In the past when you have been followed by something your response has been to say—I am nothing, so how could anything be in my wake? I create no wake. 

Lately I have felt bitter, burnt out, distracted, and cruel. I have felt that I have had no outlet, that everything I say or have said is tainted by this swamp that I am mired in: an excess or an imposition. I have been both apologetic and fatalistic, upset to see the parts of myself I have wished to keep under the surface leak out. Wild and unrestrained, lingering like a bad taste.

And yet I know my life is good. 

This despite the fact that I am not sure I am always in it. Reflecting today on a conversation I had in May—one that felt meaningful to me. About precisely this feeling. And realizing that I had completely forgotten it. I could not bring it back.

I know my life is good, but it is not enough to have a good life, a life that looks all right from the outside. All right, except. I have said no to that life a thousand times. I do not want it. I want—certain things. And those things will not complete me in the way that I imagine. I often want completion—I feel myself nearing it, like I am a technique or a concentrated afternoon away. No. It will never come. It will always be far away. If I don’t live like that—if I live like what I want is always just out of my grasp, I will spend the rest of my live staring intently at it. I will float through life, and I will die not having realized what I want. 

And what I want is only: to acknowledge what is missing. To dwell in it, not in a perverse, wallowing way—instead as if in contemplation. To meditate on it, to turn what is missing into a strength. To take the question—what is missing?—and hold it in my hands. 

Lethophobia

The larcener ceased his assay nigh the wiket—dight with no cliket, he was frore, rude as to how he would prik the pale beyond without. Tocsins rang in his crumpet: he was no mooncalf, he was sure he had kept it compeer, lest he be ruth at the pelf he had paid for it. It was not a doit! The varlet thought he would overset. But then the cliket appeared suddenly on his scrag. The pale’s glebe began to rack with nought to rack it, and something made him feel like a bruit, fearing ambuscade. And the wiket seemed now fervent, as if it might measure into sea smoke. He followed it: a glim, demit from his estate. 

(The Fear of Oblivion)

The thief ceased his attempt near the gate—equipped with no latchkey, he was frozen, ignorant as to how he would pierce its bounds without. Alarms rang in his head: he was no fool, he was sure he had kept it a close companion, lest he be grieved at the money he had paid for it. It was not a small amount! The rogue thought he would capsize. But then the latchkey appeared again on his neck. The bound’s meadow began to be driven by the wind, though with nothing to drive it, and something made him feel like a rumour, fearing ambush. And the gate now seemed glowing, as if it might dance into fog. He followed it: a candle, resigned from his condition. 

Stop imagining that the architecture has real limitations. Stop imagining that you are building anything lasting. I mean, in the sentence. I mean, with words. 

Perhaps not only here but in your head also. Perhaps here, in your head, and wherever words will follow you. Yes, you feel trapped by them. By their expectations. 

Something is following you. And in the past when you have been followed by something your response has been to say—I am nothing, so how could anything be in my wake? I create no wake. 

I don’t wish to have that response any longer. But it’s hard to know how to change a response.