toast, jam, and coffee. The meal, as always was accompanied by Jim and Peter's nonstop argument about politics. Both are Republican. Both like Bush the Second. Both think we should have invaded Iraq. Both think we should invade Iran. Both think the nation’s economy is just fine (“Inflation’s down. What’s to complain about?”)Both think that God gave man permission to rape this Earth. So, what's to argue about?

During one of their incessant arguments about GW’s tax cut Ruth came from behind, tapped me on the shoulder and kissed me on the top of my head causing me to nearly jump out of the pink skin that stretches like crinkly parchment over the top of my skull. I’m totally bald now, with the exception of the gray fuzz that grows out of my ears. My bald pate is in perfect fashion congruity with those 20 and 30 something hunk kids I see with their shaved heads. There's a contingent of them that play ball on the field behind the Pine Needle back lawn, directly across from my bedroom window. Most of them are pumped and buff with thick bull necks. They have become the physical embodiment of the phallus and I envy them.

But, I digress. Ruth pulled an empty chair from the next table and inserted it between Jim and myself. Said, "Hello gentlemen," and, as though Jim and Pete were almost invisible, she launched into the reason for her visit. She wanted permission to open my attic "Sanctuary" at Orchard Hill, our farm (now her farm) near Paradise, Pennsylvania. Seems some professor wants a look at it, sort it, archive it, and take it away. My blood pressure mounted, and I’m sure my bald pate turned a dull magenta red. I said. "Absolutely not. When I left Sanctuary, I locked the door and padlocked it for a reason. That's the most important part of me. My heart and my intellect did a dance there for almost fifty years. I discovered the silver man there. It was the portal to Varnastrama. It is the place where I learned the actual nature of my being, physical and spiritual. It is mine. You and Don wanted the farm," I said angrily. "Well, you have it. But, leave my Sanctuary alone."

Ruth was hurt. I could tell by the way her nose crinkled and I could see the wet at the corners of her eyes. But, I meant it. Sanctuary is mine!

July 03, 2003

I am an 84 year old gay Amish artist living in the Pine Needle Retirement Home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. In this journal I will detail my daily existence here on this Earth, as well as my life in Varnastrama, another parallel Universe in which Alexander the Great's conquest of the Indus river valley did not mark the end of his military career. In Varnastrama the Indus valley was later appropriated by the Roman Empire, which did not fall until the fifteenth century. Varnastrama is a world dominated by one gigantic but peaceful political entity, Panamereurasia. My wife, Rebecca, my two sons, Abraham and Joseph, and my daughter, Ruth all live in Varnastrama. Rebecca has not died as she has on this Earth. My life partner, Peter, also lives though in this universe he too is dead. Indeed, time plays differently on Varnastrama than it does on this Earth and we are all young there. It would be a much better place than Lancaster County, PA, but for the invasion of the Aloar. They are biped, gray in color, muscular, but strangely smooth beings from Archeturis five. They invaded Varnastrama in the year of Alexander 2489. The huge cigar shaped Aloar ships hung above the earth, like giant beetles of death, and the flashing chartreuse light of their death ray turned all the farms of Allah and Christ to ash . Most of the earth was covered in dark gray soot and remained hot to the touch for three months. The soil was poisoned and many of those who survived the death rays starved. Our palace at New Holland was burned to the ground by the ship's atomic death ray. The women were saved, however, because they had fled to the lowest basement levels. They lived underground for an entire year, eating grain and other food items from the old kitchen storage rooms. Peter and I, along with our entire regiment of Ksatriya (warriors) were captured and tortured for six months before we escaped. Yes, I will not deny that my life in Varnastrama has its difficulties, but I much prefer it to my dull life here at the Pine Needle Retirement Home.