This journey through a couple of bags full of old cassettes turned up an unexpectedly depressing reel. 45 minutes of me talking from the Red Carpet Inn in Daytona Beach about my father’s suicide. I remember feeling the melodrama of this sentiment as I said it but I said it anyway: There is a stain on the carpet where he shot himself, and there is a stain on the rest of my life. That blood stain on the porch carpet became something of a comical nuisance. No one could get it out short of just ripping out the carpet entirely, which I think is what finally happened. And even then the stain reached onto the wood below. The stain is probably still there, underneath whatever rug or outdoor flooring the management company put in place.

I don’t think I knew he was gay yet. This was October 5, one month after. I seem to remember making that discovery 2 or even 3 months later.

I had to put the headphones down today. I’m not listening to this. On the tape I started crying about the unexpected encounter with all the other people who lived in his apartment building. They just showed up all at once, and in this spontaneous union we shared the good memories of my dad. I marveled at the life he had built around himself, the circles of respect, all without us… meaning his real family.

I put the headphones back on later and listened to the end of the tape, containing sounds of thunder and of rain falling on the motel room balcony. I must have sat on the balcony, staring at the ocean in the dark. I remember now the haiku about rain falling on the ocean: SUCH SILENCE!

I guess I had plenty of legitimate reason to be sad and confused at that time but man, I can be one depressing motherfucker.

p.s.: ZERO memory of making that tape.

Been a weird day. Felt dizzy as hell, similar to anxiety attacks of yore. I thought going 10+ days sans booze might clear those away but I guess not. Almost took a panic pill but thought I’d wait it out, thinking it might have been the nuclear-strength coffee from the nearby ghetto coffee shop that got my nerves riled up. It might actually have been that. Dizzy to where I had to sit down. I don’t think listening to these tapes is necessarily encouraging my mental tranquility.

Feeling OK now after half a sammich, though I ate plenty of good stuff for breakfast. I was up earlier than usual — whatever that means — so maybe lack of sound sleep contributed as well. I don’t know but it was enough to make me go sit outside in case anything happened. I don’t want to die alone.

I know I’ve railed on this but I’ll say it again: I cannot believe how different my voice sounded 10-15 years ago. On balance it holds substance. I mean I’ve noticed since doing more media interviews that my voice can sound drastically different from one circumstance to the next. I remember Ugo, the filmmaker, saying he heard me on NPR and thought they had brought in an imposter, since my voice sounded unlike anything he had heard coming out of me. I don’t remember why that might have been but in a strange way it was good to know that I was not imagining this vocal unpredictability.

Not to compare myself to Joe Frank but I’ve heard some of his earlier programs, post-NPR (hard to believe he was an “All Things Considered” announcer) and he sounded quite a bit more deflated than he did in later years. It’s just that people have commented on my deep sexy voice since college, if not earlier. So what the hell were they talking about if I really sounded like I do on some of these tapes?

For what it’s worth I did not commence rummaging through this bag of cassettes expecting to listen to my own goddam voice. Thought I’d find more of my piano playing (found plenty of that) and radio station airchecks (check). Did not anticipate or desire this shit.

Found a pair of pink shoes under the coffee table. Was like, where the fuck did these come from? They have to have been from the dudes who did the work on the bathroom back in May. The shoes have paint stains on them. Strange to find them after so many months, but it’s not like I spend a lot of time rummaging around under then 2-inch space beneath the coffee table.