BY Michael

10/01 Direct Link
Tom and Heather stopped by last night and we went out for dinner. Heather wanted to go to the Yum Yum Tree. She had her eye on dessert. They wound up spending the night. Tom’s grandmother died yesterday. He was close to her. He was worried about taking time off work. I explained bereavement to him, and he decided to take a couple days, although he still seems to be putting in pretty full time days via phone. I think the frost hit last night. Not completely sure, but there was frost on the school buses passing by this morning.
10/02 Direct Link
Picking a sentence at random from someone else’s words to begin writing, I see I have either over-estimated myself, or I have underestimated the universe’s ability to bring me a three-word sentence that will incapacitate me emotionally. I have lived too long for this game or not long enough. It would seem a great hubris to think I have lived too long for anything, yet there are times I feel much older than I am, as if my soul had been passed from hand to hand down a long line of persons disappearing tiny into the mist over the horizon.
10/03 Direct Link
I have felt beaten by this house ever since I moved in here, as if it were just too large to grasp. It overwhelms me in size and complexity. Lately, something inside me has begun to rally against this sense and has begun the work of pushing the idea of house massive off of my chest. I have been spending hours every day cleaning, repairing, and re-shaping. I think I have taken it somewhat by surprise. It seems to me that this is something I need to do to get my mind around this house, so it doesn’t scare me.
10/04 Direct Link
You complain of flu-like symptoms, saying you think you have caught the bug. I too have flu-like symptoms, but I think my sickness is in my head. I think I have eaten something that has not agreed with me and what I have eaten is two or three too many life events that went down the hard way, and I have not been allowed to digest one thing before swallowing yet another. I have an existential flu. I would not dare say my life is particularly worse than that of anyone else, just that it is currently difficult for me.
10/05 Direct Link
I write a hundred words, but it does not work. The piece lacks unity. I divide it into two paragraphs and I see that they are unrelated. They need significant transitional work. Yet they already add up to a hundred words. Exactly. To lay the framework for the transitional work would require me to delete nearly enough words to eliminate one of the paragraphs. A far better strategy would be to take each paragraph and expand it so that I had two paragraphs, each of one hundred words, and to post them separately. Alternatively, I could write something entirely different.
10/06 Direct Link
It is another wet day with wet leaves on the ground and you cannot rake wet leaves. You can only really rake them when they are dry or you will be playing in mud. The water also makes them much heavier to handle. I have been working leaves for five days now, with a garbage can. I did two cans full the first day, three the second and so on. Today I will do seven cans. That will make twenty-seven garbage cans full of leaves raked, gathered, and carried up the hill to be tossed on the moldering leaf pile.
10/07 Direct Link
I have changed my morning routine a bit. I still don’t really get into the day before noon, but I have stuck some things into the morning routine that launch me into the day a little better prepared. Somehow I have managed to stick the hundred words into the pre-noon dance. I never used to eat breakfast until noon. Now I have usually cooked and eaten breakfast by noon, and I have also cleaned up the dishes and showered and dressed. So what happens now is that at noon, instead of considering breakfast, I am ready to start my day.
10/08 Direct Link
My daughter Amanda is going to Australia for Christmas to visit her mother. Now she can say she has now been on four, or maybe five continents. She collects continents the way mobile home people collect states. I’m proud of my continent-collecting daughter. My consolation prize for Christmas is that I get a visit from Dallas, the golden retriever. She has three dogs, but she will leave Dallas with me. Dallas and I are old buddies, both old men, both familiar with my house; we will sit at the fire, watch the snow fall and swap old stories about Amanda.
10/09 Direct Link
The piece of cassette tape still hangs like tinsel from the pine tree outside the window. It has been there for years, and I have not gotten around to taking it off. In fact I am now considering taking the tree itself down and the strand of plastic may be hanging from the tree as it falls. It is not something I think about unless I am sitting here and the wind blows it just right. There are so many other things to do that seem more important than removing the tape from the tree: cutting the tree for example.
10/10 Direct Link
The Budd Report

