There is nothing in my life that is private from anyone. The entire world knows everything I’ve ever done, everything I’ve ever thought, everything I do on a day-to-day basis (which isn’t, coincidentally, all that much).
Is this a bad thing?
Everyone else thinks it’s a good idea to keep a few things to themself. Actually, most people seem to think it’s a good idea to keep most things to themselves. I’ve learned enough not to volunteer sticky details in the middle of conversation over cocktails, but I’ll certainly go on at length about anything at all to anyone who asks, and of course there are things like the blog… and email…
Is my openness a cheat — a way of making everybody my friend, rather than having to maintain actual friendships?
Maybe I am just a narcissus who is rotten at secret-keeping.
The future: You’ll see it early in the morning, when you gaze far out over the ocean horizon. Unshakable, it insists that you can have everything you always wanted, if only you are good enough — if only you are deserving.
The past: You’ll see it late in the evening, when you gaze far out over the ocean horizon. Insatiable, it reminds you of every mistake you think you might have made, every possibility you failed to see in time, every face you know you won’t let go of.
The present: Look down at the sand; sit on your haunches and collect a handful. Let it run through your fingers, back onto the damp surface of the beach. Laugh a little at its wetness and stickiness. Dust your hands off and stand back up.
For twenty-eight years, a story has been happening just where I stand, and I have become very interested in it. Today in the story, there was army soup and sunlight, plus some happiness and some familiar resignation. There was an eight-by-eight area of city blocks where everything in this chapter seems to happen. I am told that the next chapter dispenses with this locale. Nearing the end of this chapter, on the sidewalk somewhere in these blocks, Stevie Nicks was singing and wind was blowing, almost like it was all taking place in the Windy City. The faint remnants of soup were in the air. People were going about their business. The thread of the story wound in and around all of them without saying a word.
As is always the case, somewhere someone or something was hurting. The story can’t always do so much to alleviate this, or even to find these characters and describe them in any depth at all. The story is long, but it is fairly narrow; it isn’t, after all, a history or an essay. That’s literature for you; it has its limits.
Adopted a stray beer; I’ll save it for later when a toast will be in order. All that’s left is to come up with a good one. Probably all that I’ll come up with is babbling nonsense. But probably, a long time from now, it’ll recollect as though it were a good one.
Or maybe, trite and pretentious but also sincere, it’ll simply be: “…to dreams.”