What’s important is that I am here, sitting, feeling exhausted from a week of sickness, one beer unopened below me to my right, the first and last beer of the night if I decide to open it. I have the strange aftertaste of Reese’s Pieces in my mouth. Leonard Cohen is floating below all of this. My breathing seems to me much louder than it usually is.
I try to distract myself with a myriad of things: cellphone, texting, feigning sleep, contemplating beer, even my beloved books; all distractions from what I should be doing with my life which is writing. I have it in me, I know this. I know it deep down to the very pit of myself. I am becoming exhausted with even analyzing this entire (I’ve opened the beer) situation. I am walking away from a life of action every day.
I sat and told a friend a lot of things this evening. Sat right there on her couch and watched myself use words to string together to make sentences which in turn made paragraphs which in turn came to the point, thus being: I am in my mid twenties and I lament it daily. I sit and think long and hard on what love means to me and how I have acted in the service of love, if I have been fair to love, kind to love, worthy of love. I spoke of where I learned what love was, how I admire my family, my entire family, for more reasons than I can explain; how I know that my family, especially my parents, shaped me, for good or bad, into the template here in this room with his first and last beer. This, of course, is true of all of us. We are shaped by our parents or by the absence of them. And slowly, as life evolves, we realize we are an amalgam of our parents, a strange mixture of the two things who made you. Maybe one more than the other, but they’re both in there. It’s extremely fascinating to say the least, but can also be alarming when you do accept that for what it is.
I have my father’s dark brown eyes, his coarse slightly curved hands that are extremely susceptible to dry skin. I come alive like my dad does: from my eyes on down, my body lights up. I am extremely stubborn like my father and share his affinity for humor for both healthy joy and unhealthy avoidance of something extremely urgent.
From my mother I take the mathematics and the neuroses. They are shocks throughout me the way I imagine they spark throughout her body. But again, these are reaffirmations of things I’ve already screamed from every mountaintop I could get my gangly ass up on.
This beer really isn’t what I want it to be. Instead it tastes like beer and sits wrong in my stomach. I can feel the acid of it climb up my esophagus slowly and carefully, whispering as if it is going to sneak up on me when I sleep. Little does it know that I have a huge bottle of generic TUMS by my bed for such an ambush.
Bye bye, Leonard Cohen. For now. Hello Neko Case. For now.
I’ve been reading like a madman lately, drinking in each page as if it were the anecdote, licking up any remains and loving every fucking second of it. I’ve torn through two great David Halberstam tomes, Summer of ’49 and The Fifties. Both so great and entirely readable in a way that is so simple, but beautiful. I just started a fantastic novel on Tuesday called American Pastoral by Philip Roth. It is beautiful, angry, sad, laconic, and so, so effective. Almost done with it. Please check it out.
In the midst of all of this I’ve reawaken my tenacious love for the good Dr., Hunter S. Thompson. I’ve had a book of his early collected letters for a long time, but until recently I have let it sit on my shelf more as an heirloom than anything. Upon further exploration of it, I can say only good things. His letters roll as easily as his journalism and books. He is a writer of supreme importance to me, and strangely I am just beginning to understand this. I have the book of letters along with The Great Shark Hunt and Fear and Loathing: on the campaign Trail ’72 by my bed right now. Such inspirational and inspired and mad writing. It makes me feel so good to read and take in. A great, great writer at the peak of his powers.
So the beer is still being worked on and I’m relatively sure I regret my decision in undertaking the drinking of it.
Bye bye, Neko Case. For now. Hello, Paul Simon. For now.
Under all this: the stagnancy, the simple pleasures, the heinous beer, the sadness I’ve felt on and off my whole life, lives a flourishing blue river of Hope that I swim in every night just before I drift off to sleep. It is warm and soothing and made of saviors. I know that all is well.
So, I will choke this beer down.
And read and smile.
Then I’ll go swimming.