Friday, January 15, 2010
The life of a writer is the life of a loner. I think it must be so. If I am to build a new world and make it believable it is imperative that I distance myself from the reality of the present. It distracts me, like a voice buzzing in my ear as I am trying to formulate speech. Stuttering is a symptom of distraction, of a mind preoccupied and thus unfocused. Writing with interruptions is like stuttering, thoughts that hiccup instead of flowing make for a story less credible. Bill tells me he cannot write, and although I’ll never say it to him, for better judgment, I’m more inclined to think that he is just distracted. Like most everybody else.
I was interrupted while composing this. Who knows what the hell I was going to write. All right. Start over.
We were walking down the street and I noticed that you looked different somehow, that pink scarf pulling the features of your face into more angular geometry and making your curly hair glow with a matte finish, like flashed photographic paper. You’ve grown up, I thought. It was only last year I saw you last, but the last time I really saw you, really looked at you, was long time ago. You will agree, I think. The shift we’ve undergone is to be expected, given that college is the time for action while high school is a time for dabbling. Nothing really happens in high school, or whatever happens has a passive quality rather than participatory. Things happen to you rather than with you. So in college you’ve gone out and did, and you were nobody’s fool, except maybe your own. And now you’re lost again, or perhaps found, but still a gambler, always a gambler. A gambler for dreams, you’ll say, and I’ll chuckle. It’s a wonder that you, a dreamer, and I, a skeptic, would ever be friends. And yet.
I asked you, apropos of my reason for snubbing you, if one day you discovered that the cup of coffee you’d been drinking every day contained poison, would you keep drinking. And you, instead of evincing some kind of outrage that I’d liken you to poison, said with naivety and stubborn benevolence that it’d depend on so many factors, like what kind of poison, or what damage it would do, clearly resisting the analogy with a feeble defense, but in a cute way. We are slaves to our perceptions, I fear, and yours is that I’m now the bad guy, and mine’s that I was right to cut you off.
You told me how there’s no more affection in your friendships, a deficit of caring between you and them, and you complained how she, whenever you talk, will only talk about herself. But there are too many who make themselves guilty of self-absorption. Truth be told, my intuition whispers that you’d do the same to me. This nostalgia born of habitude sometimes obscures realities which can seem blunt or insensitive, but they’re nevertheless in our faces, like an elephant in the room that nobody talks about. If I told you “this friendship’s done for” you’d probably console yourself accusing me of hostility, victimizing yourself, and since I’m the one who’s actually severed the connection, it’s clear who’s the evil one here. But you know, I don’t feel like the evil one. There has to be someone to say the emperor’s got no clothes. I merely called what was already there. And that’s all my defense.