In some selfies–a lot of them; mine, too–I see this hunger. I don’t see self-confidence and I don’t see arrogance, or, rather, arrogance is a subsidiary, a weak little land-staking, a bleat in a black hole. At heart, it’s fear: “Am I here? Do you really see me? Will I land somewhere safe this time if I remind you that my visage earns its keep? Can this glimpse of my face–my beautiful, hurt, craning face– remind you that I am someone worthy of keeping in your mind’s eye in other moments of the day as well?” What I really see in selfies is this: “Please, God, please. Don’t let me disappear without a trace.” If only we could really feel it, really grasp the truth: We are all, each of us, beloved children of the universe.
I’ve been a stuck author for weeks. The following quote, from Philip Roth no less, is giving me strength by endorsing my surrender. It’s good to know my darkness can shed real light. Goddess let it be so.
You’re looking, as you write, for what’s going to resist you. You’re looking for trouble. Sometimes uncertainty arises not because the writing is difficult, but because it isn’t difficult enough. Fluency can be a sign that nothing is happening; fluency can actually be my signal to stop, while being in the dark from sentence to sentence is what convinces me to go on.
I had this dream about him last night, about our first real date when he was dressed up and I was too, cufflinks and heels and pomade and lots and lots of red lipstick and spicy cologne. A dream of a swank event and his wide smile and my gap-toothed grin, of a midnight midtown walk and drinks in a secret bar we stumbled upon when most everyone was asleep. I dreamed that instead of flattening ourselves on two different sides of the cab, we came together–not, as it really happened, with me leaning timidly against his chest but with us kissing kissing kissing as the car soared high above the city, a kiss that didn’t stop, wouldn’t stop. A kiss we could trust. Me climbing on top of him, he reaching into me, buttons unbuttoning, zippers unzippering, fingers and mouths everywhere on a bridge hurtling us somewhere better–somewhere I wouldn’t panic just when the going could get good, somewhere he had plenty of time and inclination, somewhere no one would jump off, somewhere we could flourish together. It was a dream of the we that didn’t happen, and it was tough because things felt so sweet and got so sour. Waking up was brutal.