field notes; week of january 7, 2019

hello, friends. it’s been a minute, hasn’t it? i’ve just spent the last three weeks on the west coast with family and friends, doing the hard work of sweeping away the detritus of this past year and filling the empty space with love and little kindnesses.

over the weekend, i went to seattle to see lucy, and we ate donuts and pizza, took a desultory spin through the museum of pop culture, watched “the favourite” in a little arthouse cinema on bainbridge island and gasped aloud at the sheer batshittery of it all. later on i talked late into the night with lucy and their mom, all of us digging into a wide pan of gooey brownies with joyful abandon, meditating on the death of journalism.

last night was a calm few hours on grandma’s couch, her arthritic hands mending the sleeve of my wool coat, the diffuser i bought for her gently belching lavender into the air. dad picked me up and we drove to a bar in new westminster and over a cranberry soda i told him i’d gone on a few dates in recent months, but i couldn’t connect with any of them, and he said, “why?” and i said, “it’s like going back to black-and-white after colour. it’s so much… less.”

i stayed up too late ruminating and then i woke up just in time to meet rachael at georgia and denman, and we walked from the mouth of stanley park to the curve of english bay in a gorgeous, gentle grey rain, ten kilometres in all. we crossed the street at the end of our walk and drank coffee (rachael) and apple cider (me) and wondered why matthew weiner and vince gilligan are so eager to take full credit for the work of their female writers.

i’m flying back to toronto on thursday, and i do feel better after all this rest, all this love. that’s the thing: for all my carping about loss and loneliness, i’m loved and cared for very deeply. it’s nice to be reminded.

as always, feel free to reply; i love hearing from you, and i miss you guys.

two hundred and forty-four.

i don’t want to learn anything from the failure of this love. (what i could learn is to become cynical or guarded or even more afraid of loving than i was before.) i don’t want to learn anything. i don’t want to draw any conclusions. let me go on being naked. let it hurt. but let me survive.

-- susan sontag, as consciousness is harnessed to flesh: journals and notebooks, 1964-1980

i don’t know that love is ever a project with happiness as its end goal, anyway; the finitude of life means that we are bound to lose anything we love, in the end, and the greater our love, the more that loss will level us. it’s easier, more comfortable, to live without the possibility of that loss.

two hundred and forty-five.

- so i came out of the closet.

- and that was good?

- yeah. and I’m in a committed relationship.

- with keith?

- yeah. that’s supposed to be a good thing, too, right? that’s what i’ve heard. so, shouldn’t my life be better?

- truth and relationships don’t make life better. they make life possible.

- so you think i should stay with keith?

- i think you should do whatever brings you deeper into the reality of your life.

- the reality of my life.

- yes, but not the life you think you can have, the life you’ve got.

-- craig wright, six feet under: twilight, 2003

but that’s just it, right: invulnerable living isn’t living at all. if you want to feel anything, do anything, be anything, you have to tell the truth. to lie is to let someone else steer your body while you sleep in the back seat. you need to be awake for this.