Russell J.T. Dyer

Russell J.T. Dyer

Just some guy, hanging around Europe.

the activities and musings of an american writer and editor in milan, italy • Updated: Nov 06, 2015

Musings

Many people keep a web log (or if you prefer the slang, a blog). Although I'm not a very private person, I do not care to make entries for minor daily occurences in my life and then publish them. Not only am I not good at maintaining such a habit, I've never found it very interesting to write in a diary. However, a web log can be whatever style one prefers

With that in mind, my web log entries are usually about things I have been musing. I will experience or encounter something and then begin to consider it, to muse over it. In the past I would share these musings with my friend Richard Stringer, but he died last year after Hurricane Katrina destroyed our home town of New Orleans. I have been frustrated since I've had no one with which to share these musings. So, I decided to do so in a web log. They are primarily for my own benefit, but may be of interest to others. Below are the opening lines of my last ten web log entries. Click on the heading of a particular entry to read its full text.

Good Photos

I enjoy photographing people. But I'm often disappointed by many photos I see on social networking sites. I wish people would take the time to make better photographs....
posted: october 7, 2016 ;  readers: ;  category:

No Friends: Part I, Self

When you have no friends, it’s difficult to know how to get them. It’s frustrating: Everything you do seems to repel people instead....
posted: february 19, 2016 ;  readers: ;  category:

Why We Have No Friends

There are many reasons why a person doesn’t have any friends. Sometimes it's because we create barriers to allowing others to be our friends. Sometimes it's an emotional strategy to protect us. This post covers a few of them in fairly simple terms. This is of interest to me because of my novel, 'I Have No Friends.'...
posted: november 4, 2015 ;  readers: ;  category:

Starting a Slightly New Life

Because of the recent changes I’ve made in my living situation, I have the opportunity to change slightly my life. I can change how I live, how I work, and how I spend my leisure. There are many possibilities that are now more easily accessible....
posted: june 23, 2015 ;  readers: ;  category:

Life Without Keys

Yesterday, I sent the keys to the apartment to the landlady. This morning I left the keys to my friend’s place where I’ve been staying. I don’expect to get replacement keys any time soon....
posted: june 23, 2015 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Postcard from the Past

In digging recently through a box of old postcards, I discovered one from long ago that was sent to me when I was a young man. It was from Europe, from San Marino in particular. I remember the card and remember thinking when I received it how wonderful it would be to go to Europe....
posted: may 8, 2014 ;  readers: ;  category:

Deleting Skype Contacts

Over the past few weeks I have begun to delete friends most of the people from my Skype contact list. I have deleted friends, actual friends with whom I regularly communicate. I am down to eleven contacts in Skype now: eight colleagues, two friends, and my daughter....
posted: august 21, 2012 ;  readers: ;  category:

I have no friends; I have no girlfriend.

A few weeks ago I couldn’t suffer Facebook any longer. I thought to deactivate it again, but knew I’d give in later and reactivate it. So this time I deleted all of my contacts. According to Facebook, I now have no friends. It’s kind of a neat thing to say....
posted: june 27, 2012 ;  readers: ;  category:

What's to become of me?

Sometimes I think of returning to the U.S. or moving to another country. But after having lived in Italy so long, I don’t feel like I can fit in anywhere. I’m not content in Italy and am frustrated when I’m in the U.S. I wonder what’s to become of me....
posted: june 27, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

Alone in the Morning

Since I’m not a morning person, mornings are the worst times of my days. Living without a girlfriend makes them even more difficult....
posted: may 31, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

Please find me, Samantha Spade.

Because of a feeling of loss lately, I’ve been watching episodes of the television series, Without a Trace. It stems out of a desire to return home, wherever that might be. It’s a complicated set of emotions, but I find some comfort in watching the show....
posted: may 23, 2011 ;  readers: ;  category:

Basic Comforts

Enjoyng simple comfort foods when I’m feeling a bit down can be difficult for me in Milan. I look for comfort food when I’m feeling stressed. Unable to get exactly what I need, but something somewhat close to what I can get so easily in the U.S., doesn’t always comfort me but frustrates me more instead. Although life’s getting easier for me, it’s not always easy liv...
posted: april 4, 2010 ;  readers: ;  category:

What happened to Burglars?

