Though our home situations are very different I began feeling a deep regret for how I had treated my mother and brothers. Without doubt the genesis of my anger toward them had some basis.
Seeing him treat his parents so appallingly, confound them, fight them…distresses me and everyone who witnesses it. He demands money with menace, internet privileges and rides to see other equally troubled, weed smoking teens.
It has been a particularly hard week for my friends. Interrupting a drug deal he was making with a pair of 16 year olds in a car, a deal funded by money he had stolen from his mother, he attacked his Cambridge educated father and literally ripped the shirt off his back.
Until that moment his father had been his great ally and protector. Until he saw what the rest of us had seen for some time…that there was nothing his own child wouldn’t do to get what he wanted.
The violence toward his parents is shocking to witness but he tends to behave properly when I am around because, rightly, he is scared of me. I refuse to co-sign his bullshit. I am bigger and potentially twice as violent and, of course, he knows that I will not acquiesce.
He steals anything he can lay his hands on and lies about it.
The last time I was at the house he stole $20 from me. I just demanded it back and he handed it over. When caught he tends to walk into a weird cloud of denial. Glazed, fearful.
After he attacked his father the police came and cuffed him. They wanted to take him to juvenile hall but his parents balked at the last moment.
It is only a matter of time before he ends up in very serious trouble.
I was sent to boarding school so my parents could live a normal life. It suited me to be away from the house. It suited them to get on with their normal, family life.
The problem seems to be that this kid has no passion for anything other than money. He isn’t, as I was, sketching imaginary couture collections, writing plays or poring over houses I would one day build.
His stated aim: the acquisition of money. He will do anything he can to get hold of it. He doesn’t have anything particular he wants to spend it on. He just craves hard cash.
Ultimately he will leave home and make his own mistakes…in his own time, on his own dime…but for now he tortures his parents and sisters with tantrums, violence and vile words.
When things get really bad at the house his desperate mother calls me and I sleep over.
Calm is restored. Last night we made tea and dipped strawberries in chocolate.
I know, of course, how things will end up for him: jails, institutions and death.
It is the way of the addict. We are all similarly destined until we take those imperative steps toward sanity and abstinence.
Yesterday we went for a long hike though the Malibu Canyon State Park.
Beautiful wild flowers. The Little Dog in 7th heaven. Drove home via the Malibu Farmers Market and prepared fresh chard for dinner. Bought delicious goats cheese flavoured with lavender. Made dinner for three of us then slept FITFULLY as the dog was up and down the stairs all night barking at wildlife in the garden.
Saw Chris Cortazzo the local, gay celebrity realtor wearing jeans that were far too tight for a man of his shape and disposition.
Did you know that I am the eldest of 11 (maybe 12) children shared between my Mother who had my half brothers Stuart and Martin and my errant father Kuros Khazaei who had 8 or 9 further half brothers and sisters with 4 or 5 other women depending on which story you believe.
I have met all of my half siblings except Jonathon (no contact) and Natalie who I have spoken to on the telephone. So, here goes, here are the rest of my half blood brothers and sisters born in wedlock/legitimately by my father: Dominic, Michael, Natalie, Jessica, James, Rebecca and Jonathon Khazaei. Illegitimately by my father Karen and there maybe another called Roya…but this might be a paternal myth. Like the diamond heist. Can anyone shed any light on that? Or that the Kray twins threw him out of a window? Or that he carried a tape recorder everywhere with him?
That’s all there is to tell you about them. Just wanted you to know. Some of you think I am an only child.
The beautiful Dane arrives from NYC next Sunday and a couple of days later we will head off on our ‘Great Adventure!’ all of which we will document here and on YouTube. Obviously it was at about this time last year that The Penguin and I went to France. I’ve been reading over my rather romanticized blogged version of those weeks.
