Sunday, June 14, 2009

About P.

I am glad to have known P. All people enrich you, if you will let them, and sometimes even if you don't let them, they bring you something, sometimes nameless small things, but all the same, pieces of you that were not before you knew them.

I feared for P. that she was entering a wilderness, but of course people do not want to hear that they are on a path into a desert when they think they are making progress. You might say nothing, but I'm not you. I'm more than that to P., so I don't feel that holding my tongue is right. When you are more, you must risk more.

I am glad to have known P. because she loved me when I did not love myself. And that is a gift that you should not scorn, and me being me, I did not scorn it. I did not pay for it either, in a way you might think I should have done, but I do not think like you, and anyway, a gift you have to pay for is no gift at all. I remember the letters the Reader's Digest used to send my dad. The gifts they offered seemed so fine to me then. A brass cannon, a memorial of something or other, ten thousand pounds. These gifts were enough to fool a child. But I loved to read the Reader's Digest anyway. I did not know that it was conservative then, and anyway, I am innately conservative. I don't see the need to break what works well in the name of progress. Of course some things that work well are not right, but we too willingly discard the good along with the bad, just because we know some is bad.

I loved the homespun and I still do. I do not crave sophistication, because it is so often just a way for the rich to show their disdain for the poor. I wonder whether my fellow feeling for the poor is simply a matter of not being rich, but I have to conclude that sympathy at least, if not empathy, is innate in me too.

I used to love the gentleness of the Reader's Digest, its belief that we're in it together. It's curious that the left, which takes as its philosophy that we're in it together, is so often lacking in regard for the notion that we have to rub along, its insistence on credos and shibboleths. It has been curious to see the American right become an echo of the left: insistent that you must believe in this, that and the other to belong. The Reader's Digest insisted that you believe in human decency, that is all. I know it does so cynically, so that it can appeal to the softhearted, basically conservative middle class, who have a good life that they do not want to be broken.

But if you are going to lie to me, I prefer you tell a lie that my neighbour is someone to love, rather than someone to hate. And after all, even if its editors, its journalists, everyone involved do not believe it, its central message is that people are good at heart, and I believe that too. I will never stop believing in us. We may be weak but we are not evil. Everything for me proceeds from there.

I believe in P. She is more capable, and has more ability to cope with reversals in life than most people I know. She does not know it herself, and has diminished her own power by refusing to know it, but it is why I have remained her friend for so long, and why I miss her now. I do not mean she is tough; and anyway, I would not, and do not, admire toughness. I mean she is tender, capable of tenderness, and that is worth more, for most of us it is a source of deeper power, because when we try to confront the world, we are like stones that crush it and call the bleeding mess victory, but when we caress it, we bring it to heel.

I am happiest when I can be honest, and allow the warmth that forms my core to spill out and illuminate my world. I have feared death for a long time, and recently I have realised that I need not: I will not fear death if I do not fear life. I know that going home for me allows me to return to the track I was once on, to become real, to shed illusion and become who I am. I have feared that because I have feared that once I had reached inside the accretions of life, I would find a villain, a black hole or nothing at all. Well, maybe there is nothing at all, I don't know, but I am choosing to believe that there is a small flame that flickers but is never quite extinguished. And I know that I was talking about P. and it became all about me, but how else can I tell you that believing in her is not hollow, but the product of something, someone, who it is worth being believed in by?


At 9:30 pm, Blogger SereneBabe said...

Wow. I've said it to you before, that I don't remember you from m.w very well beyond the fact that people mentioned your name ALL THE TIME. Most of my favorite m.w'ers seem to worship you. It's why I visited your blog in the first place.

But now I read it because, wow, you are a great writer. Really, really good. Glad you're blogging more.

As for poker, did I ever tell you about the time I was working in a group home for mentally retarded adults and the staff decided a trip to Atlantic City was in order? The clients and I all played slot machines. I left $100 poorer and every single one of my developmentally disabled clients left with their plastic cups full of quarters.

At 12:14 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets hope she's getting a life, and in my honest opinion the less she has to do with you and your mood swing mind fucking and infectious depression the better she will be.

At 7:47 pm, Blogger Father Luke said...

I won't say anything other than to
mark the space here where I would
say something, if I knew what it
was, and to say I think I know you
both. A little bit anyway. Maybe
that's all we have. Or all I'll ever have.

- -
Father Luke


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