I didn’t stop writing. In case you’re wondering, I did not. Though the years have continued without my particular commentary, they’ve continued just the same, one upon the other, and I have not stopped noticing the slips and eddies of my own life and the lives of those around me. It’s been my habit to write and read what I’ve written to the point of satiation, then destroy it, Ethan Hunt style, five four three two one. I write when no one is watching and get rid of the evidence. I don’t have the desire or the guts to ask anyone to read my writing ever again, yet having arrived at this position it seems that writing has become more like a secret vice than the kind of productive enterprise I used to imagine it could be.
This is the problem: I want to write. Maybe I need to. But writing without being read has begun to make me feel like a mad old lady talking to her cat. It’s the sound of one hand clapping. A felled tree in an empty forest. Insert your own cliche. The point is that we as a species are fucked to the nth and it would probably do me good to air my grievances and shed a ray of light upon my fears. There’s no need for such goddamn secrecy. It’s not like I’ve got anything earthshaking to report. I’m an ordinary person living an ordinary life, so why be precious about it? Why keep it buttoned to the throat? Writing above all else is proof of life, so why erase the graffiti, the stenciled hand on the wall of a cave. Someone, someday, may want to know that I was here.
And it turns out this space still belongs to me. I must have purchased the blog’s domain at some point, using the name I made up when I needed an alter ego. There was never an alter, of course. There was only the ego I was born with, doing what egos do, trying to leave some trace of itself behind. For a while that seemed to matter. Writing was new for me then and I wanted to see what it could be—what I could be, given the chance. I thought, Here is a path and I have legs, let’s just see where it goes.
What I didn’t allow for was this stubborn kink in my personality that feels most at home on the path itself. I don’t want to get there. Wherever it is, I don’t want to go. I crave the long dim hallway, the locked doors and empty spaces, the sly undercover work of noticing and noting and moving on, the balm of aspirational laziness and lowered expectation. I like being nobody. In accepting my smallness, I become bigger. An ant on an apple, circling the equator, is king of an infinite domain.
And so, my friends, I’m both with you and alone. As we all must be. This is not a revelation. I have no fresh insight, no intellect brought to bear. I am only Estragon, repeatedly trying on boots. But let it be known that I have seen you and walked in your light, that your struggles and triumphs, your profound ennui and unapologetic thirst, your grief, joy, and rage, your vacillations, manic exhaustion, fear, lust, gentleness and loss, your flagrant damned existence on this very fucking apple have not gone unnoticed. I see you. I love you, in my imperfect way. I’m here to provide evidence of the only fact that matters:
You are less than perfectly alone.