My anger refreshed. Remember, the night I arrived in NYC he was already (I later discovered) seeing someone else in a ‘non exclusive relationship’ and decided to fetch his stash of meth from under his bed and snort it in front of me. I feel so angry writing this. That he would take such a risk with my sobriety.
By the time we left for Paris he had no respect or love or care for me what so ever. He just wanted the free ride.
Whilst we were in Europe he was hooking up with other men when ever he could, using internet pornography, skyping with his ‘non-exclusive’ boy friend and lying to me every single day.
I think of those weeks in Europe and my heart sinks. Mind you, how must his ex girl friend feel? That on every vacation they ever took together during their 7 years he would do exactly the same. Hooking up with random strangers in bathrooms then slipping into bed with her. Her sucking a cock that had just been up a strangers ass.
I have just been writing the final pages of my novel so this revisited fury has some provenance.
As for the novel? Anything I put my mind to…my heart into…what seems for others a long and painful process has become quite effortless.
I am now working with a book editor from the not so niche publisher. It is most often described in the press as a ‘leading independent publisher’. The time difference means that notes were waiting for me this morning when I woke up. My first notes. I was so excited I almost couldn’t look at them.
Wow, this editor thang is a revelation.
Working with someone who helps shape, define and redefine the work I am doing. Helping me be less self-conscious.
As for the imprint by whom I will be published..their rosta of edgy authors is very impressive indeed.
I just heard that Laura Ziskin died of cancer yesterday. Now I feel terrible. She was a great friend of The Penguin. I’m so sorry.
Yesterday I wandered the garden taking pictures. Here are some of them:
After Stephen left yesterday afternoon for some appointment somewhere…I lay on the sofa and mulled over the days events. One thing was certain, The Penguin no longer rents space in my head.
I kept marveling at how I had once found him so intoxicating. I finally saw him as others saw him. When Charlie said, “He wasn’t like anyone I had met you with before…” I felt vaguely insulted. “The boys you usually introduce me to are beautiful.”
Yet, Charlie was right. My love for him made his fascinating. The pictures I took of him made him look like a model. The life I handed him. The strengths I imbued. When I took him to Paris all he brought with him was his mediocrity.
I realized that I had never seen him, in all the time we knew each other, with anyone other than my friends and family. To see him interact with his parents was a revelation. They looked at his iPad and laughed. The sham, It might have worked if his Mother didn’t look so incredibly sad. Amongst them The Penguin looked for all the world like the entitled brat who would think nothing of taking drugs to their house, using their kitchen as a porno web casting studio or telling them bare-faced lies.
Their ‘unconditional’ love created The Penguin. I had hinted before that this may have been the case but just seeing them together confirmed my worst fears.
I suddenly understood Jessie’s fury in a way that I had never understood it before.
“Well, it’s over. She came home, got me to confess a bit more truth–that i have had sex with men before–then after a lot of kicking, hitting and screaming, she kicked me out. I took the train to my parents’ house, where I told my mom everything (my dad is out of town which made it all a bit easier actually), and she held me and told me it will all work out. Jessie called her to make sure I’d gotten home, which gave me some hope that she might not hate me forever…but after she got home tonight it became clear that there is no going back. She accused me of ruining her life, of being a deceitful sociopath, of being a bad person who she wishes she never met. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.
Part of me feels like I wish I’d never met you–your were a catalyst of sorts and without that catalyst everything right now would probably be as it was. But I know that “as it was” was not as perfect as I wanted it to be, and beneath all the pain right now I know I did the right thing. Thank you for guiding me towards the truth,,,you are so incredibly strong…I can hear it in your voice, your words. I hope I can be as strong as you and I really want to thank you for being here for me. I cannot fucking believe this happened today. Love you a lot.”
The truth is: he would never have ‘come out’ if I had not been the crazy man I am. I had threatened to ‘un-pick’ his life and he knew that the truth had to be told. I forced him to tell her the truth.
His lies made me physically sick.
Whilst he was with Jessie I wrote:
You are making me unhappy. There is no fucking hope.
