Sunday, October 4, 2015


Be forewarned of a long and potentially yawn-worthy post.
I'll allow some time for the timid and weak to make an exit.


I've encountered many people who gleefully claim - in looking back at their lives - that they have absolutely no regrets. I'd hate to call them liars, but perhaps I could say they are possibly delusional. Everyone has regrets. And if you truly don't, you must have lived one helluva charmed life.

My life was far from charmed and my regrets are so multitudinous that it actually hurts to recall them. Perhaps I was unlucky. More probable is that I made an incredible amount of bad decisions. I'm not here to analyze, my objective is merely to ramble.

The greatest regret of my entire life is that I moved constantly and never had any roots. Everything was temporary, fleeting. Unsettled.
When I was a child my parents  moved frequently, for no other reason than the gypsy in my father's blood. 

I was born in New Jersey, where all my relatives were. My parents moved to California when I was five. I went to six different schools in nine years. I never had sufficient time to cultivate friendships. Moving was so routine that I thought it was a normal part of life.

I regret that I had no siblings - even though I know many people who have an acute hate for their siblings. I was unwittingly enmeshed in the unrelentingly chaotic dysfunction of my parent's marriage. When you have no siblings you're never really a child. You are forced to deal with adult problems from infancy.

Ironically, as an adult I seemed to remain a child. I never fully matured emotionally. Desperately clinging to childhood was my way of escaping the potential ravages of adulthood. Damn strange, but true.....

 I reluctantly left California when I was 34. I lived there for nearly thirty years and considered it my home.......but I had to leave because the Hollywood scene was devouring me, draining the essence of my soul like a vampire. The eternal frenzy of inane bacchanals, bathing in the darkest realms of the abyss, unwholesome feasts of self-destruction.
I left after the unexpected, brutally tragic death of a lover, with whom I had been making plans for the future. Fate is savagely cruel......

I lived in the Missouri Ozarks, the dusted plains of West Texas, and now the wilderness of northern Tennessee. I learned to adapt to these morbidly different places, but never really fit in anywhere. Always an outsider. Always a wanderer. Never cultivating roots 

I regret squandering many golden career opportunities - mostly because of my lack of self-worth and fear of success.

I also squandered many many opportunities for serious relationships and possibilities for true love. People who really cared about me. I was terrified of commitment, selfishly independent, appalled at the restrictive idea of living with one person forever. So I wasted my life on short-term relationships and a breathtakingly endless string of one-night stands.

A tedious routine of waking up in strange rooms, next to people I didn't know and never wanted to know......sharing a night of sexual intimacies and parting as strangers in the morning.....

....the eternal damnation of encounters in clandestine alleys, back room bars, decaying bathhouses, sleazy hotels, and posh Hollywood Hills mansions..... 

I'm recalling a muddled four-day marathon tryst with a film director at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
While licking caviar off the private parts of this highly regarded, well-known person's body, in a fleeting moment of semi-lucidity, I suddenly thought
"What the shit am I doing here?" 

Shallow intimacies eventually become colder than loneliness. Trust me. 

And now I sit in a very modest abode in the Tennessee wilderness, haunted by memories......and troubled by regrets.

I'm greatful for the extraordinarily colorful life that I had, yet frustrated by the inane frivolity of it. As my memoir unfolds in my mind's eye, I see myself as largely worthless and certainly unworthy of respect. Ironically, I felt the same way about myself in my turbulent youth.

The sum total of my existence?

I'm a survivor, but, then, aren't we all?

I survived my father's relentless violence and devastating abuse,
I conquered personal demons that ravaged my soul, devoured my heart, and carried the remnants of my living corpse to the depths of hell.
I lusted frivolously but loved with indescribable passion and intense honesty,

I somehow became a professional musician and published freelance writer,

I took care of my aging mother for four years, as I watched her rapidly deteriorate and finally breathe her incredibly beautiful and brilliant woman, who was my only anchor in a sea of chaos....

I led both a blessed and damned life, filled with intrigue, color, passion, adventure, variety, uniqueness, immense emotional richness.... a world that I will always consider brutally hostile, ruthless, savage, cold, relentlessly unfair, and horrifyingly indifferent.

