The backer copies of Asteroid Made of Dragons have all shipped and the wave is crashing down on the East Coast. By tonight – tomorrow maybe – they will have all arrived. My Facebook profile is awash with pictures – pictures of my friends with their copy, the copy they bought a year ago because I asked them to. Some have one, some have three, or five, or more. A gesture of love, of confidence, of faith and it wrecks me.
Writing is lonely. Being a human is lonely.
I don’t do well with moments of connection. Socially, sure. Joking, sure. But a real moment? Something important and true? Not my scene. We’re so unstable, the most unsuitable of symbols. How can I know the things I say are being received in the moment, in the blur of memory and sense and thinking of the next thing to say while half-hearing what you are saying now while also feeling the echoes of other versions of this conversation from before and beyond on TV, in dreams, from splinter-blinks of fragmented now? I mean, how? Maybe it’s just me.
Being lonely is writing. A human is.
Hold On, I’m Getting At Something. This should be my coat of arms. I’ve written three books now (THREE!), and thousands of other words off in the Grand Margins. And all in the service of this dimly perceived quest of discovery of meaning – of this THING I’m trying to say, but cannot express. Only glimpse the edges of as I travel forward and back in time. It’s hard to connect with humans – but with words, you have a puncher’s chance. This word connects to that, shapes form. Things stay where you put them. Mostly. Rime is Rime and Jonas is Jonas and Xenon loves graham crackers and Linus snores just a little bit. Now, on my desk is a red ball, the color of summer sunset and it is red, red, red. And it will stay red as long as I believe that it is red.
A lonely human is writing. Being.
So now – I see these pictures, I see these signs of love and faith. And all I can say is – do you see the ball on my desk? Is it red? Is it summer sunset or is it more of a cranberry? Why are you listening? Why are you picking up the signal? Why are you dreaming with me of the three moons that have no name and the Lost and the stupid, stupid power of friendship that keeps the dark at bay?
Being human is writing lonely.
Ah, the simple words. I’ve already said them – but they don’t land right. Thank you. Thank you. You thank, you are thanks. Thanks You. A tic, a nod, a thing we say to strangers and waiters and cats when they heed. An empty thing, not enough, a hollow gourd. A blob of ink at the end of emails and yammering sales pitches. Useless, sere, not enough. I pick up the pieces and slam them together, that’s all that I am, all that I do – all that I can do. With whatever art I have I try to say the Thing.
Lonely is being. Human is writing.
Thank you. You thank. You are thanks. Thanks are you.
Lonely human thanks you. You are writing.
Writing is you.
You are thank.
The ball is red and it is not so lonely. Thank you for coming so far with me.