A burglar is a person who breaks into someone’s home. It’s a perfectly good word, albeit one that may be difficult for some people to say. Perhaps because it’s difficult to pronunce, a substitute word is becoming popular among Americans: home invaders. I heard it for the first time on a television show a few weeks ago and again more recently. While the word home invader may be...
posted: december 13, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Being a Settler

Although it may seem contradictory, I enjoy moving and I have a inordinately strong need for a stable home. Most people dread moving. They hate the disruption. Whereas, I enjoy it immensely. While this first part seems strange to most people, the second part confuses people less: I become very upset when my home is threatened. This seems to be contradictory to my love of moving. A thought occur...
posted: december 7, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Imprinting

Despite being intelligent and self-aware, I sometimes copy the behavior or expressions of others. I don't do this intentionally. I don't observe someone doing something and think that it's an interesting way to act. In fact, some mannerisms that I mimic, I don't particular like. However, I adopt their ways all the same. It's frustrating to me at times....
posted: october 15, 2009 ;  readers: ;  category:

Waiting for Godot

Losing my father when I was a boy was not fully within my comprehension. For years I expected him to return. I feel that way sometimes after a relationship with a woman has ended....
posted: october 27, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

My Night Light

I've been struggling over the last few years to achieve a sense of home. Over the last few years I've been accumulating furniture and other household items to give my apartment a feeling of completeness. I think I've finally found a combination that gives me comfort to sleep by....
posted: september 23, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Living on the Ledge

Living in a fifth floor apartment without air-conditioning, with windows open all summer has been trying on me with my fear of heights. Now that summer is ending and cooler days are here, I am able to close the windows—sets of windows so wide that when open one can shove easily a refrigerator through them. I'm now able to sigh in relief and consider the stress of the last few months....
posted: september 14, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

I don't like to share

Although I was told as a child that I need to share, and although I am very giving, I don't like to share. Now that I'm older and realize this, I have no problem saying that I don't like to share....
posted: august 10, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Me as a Boy

In comparing a photograph taken of me when I was seven, to the one taken a few weeks ago and has recently been added to the top banner of my web pages, I can see some similarities. For one, although I'm squarely in middle-age, I'm still the same lost boy waiting for someone to come rescue him....
posted: july 16, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Why I want Hillary to Win

Although I have valid reasons for believing that Hillary Clinton is the best candidate for president, I realize that I also have psychological reasons for wanting her to win. I am thrilled that neither she nor Barack Obama will go to the Democratic convention without enough non-super delegate votes to win the nomination. This will give her an opportunity to win it by negotiating, arguing, fighting...
posted: may 22, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

Seeing a fellow's nuts

While my mental health is better than most people, I'm not completely alright. No one is, though. Although living alone and in isolation for the last two years has helped to center me, it also seems to have given me the freedom to let various idiosyncrocies to become visible. Operating regularly amongst the living, we learn to hide and surpress our oddities. I've lost this skill....
posted: january 10, 2008 ;  readers: ;  category:

I want to go home.

I want to go home,but I don't know where home is. Home is not in New Orleans or is in Milan, at my apartment. Both are home in their ways, but not fully. I feel more at home in my own apartment, but it's not only the physical aspects of a house. It's also a state of being. It's where I feel safe and content. In my personal definition, the definition that I apply to me, it involves a woman, a compa...
posted: november 22, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Just me

Why is it that we define ourselves in relation to others? Why can't we just be ourselves and still be happy, and still be content? Now that I have become alone again, I feel disconnected. I want to feel normal being me and just me. Is that not possible?...
posted: october 27, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Beanbag of Misery

I've stopped fighting it and have let myself slump into misery today. I slid into it, comfortably. I know this state well. I don't like it, but I know it and can deal with it. And I've realized that although I have improved myself greatly in recent years, my new self and ways have cut me off from good dating prospects. I'm probably just pouting, but I'm unwilling to chew on hope. As of today I ha...
posted: october 23, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Panic of Unhappiness

I am in an absolute panic of unhappiness. Having split from the girlfriend, I feel myself slipping into a pitt of misery and am scrambling to prevent it. I've been trying to distract myself from it, but the unhappiness cannot be avoided and is necessary. To do otherwise is not only foolish, but will turn me into a person who hides from his feelings, a person who is afraid of the silence. I don't w...
posted: october 22, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

I'm a jerk

Recently, I broke from the girlfriend. I cried so much. I didn't feel guilty; I just felt her pain. It’s difficult doing what I feel is right when I know it will hurt others, especially someone I love. Now I am alone again and I’m a jerk....
posted: october 19, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

When will it end?

