This move the beach found me ending one journal volume, and I bought a bigger sketchbook for the following nine months or so. It was kind of a scary thought to face all that open white paper, and perhaps that’s why I wrote and drew with a faded blue ink.
One day when a group of us was sitting on the lawn, a friend of a friend stopped by to chat. He was looking for a property manager, and I was thinking I was healthy enough to get a job again. Our roommate liked that idea because it freed him up to move north to San Francisco to live with friends.
My journals record that this man just walked up and asked me, and I just said yes.
But yes too, I was still doing drugs on occasion. I was drinking more and more. I was eating more too. If I could find drugs, Lessa could also find drugs.
We moved closer to the beach, and I got reduced rent plus a small pittance for managing the Purple Palace plus collecting rents on all his beach properties.
Here in this old Victorian hotel now painted purple, I had two big rooms. The closets were where the Murphy beds used to be. I had a real bathroom, and a kitchen with a most amazing 1920’s three burner stove in what used to be a tiny closet. Lessa had one of the rooms to herself, and I began a many year journey of sleeping on the sofa so the kids could have a room.
For slowly, after a season or two of just stopping to visiting us, Lenora decided she wanted to go to school after all. We three were together again.
I’d drink and hold court just like in the old days. Now many of my friends had changed. They were all drinkers too. Neighbors. So were my bosses, Han’s and Ron. Grandmamma moved from downtown to just up the block, and we all partied. Not just gatherings every night, but Hans had massive parties like his traditional Christmas In July bash crowded with hundreds of friends in every corner of his over decorated, giant home.
Everyone drank. There was an actual folk bar half a block away that has live music every night. The owners were very nice. There was a little beer and wine bar in the same block that had the best chili. I’d set the kids up with their homework, and I would go out for a glass or two of wine. Of course, the kids didn’t stay doing homework, but how could I know.
Everyone smoked dope or did speed so they could drink more. I was such a failure at smoking dope because one hit would put me to sleep. I couldn’t always get speed any more, but I could still drink.
Many days that I didn’t work or finished early, I would wander down to the beach. For me the beach was a healthy clean place. The river sloughs near the apartment now were channeled, crowded with partiers, vehicles, and fires every night throughout the week. During most of the year, they offered me endless freedoms of sky and air. Sometimes I tried to draw it all, but I was always afraid of failure.
Lenora began elementary school, mid semester, three years behind her classmates. She caught up in under a year. I was inordinately proud of her, yet I couldn't see her clearly. I could only read what she showed me on the surface. Then again, Lessa began to take up all of my time.
Lessa began doing drugs and living life her way at thirteen. The insanity of a runaway teen, insane teen, sleeping around teen, screaming teen, dirty never-clean-her-room-till the smell drove us all mad teen, madness beyond all of my imagining teen, drove me to seek help at last. I put her into therapy. I put myself into therapy. Nothing I could do changed her course. I could begin to see my own insanity, the drugs stopped working, and my drug use tapered off at last. I took my journals to my therapist. I was very proud of them thinking they were artistic. Unfortunately, they were a window into my life and that of my kids.