I refuse to be the other person in your life whilst you selfishly shit on other people.
It is not fair on any of us.
I refuse to be the levelheaded guy who just puts up with you. Then, when and if it suits you, you turn on and accuse of craziness.
I can’t do it.
Yes, today I felt fed up with you because I don’t trust you. Why should I?
Why should anyone?
What the hell did you expect from this? That I just have no feelings? That we just fuck? That you sit in your room and jerk off on camera and that was going to be enough for me?
Jake, PLEASE stop living a lie. Leave that poor woman. Be single for a while then find a man to love.
I think often about Jessie. How he treated her.
Let’s talk about who I became yesterday. I didn’t really like me yesterday. I didn’t like the goose-stepping, mad man who took obnoxiously loud telephone calls in the court waiting room. It seemed like I just had to be THAT GUY. It seems like it’s the only way I know how to protect myself.
I was the wrong size when I left the court. So it was that I had to get back to being the right size. Not too big, not too small.
Alex called. We had dinner at Angelica’s Kitchen. I ate steamed vegetables. We talked briefly about the day but I was done. Done talking about The Penguin.
We fell into bed and I kissed him. Everything felt so different. Fresh.
Just two men in bed, two men in bed without any expectations.
I am on Fire Island this weekend house hunting for the summer. Very excited.
Robby suggested that I call todays entry…well..you can see can’t you?
The twins are home and the house is full of twin energy and plans and smells. The washing machine is stuffed with their weekend laundry. Miles is falling in love with a young lady he met on his trip. It is so sweet to see him delicately negotiating these new and powerful feelings.
Robby is off to Hollywood for an audition. He looks great.
The weather is incredible and the hillsides are vibrant with spring flowers and tiny baby rabbits who hop dangerously out into the road. This is the first year that I have seen so many rabbits. Either the coyote are fattening up elsewhere or the rabbits have migrated from another part of the mountain.
I saw a dead bobcat in the road last week. They are such beautiful creatures. Even the dead animals in the road are beautiful.
Therapy this morning, listened to an ex homeless man tell his story. Very restorative. Humbling.
Collecting my thoughts for next weeks trip. There is not much to think about other than what to take to wear. Which, as you can imagine, is more of a headache than it should be. I have no idea what to expect, it’s just going to be great to be back in NYC.
Peace of mind. No longer the roiling mess I have endured for months.
Who reads my blog? Some people find it by chance. Others are looking. For those who are looking…I say welcome. Welcome. I don’t care if I only get 500 readers a day…they are the 500 readers who need to read my blog. Friends, family…and the rest of you…who come to sneer and blame.
The young twins arrived last night. Spent a couple of hours making beds and sorting where they are going to stow their things.
Because of the terrible storm I could not get up to my house until late yesterday so as I was staying over at J & J’s house. I drove with Jason to Venice through the Santa Monica Mountains. The storm has caused huge amounts of damage. Thankfully CalTrans have dealt with the worst of the mess. Did I mention that during the storm we saw 5 Pepperdine boys surfing the steep lawn on their campus. Wetsuits in the rain. Looked like fun.
I dropped Jason off at work then arranged to meet Sinatra and Hilary at Intelligentsia on Abbot Kinney. After an hour and some extraordinarily expensive Rwandan blend coffee and an ‘artisan made’ orange and cranberry muffin I picked Lily up from school in Malibu and drove her home.
The logistical nightmare that is having three kids in different schools all over LA.
Found myself alone with Max, we sat at home discussing rap music. He is 13.
My stomach ached all day. A mixture of anxiety from having JB at the forefront of my thoughts once again and exhaustion from staying up all night at the Sober Living facility.
This morning I woke early and made tea for us all and set about doing long overdue desk work. All three of us are tapping away quietly on our macs. Must go buy loo roll. These boys sure get through it.
I find myself in limbo once again.
However beautiful the twins are I am discombobulated. Absent. Sad.
