Mind Fields: This is Where Your Fantasies Take You

I’ve lived in the world of my sexual fantasies for decades. There are times to put away the fantasy but first I must ask it why it was there in the first place. I’m seventy five years old. I’ve had enough sex in my life, with a number of partners. Men born in the forties and fifties grew up entitled, so they thought, to all the sex they could get. Turns out that things have changed and sex is no longer a perk of the boomer male. Sex is more complex because we became aware (some of us) to the fact that women have been treated with abominable cruelty, apparently forever. There is no style of feminism that comes close to redressing that injustice. I told my partner yesterday, “I’ve been so unfair to you.” It was true. My fantasies pulled me away from her. We are the same age.  She doesn’t’ conform to the image. She’s a granma. Of what sexual use is she? I’ve deleted post menopausal women from my sex fantasy life.

SO… I’ve come to a decision to put away the fantasy. I’m not really horny any more. This issue, the transition OUT of sexuality, is difficult. I‘ve been slow to release it and give it to the process of my emotional maturation. There is an evolution to such feelings. They have to be owned and then governed from within. Honesty is required. This inner transformation takes time and help from our therapists and peers. It’s been something of a wild ride for me but things are settling down. I’m revising my identity. I am an elder. I have been motivated by a sense of my having new tools at my disposal. New insights. I had wanted to bring them into a relationship and that relationship already exists, with my partner and with my peers.

The fantasy of falling in love is powerful. It can be all enveloping, overwhelming. Its allure is its intoxication with a sensual element. Everyone wants those feelings of love: until they have them. Then, it is often a case of getting what you wished for and discovering its unintended consequences. A new vulnerability exists, and a new responsibility. Things are never that easy. Falling in love brings the possibility of confusion and devastating betrayal. It’s a simple formula: one cannot make someone else happy. Don’t look for love to complete you. Be complete. It sounds so simple. It isn’t; but it comes at the right time, when one has prepared the way for being complete.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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Mind Fields: The Highwayman Of Failed Dreams

Note: I wrote this piece ten years ago. Things have changed. I’m doing much better than I would have expected when I wrote this essay. Here it is in all its misery.

Lately I’ve been waiting for a heart attack to drop me in my tracks. It isn’t that I have heart disease. I just turned seventy and I’m waiting for my official Hypochondriac’s License to be delivered in the mail. I think that every little twinge in my body is an incipient cancer. I’m waiting for the stroke that will paralyze my speech centers and put me in a wheel chair. I’m old, and I’m terrified. My imagination runs wild as I fantasize every possible affliction. I feel as though something awful is lurking just around the bend. It’ s like a giant boot in a Monty Python skit, it’s waiting for me to walk under it so it can go SPLAT! and squish me to a gooey puddle.

This is called “catastrophizing”. It’s a feature of depression. When I wake up early in the morning I’m churning with anxiety and my mind boils with fears of the worst things that can happen to me. Life is hard and I’m like a child: I can’t reconcile myself to the level of difficulty that life has thrown in my path. I’m inadequate. I’ve been broken since childhood. I want my mommy. I want to feel safe. I feel vulnerable, lonely, unsupported and bereft of family and community.

Now that I’ve introduced you to some of the fun features of depression, I will make an observation. Depression is extremely common. So is despair, but that’s different than depression. Despair is an emotion. Depression is a disease. It can kill you.

When I turned sixty five I was waylaid by the highwayman of failed dreams. It was too late (I felt) to rebuild my life. It was too late to develop an audience for my writing. To say that I was disappointed is too mild. I was heartbroken. I had worked my butt off but the world had changed and suddenly everyone was a writer. Five million self published books were elbowing my fine works into oblivion. I couldn’t gain traction. In spite of great reviews and an award from Writer’s Digest, I couldn’t even give away my books.

I have become almost proud of my obscurity. When I say “I couldn’t give away my books” I feel a weird yet heroic conceit. If my books were shit I would still feel proud, but my books are not shit; they’re damned good. They are compelling. One reviewer called them “important”.

There’s no reason you should care about me. You don’t know me. If you’re still reading it’s because I’ve touched a nerve. You may share some of these feelings and I’ve roused your curiosity. “Oh, does someone else feel overwhelmed the way I do?”

Yes. I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment, respond on Medium and Facebook, talk to me! What we lack is connection and mutual support. I’m looking to connect. I’m not looking for a dialogue about depression. I’m looking for truth. I want to know how you really feel and are maybe too ashamed to admit it.

It’s important to consider the state of the world when we contemplate our emotional pain.

The world is sick. The planet is reeling with toxic conditions. These things affect us personally, they have impact on our health and our moods. Seeing the faces of certain politicians rouses me to anger and nausea.

