These days I feel I am just dating dusty old authors, one book at a time. Last week I read four and I still felt some insatiable loneliness gnawing at my insides like little mice in the night.
I imagine we are all shooting arrows of feeling out into the night, trying to hit some truth.
I am having a fling with Brautigan. It is organic; something that stemmed from two lonely places, held together by all the other lonelinesses blooming like forget-me-nots around limbs like shackles. It was joy!– at the simple beauties of the mundane and ordinary. The joy in glimpsing unseen lives like phantom butterflys; otherworldly in their worldliness. He saw the world in a way that made sense to me. Love can be in a cup of coffee, an airplane wing’s coffee stain can become a talisman of reality, hearts can break like records, and time can freeze to save the innocence of little boys obsessed with hamburgers– these things made sense; these things were my reality, just as much as his.
Before Brautigan there had been others. Men and women, as alike and different as the stars, and all burning. There was Dickinson, Bradbury, Fitzgerald (those long, hot summer nights in Kentucky, where humidity hung to your skin like snakes in Eden). There was Anderson, Faulkner, Whitman (those long strolls in the park contemplating blades of grass, death and life and the full bloom of nature). There was Ginsberg (more friend than lover– howling at Moloch and the expendability of human beings). And now there was Brautigan.
Brautigan filled a void others had left lacking. I had always felt, very presently, the duality of my nature. On one hand I am, perhaps, the most innocent and naive creature on the whole planet. I felt deeply hurt when my parents confessed their ruse of Santa (not that I had any love of the old creep that boasted an untrustworthy beard and a liking to cradling children in his lap to whispered secrets, wants, and desires in his ear). It was the ornateness of the lie; something I was discouraged from doing on a small scale had been elaborately planned and orchestrated, year after year, by people I trusted my morals and life to. In a way, I still can’t wrap my head around it. Just as I can’t understand all the shit things that have happened to me and the people I love or don’t love, or don’t yet know to love or not love. This side of me, despite my realities, still finds joy and hope and love in all the madness. She still thinks that despite all the people who have let her down, have hurt her, have lied to her– she believes that those very people are capable of love, honesty, loyalty, and a general goodness. Some call this side of me a fool.
Duality: There is a dark and twisted fruit at the core of me. Brautigan lifts that load a little… she is so… HEAVY. I sometimes imagine this part of my nature to be a deaf, mute, and blind statue with all the feelings of the world bound in stone, no means of escape, beating against insides. Brautigan understands this monster– this light of the shadow. And this side of me understands that sometimes a fuck is just a fuck, giving in is better than giving up, that we all have demons and they too, are beautiful. This side of me cares too little and too much for all the wrong people.
I rode my bike tonight and the air folded cool and soft around me like pools of water gentley bound in my tiny universe for a moment before eddying into someone elses reality. I looked up at the clear night, a rich blue that whispered lullabys across the sky in inky hues. At that moment, riding my bike, and thinking of Brautigan and how I wish he were alive to be here talking to me now and all my complete and utter failed attempts at connections and relationships, I felt a small truth in the duality of my nature. There was a harmony, before compartmentalized in fits of emotion and naivity; in my dark moods and distancing of self. They could coexist; even learn to like eachother. I was slowly on my way to becoming whole when I was born already wrecked on my parents’ shores.
Brautigan helped me see that.
Books have taken the place of lovers these days. I think I should perhaps feel embarrassed by this. The funny thing is, I don’t. There is something honest in that; some truth for me to sink arrows into in the dark.