It seems that I still have mental health problems stemming in part from the hurricane. I still have a feeling of displacement and am very vulnerable. Specifically, I am afraid of losing my home. My home is fairly vague, but I've accepted this much. However, based on an incident in Heidelberg at a hotel two weeks ago, I've realized that I can be easily upset if my home situation, which oddly enough...
posted: october 11, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Relationship shouldn't be a Performance Art

Certainly I enjoy the artistic and performance aspects of a romance: playing the part of a wooer, writing poems, complementing the woman, generally doing special and romantic things to make the romance fun. However, this should not be the relationship. It should be one component of the activities that are performed and not who I am. There have been times when I have carried these methods too far, ...
posted: september 4, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Italians speak Italian

In thinking about why I'm not yet fluent in Italian after nearly two years of being here, a profound thought occurred to me: Italians speak Italian. That might seem absurdly obvious, but let me point out a couple of things. I've read that culture is “the shared way of life of a group of people.” I lost my community when the hurricane hit New Orleans and I left town afterwards. The c...
posted: august 13, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

I was raised to be a Liar.

When I was a boy, I was shy and a bit timid: maybe because my extended family was a little loud or because my father died when I was three and that made me cower to life. My cousins and others would ridicule me and harrass me so much that I was afraid to provide them with information to use against me. Since I wasn't good at being quiet--a natural talker--I would just lie to protect myself. My ste...
posted: july 23, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

My things

Furniture and books have become reoccuring images in my dreams related disconcerted feelings in my life. I will happen upon antique furniture pushed together out on a lawn or an open field, with many figurines and other decorations. Or I might find a couple dozen bookcases crowded together out in the open, with books stacked messily on the shelves and the bookcases precariously wobbling on the une...
posted: june 26, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Losing Another Community

When the hurricane hit New Orleans about two years ago, my community was dispersed. When I left the U.S. and came to Italy, I lost more connections to my community, to my communities. One community I took with me, though, was that of my co-workers at MySQL. We interact primarily through IRC (Internet Relay Chat)--it's similar to Yahoo Messenger, but for large group chats. Wherever I go in the w...
posted: june 4, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Inaudible Universal Language

Whenever I go to the United States for a few weeks, when I return to Italy I find that my Italian language skills have received a boost. I think the break gives my brain a chance to sort out internal coding related to each language interpretation.......
posted: may 27, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Stay Quiet

When I first came to Italy, I wasn't sure why I came here. I just knew I needed to be here and to leave the U.S. I've known it for a long time. I was vague as to how long I would stay. Relatives and friends from the U.S. asked me after a coupl......
posted: february 25, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Sense of Now and the World

Most people seem to have a very narrow sense of now and of the world, but they assume it is a complete sense of all of modern time and all of the world. For instance, in the U.S. many Christians are very supportive of prayer in schools. They ass......
posted: february 23, 2007 ;  readers: ;  category:

Dealing in Words

It's been a year now that I have been trying to learn Italian at the source and fluency still evades me. I continue to improve--although I'm not studying like a student but more like a child learning his first language. Of course, I'm not a chil......
posted: december 1, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Alone at last

I've never been very good at keeping friends. I have no problem making them, just keeping them for long. The factor which brings me together with new friends is usually the same factor by which I am able to retain them. When that factor is lost......
posted: july 24, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Throwing temper tantrums

When I was a child, I used to be notorious for temper tantrums. No one ever seemed to have understood me during those times or why I had them. Until now, I never gave them much thought. However, I think I now know why I had them. My father die......
posted: may 27, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Nothing in Common

Over the decades, I have been told that a good romantic match is a person with which one has many things in common. This has always seemed very logical to me and I have looked for women with practical aspects in common with me. However, when I h......
posted: april 29, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

A Bob Newhart life

When I was a kid, there was a television comedy show called, Bob Newhart. It named for the comedian and lead actor of the show. Newhart played a psychologist. His wife in the show, Emily (played by Suzanne Pleshette) was a school teacher......
posted: april 2, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Wanted: Passion

In my despair, owing to loneliness and emotional idleness, I recently ran two advertisements regarding myself. One was in a local print publication for English speaking residents of Milan. The other on a web site made available for posting class......
posted: march 25, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Living well

Lately I have been thinking about someone I knew in high school. He was not a friend. In fact, he positively despised me and would go out of his way to offend me in very cold ways. As an example, once he shook my hand to congratulate me about h......
posted: march 9, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Sounds of the night

