I remember once walking home in high school, and seeing a man stumble by wearing a pin with a white rabbit printed on it. It snapped me out of my own head, and I had an overwhelmingly wistful sense that if I followed him– and kept following other similar signs– I’d end up escaping my everyday life into a much more magical world.
But I let him pass, and dragged myself off to do my homework and dream up excuses as to why I couldn’t face the thought of eating dinner with my family at home.
I was wise not to follow the man, as I was a baby and didn’t harbor the experiences I do now. Still, I love that my younger self had such premonitions; I love that these days I’m not afraid to follow them; I love how delightful the resulting game has proven to be.
What people don’t tell you about dying is that it’s like sliding down an asymptote of intolerable and irresistible ecstasy.
What people don’t tell you about meditation is that it’s a practice that helps in staying present and aware through otherwise unbearable states of bliss.
My body has hurled itself against death enough times now that I have become a sort of expert of refusal. The first time I came back was because of a sort of nameless fear; the last time was from an equally ineffable love. Since the latter I experience even pain as a darker shade of beauty.
Blogging has historically been a space for me to maintain some sort of grasp on myself through periods of crisis or transition; documenting the journey publicly served in some ways as a means of keeping myself from disappearing; today I feel in little danger of that, and yet still the page called. I am not sure why.
I am not sure why, but these days reasons seem increasingly superfluous. These days I tend do just respond to the moment and do what must be done. Today’s involved an intentional note in this sporadic autobiology.
I should say while I’m here that I miss M ridiculously, although this is less confession than a simple and obvious truth. It too is a beautiful one, or at least this time I’d characterize the feeling of separation as one of acceptance and anticipation rather than the indignant fury I felt in 2012.
I am excited about what’s next. Who knew that the gravest challenge of the future would be the ability to withstand bliss?
It’s strange to discover that the most beautiful of words are insufficient for communication on their own; it’s strange to have been stretched beyond image and beyond sound and beyond all I’d considered speech into film; it’s strange to find such a sweetly satisfying home there.
(The image above is a slit-scan self-portrait; the movie I’m betrothed to goes further.)
They took M again; this time I too learned what it’s like inside; no more.
The Gypsy’s Wife, L. Cohen.
I would write more if this were anonymous. I should slip into fiction, but that does not feel true either. I do not know what I am afraid of. (Does anyone, really?) Or I do know, but I am reluctant to say.
To beauty I would betray everything.
It does, and I though I am no longer little I still post secret letters to strangers, and I am sorry that this one– although not secret– comes so late.
This week I sent someone I do not know two silver-clasped threads of silk. One was red, and one was white, and in return she sent me a poem. It was titled Love Sorrow.
It was not hers, but it was hers, and now I am holding it too. I am not sure what to do with it.
When I was a very little girl my mother read aloud to me the stories of John Irving’s strange and complicated families; when I was a little older, I read their familiar pages myself. I remember that similar inimitable line from Hotel New Hampshire: Sorrow floats.
Sorrow, in Irving’s novel, was not the little girl of Oliver’s poem, but rather the Berry family’s black lab, whom they’d had a taxidermist stuff upon dying; the line refers to the plane crash that killed Mary Berry and her youngest son, among the wreckage of which the glass-eyed body of the long-dead Sorrow buoyed.
You wrote in your letter of suicide, and of the nets and fences that prevent it in Toyko; you wrote of the fuck-you anti-dance of the West; you wrote of sadness, too. But what shape does your sorrow take?
(There’s no need to answer; I would not know how to respond.)
On my desk a cat– she has been living with us for months; she is still cat– is half-purring and half-growling through the heart she’s dragged close to me. Writing is nothing without blood; the fire burns here too.