My friend Ashley moved in last night. She arrived with Thai food and a pillow.
Almost immediately felt a trillion times better about everything. Being on my own is not good for me. Just me and my head. We lit a huge fire, watched interesting film clips on my computer and life felt a great deal better.
The marine layer shrouded the house all night so everything this morning is wet and sparkling. The gray light, as I have said a million times, suits all the colours here in the house.
I get my watch back today, the big gold one I broke last year but forgot to pick up. I should fetch my grandfather’s ring that is still in repair.
I bought a family box of food from my friend Jennifer’s company Out of the Box Collective which arrives Saturday week. She has sourced the best of what is available from local farms including organic meats, vegetables and raw milk/yogurt etc. I am really excited about this!
Three of us living up here cooking great food, making art and doing what humans do..supporting one another..and I don’t mean through bad times but supporting one another to do the best of what we can possibly do.
The great thing about Ashley is her connection to everything happening in the new arts here in LA. Performance, film etc. We watched clips of things on YouTube that inspire us. She showed me a really interesting animation/performance that I loved.
I understood that I had not just isolated myself from people but from my life blood..art. I simply stopped going to anything. I stopped turning up. To have a life in the arts you have to be present. For nine long months I have been a dead man. Jake became my life and the poor lamb head just couldn’t be my life.
Manhunt date number 4 was a funny latino boy. 27 years old and HIV positive. Hmmm. We didn’t have much to say so he left. He was a bit pissed that he had driven all this way and didn’t get any.
I feel so much better about everything.
Suddenly all of my anxiety, obsession and resentment has slipped away…at least for the time being.
This morning I thought about writing which I have not thought about for a long, long time. Just having someone around keeps me focused.
Let him have his life and I will have mine. I wish we could have had a kind goodbye.
You see, I went from having a dear, dear friend to having nothing…whilst he was surrounded by his family. Never on his own. A family to fall back on. I had nothing. When I lived in Whitstable the people there, they were my family for good and for bad. I just had to step outside of my front door and I would engage with people who had known me all my life.
I saw a property for sale today in England that I can’t stop thinking about. Hastings is a small British seaside town. I have always really loved it. There’s a house there that looks amazing. Huge. Lots of space.
You see! Already my head is in a different, more positive place. Just wait until Anna arrives and we will be cooking, as they say, with gas.
At 8 this morning Jason popped by with Lily (my god-daughter) and her brother Max for breakfast. Hot chocolate. I think this maybe a regular event as they have an hour to kill most mornings between dropping the kids off at their various schools.
Somebody asked me what I seek in a man. I think he wanted to know about sex but I replied: intelligence, wit, kindness, fortitude, patience.
50 years ago this month my Mother, eight months pregnant, was scrubbing floors for nuns at a catholic ‘Mother and Baby’ home in the depths of rural Kent. For 6 months, this teenage girl, had undergone an emotionally disfiguring baptism of shame.
The young girls in this Catholic facility were persuaded that for their acts of fornication and subsequent pregnancies they should be punished before God and their unborn, bastard children maligned.
This penance would not edify my Mother. She would not repent. She had already glimpsed the burgeoning freedoms of post-war Britain. She had met a rich, well-dressed, exotic, Persian boy who drove a sports car and had given herself to him. She was aspirational, a teenage girl with an appetite for the modern world. She wanted what he had, the freedom he had but he wanted less from her than she from him and after moments of unbridled passion she was pregnant and abandoned. One can only imagine how dreadful she felt telling her Edwardian parents that she was carrying me, knowing that her life would never be the same again.
My grandmother, disgusted by her willful daughter’s precocious ambition, spoke to a priest who organized seven long months of incarceration at the Mother and Baby home where she would be forced to abandon her dreams in exchange for shame, resentment and fear.
My grandparents abandoned her to her fate. During the 7 months she was sent away they did not visit her once. After I was born they accepted her home begrudgingly.
