There are certain books you must read at 27. There are certain habits and friends and sentiments you must let go at 27. There are certain understandings that wallop you in the head at 27.
. . .
If I manage to live 365 more days, 365 days notched into my skin like the memory of fire on a tree that has survived a conflagration, what story will those notches tell? The tale of a catastrophe-in-the-works? Of a ne'er-do-well, a thoughtless lout, another day closer to a total comprehension of my failure as a person who pledges love yet rarely fulfills her promises to friends, Jimmy, ideas, poetry, the world when it is gorgeous and strange and threaded with birdsong and trainsong and all sorts of dialects?
. . .
I am always looking for tricks, you see, symbols and mottoes and fortunes and beautiful sayings from beautiful people that encapsulate a sentiment so perfectly that I cannot help but sigh, ah! I look for perfect signs. The myth that reveals everything, where no ambivalence remains intact. As if secondhand language was an axe raised against detachment.
Now today, if only for this moment, I think that to look for symbols and mottoes and etc is very dangerous. These signs are borrowed glamour, a self-trickery whereby one believes that demons will evaporate by merely possessing, in collusion with a pre-fabricated world, fantastic visions of present and future. As if meaning could be achieved by an airless dream of it. As if the past--the nagging grain in the oyster's present--was just a dream of a house that could fall and rebuild itself from new materials with one handclap.