“The Sorrow”

The sorrow is always closer to the surface than it appears. The need not to show it is part of it, and so is the need to dramatize it. The need to be part of it—whatever it is, wherever it is—that’s part of it too. A bar filled with young people on a Saturday night, sweat-drenched individuals with bodies so close together, yet each so separate from every other, and all of them trying to drink through it—that’s all part of it. It’s all a part of it, especially when it seems apart from it. We’re all trying to get out of the valley, where we were all told we should go, and we’re running out of gas. The mountains are always too far away. Even if we get there we aren’t there. The sorrow, unlike the mountains, is never too far away. Maybe you head off to work and realize just as you’re about to arrive that you forgot your lunch, and you feel a frustration out of all proportion to the forgetting. Forgetting your lunch feels like it felt to be forgotten by your friends one night as an uncertain thirteen-year-old girl. It feels like remembering that you’ve always been alone and feeling that you always will be, and not being okay with that, wanting it to be otherwise. The sorrow is so close because you are so far from any sort of source, yet it is too far to admit, to grasp fully. Writing about it is part of it. Even writing about it well does not make it less. Writing about it, and writing about it well, only brings it closer. The one who writes can feel himself becoming a part of it, writing himself into it, finding it even on a late afternoon in the crisp high desert air as he sits with his eyes closed on a cabin porch, with nothing that needs to be done, enjoying the November sun that warms his naked torso. The one who writes can feel himself becoming a part of it when he no longer feels himself coming to be or believe, when his grasp on what is true and what is false loosens, and is lost.

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