I'm wondering if I have the patience for a novel. Short stories have always been more my thing, but I don't consider them challenging at this point because I know I can write them well. I honestly don't think I have it in me to write something that is 300+ pages. But I think I could give you around 150. I guess that would make this a novella.
I'm excited about it at this point, because I figured out what my "hook" is. Every story needs a conceit that sets it apart from every other story. I've come up with one that I think is good.
Instead of breaking this into chapters, I will honor my short attention span (and Teem's ADD) by posting this work in parts.
It doesn't matter anyway. Like I said, I have no future. My lungs are slowly turning into bricks, you see. It's just a thing, so don't worry about it. No one else does. Then again, no one else knows. I plan on telling people when they take me to the hospital because I'm suffocating, or because I'm drowning in my own fluids, or because I've finally killed my upstairs neighbors as retaliation for their habit of incessantly banging - literally and figuratively Ė at all hours of the night on the wall we share. Autoerotic asphyxiation is something my neighbors should explore. Right now.
Anyway, I've been thinking about things and I was hoping that at this point, three months out, that I'd have something deep and philosophical and poignant to say about the whole mess. But yeah, I've got nothing. Nothing but clichťs about love and pain and that which doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. So thanks for that, Nietzsche. I always liked you. You understand the whole thing about being sick, yet being strong. Being almost all-powerful and all-knowing and very, very obnoxious with the whole "I understand the true meaning of life" thing. Sick people are pretentious people. But I wouldn't trade my experiences for anything. I wouldn't do it all over again, not even to change what happened with Ben. This is me, and these are the gloriously irrelevant trials and tribulations of one small person, floating in a sea of people, all trying to keep their heads above water.
I hardly dream for more than that these days. It doesn't seem like a worthwhile endeavor. Maybe you think that means I've given up, but I don't see it that way. I'm not accepting the inevitable, either. I know that the inevitable really sucks. I can't even comprehend what it's going to be like not to draw breath, not to experience consciousness. I have this feeling it isn't quite the same as being asleep. When we go to sleep we lay our heads upon our pillows believing that we're going to wake up in the morning and go through the motions of our lives all over again, day after unremarkable day. If we actually went to bed thinking, "If I die before I wake," we'd be a nation of insomniacs.
This is my second term as an inpatient and you'd think I'd have it all covered by now, wizened to the ways of the world. But I don't. And in a way I'm glad about that, because it means I have yet more to learn, and maybe that's reason enough to stick around. I haven't been slapped down enough for one lifetime. Thank you, sir, may I have another? My friends think I'm morbid, but I can't help it. When I was sick the first time I bought that book, How We Die, because I wanted to know how it was going to happen if it happened. Not because I wanted to die, but because I wanted to know. No alarms and no surprises. It freaked my ex-fiancť right the fuck out. That should have been a sign right there, but I must report that I was clueless. I stuck with him for six more soul-sucking months.
For a while after that I just didnít pay attention to anything. Take this, swallow that, lie still, breathe in, breathe out, do what we say, do what we say, youíll be okay (well, maybe). It was my life, and I loved it. Iíve never felt so alive as when I was slowly, systematically dying. It was my ritual and my routine, and there was only me; it was all mine, the burden and the glory. Thereís only one thing I regret, and thatís how I failed Damon. My penance is to get into relationships where Iím constantly confronted by the realization that Iím not half the person I think myself to be. Relationships that throw acid on the portrait of my self-image, and all I can do is stand there, watching the person Iíve fooled myself into thinking I am bubble and disintegrate and become smeared into something unrecognizable. Unrecognizable, and unwanted.
But that didnít last forever. I got better, and I got back. I built a life for myself out of what I had left, and filled it with friends, lovers and family. I moved away, and then I moved back. I watched my nephew grow up. I watched my friend die. I gave up certain vices, but gained others. I visited old friends, made new friends, and had inappropriate crushes on gay men. I fell in love with trousers and pointy-toed shoes. I survived both an earthquake and a hurricane. I stood on the edge of a cliff and dreamed of what it would be like to quietly, finally step off. I went in for an oil change and left with a new car. I had my first one-night stand. I stopped being a martyr. I started taking responsibility.
I fell asleep for a while. But now Iím awake.
And so it goes. I feel pretty good right now, so I guess this is the right time to tell stories. I can't promise you'll be moved, or enlightened, or even amused. Sometimes I think I have absolutely nothing of relevance to say, which is a sad, sorry assessment of my 29 years. There are people reading this right now who are sure I have nothing relevant to say. And yet, they're still reading. Not because they care, and that's okay, because - and you know who you are - I never liked you anyway. It's because they want to see if I'm going to talk about them and unleash their sordid little secrets upon the world.
You know what? I just might. I have nothing left to lose.