I know that limp. I know the empty ring finger. And that obsessive nature of yours, that's a big secret. You don't risk jail and your career to save somebody doesn't want to be saved unless you got something, anything... one thing. The reason normal people got wives and kids and hobbies, whatever, that's because they ain't got that one thing that, that hits them that hard and that true. I got music. You got this. The thing you think about all the time. Thing that keeps you south of normal. Yeah, makes us great. Makes us the best. All we miss out on is everything else. No woman waiting at home after work with a drink and a kiss; that ain't gonna happen for us. House-2005-DNR
Reality escapes me at times. I would very much like to know how reality exists for other people but I just don’t see that happening. I’ve been told there is medication I can take for this, and I’ll find a little more peace in my life, and I’ll fit in better, but the people I know taking these drugs can’t write like they once did, and they tell me they feel as if there as if some fundamental part of who they are is now missing, or chained. I was like this long before anyone knew there were meds to fix it, and long before I knew I was a writer. I traded off the first three decades of my life for nothing. The last two I’ve traded for writing.
Despite the above quote, I don’t think I’m the best writer on earth. I don’t think I can publish what I have so far. I do think I’m getting there, slowly, and I do think if there is going to be some point in my life when I look back and have regrets, regretting I didn’t write more isn’t going to be that one big regret I have.
Some of you can pull it off, and make it work both ways. You can have that life, the kids, the partner, the sanity, the balance, and all that stuff that some of us cannot get, even if we stopped writing forever. Writing didn’t make me this way and it isn’t reason I can’t be cured, or stilled, or whatever label you feel like using. Creativity is a byproduct of this, and if using it is the price for riding the wave then so be it. For thirty-two years I tired living by rules I didn’t understand. Since then I have come to realize I’m not the only person like this, and in fact, this might actually be more of a natural state than the anesthetized deep sleep of living in a rut.
My biggest problem is I have no idea how much time has passed since I last spoke to the people I care about and who care about me. I keep the ringer on the phone in the off position most of the time, and suddenly I’ll look over at answering machine and there will a message or two from the family and I’ll think about it. Damn, it’s been a couple of weeks already. My parents’ friends are all dying. It’s always the same story; everyone dies of the same thing all over again. These are people who played by the rules, lived their lives in a town of five hundred people, the same five hundred people, and who died the same way the last five hundred people died. I hope I don’t sound callous or cold here but this has been going on for a while now.
I enjoy the company of my family and my friends, but I also like being alone. I like being around people who write. My family doesn’t know I write simply because some of the things I’ve written, like this, would hurt their feelings. Who and what I am is pretty much ignored when I’m around my family, and we pretend because I can hold down a job for a long time, that makes me normal. At least the talk of me procreating has finally died. My younger sister never had kids either, but she never had the burden of being the last male in the family. DNA, as it turns out, is carried by the female side of things, so in the end, it really doesn’t matter what I have done or not done. But really, does even matter at all?
The having kids thing never hit me. I knew a perfectly sane woman who was willing to sleep with me as long as it took to get pregnant. If I married her that was okay, she could live with that, and if I didn’t that was okay, too, as long as she got pregnant before she was thirty. To her, thirty was the cutoff point, that point in a woman’s life, at which if you have not procreated, you were going to be barren forever and ever. The fact safe sex is also sterile sex prevented any offspring but it was odd how she kept pushing , no pun intended, to have a baby with a man she truly couldn’t say she would want to be with otherwise.
See, that’s the thing right there; people seems to find some excuse to stay with someone, or around other people, or to remain a part of some group, and my life operates in the opposite manner; I keep finding excuses not to be with someone, or around other people, or a part of some group. Don’t think I haven’t tried, I have, but do you want to know the moment, the instant, and very second I realized my life was going to be like this forever? When I was five years old. Even then, I was me.
I remember standing on the playground, watching the other kids play, and realizing I was the only one not in a group, or playing some game, or standing around talking to other kids. Somehow, I had managed to drift apart from the other children, and I stood alone on a pile of dirt left over when they installed a gas line for heating. There were the girls playing hopscotch, with two of the very prettiest who would one day lose their minds and be institutionalized. There was a line of boys playing crack the whip and three of them I can remember would be dead within a year of graduation. There was the poor kids lined up beside the brick wall of the school, and one of them would spend more of his life in prison than he has out. The older kids in the other grades had their areas, and they were all screaming and running around, and the teachers were huddled together smoking cigarettes because back in the 60’s everyone did, and then there was me. I stood on the mound of dirt left over from the installation of the gas line, and knew, truly knew, if I lived long enough, this day would come, and it has, every single day of my life.