Most of the girls would give up their babies. Some of them willingly some, like my mother, unwillingly.
She could not breastfeed me. I refused to suckle. Perhaps I already knew that life was not worth living? The nuns insisted and forced me onto her nipple. My mother left me behind at the Mother and Baby home to be adopted but fate or circumstance or racism intervened. I could not be adopted. My skin was olive toned, my hair curly, my eyes jet black. It was obvious to all the prospective parents who viewed me during the time I was offered up for adoption that I would not fit invisibly into any nice, white family.
By July the 8th 1960 the day of my birth the door had well and truly shut on the promises of the age.
Remember, during the first few months of the 1960’s my mother was unaware that this decade in the United Kingdom would be described variously as ‘swinging’, ‘progressive’ and ‘free’.
What of these nuns now? These Brides of Christ? Where was Jesus when all of this was going on? Where was the love of God?
My Mother was neither free to keep me even though she begged to do so and the home I would eventually end up in, although loving, was certainly not progressive nor swinging.
My Grandmother, in a rare moment of charity, decided to go fetch me and I ended up, once again, with my teenage mother and her mother and her mother in a small, semi-detached house in a genteel seaside town. Besides these three women I lived with my two aunts and my sickly grandfather. Victorian Herne Bay was, was at that time, still enjoying the benefit of the second longest pier in England, a bandstand and the cavernous Kings Hall where polite tea dances were held.
There are photographs of me ensconced in the bosom of this dysfunctional family. I was the son my grandfather never let my grandmother have. She doted on me, walked me through the streets come rain or shine. Then, she let me go.
During the darkest days of my childhood I would try to get back to that house. A house I knew and loved but when I got there it was never the house I remembered. She sent me back again and again.
I lived there for two years until my mother married a local lad and we moved to Whitstable. My Grandmother was thrilled to have her sullied daughter married. It was, in fact, against all the odds. She was ‘taken off my hands’ my Grandmother later told me.
50 years ago. 50 years. I have lied about my age for so long that I am in shock when I type those words. The number has come too soon. I am not prepared to be this old nor was I ever expecting it. Shocking! Why did I never expect to live? On many occasions during my childhood I expected to die at the hands of my angry step-father.
When I finally escaped that man I sought out equally destructive situations.
I have been hankering after the long sleep since I was born.
As I sit at my desk in Los Angeles my greatest triumph, if at all my only triumph, has been to survive. To avoid the catastrophic blow that I expected every day. I may not have fulfilled my potential but I have certainly achieved more than I ever expected, more than I was told to expect. In spite of my temper, my addictions, my desire to take up where my murderous step-father left off I am alive!
It is only recently that I tentatively acknowledged that life must be lived.
For as long as I can remember I have imagined and reimagined my death. For long as I have flown in aeroplanes I have reveled in turbulence. As often as I have picked up strange, beautiful and dangerous men I have wished death come to me.
Shame has cast such a deep shadow over me that all I ever managed to do is struggle blindly down life’s treacherous path. Stumbling into people along the way who could see. Many of those people realizing that I was blind did not help without benefit to themselves. Many of those people, when I understood what monsters they were, were shocked when I ferociously bit their hand off up to the elbow.
Perhaps this is why I stayed close to my family home, a family that did not want me. Even to this day I hanker after Whitstable. There are still elderly parents of friends my age who remember the small boy who escaped his home whenever he could and seek refuge in theirs.
During the next month I am going to write an abridged memoir. We know the beginning and most of you know where I am right now. So, as I make my way East through New York and Paris back to my old hometown of Whitstable I will let you know what I remember, what I care to remember from the last 50 years.
Today, the little dog is on my bed waiting to walk through the Californian sun to our local coffee shop. There are people there who know me from the television. People who might wave a tentative hello. Tonight I may hear from the man I love and tell him so without shame or expectation. It’s not much to ask is it? To be loved, to love. To be loved..to love?