Charles Balis' Journal for the Week ending 10/17/97

Saturday, October 11, 1997

Sunday, October 12, 1997

Monday, October 13, 1997

Tuesday, October 14, 1997

11 am. Seventh Session with Decker Jenkins. I was unavoidably 20 minutes late to the session today, and Decker was furious. His anger was out of all proportion--almost as if he was in a murderous rage. Decker clearly views the world through a distorted prism caused by schizophrenia and paranoia, so at the end of the session, I invoked our agreement and renewed his prescription to risperidone, 6 mg. daily + Vitamin E, 1200 IU. When I asked Decker about the rage that he exhibited, he bristled at the term and preferred to call it "fury." He thinks the term "rage" has an evil connotation connected with death that "fury" does not. Fury is just pure anger. Decker told me the story of meeting his father--Mr. Parish--for the first time. It took him over a month of waiting, while he lived with Pam--a woman with red-orange hair and bright red lipstick--that he met by chance there in Chicago. He met her when she came to his assistance after he swooned against the side of an office building--he promises to shock me with the story of Pam next week. Apparently, merely by thinking about the vagaries of his own identity, he hyperventilated and almost passed out. After about a month, his father finally called and they met in a restaurant. Decker said that he and his father look a lot alike. They spoke about Decker's early years--Decker promised that the details will come later. It's interesting that Decker kept referring to his father as "Dad" although it was clear that he doesn't think of him that way. Decker gave me another poem, and I encouraged him to write more as a way of expressing his feelings and emotions. Decker's current poem is another dark entry, with hints of violent suicidal ideation and a desire for assistance.

4 pm. Fifty-Third Session with Sylvia Bows. Sylvia's deceptions began to unravel at Richard's memorial service. Tom had been told by a babysitter about Sylvia's secretive hospital visits to Richard with Roald and Grant. But although Sylvia thought that she was going alone to Richard's memorial service, Tom showed up as well. Tom stayed in the background until late in the proceedings, and Sylvia wasn't even sure that he was there until he revealed himself. At the service, Sylvia was treated as Richard's widow. She sat next to Richard's mother and, when Sylvia wept, she was comforted by his father. Sylvia was asked to help plant a redwood sapling exactly Roald's age next to Richard's grave. Suddenly, Tom was there. In a moment of cruelty, he asked Sylvia how it felt to be Richard's widow. Sylvia was already disheartened and she was further crushed by what Tom said. But Sylvia has difficulty seeing how this must have all played out to Tom. Just then Lloyd--whom Sylvia believes had been waiting for the most hurtful possible moment--interjected his little bit of emotional torment. Sylvia believes that he was playing some kind of sick game, trying to extract the last bit of human emotional trauma out of the situation. But Lloyd congratulated Tom on the million dollar trust that Roald had just inherited. Tom, who probably had not heard about the trust before, handled the situation smoothly and got Sylvia away before she completely disintegrated. Sylvia even says that Lloyd deflected some of Tom's anger away from her and onto him. But things between Sylvia and Tom are very strained--she believes that Tom has closed himself emotionally to her again. Richard's parents need to have access to Roald in order for the terms of the trust to be honored, and Sylvia is waiting for Tom's decision before she acts on that. But Tom said that he needs some time to work through his feelings. At the beginning of the session, Sylvia told me that she and Tom used to fanaticize horrific deaths befalling Richard. They would describe to each other scenes of Richard being killed in a car crash or being chewed apart by sharks, with Tom filling in some of the particularly graphic details. But Sylvia now has dreams which contain her last images of Richard--wasting away and in pain, but holding Roald in his arms, his eyes still shining with love for his son. Sylvia said that she can't sleep at night for the image. Richard's physical death has done little to remove him from the emotional landscape of Tom's and Sylvia's lives--in fact, the deceptions that Sylvia undertook in the last weeks of Richard's life are clearly going to have a strong influence over their relationship in the time to come. Tom has to be able to overcome Richard's heightened emotional presence--made palpable through Sylvia's altered feelings, the visitation rights demanded by Richard's parents, and by Roald himself, who tangibly represents Richard's biological posterity.

