March 8, 2012 § 2 Comments
Can’t sleep, so I come to this, writing, the promise of an audience, what I never had all those years of my youth, but it was easier then; I wasn’t so aware of how disconnected I was—or didn’t know what it mean to feel close to people and lose it. I’m scared of my mind that refuses to stay interested in all the lovely possibilities of life and writing. I’m scared of moving—not of Florida, not of Charles, my sweetling—but of leaving here, this city, this apartment, these 25 years…
The terrible lie that still sours my stomach. I see things wrongly. I know that. I keep steadying myself, putting myself in other shoes, using my not half-bad brain to see what is and what can be. “Why aren’t you interested in your strength?” Lisa asks me, and I am, but somehow it’s always connected to anger. When I’m angry, I’m strong. When I feel very afraid and threatened, I get angry and am strong. But the tide comes in and washes away the anger; I understand why people do what they do, say what they say, and I feel a great tenderness—not just for Philip but everyone who sometimes hurts or angers me; we are all afraid and want more love and I keep seeing that and can’t be angry. Should I cling to my anger on purpose? It feels like a profound distortion. But to be strong within that seeing—why can’t I? Why does it always lead back to grief? Is it because strength in compassion is such an enormous spiritual leap and I have no foundation?
Janet says she needs to write or she can’t live. I know that’s true of me, and I should pay more attention. To write everyday, morning and night, no matter what other work I have—and yet, to be honest, this blog is the only kind of writing I really feel called to, and it’s so dangerous. It’s not controlled. I hurt people, I hurt myself, but I also do good work. “Like Elmore Leonard on crack,” Philip said of a blog entry I took down; well, it’s better than writing newsletters, isn’t it? Though I rather enjoy writing newsletters. It makes me feel normal.
But this is what stirs me, the blog, what I’m drawn to, it’s my edge, it’s what I do with life—like what I did with Philip that felt like the only thing I could do, never mind that I knew he’d break my heart, that he was breaking it all along. To walk on the thin ice because I loved, because I was drawn there, and I have to deal with this, that I am really only interested in life if I go where I feel pulled. I’ve been denying that lately. Saying I made this terrible mistake (many mistakes) and I never will again; I’ll be good, I’ll be safe—but maybe that life has no appeal for me.
I’ve been so angry at him for not finishing things with me, if not as love, as investigation. What? Why? What? He used to run away when I talked like that. Charles just says helplessly that he doesn’t know. Philip knows—something—but he doesn’t tell. Still, I realize that what I want is something people just don’t do for each other. I do—have—for some, because it interests me, but it’s not generally on offer. So it’s up to me. I need to make it all into something concrete: what I felt and experienced that he didn’t, or doesn’t, or denies now, to fix it in words and say: that was that. But it’s frightening—it’s humiliating. To re-enter a place of intimacy, all alone, like the last living person visiting the Met. I want to go to Florida and bask in the sun. I want to eat fudge cake. I want to remember that this is my life, and its oddity is my treasure.
We both hate each other—no, hate’s much too powerful a word. We don’t hate each other. We feel a childish, self-pitying resentment shot through with longing and hatred (I’m guessing, a little). But beneath that is what lies unfinished. Different for him; he’s in love elsewhere. For me, a kingdom where all the books wait, still open, words flowing like wine. The story begins in Little Red Riding Hood’s woods or Sleeping Beauty’s thicket and ends up in a moonlit lake where a Chinese poet gets drunk and writes his perfect poems, then falls with a splash into the black water. The moon set while he was writing. It does that. (No one knows, two thousand years later, that he crawled ashore and hid in another city, writing different poems.)
I realize I don’t really know what I’m saying. It’s past 2 am, and even I’m getting tired. The cats are already asleep. But I see the python I wrote about; and a leopard-woman who’s half ghost and won’t say anything about what that’s like, goddamn it; and a sarcastic scorpion resembling John Malkovitch. They surround me, my companions, my characters who want their scripts. I should be writing stories all the time, all day, all night, what stops me, why do I feel none of it really matters? What happened to that youthful pride in my work? Now I read it over, and if it’s good I see that and am glad. But “glad” is a small word.
No matter how much I say, I feel like I’m being murdered by silence.