In the complex enigma of my regrets there are - mercifully - redeeming moments of satisfaction.

Congratulate yourself if you read all of this crap.

And what's the deal with the header photo?
It was taken a thousand years ago when I was damn cute and deceivingly angelic.





  1. Damn, but you have a knack for turning my brimming eyes into a chuckle. Great close, Jon.

    Nevertheless, I can't help but be touched by all you've experienced ... or rather, weren't allowed to experience. (It's an awful cliche, but I can't help comparing what you've shared to the lyrics of Desperado.)

    Try as I may, I doubt I'll ever out-run my own regrets. Someday, when you're ready I'd like to learn more.

    1. "Desperado" sums it up. The lyrics seem to have been written for me. I think that regrets are only felt by sensitive people. It is the hard-hearted and the selfish who have no regrets.

  2. There have been a few times in my life when I had to decide whether I wanted to live with regret or guilt --chose regret-- and acted according to conscience, but I see from your post it is more complicated than that. As I've said before, I learn here.

    1. There are times when I think regrets could be synonymous with guilt.
      Occasionally I learn here, too, Geo.

  3. I do have two regrets, but to publish them would hurt two people, so I keep it to myself. some things should remain private forever.

    1. Regrets should never be revealed if they will inflict pain to others. You're wise to keep them a secret.

      Although, of course, I'm curious.

  4. Jon, I'm glad you agree that we ALL have regrets. I can never get to like that song of the 'Little Sparrow' that was written especially for her. Iconic though it is, it has always struck me as 'denial' masquerading as 'bravery'. It's supposed to sound so good when someone says everything s/'he wanted to do was done, and they didn't give a fig for what the rest of the world thought. The reality is not so. It's like saying that one has never made a mistake, the height of arrogance.

    (Btw: Hope this comment 'takes'. My last two attempts on previous posts of yours have vanished into the ether. But know that I'm still here - even though this computer is hanging on by its fingertips, if it had any.)

    1. I'm glad you're here, Ray, and I wish there was hope for your hopelessly ailing computer. My old desktop computer behaves much like yours. I'm thankful that I have this laptop.
      I like the song "Little Sparrow" but the meaning behind it is rather pompous and self-centered. I haven't listened to it in a long time.

    2. (Second attempt - yesterday my try froze up the whole damn computer!)

      Jon, I apologise for my circuitous verbiage on my comment, but rather than the song 'Little Sparrow' I was really referring to the number with which Mme Piaf herself is most readily associated - 'Je ne regrette rien'. Hope that's cleared things up :-)

    3. Oh, NOW I get it - -
      Edith Gassion, La mome piaf

  5. We are the sum of our life's experiences, full and varied, good and bad - it makes us who we are, it makes each of us unique from the billions of others.

    1. Our past is indeed the foundation on which we are built, and each foundation is uniquely different. The greatest hope for the future is learning from past experiences.

  6. Hi Jon,

    No huge regrets for me, but lots of little ones...

    But such is water under the bridge. I'm still alive and relatively healthy, and not destitute.

    So I try to be thankful for every day.



    1. That's all that one could really ask for.
      Contentment in the present mode.

  7. Oh, now I feel so melancholy. I spend a lot of time ignoring my past so as not to dwell on my many (many) mistakes. One that bothers me the most is not knowing if I did the right thing or not. Did I make the right choice and in doing so effect another in a positive or negative way? I will never know and that bothers me the most.

    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one who made many (many) mistakes. Ignoring the past is indeed less painful than confronting it. Dwelling on the past gets us nowhere.......but I occasionally like lingering in the past.

  8. Jon,
    Oh I guess I do have a few regrets. Well, maybe more than a few but like you, I have had one helluva life. And, like you, that life isn't over . . . . yet. Soon for sure but not quite yet.
    Always enjoy your posts Jon. Never boring.

  9. Sure, I have regrets, but I try not to dwell on things I cannot change. No sense wasting whatever time I have left by beating myself up over things I can't atone for. All we can do is learn from the past, and try to do better.


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