My progress with The Casual Vacancy could hardly claim to be progress at all; snails could boast to cover more ground.
Disjointed. Even as I type this I wonder what my next literary pursuit might be. Very disjointed. I’d venture to guess that it’s a decision between Murakami and Wallace.
Perhaps with so many voices without impinging upon my consciousness, I simply long for silence in its truest form, for the murmurings my own subconscious mind might bring forth, hopefully with results both rapturous and cathartic.
A memory greets me in the gloom, one vivid and powerful despite the many years that have passed since its occurrence: I’m not alone, for there’s an older woman with me, closer to three times my own age than two, if not beyond even that. We sit inches from one another, discussing our own pasts and the circumstances that brought us to that place called Aurora—a place I was destined to return to, having stayed there before my actual birth, in my mother’s womb, though I wasn’t aware of this fact until halfway through my 11-night hospitalization.
As you can imagine, this was quite the mind-fuck. Full circle. All that jazz you’d sooner expect in a YA novel.
To continue, though… I’m sitting there, and this woman comments on the quality of my eyes, on how they are the warmest she’s ever encountered. Imagine meeting someone who came from a completely different walk of life, and imagine them seeing you for who you truly are, in an institution where your faults are laid bare in ways other settings could seldom claim with a straight face.
Your humanity wins out, even in this diminishing state of half-life.
I cannot say that I feel what she saw; nowadays, when I happen upon a mirror, it is not my reflection that meets my searching gaze, but that of some lesser stranger, an imitation of who I’m capable of being in my loftier days. Believe you me, these are not the lamentations of a life mourned, rather, the fluctuating journals of a creature continually in the process of d/evolution.
Perhaps she’s right, though, E.; I’m not immune to the suffering of others. In fact I am sometimes so keenly invested in them that their plights cripple my soul. On the flip side, the nights that I can manage to sleep peacefully in a world as fucked up as ours, well, those are truly the days to be most wary.
After all, apathy is our greatest enemy, and indifference, its cousin.
I close for now with an excerpt from another individual’s confession, one whose internal conflicts—fictional though they may be—mirror my own more intimately than I’d otherwise care to acknowledge:
The boundaries of the world are forever changing — from day to night, joy to sorrow, love to hate, and from life itself to death; and who can say at what moment we may suddenly cross over the border, from one state of existence to another, like heat applied to some flammable substance? I have been given my own ever-changing margins, across which I move, continually and hungrily, like a migrating animal. Now civilized, now untamed; now responsive to decency and human concern, now viciously attuned to the darkest of desires.
— Michael Cox, The Meaning of Night
Wishing you and yours the very best,