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Thanks greatly, Marcel, for your urging encouragement! My bio attached to the article is out of date because I failed to keep up with writing articles and voluntarily lost my place in the DG writers' cubicle. I no longer have access to the articles forum to edit. I left the zoo job in 2008 due to illness, but have rebounded to my usual frenetic activity. I am not currently employed and my wife and I are scraping by on my pension and her salary as a line cook, but we are grateful and fortunate to be able to keep a roof over our heads, the lights and water operating and sufficient vittals to be content. It is undoubtedly the situation that many are experiencing in our current times.
If I could ever sit still long enough and stay sufficiently focused, it would be a huge boon for me to apply for some grants so I could have the peace of mind to write my long intended, semi-autobiographical tome about my quarter-century of living with AIDS, or crank out some oil paintings to take to market. Unfortunately, however, I end up spending most days spinning like a lopsided, careening dreidel in a mostly futile effort to maintain the status quo of the necessities for survival. Also, as delineated in my gardening addiction article, I am very prone to wander off into my yard and disappear for hours at a time, lost in the resplendent, delirious reverie of all things green, growing and flowering. December and January in northeast Florida do provide a semblance of winter with some 20s F temperatures lately, so I am spending more time indoors and may actually settle down long enough to be creatively productive. Like many artists, I am direly in need of a disciplinarian manager that will lock me in a small room with nothing but a word processor, paint, crayons, paper, canvasses and an easel. With the only sustenance provided by a tray of food shoved through a slot in the door and the only downtime for occasional bathroom breaks, I might actually be coerced into avoiding diversions and sticking to the task at hand and make use my seeming talents. Lacking such an authoritarian to keep me on track and an appropriate art prison to encapsulate my meanderings, I continue to flit between unfinished projects like a hummingbird high on fermented nectar and am baffled each night, wondering where all the hours of the day have gone.
But with continued, ongoing mental health therapy and a wife that is tired of stepping over debris from scattered whims and piles of materials for "art waiting to happen," I might eventually stop avoiding my purposes on this Earth and put forth some effort toward making long-held intentions come to fruition.
In the meantime, it is wonderful to have such encouragement as you have provided. It does help me have more confidence and find the impetus and inspiration to get to work!