Yeah . . . DAYS LIKE LOST DOGS is right. How many days and nights have I sat alone in my apartment beneath the glow of the galaxy light?? I wonder. At this point, it’s nearly been a month, if you figure that I left California on the 18th of February. I’ve been building furniture and reading and watching dozens of movies, and on and on, but then there are the periods in between. I get sadder than hell in the middle of the night when my entire neighborhood is dead quiet, and I know I’m the only person in a five-block radius or more who is awake. At 3 am I’ll walk down to the 24-hour grocery store in the plaza by the cathedral, and I’ll look up and all the apartment windows are dark, and not a single light on in any of them. That’s the loneliest feeling . . . as lonely as standing at the bottom of the ocean! I asked Alayna how she was, and she said she was having a difficult time being alive, and that she was living in the dark, and I said I felt the same. I am (I told her) living in the Shadow World. My body is in the real world, and I can still see it from here, as if from behind frosted glass, but in my head I’m in the Shadow World.

Remember when Frodo puts on the ring and teleports into that netherworld parallel to reality—that adjacent dark world where everyone becomes a shadowy outline and it’s muffled and dreary sounding and he sees ghosts and a guy who is essentially Satan? Listen, that’s the best approximation I can give.

You know? NEIL YOUNG once said he was deep inside himself, but he’d get out somehow. I trust that he pulled this off. And see, that’s how I always played it, but this time I’m in big trouble because I can’t get out. This is the longest I’ve been so removed from the world, and so inside myself, and I don’t have any sort of clue how to snap out of it. Maybe one day I’ll jolt back into reality, as if waking from a nightmare, but right now I’m in a sort of invisible dungeon while my body is still here in the real world, in the HERE and NOW . . . and my instinct for self-preservation, which is at least vaguely aware that I have to eat and sleep, and so on, is the only thing keeping me upright. I lack the constitution for suicide, so to speak, so my only option is to endure this life-in-death, which near as I can tell is worse than death itself. At least then it’s just over. I’m still paying rent.

Sometimes I just stand there and forget what I’m supposed to do with myself. I have let days pass without seeing any sunlight or speaking a single word. I traveled nonstop for six months, covering tens of thousands of miles on nearly every form of transportation visiting dozens and dozens of people in round about 30 cities, and now at the end of it I feel just as empty as I did when I left back in August. I guess I figured that the sorrow I felt then would transmute into something less severe, or else different enough where I could get along, but that did not happen. This is worse. Now I am lurching through a life of no consequence or purpose and every day getting further away from what once made my life any good. This doesn’t feel like my life and I don’t feel like myself inside of it. I feel like a stranger in every sense. And hovering over all this is the terrible truth, which is that I don’t care if I live or die. Ain’t that sad? Tell you what: I’d give just about anything not to feel that way anymore. . . .

Till then it’s the Shadow World for me. It’s days like lost dogs. And if it is a dream: