Sometimes a movie or music or a conversation throws me headlong into this mood where I just want to be alone. Sit and breathe. Let time pass. Too many words. Here I didn’t expect to feel like this, or be able to feel like this. To sit on my bed, listen to music, and have imaginary conversations with people all over the world. To live in a liminal half-dream state for days, to forget about food. I can even sustain this mood through basic social interactions, moving setting from an office to a taxi or a bus, or on the walk home. It is this strange social fasting, where I’m able to interact at a basic level but really invest none of myself, beyond this superficial mental engagement. Why? Is this anger?
I remember my dreams, in order, from the past three nights. I’ve got a sort-of mental catalogue which is now overflowing. Only in this mood can I sustain dreamed feeling and image. Night one: First, something about Sarah. Seeing here in some huge house where she’s squatted the top floor, and there’s a huge whole in the ceiling outside her room. She has paintings everywhere and is extremely satisfied, almost smug, but there’s this part of her that seems to be tacitly asking for forgiveness. I don’t forgive. Next lots of subways, waiting for trains, walking around in New York (or my version of it – kind of a Paris with an uptown and a downtown). It begins to snow, Dad – or somebody important to met – to catch a plane. But he forgot something, I must catch him. So I pop on cross-country skis and shoot “downtown” (there’s literally an incline). I beat him to the station where he changes for the airport. The forgotten item is somehow suddenly irrelevant, it was the chase that mattered. Night two: In my house in St. Louis, meaning to call Anne. Start getting these sinister premonitions, realize it’s fall. Night falls. All of a sudden I’m alone and the house is being pummeled mysteriously by whole pumpkins. They just fly of the ground and into the house, breaking windows and smashing into bits everywhere. I realize I won’t see Anne. Night three: Last night, and I’ve just forgotten. Flew out of my head.
Now I’m sitting here in front of the fan enjoying the smells of my deodorant, the lotion on my clean skin, and the low glow of the bright sunlight from outside. And I do not want to see anybody. I cannot fathom going to the beach, or even leaving my room to get food. I converse with Julia who is in the Ukraine, and ask her how affected she was by September 11. Yes, quite a lot, she responds, inhaling her cigarette with that very solemn Catholic-sinner look on her face. I had friends there. Silence.
The terrible two outside screams for the twelfth time this morning. And the Indonesian lodger next to me sneezes over and over again, some more moderate than others.
There are tears ringing my eyelids. But there is something too enormous about crying for such a small moment of existence, for such a small day. The day will disappear, it has disappeared, long before the moisture in my eyes has dried. I tell myself I should use this time to think of that web of connections that could yield a novel. People, places, positions, ideas. An ooze of undisciplined material. Convince myself I am a writer, that this feeling exists outside of me too.