We began looking for Budd on Friday. The Logs weren’t turned in until Sunday. There was some confusion on that. There tends to be confusion about many of the circumstances of the Budd Expedition and about this report specifically. Some have said the whole thing was a hoax. I would like to simply say that I wrote as clearly as I could what I experienced. There was no need to make things up. Any confusion is simply due to limitations of language and my ability to use it effectively. I have found language has its own agenda.
10/11 Direct Link
It is a Sunday and my son Tom calls. He is calling from work. I assume then that he did not go to church this morning. He says he did not know what church to go to. I suggest he try the Unitarian church. You live in Ann Arbor, I explain. Actually he did know. He went to his father’s church of work on the weekends until you go crazy. He has recently gone to the doctor and is concerned because the doctor’s lab report said he was obese. How can I be obese? I work our 45 minutes every day?
10/12 Direct Link
I remember. I was going to write for an hour. As a project manager, there was one important lesson I learned. If your goal for a project was to have it done in three months, that was what you got: a three-month project. If your goal was to have a 1.2 million dollar project, then that was what you got. I learned early on to listen carefully to the customer to determine what it was they really wanted. Sometimes it was actually a specific project, but frequently it was something else, and it was important to know what that was.
10/13 Direct Link
An ad on my computer is titled, “Retired at 32.” This is presented as if it were a good and desirable thing. I am not so sure. I think you have to carefully understand the true nature of retirement before you take it on. I retired early, shockingly early, and in many ways I have found it not to my liking. But the problem with my “retirement,” I think, was that I did not properly envision it. I did not properly understand it. I think I am still in that process. Because to retire cannot mean that you stop living.
10/14 Direct Link
The Budd Report

There was a sense of something different in Sunday After the War. There was always a sense of something missing in Sunday. I was raised for church on Sunday, and that was the thing that anchored Sundays. I have tried to go to church as an adult, but there is simply too much cognitive dissonance there. After The War, I went back to church. We all did, what few were left. We dropped whatever we were doing and filed into the nearest church, temple, monastery or storefront and sat for forty-six and one-half minutes for quiet communion.
10/15 Direct Link
The Budd Report

Exit Plan was not a document put together by the allies to extract us from The War after we declared victory. It was a perfume, marketed as an upscale pheromone-producing product that gained significant popularity just before the war. Later research showed it to actually be a sort of target marker for the virus the aliens introduced early on. Users of Exit Plan were the first to fall victim to the virus which eventually took upwards of 95% of the global population while they were all celebrating. The remaining five percent were not invited to the party.
10/16 Direct Link
The Budd Report

The decision to put Harold Budd and his team On Ships That Sail Away wasn’t discussed and voted on in the normal way, not in the old normal way. It was done in the new normal way wherein those of us who were left came to a general realization that this was what we were going to do. The aliens had left a number of smaller ships out near the harbor and we stocked some of them with supplies for a few days. Budd was selected because we understood he best knew how to operate the ships.
10/17 Direct Link
The Budd Report

It is commonly thought that the materials from the Eaux d’Artifice transmission were the only thing of significance that came back from the Budd Expedition. The truth is that it is the only thing that came back after we lost contact with the Budd group two days after they left. In a short compact transmission with no preamble or explanation, these materials were sent prior to the transmission being cut off. There was no further contact with the Budd group, nor any hint in the Eaux d’Artifice transmission of any difficulty or expectation of delay in return.
10/18 Direct Link
The Budd Report

It was Sunday night. We dreamt of a Beautiful Intruder on the expediton flag ship. There was little discussion of this dream. We understood we had experienced it in common, but didn’t care to discuss it. The formal investigation showed that the dreams had been different. While everyone’s sense was of a “Beautiful Intruder,” and even months later many still remembered significant details of this intruder, the details were different. Men usually experienced the intruder as a female while women often experienced the intruder as a male. Some described an animal or merely a presence or light.
10/19 Direct Link
I had my youngest son arrested several nights ago, and I am afraid for him, because he doesn’t think he has done anything wrong. The police did. They took one look at the trail of damage he had left behind and went to find him. I worry that perhaps this penchant he has for bullying people and breaking up things to get his way is something that he will not be able to break free of. I worry that it is not just something like the Jack Daniels that he gets drunk on, but something that gets drunk on him.
10/20 Direct Link
The Budd Report

We had our own Candylion. Someone, unsure we were which one of us had first floated the idea, suggesting that perhaps the fortunate ones were the ones who had been “taken” early on by the virus. The virus had acted quickly, cleanly desiccating bodies and leaving small piles of dust. We really didn’t know what had happened to those people. We had assumptions. We didn’t know what had happened to us. We knew we were not the same as before. We assumed we were the survivors. But life had become odd enough for us to question this.
10/21 Direct Link
The Budd Report

Three of us were sent to contact the Budd Expedition. We were given a small apartment on the 42nd floor of an otherwise empty building. We knew who to pick. We knew what would happen. Still, there were surprises. I think that was what kept us going, the surprises. On our first attempt, we sent one member off to one of the bedrooms to work. Me. I was probing away when I heard the other two squealing like kids at Christmas. Opening the door, I could see them at the window. It was snowing ribbons. Ribbons Everywhere.
10/22 Direct Link
The Budd Report

