I embrace radical cynicism. I embrace radical compassion. I want to disappear into the White Mountains with a backpack. I want to disappear into the bouncing bodies on a dance floor. I want the silence of a winter forest. I want to drive down the highway with Skrillex cranked to wub-wub-wub-wub-vzzz-slam. I want to write for the entire world. I want to write for no one but myself. I want to be famous and busy and in demand. I want to be unknown and hidden and solitary as an oyster.
Here I am steering some lunatic line down the middle, cleaning house and making dinner and picking up the kids from school, smiling from behind a desk at the library and saying, “May I help you?” Is it any wonder I stare at the picture of Nietzsche on the printer with the caption “What the HELL do you think you’re doing?” and I scream, “I don’t know!”
This bipolar sine wave propels me through my day-night-day. It’s like a heartbeat, alternating punch-thud and slack-silence. Hearts don’t hum along like an electric motor; they spasm repeatedly.
Punctuated equilibria drives evolution, periods of stability blown apart by episodes of violent change, earthquakes and monster meteors, steaming jungles plowed over by glaciation. Riding the whip of environmental extremes begat clever ape, homo sapiens, ultra-nationalist neo-baboon. So, maybe I’m on to something.
One common thread weaves its way all through this flapping crazy quilt. For better or worse, for dreams of richer and realities of poorer, in spiritual sickness and in mental health, I write. No matter who I was, I wrote; no matter who I become, I will write. When I die, I will have written.
But don’t ask me to take a personality test. Am I an extrovert? An introvert? Spontaneous? Plan things carefully? Comfortable with change? Fear it?
Yes, all of the above.