I visited my old blog tonight to find it riddled with fake comments that advertisers often plant, filled with links to male enhancement and financial scams. It felt like visiting a house where I once lived, only to find the roof caving in and graffiti on the walls. It doesn't matter.
It reminded me of how I started to write and why. It was six days after he died, and I did it to stay sane, because sorrow under pressure is the door to a dark room. Sometimes I don't like to remember. Sometimes I do, and it nestles around me, a familiar, brooding dysphoria, a plucking at the tearducts, predictable and therefore harmless. I have been here before; it makes me write. It would be better, healthier, to sleep, but I know that I won't. This, too, is familiar.
I once believed that grief for a person goes away. It does not. It lives while I live, self-regenerative, like skin, but peeling and aging in its incessant evolution. A random wound finds it there, not so easily disturbed, but as torrid and tender.
I will attend my first class at Hopkins on September 4. That might account for all of this, by which I mean, all the self-vexing cross-examination I have been doing about writing. The prospect of a writer's life, the criticism, rejection, and uncertainty, takes soundings of my deepest fears. I have also wondered whether it's the best use of time. How do I love my neighbor, living such a solitary, cerebral existence? It might be worth it if I could write like Lewis. The Problem of Pain is the one honest book I have ever read about grief, and it was like the wordless embrace of an intimate friend. But if I can't? If I fumble around in the dark for a while, making manuscripts that never slide into anyone's hand? What then? It feels as though there would be nothing left.
That is why is I sometimes like to remember, with bewildered gratitude, that even if I am or were awful at it, writing is my imperative. (Do I, can I believe that?) Where it leads is less of my concern.
I did not remember until just now that today is my birthday.
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