Every human being comes into the world with a set of parents and a third parent that is the culture in which he or she lives. The information that programs the infant child is transmitted by the parents and the culture. If it’s good information chances are that the human will live a good life. If the information is flawed there may be problems.

Let’s start with the culture, this culture, American culture. Every child born in America inherits an inner blueprint that guides in the construction of a personality. A Self. The weird thing about this blueprint is that it shows a structure that lacks a foundation. There’s no bottom on this diagram. It starts on the first floor.

If I had lived a more fulfilling life I might not be so catastrophic. My life, however, has been one of incredible effort and little reward. I have been endlessly creating works of music, literature, photography…that no one cares about. It’s good that I’m not prone to self pity. (Sound of sardonic laughter in the background.)

I don’t have any significant heart disease. My blood pressure’s running high but that’s because I’m terrified. It’s a vicious circle. Terror increases the BP and the BP increases my chances of stroke and heart disease. You can’t win.

Depression can stop you in your tracks. It is epidemic, it’s the most dangerous disease of the human race. I know you don’t care about my problems. You care about YOUR problems, whatever they are. Health, money, relationships, all the basic stuff that won’t behave and won’t get organized in a sustainable way.

When I’m REALLY depressed I don’t want to live but suicide’s not an option. I have responsibilities to people. I feel like a prisoner in my life, in my body, and that’s a fact. It’s irresistible. I can’t even open my email because none of it is for me, it’s all spam and fills me with ennui. I’m socially isolated. I’m old. My friends and family are scattered and gone. If I had a family I’d probably tell them to get lost. You know how families are: when you have one you loathe most of the people in it, but when you don’t have a family you feel cut adrift from reality.

This is my screed from a moment of dangerous difficulty. I understand that obstacles are necessary to my development. I get that. I accept the fraught process of living. There’s little else I can do other than bow to the will of a higher intelligence within myself. I believe in that higher intelligence. I believe it is not only possible to know God but that God has designed our consciousness so our understanding progresses by increments towards that knowing.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: When A Man Ages

Mind Fields

Dating And Aging: A dilemma

If you’re fifty years or older and you’re looking for a romance you will find that things have changed. In the past it was “the bad boy” who got all the ladies. Now, to these ladies, a bad boy is just an early version of a bad man.

I used to be a bad boy. I was a jazz musician, which is a permanent “bad boy” pass. Now I’m an elder musician. I’ve given up on looking for romance. It can find me; that’s okay.

 It has been difficult for me to re-calibrate my visual expectations. Men are sexually stimulated by their eyeballs. When I was a kid I looked at my dad’s magazines with complete and ardent attention. Without this masculine visual appetite. there would be no porn, no Playboy or Hustler. But there IS, and men like to look almost as much as they like to touch. Men LOOOVE to look.

When I go out into the world, to shop or keep appointments, I see women of my own age in all their seasoned glory. It is an adjustment for the testosterone-fueled man to make… to keep the fires lit on these ladies of fifty and sixty something years. They’re not likely to have fresh pert boobs. Nor a smooth silky skin. As for the shapely ass, eh, maybe… maybe not. 

It’s natural for men to seek young women but that doesn’t make it wise. When a man discovers that young women are children with boobs, he finds a clear warning: this is not going to work. If he fails to sense this warning he’s letting himself in for a universe of grief.

When I set out twenty years ago to look for a partner I was already…uh…old. I knew I was looking for women near to my age, that is, I knew it with my mind but my body and unconscious adolescent still sought out twenty three year olds. I understood that women of my age are mothers and grandmothers. I was stuck inside my twenty three year old male lust for women of reproductive age.

It is nature’s way of ensuring that we continue to reproduce our species. Men were designed to want young women. I’ve been in a battle between twenty something ME and seventy something ME. Men want to follow their instincts and spew their seed far and wide. That doesn’t change but the DRIVE in the older version of myself has changed, it isn’t so insistent, so relentless. Maybe it’s time to change the entire aspect of love, eros and friendship.

Changing these core drives gives me a little breathing room.

It gives me a chance to take a step backward and look at myself. I don’t have abs any more. I have… uh… call them abdominal folds. I’m ridiculously fit, BUT. Fitness is not a definitive draw for women. The females of the human species are attracted to emotional intelligence and vulnerability. They want to know and feel your emotions. After failing repeatedly with women, I got into therapy. I found that a few years of therapy is the most erotic asset one can have. It’s also good for acquiring self knowledge. And this, self knowledge, is the most valuable asset of all. The more you know yourself, the more you know what you’re doing. It’s time to put on your big boy pants. Or your big girl pant-suit; as the case may be.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.