Andi was the second of the group to contact the Budd Expedition, the youngest of the three, although she wouldn’t say how old that was. That too had ceased to matter for those of us left behind. There were too few things that mattered. That was part of the problem now. She looked back as She Slipped Through the Door, our minds touching just briefly. There was so much there. How could anyone ever sort through it? Then I noticed something. I looked at our partner. She had seen it too. But the door was already closed.
10/23 Direct Link
The Budd Report

Mlle. Ice should have been easy to track down. She was screaming most of the time. She broke into vacant stores and drove automobiles recklessly through the abandoned streets, running down three of us before we realized something was wrong. She wasn’t one of us. We were not therefore aware of her. And she had not been taken by the virus. She was alone. No wonder she was half mad. She had spent nine months being ignored by the few survivors she could find. We puzzled over Mlle. Ice and wondered if there were others like her.
10/24 Direct Link
The Budd Report

We knew that Andi did not see the Orange Portal before she stepped through it. We knew she was unable or unwilling to step back through it. We knew we lost contact with her as she cleared the portal. My first instinct was to jump through after her and pull her back. My first real through was that maybe if I didn’t step all the way through I could pull her back. My second real thought came from Karen, the nominal team lead; it was a visual of half of me lying in the floor in there.
10/25 Direct Link
Tyler calls to ask if they can come pick up some of their food. I say that would be wonderful, that I could use the space in my refrigerator. I wonder who “they” is and whether MJ is coming with her. I wonder if I will be able to monitor both her and MJ as I imagine them wandering through the house as if through a shopping mall, picking up things at random. I have mixed feelings. There is very little that I would not give them if they asked for it. It bothers me though when they steal things.
10/26 Direct Link
The Budd Report

In the Midst of Life we are gathered as individuals, scattered across continents with broken lives and homes and living in circumstances that would have been unthinkable nine months ago. We find that we are joined in new ways and that as a whole we can do things we could not do before. We partly believe that this new awareness represents a significant advancement by the species. We partly believe that it represents the beginning of some new degenerative notion into which we will all disappear. We seem to be able to see where we are going.
10/27 Direct Link
The Budd Report

The Bells. We forgot. We overlooked them in the draft reports. I found the bells when I stepped through the Orange Portal for Andi. I was in a field covered with bells, brass bells of all sizes, growing there like peppers, with ribbons laced through them like vines. Many of the ribbons were missing, and these were the same ribbons that had fallen from the sky earlier. My foot was wedged between four bells. I could see Andi clearly about two steps ahead. She was not moving. I took her hand and Karen pulled us back through.
10/28 Direct Link
I got back from Ohio last. I haven’t been there in a long time. Mom sent me home with a fresh peach pie. Things are well there. It is everything I am not. Dad has made a new violin. My sister is taking care of her two young granddaughters while her children work. The granddaughters are bright, happy, and well-cared for by my sister. Her husband Fred moves ceaselessly from the moment he gets up either at his job or cleaning or fixing things in the home. I make the bed before I leave, but I cannot get it right.
10/29 Direct Link
The Budd Report

The Bell Tower. When we pulled Andi back through the portal, we knew about the bell tower. We did not know anything more about Budd and his group. Nor did we know that they were specifically connected to the bell tower. We do not know any other way, however that the bell tower image could have been presented to us. We don’t know what the bell tower was attached to, only that it contained no bells and that we were left with an odd feeling with this large field of bells all yearning for the same tower.
10/30 Direct Link
I nuke a bowl of chicken pot pie. It is comfort food. I have been feeling fragile. I brought the chicken pot pie back from Ohio with me. I may have brought some of the fragile as well. I’m looking into November thinking about the Nano. I don’t see how. I’ve been working on this thing based on the work of Harold Budd, but I don’t think I am going to have the time to expand it into a Novel. Not this month. This month will be a man eater and there is only one person left here to eat.
10/31 Direct Link
The Budd Report

Campanile. It seems We are dreaming lately of the same tower built on the far side of the woods at the edge of the field. It has been laid up brick by brick with devotional attention. The casting for the bell is of exceptional purity and quality. A two foot wheel will be used. Will be. This bell has not yet been rung. The idea excites us. Someone will be selected. It will be a special honor. A cottage will be built near the tower for this person. Will they wear a robe? They will have to?