"It's not the ego so much, but the attachment, the identification with the ego as our self," therapist says. She pulls a yoga book off the shelf and finds a quote from the Upanishads.
I saw John Mellencamp on PBS last night, talking to Jan Wenner. And he's saying that he needs to write and work and paint and make music, because if he doesn't it's all turned inward against the self, that he becomes the worst hypochondriac. "I do it because I have to," plain and simple.
That resonated with you.
Yes, it does.
I got up and checked out of the hotel in Chinatown, sat in Roosevelt Park down there, cool, but the sun was out, and I was thinking of Kerouac's Holy Goof, the Dostoevskian idiot he knows himself to be. And I thought about the last passage from On the Road, where he's sitting out overlooking the river across at New Jersey rising up, and the whole land mass, much like the ending of The Great Gatsby, the fertile breast, sitting on some broken down pier, I think of Dean Moriarty. I think of Dean Moriarty. So on my own after the party and everything, catching up with Daitz, I have to entertain myself, so was Kerouac down in Battery Park? Well, I just ended up walking along, everyone out at brunch in cool restaurants. Very stylish, very hip. So I just walk along, slowly, my feet and legs feeling it. I wanted, or I thought of venturing up to the West Side, where she grew up, I mean, just to get the vibe, for some kind of understanding of it all, the completely stupid misunderstanding between us. It's sunny out and everyone is out of their winter burrows, catching the light, there in front of the Flatiron, in Union Square, back down in the Village...
And this is the life I should have led, the place where I wanted to be, with creative people, publishing, theater, music, art... And every where it's a beautiful place. The wind is blowing, the air is fresh, energizing you, the water from the tap tastes great, sweet, pure. People are cool... There's no place like it. And I'm walking along miserable enough, such that I understand Lincoln saying how miserable he is that if he took it and shared it with all the rest of humanity there would not be a single smiling face anywhere on the globe...
Hemingway has a line about New York, to the effect that writers there are like fireflies caught in a bottle, feed off each other but not experiencing broader deeper reality, life... He was a bit of a dick, though... But, I'll give him credit because he had it and he knew it and he even had a name for it, the black dog, and to an extent he knew how to treat it, or try to treat it, by writing, of course. He had, I think, a fairly good sense of humor about it, or, an understanding so good that it could be comical as well as tragic, that writing was like bringing back to show to someone the pieces of something that had been magnificent, a treasure, but that blew up or something, like lifting a torn limb and saying, look... Something like that he wrote somewhere... He had his Agnes Von Kurowsky, with whom he would never speak to or of, except early on in his work explaining her Dear John letter, but whom he obviously was never able to forget. A terribly shy man, not that he would come off that way, a photographer, Karsh, once said.
And so, is it that the Universe is trying to tell us something, like how to evolve, when we go through such unhappy things? Like, why me? I'm a sensitive guy, or maybe too much so, kind, kind way beyond his own level of competence to deal smoothly with things like city girls. Too subject to emotion.
Unless he writes. Unless he gets the chance, or takes it, to sit down and figure and scribble in his notebook... That's the only thing that soothes it, the dark burning sensation of hopelessness, and you have to do it every day... Great. Well, at least you know...
Anyone can come along and tell you, well, just don't think about her. Even your mom, tells you that, 'are you still thinking about her,' or, more plainly, and speaking from wisdom well-earned, 'keep thinking about her and your sunk.' My boss tells me, his French personal business-man wisdom, 'you can't think of the past.' Well, everyone tells you that. Live in the moment. Live in the present. Well, OF COURSE. But... you know, it's not that easy, it's not that simple. We're sensory-perception beings with minds and memories that hold such things out of their very nature, and you can only gather that the purpose of this is to teach us something. What? How not to be an idiot next time a girl like that so rare comes along and you really like each other but something gets in the way of you being yourself, unable to know why.... Is this part of the process that brings us to our destiny, the evolution of the species out of the cold hard carapace of the self and ego attachments... How do we share that? It seems too unhappy a thing to share, unless there really really is a point after all, and that there will be at some point some sort of undefined peace or happy resolution... Like something out of A Tale of Two Cities... if you had to portray it, and maybe that's indeed the only place where such things can exist, in art, in the mind, in our own wishes of how the blank meaningless story of life plays out in your fond childhood sandbox that's a whole lot different from reality.
I wouldn't wish being a writer on anyone. Rather should they be cold literal lawyers and bankers, who only see things cheerily by the light of ineffable rules, no shades of grey. No many ways to interpret, did you make money or lose money, did the judge agree or not agree.... Even Jesus says something like this, resolve things with thy neighbor lest ye get cast into jail for the rest of your life. Even Jesus... for all the lilies of the fields and the sparrow's raiment... Don't leave things up to chance, or you are going to pay dearly beyond dearly.
An entire city of the world shows you the place where you should have had your life, and instead you're on a bus seated next to an obese Latin American woman watching the flats of New Jersey and Delaware and Maryland roll past you.
Well, at least I have a therapist to talk to about things I'd be too shy and circumspect to really want to talk to with anyone, something I can only share bits and pieces with politeness looking over my shoulder telling me to forget about the whole thing, not burden anyone with it. Their wisdom wouldn't make a bit of difference anyway. You still go through what you go through. Heretical as that might seem to the economic way of life. "Here, the whole thing will bring you pain for the rest of your life and make you question yourself." That would at least be the truth. The sorry truth that you'll never know happiness, real happiness, and that you're screwed and that all you can do is just sort of carry on in a world without much joy.