2.17.2005

"A Personal, Narrative Threnody on Throughing So-Called Tragedy"

i wrote this in the hospital last month, and i hadn't looked at it again until today. revising it now, "tragedy" seems too strong a word; "misfortune" might have been better. still, perhaps what is tragic is relative to a person's normative life experience. in that sense, then, last month was indeed tragic, but it was not "real 'tragedy.' "

(pause, while i sigh in bothered reflection.)

i analyze, i analyze; "bitch, bitch, bitch!" enough of me–the story is what it is.

Amen
("A Personal, Narrative Threnody on Throughing So-Called Tragedy," posted with my apologies for the profanity and some subject matter of questionable taste)

Global warming, my ass.


The first half of this winter was too mild, and global warming was all over the pages of Scientific American and Discover magazines, and all the while I bemoaned my less-than-tragic life. Then winter got bad, my stomach got all fucked up, and now I'm in the hospital.

The ease of the non-tragic life is painful in its own way. Real tragedy is Virginia, sick for so long and then drowned herself; real tragedy is Ernest, married too often, drank too much, and then shot himself. My tragedy is once having a girl I really loved and never going after her and never getting her. And all the while I wasn't getting her, I wrote, thinking, "This is great: this is tragic. Unrequited love is so tragic. This is why writers write, how they become great." This too: ease, as the absence of tragedy, is often accompanied by the searing pain of masochism. Still, out of pain, beauty does come.

Writing is really fucking hard. It makes even a meek piss like me cuss, though mostly on the inside. So here, in the hospital bed that smells because I haven't showered in five days, where I can smell my own sweatydirty crotch stains on the blankets, I'm trying to write. All I can see is the crap that precedes this period.

(That one.)

(The period after "this period”.)

I doubt my crotch has ever smelled like this before. It doesn't smell like after masturbation; it's not a smell you want to think is clean. It's purely dirty, that smell of the refuse left by a growing society of bacteria, clinging fiercely to sweatydirty loose skin. And mixed with the occasional flatulence. But, no one wants to read that, so here's something to give pause: my new hospital roommate is sleeping, and snoring (the pot-smoking Buddhist left earlier today–he was odd, but he didn't snore).

So where does that leave me? Same place: writing is hard, and I can still smell my last fart.

They're going to keep me here at least another three days, and it's all I can see. Where's Margot Macomber when you need her? Hell, that's a stupid thing to think. It's a stupider thing to write, I suppose. Gawd, "stupider" isn't even a word.

Goddam I.V. I can't bend my arm, so the paper is too far from my eyes, and I have to squint, which means my handwriting is even worse than usual. At least no one is watching. I mean, there's God, but He already knows. That Orwell was a genius, but aren't we all chanting "B-B! ... B-B! ... B-B!" and thinking of ourselves? I think yes.

Still, out of pain, beauty does come, and now is the springtime of my release.

Writing is really fucking hard. Not the moving of the pencil or the typing, of course. Not even the revising and editing. It’s the part where the writer becomes his own Big Brother. I love Big Brother too, because he is me, but no longer will I be afraid of him. He's like God: he already knows–he simply is. It is the rest of them, in the dark, who are yet waiting: should they know? I think yes.

Really fucking hard, but worth the pain; beauty always is. My stomach's all fucked up, but my pencil is still moving and who am I to stop it?

Now is the springtime of my release. The chains have been loosed and I am freed. Freed, from the tyranny of my own sickly, savage self. Fuck global warming. I've got my voice, I've got my stomach, and I need no mistress Tragedy. Amen.

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