Let’s perform this procedure and run these tests and hopefully then be done with this. Oh yes, and your heart can go on beating. That’s what the cardiologist said in a dream I had in August, not in real life, but it was nevertheless a relief, albeit late.
Camus, in real life, said “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” I should’ve asked the doctor about the possible side effects of semantics on one’s physiognomy. But one rarely reasons in dreams.
It’s a good thing I’ve gone from documenting my brain patterns and emotions like so much abstract-realist reportage to actually simply merely finally really trying to tell stories, without so much cognitive noise going on. A good thing indeed.
Who else can I appeal to? Well, Ali Smith said novels are about sequence and short stories are about all that’s unsaid. “There is structure, but you know that there’s life somewhere in it, around it, free from it.” Saying without saying, living without looking. Albert, Ali, and expressionism, with an abstract look on its face.
If I had a writing teacher instead of a cardiologist he(?) might applaud that sentence. But one night in September, awake, I realized that no longer does my apparent fate seem to hang in each sentence’s balance, and no longer do I desperately hurl “my” words against the confines of presence and circumstance. They’re just structure for the story of life somewhere in it, around it, free from it, happy and living.
I close my eyes and sit on the edge of the bed and see thoughts as a tangled pile of string needing to be unraveled and pulled taught and I enjoy that double entendre without thinking myself clever. I can’t find any ends, which might just be how thoughts do, and my heart goes on beating.
Life, It Seems, In Thirds
Commiserations in the negative, the mutuality of dissatisfaction and disgust, even anger, if delicate senses of wished-for dignity found offense to take. Storybook characters thinking themselves descended of Caulfield, but to what end? Conclusions are such a funny preoccupation of youth, dawn obsessed with dusk.
What’s a word for “less inferior?” Standing under the brightest sun, seeing how small acts of apparent non-participation—like listening to Chopin in the gym—are still participation, as self, but free. Strangest of all is that trusting memory and seeing the future as owed are strange only to some.
Seeing truths sooner than in those Catcher days, and laughing retrointrospective at the ironies inherent in the impostor syndrome’s symptoms. Who knows, working with what we have and just beginning to grow, with far less to say about the badges of weirdness and mania. Des ennuis, des chagrins, s’effacent. Or so imagined.
Standing at the Center of the Picture of His Joy
Filling page after page with half-thoughts is both an affront to writing and essential to the practice of it. It takes time to cook up something good, and sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t. What spooks me is a certain flatness, apathy, lethargy, whereby the impulse to pursue an idea or sensation or line of thinking is weak, and the corresponding motivation to slide down another rabbit hole is almost nonexistent. Some, surely, would call this “depression,” and though I might be inclined to debate, I would not go so far as to deny the applicability of that term. I try so hard to choose happiness, I’d protest, every moment of every fucking day I try to choose it like it’s the daily fucking chef’s special but I fail to see how it stands out from the rest of the menu and order a perturbation omelette and a coffee and wait for inspiration to return from wherever it goes when I go missing.
Mischa Honchock is the editor of no magazines (print or online) and does not hold an academic post at Any University. As a teenager in Columbus, OH, he drove a blue Buick Electra which was assembled before the Berlin Wall was dismantled and was not his first car but his second. The recipient of innumerable imaginary awards and the author of many fine pieces of unpublished literature, Honchock does not live in Paris with his wife but in Chicago where he works in an office overseeing the Pointing and Clicking Department. He loves to write, he thinks.