Tag Archives: meditation on life

Looking Out

“You should commit publicly to finishing your book by May,” my friend said to me today.  “That would force you to get it done.”

As he talked, I was scrolling down the forgotten chapters of my Russian memoir.  I looked at the date when I started writing it.  2011 is a frightening number.  Almost three years have gone by.  I don’t know when I gave up on it, but sometime, in the midst of the mess that my life has become, it became irrelevant.  Often, I remembered it and sometimes mentioned it, feeling the pain of failure in my gut.

Just the idea of having to finish a book by May, only having written seven, and not well edited chapters, was impossible.  I would have to be insane to commit to something like that.  But rumor has it that Shelley wrote the first draft of Frankenstein in under a week.  I wish, and at the same time, fear that I could suspend myself into a writing bubble for a whole week and do nothing and think of nothing except my life.  Because writing this would just be a long meditation on that.

I don’t know why I want so much to write this story.  My friend, Saul, recently said it best and luckily New York Times thought so too.  “Writing was not a matter of taking a prefabricated thought and setting it down on paper, but using the act of setting words down on paper to determine just what that thought might be.”

There is a duality in all of us.  We live only with ourselves but in many ways, we know ourselves least.  I have become fascinated with myself in the mirror.  I often catch myself during a busy workday.  There I am.  I look different to myself than I thought I looked.  Everyone in the office could see me, except for me.

In conversations with people, I can see their strengths and their weaknesses clearly, but I know that they don’t see what I see.  In the same way, I don’t see my own.  We are strange creatures, physically forced to look out with our eyes instead of in, even though, looking in, solves so many of our problems.

I wish to write this book, so that I have a long chance to look inside, to dissect my innards and to release the stench that rotting memories could cause.