Missing the kids over the holidays, I thought that writing the rules for my RPG would cheer me up. Instead I am frustrated.

   I am frustrated by the quality of my writing, and embarrassed. I am embarrassed that this is not coming easily to me, by my lack of clarity, and that what I am creating is not a joy to read. I feel complicated. I look at my work and I see failure.

   The wind started blowing last night - hard. I feel harassed by it. This morning it is still blowing and just as hard. The turbulence demands my attention, and I can not stop it. My windows and doors rattle. Trees hiss and boil threateningly. The wind drags a limb over my roof's asphalt tiles to hit the chimney with a thud. I can not stop the violence. I know I am being irrational, but the wind makes me anxious. I am angry. I hate this wind. I wish it would stop.

   I read my hatred of the wind like a warning sign. This is not about the wind. This is about me. I am unemployed, and I have not completed the project I started this June. I look in the mirror and I see failure. I am a failure. I am anxious. I need to prove my worth. Every project is an opportunity to prove myself, and every setback more proof that I am a failure. I have nothing but my resolve to go on.

   The hiss of the wind scours like sandpaper over my resolve, rubbing my skin so thin that I can no longer contain the pain and frustration I keep bottled up inside. I felt so stirred up last night that I could not write anymore. I tried distracting myself with a movie, then a video game. I ate a block of Mexican chocolate. Nothing soothed or satisfied me.

   There's a bottle of vodka and something else on a top shelf in my kitchen. Only this morning did I remember that they were there, but still I haven't touched them. I've never touched them. They are leftovers from my ex-wife and one of our parties years ago. Last night I did consider whether a glass of scotch or a bottle of wine would take the edge off, but the bars in Dimond were closed Christmas Night so I didn't follow those thoughts far. Then I thought about my grandparents, their deaths, and alcoholism. I thought about their granddaughter, one of my older cousins, the singer. She died young, homeless, perhaps of a heroin overdose, perhaps from exposure. It bothers me that I know so little about her life after our grandparents died. I thought about her father, a vicious drunk. He died alone, long estranged from his family and friends, and left his money to one of the women who tended bar at the Kingfish. I remember wandering around in the Kingfish as a little boy, pissing off some tattooed men when I rearranged their shuffle board game as a prank. I was maybe 4 or 5. My uncle laughed. We were going to a Giant's game at Candlestick anyway so he didn't care if I stirred up trouble at the bar. The bus was outside. We all got on, my father, my uncle, and a crowd of others I only vaguely recall. I don't remember the game or playing with my cousins that day, but I remember the Kingfish, the cigarettes and alcohol, my uncle. And that they were all he had when he died.

   I am uncertain if alcohol will do me any good, and that uncertainty is dangerous. How much do I need to drink to take the edge off? Will I feel better or grow more frustrated at my inability to think clearly? And is drinking alone a habit that I can control? I'd rather suffer through anger and frustration sober, than start drinking alone, and end up like others in my family.

   What I should do is practice meditation. I've lost control of myself. My emotions run away with me. I want to master them. I am far too old to be so undisciplined. I know better. Discipline can compensate for weakness, especially if you establish good habits. That's what rituals are for. Its time that I accept my failings and deal with them. Its time to grow up. I have not meditated for decades, but I was taught the basics. I know enough to get started again. The truth is that this is not a problem of learning and knowing. The problem is that I don't take the time to sit, clear my head, and just breathe. I need to hold myself to a schedule and do this everyday.