Wednesday, October 15, 1997

5 pm. Twentieth Session with Alex Rozzi. Alex looked quite run-down today. I think he might be coming down with a cold or flu; he said that he was experiencing some stomach distress. In addition to his physical condition, Alex said that he has been suffering agonies of self-doubt since allowing his work to be submitted to the Range Galleries, which Katherine's boyfriend Jake runs. Alex is expecting Jake to reject his work and is afraid that it will be crushing to be rejected. Alex is just 17 and has had no formal art training. If something does happen with Jake, it'll be a miracle--things like that don't just happen too often in the real world. It's important to try to give Alex some real expectations without coming off as unsupportive. Just because Alex may get rejected, he shouldn't stop drawing. People get rejected all the time. We might spend some time talking more about the passion of an artist. Among those I consider true artists, the need to do their art is much more important than the need to make money doing it--it's a need to express themselves that is the primary motivator. Alex told me that although his family knows that he is gay, he closets himself more than I would have expected--particularly at his school. Apparently, Alex also had a gay cousin Randy--Aunt Sofie's son--who died of AIDS in the early eighties. Aunt Sofie tried to engineer a reconciliation between Alex and his mother, but it didn't go well. Alex's mother, now quite pregnant, together with Alex, who is openly hostile to his mother's pregnancy, was not a good combination. They fought and their relationship is now more icy than before. I suggested that he might wait out his mother's pregnancy before seeking new opportunities for interaction, although I recognize that Alex is currently living in the house of a pedophile, although somewhat benign. Given a choice between his family, Ralph, and the streets, I can't exactly urge Alex to abandon his current living arrangements. Alex believes that Mark's wife is in a mental hospital in Canada being treated for schizophrenia. Alex also told me that he is now dating Luke, the model who's constant harassment irritated Alex so much during the Macy's show that he ended up assaulting him. Apparently, Alex is somewhat taken with this guy--the first boyfriend Alex has had of his own age--although he is not sure he is ready for a sexual relationship with him yet. I urged him to be as open and honest as possible with Luke and at least find out early if Luke doesn't respect his feelings and wishes. Alex gave me another drawing--a study of a piece which Alex is showing to Jake. It depicts a genii in an Arabian Nights locale.

Thursday, October 16, 1997

3:54 pm. Telephone Call with Anna Green. Anna called me to cancel her appointment. Apparently, she and Martin have to cover for Kathy's employment duties in her adult bookstore while Kathy travels out of town to deal with a sick aunt. So Anna finds herself dispensing advice about dildos and lubricants to the needy members of the adult book scene. Anna is looking forward to seeing what it is like to live just with Martin--she says this weekend is her first opportunity since they officially began to live together, although I'm not sure that the distinction between this time and the previous times is particularly significant.

Friday, October 17, 1997

10 am. I received another fax from the Anonymous Faxer. The naked character that I've come to associate with the Anonymous Faxer is now running in a forest of cloned gay men--an army of guys with swiveled hips and identical tight, shiny trousers. The figures are created by some sort of computer software program. SII is a computer company. I wonder if it's working on some odd graphic program that specializes in making images of gay men. In any case, the perspective in this image is particularly disturbing, because the images in the foreground are all small and the ones, presumably further away in the background, are all towering figures. Our hero is running from something, looking back over his shoulder. He clearly does not fit in here. He is naked, the others are clothed, and he is running, the others are quite relaxed and nonchalant. I suppose that the Anonymous Faxer doesn't feel like he fits in with the gay lifestyle that he was trying to embrace in previous images. It happens that I walked through the Folsom Street Fair a couple of weekends back. The Folsom Street Fair celebrates the leather lifestyle for both gays and S&M devotees. I was struck by the army of gay men in virtually identical costumes--black leather chaps and vests, together with similar hairstyles and body types, by and large. There is a great degree of conformity expected in that community, although there were clearly some people who flaunted their unwillingness to conform to that communities norms and they seemed accepted as well. The Anonymous Faxer's image seems to be a comment on the Faxer's discomfort with the norms of the community that he's chosen.

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