White Flags in the Literary Tunnel

Exposed lady (Milton Avery)

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.

The Church of Miscarried Moments

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.

Morning Without Venus

Detail from “The Persistence of Memory” by Salvador Dalí.

Sad and lonely, that’s how I wake during this Venus Retrograde in Scorpio. The regret of what should have been said, could have been done. How love was failed, how missed opportunities loom–that dropped ball, unacknowledged joke, declaration unmade. How doors were shut and labors were lost and hopes were shattered. Again. Again. The so so so many ways we missed each other because of scars already sustained, burdens already borne. The clock ticking-ticking-ticking–no time, no space for the messy, complicated ways of wounded people who still want love. To give it, to receive it. To improve, to learn. It’s not just you. It’s not just me. It’s just sad.

And lonely.

I open social media despite best intentions and a Yuseff Lateef quote gleams:

Loveless moments are to be avoided.

I nod twice, fast. Then fight back yet more tears. Because: how? Love thrives in kairos, not chaosI flash on the first time we had coffee. In his 1940s rasp, chewing gum no less, he’d said: “We’re all broken!” And that foxhole solidarity, so cheerfully delivered, made me sure we could fulfill the promise of our shared smiles.

When will I learn? We cannot protect our hearts by protecting our hearts. The only way forward is to open, wide.*

—————————–
* There’s a joke in that.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy