Sunday, April 29, 2012


I finally finished the book by her that I started last summer - her first novel Run River.  No wonder I had trouble finishing it.  A 26-year-old dies in it. Her sister-in-law burns her journals, because she doesn't want her husband, the brother, to 'see the pattern.'  He blames himself for not keeping her safe.  He eventually kills himself after he murders somebody, and as his wife holds his body, she tells him her memories of him.

"She hoped that although he could not hear her she could somehow imprint her ordinary love upon his memory through all eternity, hoped he would rise thinking of her, we were each other, we were each other, not that it mattered much in the long run but what else mattered as much."

Saturday, April 28, 2012

the horror

A friend wrote to me when she found out: “You gave him so very much of your life to help make his... horror. what horror. how incredibly cruel.” Cruel, yes, but a waste, as is implied by the first statement - emphatically, no. He made my life as much as I made his. Maybe more.

I always felt sorry for couples who were childless by choice. Maybe even felt superior to them. I know, that’s not very nice. Do I feel chastened now? To the contrary. A child is not an investment. A child is the closest an atheist can get to God. That’s what I felt when I was in labor. I was just a vehicle for life to come through me. That’s what I always felt it was – a sacred responsibility. That’s why I feel like such a colossal failure. I had a treasure – I held the meaning of life in my hands – and I lost it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


In going over his Facebook posts, trying to keep his voice alive in my head, I’ve come across this quote repeatedly. It was like a mantra. It’s from Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem:

“We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget.”

This is its continuation:

“We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.”

Except when death freezes things and the present stops obscuring the past. Surely then we don’t forget.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

from a reader

"Maybe he knew it all along. Knew that this was just a brief visit.... Through his death and your writings, you have become closer than ever. You see your similarities. Maybe this was what scared him sometimes: he was afraid of exposing his own vulnerability to you, because he knew you would understand too well."

Thank you, E. for making me feel understood.  And thank you to all of you reading this and making me feel less alone.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


This is an excerpt from the book I'm writing:

He told me I was in denial, but really he was hiding the truth from me all along. ‘Can I trust you now?’ I wanted to ask him. I don’t want to relive my whole life, I just want to redo that conversation. Even if it fails to change anything. I just want another chance. There are so many things we think are impossible to change, but death is really the only one. There is always another chance before death. We just don’t want to take it for fear of being wrong. I didn’t ask him ‘can I trust you now’ because I thought he would fly into a rage as he did whenever I doubted him. I predicted his behavior and acted accordingly. But what if I was wrong? What if that would have been the right opening? What if even if he had still died we had had a different conversation from all those other ones. There are signs that he really changed towards the end. I missed out on the opportunity to acknowledge that.

“Every day I wake up and spend five hours training my body to exhaustion just so I don't have enough energy to actually throw myself off a bridge. Everyday I am forced to reconcile the mangled peices of a human being and I don't think you've even noticed.” 

Of course I noticed. With a mix of pride and terror I watched his boastful postings about his injuries. A really bad shin scrape, the ‘still prettier than you’ almost broken nose, the bruised ribs he complained of a few weeks before the end and which I suspected had caused him to overmedicate. The Fight Club therapy he was practicing. Was he rebelling against me? Against my emasculating power. He ended our last fight with: “I have to go hit people now. Thankfully.” Three hours later he apologized. It was self-punishment, wasn’t it? Freud’s melancholic, who rather than hating others turns it upon himself.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Our Dark Knight

I got up last night to write down this dream.

Batman had to withdraw from the world because of a super villain who was after him, so he feigned his death and from then on would live in secret with his family. And that would be enough because being with the people you love is like being with everybody. This was a movie in the dream, but the ending was only revealed after the movie ended, so it was real.

Some writer said you never have to revise what you get up to write in the middle of the night. I guess it's true. I was questioning the title of my book, but I have a reason for it now.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I've been wondering all these months what people mean when they say it will get easier, except not knowing what the hell they're talking about, obviously.  But I think I know now - it's this, this terrible calm, this acceptance that nothing will ever be the same and yet things will go on regardless.  And this is so much worse.  It's like hoping for a death sentence and getting life in prison.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

live in dreams

In my dream you had come home because something went awry with your plans - you screwed up.  But I was happy because you were there and I could hug you.  You looked over my shoulder as I was cooking chicken and kale - what I actually plan to cook today. 

When I woke up I wasn't pained that it wasn't real, because in a way it was.  I got to hug you again.