Monday, January 5, 2015

Two Oh One Four

I'm convinced of my own mythology: that my personal symbol is probably a snake or a spider, or even better, a snake and a spider fighting in the dark; that whatever I saw that one morning in the museum before work a few years ago was a ghost; and that 2014 began three times for me--once when the calendar said so and two other times when I woke up from seizures. That one year can feel like both three years and no years is fine by me. I started. I disappeared. I started again and again.

In between storms, I traveled more than usual. To say the year was generous and cruel would be wrong. People were generous. Nature was cruel. Though as I've said before, I don't see it that way. Nature as a force lacks intent. People do not. The people I love loved me back more than I can ever repay. I saw nature as I saw it when I was younger. In detail. I saw one beautiful snake in the grass in North Carolina as I walked barefoot and shirtless up the shoulder of a highway and carried an inner tube. I saw a kitchen in New Orleans the morning after a party. Roaches. Ants. I saw a seagull float in the air beside the ferry Josh and I rode from Seattle to a small island, though really the bird flew exactly as fast as the boat moved through the water. I saw the water. I dreamed about the water. I went under the water and recognized it as the place I go when I stop being my brain and start being my body.

A place to break even.

If the year was anything but a year, it was that dark water. I dipped in and out of three short stories that will soon form a book. My first book had been published the year before. My second book would have been published last year if I'd finished it. I didn't. I'm still not finished. I'm almost finished. Josh says I'll finish this week, and I'd like to believe him like I'd like to believe anyone I've known and loved for 10 years. But I've known myself longer. I write most and best when I feel apart from nature, when I can point at it and observe it and not see myself anywhere in it. In 2014, I couldn't suffer that delusion.

My seizures have only ever been interesting to me in as much as I don't understand them. This past year I continued the work of undressing my epilepsy, of inspecting it until it became no more mysterious than breathing. A function or a malfunction. I had two seizures in the span of four months. You've read the pieces I wrote about them. Either way, the seizures are no longer extraordinary. They're nature, so I'm nature. I can't pretend to be above myself anymore. I'm above nothing.

It's 2015 because we agree it's 2015. The snake and the spider continue to fight in the dark. The ghost appears and disappears. And because my nature is my own, I still write. I have a few stories forthcoming in places. You'll know when they're published. Also, I had an essay go up on The Butter back in November. Some of you have read it already (including the Chicago Tribune). Thank you.