Sunday, April 02, 2006

It is impossible to say just what I mean!

In the next world war/ [in a] jackknifed juggernaut/ I am born again...

I often quote frivolously, but not this time. Airbag has it right: after the five near-crashes of that night, I am suddenly alive. The short and strange Prufrock phase of my life has passed, the iron chain of self-consciousness has been broken, I'm gloriously happy these days- and from the most unlikely cause, rejection. (If I confuse you, forgive me. If I embarrass you, forgive me.)

I awake to find myself surrounded by friends, beer in hand, talking of science, music, theology, literature, the Church. And I'm no longer concerned what they think of me, for they enjoy my company, and I theirs. There was that barrier before, that additional filter of "Will this impress them?", but it wasn't necessary, wasn't even good.

Then ten-year-olds pelt me with dodgeballs, and I twist out of the way with surprising celerity (I guess my E. Scis days aren't that far behind me after all) and lead the countercharge in the rain. I'm muddy and soaked, and tomorrow I'll be sore, but I am happy.

And I'm back to reading at my Chicago pace, starting or finishing or continuing or rereading Waugh, and St. Augustine, and David Foster Wallace, and Gene Wolfe, and Tolstoy, and now Thackeray and Trollope. I'm saving Cervantes and Hugo for later, the next correspondence books after War and Peace, perhaps? (Why did I ever waste the time I could have used for reading? Sloth is lunacy when the library goes five floors underground.)

In short, I'm back from the dead. I've been frustrated with this shy shadow-self I've been for the past year, one who like Prufrock is paralyzed by the cognition of his own social awkwardness, or by the fear of giving offense. It wasn't me, not at all. If you don't understand how I could be described as crazy, you don't know me yet.

I finally went and tried, lived, made myself vulnerable; and my failure was nothing to the fear of failure that had held me so unnaturally.

So why send this odd, self-centered boast off into the vasty deeps of the blogosphere? I don't know; as Calvin said, "I must obey the inscrutable exhortations of my soul." I note that he then added, "My mandate also includes weird bugs." Indeed.

Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it towards some overwhelming question,
To say, 'I am Lazarus, come back from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all'-
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
Should say, "That is not what I meant at all.
That is not it, at all."

In a word, yes. Yes. Yes.

In an interstellar burst, I'm back to save the universe...

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