It seems that wherever I live in the world, I gravitate towards a night schedule. Living in Europe, though, has the advantage of putting me in synch with the waking schedule of friends and business associates in the U.S. So for the first time in......
posted: february 28, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Plot Deviations

After having lived with one or more plots for so many years, despite my noble obsevation in my last posting on living without a plot, I must admit that it's not easy going without one. I also want to admit......
posted: february 23, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

A person of colour

Much like a bird, I find that I am attracted to color. Over the years, in my house and apartments in which I was allowed to paint the walls colors other than white, I have done so and enjoyed the results. In the living room of my house and my ......
posted: february 20, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Living without a plot

Perhaps it's the plight of being a writer, a reader, and generally a human in a literary conscious world, as well as having lived in the success and goal planning ways of the U.S., but without realizing it I have led my life with always one or mor......
posted: february 17, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Italians don't count

When speaking Italian to Italians who don't speak any English at all, I'm free to experiment, to speak my awful Italian. I'm free to make mistakes and probably sound like I'm drunk. I don't mind sounding foolish all that much. However, if the p......
posted: february 12, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Think, think, think...

Learning Italian has been frustrating to me. Not that there's anything particularly difficult about the language, but learning a new language is a chore. People tell me in their attempt at wisdom, that I must learn to think in Italian. That bit ......
posted: february 6, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Would it were night!

Sometimes I wish the Earth wouldn't rotate, I wish the Sun wouldn't rise and set every day. I know that's an impossible wish because of the requirements of gravity to life, but I still grow tired of it. Because each day starts and ends, we're gi......
posted: february 6, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

As lonely as lighthouses

I came to Italy to finish what I began years ago, perhaps more than ten years ago. What that is, I'm not sure that I can say. That is to say, I'm not sure I can quite articulate it. It's not that I lack the words, necessarily, but that I have n......
posted: february 4, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Italian Reality

Living in Italy, amongst people speaking a language foreign to me and a cultural system which is peculiar as well, living here post Hurricane Katrina, after having my family and friends and community scattered, after having lost or given up all of......
posted: january 15, 2006 ;  readers: ;  category:

Milan so far

As for Milan, I've only been here since the end of October. I took one course in Italian in college a few years ago. While I was in Boston, I met with a tutor, a professor from Harvard who teaches Italian there three times a week for about......
posted: december 14, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Another Father Lost

One of my best friends, Richard Stringer died today of cancer. My father also died from cancer, but when I was three years old. Although my mother remarried when I was seven, my step father wasn't a sufficient substitute for father. Not that he......
posted: december 5, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Conquer or Be Conquered

In recent months I've been living in Italy, in Milan. I've been here for exactly one month. I've rented an apartment within the old city (the Porta Romana section) and am enjoying it--as well as grinding my teeth constantly in frustration. I'm quickl......
posted: november 20, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Fritzy Boy!

I have an amazing follow up story regarding my recent hurricane experiences. Before the storm, my daughter (almost 10 years old) and my former wife left town and ended up in Houston, Texas where they now rent an apartment--they're staying there unti......
posted: october 6, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Godfather Found

My cousin (who's also my godfather) has been missing for eleven days now. He stayed for the storm in a neighborhood where the levee broke. The levee broke by his neighborhood during the last big hurricane which hit New Orleans in 1965--he was livin......
posted: september 27, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Rythm of Community

I fared pretty well compared to others, but I still have a lot of pain I'm working through. The pain is the loss of my childhood neighborhood for one. That has had a poetic and mental effect on me. Also, I'm starting to realize that there's anothe......
posted: september 20, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

Hurricane Katrina

I stayed for Hurricane Katrina. It was a pretty rough storm, but I survived. My apartment is on the third floor in a suburb of New Orleans, less than two miles from where the levee broke and flooded New Orleans. However, I was on the other side of......
posted: september 1, 2005 ;  readers: ;  category:

New Albums

Boston

While in the Boston area related to work, I met up with my friend Coy Bassich and his new wife, MIla. They drove in from Connecticut. We spent the day together looking around the historic area and at the waterfront. We had dinner in the North End at an Italian restaurant.

Laura Plantation

The Laura Plantation is located outside New Orleans, up the Mississippi River on its west bank. It's a creole plantation in that it was designed and used by creoles, people who were among the original colonists of Louisiana. I've been there a few times.

Marblehead

Lowell, Massachusetts