Every breath I take
Brings me closer to
(“Pull Me Under”, Dream Theater)
As my writing-retreat approaches (I fly out Thursday morning), I’m fighting irrational anxieties: that I won’t get as much done as I hope, that I’ll fuck something up terribly, that…..
As my dad said, when I voiced some of this to him: “When I go on a trip, I feel nervous — but as soon as I sit down in the plane-seat, & don’t have anything else to do, & am on my way, I can relax.”
Partly, I feel that way. I can’t wait for the plane-trip, because it’s the next extended chunk of time I’ll be guaranteed to get to focus on Nite Walk. I’ve been drafting/conceptualizing a new thread for the past couple days (KM), and I sense that on the plane I’m gonna do something great with that bit.
But also — and irrationally — I’m getting some pre-plane paranoia. The jittery concern that it’ll crash (statistix notwithstanding), that I’m gonna die in a random burst of flame and wreckage and inescapable doom.
Which is silly.
Nevertheless: in this week, leading up to the trip, I’ve been meditating upon my life, and what I’ve made of it.
The sky is so blue today. Or lately.
That may have something to do with the fact that I think I’m falling in love. Or have. It’s early on, but I am crazy about this girl — not just in a physical sense (although…) — but that, we get each other. We share a lot of interests, work hard but in very different fields (which is good as well), and….I just can’t get enough of her. I smile whenever I get a text from her, and I enjoy being near her, and all those silly things people say, but now I reallytruly GET IT.
I’ve had a couple years, these past few, where — beyond the good times, which there were plenty of — beyond the superficial fun of living the Startup Life, I was often struggling with being miserable. Flat-out fucking MISERABLE, deep down & not able to admit it to myself or walk outta the situation, but…..disgusted with myself. Disappointed. Thinking, if I got him by a truck with an armful of merch for this stupid thing, what a waste of a life I’d’ve led.
Not true. I’ve lived a full life, and the parts which weren’t fun were instructive. I’ve learnt from my mistakes and won’t repeat them. I’m a better person for it all.
A month ago, I was driving to work and had a seizure. Cuz God loves me, or I’m insanely lucky — take yer pick, as suits you — I was in traffic on a windy road, my foot slammed on the brake, & the two people just behind me were angels, led me to the side of the road and got help.
Nothin like a near-death experience to make you appreciate life, rededicate yourself to living it to its absolute fullest. This ain’t my first one, just the most recent. And like the others, it has led to some profound revelations concerning Life, and mine in particular. Thanks to the seizure shaking up my brain, and/or the anticonvulsants they put me on (fuck Keppra, and its armlong list of sideFX. In the process of getting off that shit.), I had a series of spiritual experiences. Astral travel is the only thing like it I’ve ever felt (although I’m not sure whether I achieved that or just a state of deepdeep meditation while trying to), and I spent the weeks immediately following the seizure deeply experiencing God and the world around me.
More on that some other time. Just note: I picked up 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea 4 days before the thing (convo w/a friend), and then The Divine Invasion on the night of, cuz it was calling to me from my bookshelf. Something about amnesia, and the sense of depersonalization I was struggling with in the days immediately post. Jamais vu. More on that, I’ll (hopefully) write another time.
But that’s the point. I HOPE to, but am not guaranteed I’ll live that long. I don’t know whether this relationship will work out (although I pray to God it does, cuz I’ve never EVER had anything like this in my life and the more I get to know her, the more I just…am nuts about her). I don’t know if my plane will crash, or I’ll get hit by a car, or have a random heart-attack, or the devil knows what. (Keyne hore to all of the above, and whatever else. I’ve got too much to love about living to be ready to die.)
Old friend just died (couple weeks ago; found out two days ago); random heart-attack. He was 36. In some ways, a shitty guy, a danger to himself and others. But we had good times, he was a smart fuckin cookie, and I have fond memories of conversations we had (before I came to recognize some serious issues of his, like the drinking and the lies and the manipulations and the fact that the place we were living REALLY shoulda done background checks. Which they began doing. Cuz of him). Nevertheless: he’s dead, and while if I ever saw him again it’d be too soon, I’m sad for the goodness in the guy that I remember.
Life is too damn short to waste doing shit you don’t love. My NDEs — every one of em — I have come closer to understanding just how precious and wonderful life truly is. This last one, in particular: for a week, I lived in the full knowledge of the spark of God within me, and communing directly with the joy and beauty of existence.
And just as I’ve come to know God more closely through this last brush with death, I’ve dealt with some devils.
November 13th, 2015. Night of the Paris Attacks. I started working on a story, what’s become a novella — one of the things I’m proudest of having created, in the time I’ve spent on this earth. Before I get on that plane, I’m printing two copies: one for me to continue editing, and share at the writing-retreat. And one to leave in the hands of my parents, so that if the plane DOES go down, with me and my laptop and my notes and hopes and dreams and whatcouldabeen’s — I want this story to outlive me. I NEED it to.
Night of the 13th. Something came through a rift, in the horror rippling across the world and grounding itself in me, in the thing I was starting to write. People ask me where the inspiration for this character came from, and while it has two literary predecessors (from two favorite series I was reading in November, that were already on my mind & I channeled into the story), there was no ‘model’, as such.
She stepped through. I swear to God, the Devil, and whatever else there is holy to hold onto in this world and whatever others might exist: the NAME was there in a book I was flipping through as I was writing out the broadstrokes of the story on the first bit of scrap-paper that came to hand. There was no inspiration. SHE came to me, and was there, whole and alive in my mind, in an instant.
The story had to be written, but there are parts, the bits when it’s working as well as it possibly can, when I was just writing. She was talking, and I was the conduit of something enormous and complex being channeled through me and the story burning inside me.
Whatever it WAS. I know something of God, and I have consorted with some personal demons. There might be something in the life after this one, but I know that I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to experience things that underlie reality like Leviathan lurks beneath the skin of the sea.
My mind is on fire. The dog is whining, distracting me, but I am holding fast to this thing riding me. This urgent connection to Life itself and all I’ve made of it, that I’m only communicating fragments of.
I hope, I pray, that I’m NOT days away from my death.
But if I am: let this stand as a final statement of some kind. I don’t know how to put it, what all needs to be said, but I’m trying to catch just a bit of it. Of how much Life means to me, and how much I’ve enjoyed it, learned from it, made of mine.
I’ve been blessed, and try every day to make the very most of the time I have. However long that mayB.
I’ll sign off on a favorite quote from Seneca (Thyestes), which has stuck with me since I first read it, and I think neatly bookends the quote which I kicked this crazy Whatever off with:
“There is no man so well loved by the gods
That he can promise himself a safe tomorrow.”