Me Again/November 12

November 13, 2010 § Leave a comment


I’ve been on a number of anti-depressants in the last decade and lately on several at once. I added a low dose of Zoloft a few years ago when my rage and pain re my romantic life became unbearable. A week ago, I quit—ran out and didn’t feel like calling the Dr. for a new script. For a few days I felt nothing, then felt sluggish and zingy in the head, and finally, today, feel connected to my own feelings in a way I haven’t for many months. Months, not years, because the problem is not Zoloft removing the emotions but rather stashing them somewhere so they build up and breed and eventually start wafting out toxic dust….okay, this may not fit the current neuroscience paradigm but it’s a sketchy paradigm at best.

It hit this morning as I was writing a diary entry about some of the usual suspects. That material will be saved for fiction or the shredder, depending; what I want to write about here is the astonishment of being myself again, tears and all, not that distant facsimile of Margaret, listening as people say things like, “What do you mean you don’t have a brain?” Yes, I’ve had a brain all along, and was able to wield it in a more-or-less intelligent fashion, but I didn’t have my brain. It was a brittle replica.

Emotion feeds reason. We know this intuitively and scientists are now crowing about it as if they just discovered air, but it’s so vivid to me today. The hurt, the tears, and the love—feeling very loving toward my family recently—are like red blood rushing up to that gray eminence which is, in fact, not as spry as it once was, not as snappy, but all I’ve got. Yes, I’ll write fiction about the convoluted weirdness that is my life. My arms twitch as if longing to grip a steering wheel, aim into racing, six-lane traffic.

On the other hand (I have extras), right this second some synapse fires, the tides shift, and what I feel, the emotional load, reminds me of a crippled, whining, 70 pound dog I have to carry…smelly, too…yeah, I took the pills because often I want to ditch this dog, but to follow the metaphor to its logical conclusion, it’s got a nose far superior to mine.

Dogs Are Shakespearean, Children Are Strangers

Dogs are Shakespearean, children are strangers.
Let Freud and Wordsworth discuss the child,
Angels and Platonists shall judge the dog,
The running dog, who paused, distending nostrils,
Then barked and wailed; the boy who pinched his sister,
The little girl who sang the song from Twelfth Night,
As if she understood the wind and rain,
The dog who moaned, hearing the violins in concert.
—O I am sad when I see dogs or children!
For they are strangers, they are Shakespearean.

Tell us, Freud, can it be that lovely children
Have merely ugly dreams of natural functions?
And you, too, Wordsworth, are children truly
Clouded with glory, learned in dark Nature?
The dog in humble inquiry along the ground,
The child who credits dreams and fears the dark,
Know more and less than you: they know full well
Nor dream nor childhood answer questions well:
You too are strangers, children are Shakespearean.

Regard the child, regard the animal,
Welcome strangers, but study daily things,
Knowing that heaven and hell surround us,
But this, this which we say before we’re sorry,
This which we live behind our unseen faces,
Is neither dream, nor childhood, neither
Myth, nor landscape, final, nor finished,
For we are incomplete and know no future,
And we are howling or dancing out our souls
In beating syllables before the curtain:
We are Shakespearean, we are strangers.

–Delmore Schwartz

Amazing poem, isn’t it? And I like that he uses “who” rather than “that” when he writes “The dog who moaned…”

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