Sunday, June 23, 2013
In the hospital waiting room, there was a magazine feature on author Paul Auster. I was there waiting to find out whether the blood I'd been pissing out meant my time was up.
The piece on Auster was to promote his latest book -- a memoir on the topic of growing old. How fitting. In an earlier memoir of his professional and financial struggles as a young-adult, Auster told the story of my life up to that point.
And here we were again. Me, possibly aged out too fast and trying to make sense of it, reading Auster's thoughts on the topic.
Alas, I only read a couple pages before my name was called. Good news, the doc said. It turned out the bleeding (which had stopped the day before) was likely caused by my two-year-old daughter headbutting me in the crotch. That happened the night the bleeding began. The doc said I was otherwise perfectly healthy, that the injury likely healed itself. After a battery of tests spanning three days, there were no signs of disease. When I told my wife the news, she teared up with relief.
Which brings me back to the blog. Between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and whatever, you'd think that a general-topic blog like this one would shrivel up. Not quite. If anything, lately, I've been feeling compelled to nourish it more.
The more we engage our lives with hyper-media, the more it becomes fragmented. An image is posted over there. A thought is posted someplace else. Each different channel has its own audience expectations. Then there's the natural popularity arc of social sites. Over time, it all becomes increasingly out of context. Things get lost and forgotten then re-found. It becomes easy to take all these snippets and re-assemble them like a bad translation.
Blogging, or old-fashioned journal writing, is an attempt to de-frag all of it. To fit our scattered bits into a narrative that makes sense -- if not for the NSA bots, but for ourselves.
So do I wish this blog to be more substansive? I don't know. I thought I could get away with a bunch more photos. But they still don't say enough. I used to write more. Lately, I've been thinking I need to do that again. Reading certain authors do that for me. Some of Auster, Henry Miller, The Haights' own August Kleinzahler.
So much of life is internal. So much of life is spent in auto-pilot.
What occurred to me at the hospital was that if my time had indeed come, I would've left my two small children with too little to remember me by. I would be a stranger. A man who disappeared to work for most of most days, and was distracted with projects and chores when home.
If, in truth, I was concerned about leaving some kind of legacy, foremost it was to fill their young hearts with warmth and comfort. "Snuggles," Rowan calls them as she crawls into our bed in the middle of the night. How much of it do we absorb as infants and toddlers and take with us into adulthood? All of it, I want to believe.
Maybe the gravitational force of the routine can't be helped. But before I settle back into it, I want to commit to writing more and sharing it more.