Trying to rebuild a burnt bridge with A, in the form of a mini book-club. Reading Capote’s In Cold Blood. Great books always make me tremble slightly, to the extent that I end up not reading it at all. Let’s hope it ends happily this time, and I’m not just talking about the book.
A very short weekend, punctuated by sessions of work (yawn) in which I have to witness the most hapless teacher ever singing to a class of bored 6-year-olds, and bursts of poetry-reading, because it goes down easy. Ate too much, some light drinking. Bought a $72 copy of Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club at the only decent bookstore in town, more because it was a bargain than because I’m convinced I’ll read it. (See? This trepidation around GREAT BOOKS again.)
I realise I’m accumulating so many unread books it’s not even funny, causing great anxiety. Every night I feel my bookshelf turning into a living thing and eyeing me half-mournfully, half-accusingly, in the dark. ‘Read me, please, you fucking idiot,’ it seems to say, and I, dutifully, reach out to the nearest tome only to lose myself to sleep.
I envy those people who read slowly but steadily, storing every word inside themselves, never to be lost. I envy writers who can force themselves, even through disconnections and blocks, to pen 3-5 pages every day. I remain insanely jealous if wholly admiring of those who have found success, stardom, deep and lasting happiness, etc. I wish I have their relentless vision, their self-discipline. It’s another thing I’ve lost along the way. (Ah, ‘the art of losing’, it’s ‘not hard to master’! The cold comforts of A-level poetry)
Dinner alone tonight. This fraught relationship with solitude never ends. Don’t think I was ever made for companionship, but oh! in a past life and a past season I was a good friend once, I think, if only for a little while.
I’ll end with some Ocean Vuong, because he’s all the rage and because he’s legit good (but, I think, destined to get better):
There’s a joke that ends with – huh?
It’s the bomb saying here is your father.
Now here is your father inside
your lungs. Look how lighter
the earth is – afterward.
To even write father
is to carve a portion of the day
out of a bomb-bright page.
There’s enough light to drown in
but never enough to enter the bones
& stay. Don’t stay here, he said, my boy
broken by the names of flowers. Don’t cry
anymore. So I ran. I ran into the night.
The night: my shadow growing
towards my father.