I have been nursing a secret, perhaps an American, dream for some years of my life. Only in America could such a dream be enacted and realized; only here can I “get lost,” so to speak. Other countries’ denser populations and more binding family and social structures make it more difficult for one to sidestep society, “real life,” and extricate oneself from the teeming, alienated masses and ceaseless maddening crawl of “roaring daily life,” at once viscous as molasses and erratic as strobes....It is my secret. One day I hope to throw closed all the windows and doors to my house, to my life, and follow the example of Emily Dickinson, the greatest poet America has ever been able to produce. Routinely inviting Misery and Loneliness into my home, I will embrace them as old friends and dismiss Fear as only the feathery-cockroach sound of his bare feet whispering along the floor. I will exist for myself only, and write and write in a room with writing decorating the walls or walls serving solely as a background for writing. All the words that have killed me will be written and celebrated. A whisper in the dark, a sound carried on the air; that is nothing. Some’s actions speak louder than their words; some’s words louder than their actions; and for some, when they speak, their words are their actions. Dust angels do not convey any importance until they fall on the printer paper whose words will eventually be covered with the holy snowflakes. Evanescence won’t exist in the world whose halls I traverse like a ghost. I will live in this hypocritical way, both aware and proud of my self-contradiction, knowing that self-inflicted misery is at best a love affair with self-pity and extravagant drama. I am dead now; I will be dead then, and as alive as always and never.
“No man, proclaimed Donne, is an Island, and he was wrong. If we were not islands, we would be lost, drowned in each other’s tragedies. We are insulated...from the tragedy of others, by our island nature, and by the repetitive shape and form of the stories. The shape does not change: there was a human being who was born, lived, and then, by some means or another, died. There. You may fill in the details from your own experience. As unoriginal as any other tale, as unique as any other life.”
-- Neil Gaiman
Cross-posted from my personal journal.