Monday, February 20, 2006

I am a Storyteller

I am a storyteller.
I open my mouth and your life spews out
You hear your life, your most painful memories
Your happiest moments and I know them

I know them all because I am a storyteller
I tell you things you hear and recognize but don’t want to know
I have lived a thousand lives inside my own head
And those voices sometimes tell me that it’s not worth it
That I should give up and let it go
And they are so convincing, they almost have me until

Someone else who is not any good, who gets all the acclaim and
The fame and the notoriety
For being a self-absorbed, self-loathing dolt
Who tells us all the thoughts inside his head for no good reason except
He needs to be noticed, he cannot help himself
He tells us things we have no business hearing, he drops names
like bird seed that we consume and then dispose of in endless scattered droppings

He makes me keep going, makes me want to keep telling stories
Because it is worth it, it is all I can do
Because though I push papers and shovel garbage and
Wait on customers and listen to bullshit until I want to scream
I am a storyteller and it is all I know.

Monday, February 13, 2006

For L

What happens when all that you love, all that you care about is denied you? When, through fate or circumstance (or just plain bad luck) you finally find that person who understands you, who loves you despite your faults, who encourages you to do better, who eases you through the bad times and with whom you enjoy the good like you would with no one else— and you cannot be with him or her, and you are forced to live your life in an agony of self-denial and emptiness, to spend year after year endlessly longing for this person who makes you feel whole at last?

You lack the strength or the will or the courage to take action to change your situation. Or the opportunity never arises. What can you do except force your emotions deep down inside where they can’t surface? Except sometimes they boil over and you lash out at whomever gets in your way. Or you tear yourself apart, seething, loathing yourself, rotting from within.

Happiness comes when you least expect it, and sometimes you don’t recognize it until it has been taken away. What then? What if it’s too late? What if the only truth you know is what you feel in the moment, and the sense of what has happened only becomes clear afterward? You feel stupid, senseless, used, used up. Drained, hopeless. How is one to make life decisions in the midst of a whirlwind?

Opportunity knocks once and the door slams shut…and the worst part is, there is no warning, and all too soon the moment is gone.

What happens when you deny yourself happiness, or when happiness is denied you by society, by what others might think or say or do? What kind of toll does that take on you? Do you go on as before, or do you die slowly, one day at a time? You push the happiness and the thoughts and the memories aside, but every now and again they surface to torment you, and you wonder how things might have been different if only you had made different choices, if circumstances had been different, if only, if only…

So you stare off into the distance, holding on as best you can, wondering what might have been. And you drink to forget…

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ain't This What Dreams are Made of?

Do buildings have sense memory? Do they remember you when you’ve been there before? Why do particular places exert such a powerful hold on our memory? “Last night I dreamed of Manderley again” is still one of the most famous phrases in literature. Our dreams take us back to particular places in our lives, to events of great power and significance. We always go back to places where we belonged, where things made sense, to where no one could touch us, and life was simpler.

But is that really true? Sometimes we go back to the messed up parts of our lives and try to fix them. How many of us have dreamt of high school or college—you know the one in which you forget your locker combination, show up late for class and everyone stares at you, sit down and take the exam you didn’t know you had and didn’t study for? Maybe our dreams are the great levelers—we go back and try to fix things in our dreams so we don’t have to deal with them again in waking life. Or maybe we just yearn for the comfort of the familiar. When the present is so terrifying and sad, why not?