I hadn’t ever been able to write it all down properly, and now that I’d felt inspired to, I couldn’t write. I’d spend hours with a bottle or two of wine, lying in bed and swigging from eight-dollar reds, jotting down snatches in pencil in my notebook, erasing it again–later ripping out whole pages when I was more drunk and more angry.
What was it? Maybe it was the writers I’d been reading, their world-view their eventual demise by suicide or alcohol. The “Lost Generation” as a hero’s generation. How healthy was it to read the Greats? All fucked up, all misfits who would have been bums on the street without a gift for prose. Well, no, they had money, great decadent stashes of it. And they had friends. They might as well have targeted me, hadn’t they? Here’s your life, fucker, you want to be like us, write and bleed and self-destruct, die, be remembered—if you’re fucking lucky. No luck beyond death, Boy-o. Make a mark now or become part of the soil. And while you’re making that mark, be sure to distort your being beyond recognition to yourself. Twist yourself to your mind’s whims and the whims of the minds you admire, that’s the win. Treat your life as ballast for your writing, but always make time to bullshit the masses. There’s your writer’s destiny. There’s your fucking worship wrapped up in an acorn.
Cole walked in on me in this state after I’d been in it for at least two weeks, not answering my phone and going out only to buy more wine, or maybe cigarettes–always by back-streets, keeping my head down so as not to be recognized by anyone. I hadn’t been taking care of myself–why should it be so hard to write about the damned depression when I was basically living through it again? I don’t know if I’d left the door unlocked or if she’d made a key. The apartment was a mess and was starting to smell. So was I, I suppose.
“What the fuck, Clem.” Not unkind, maybe worried, but disappointed. She’d folded herself on the floor beside the bed and took the bottle from me, which I’d been holding to my chest like a rosary. I turned to better see her reaction to me like this. I was worried, too. Worried that this would finally chase her away. I think I was looking for how much I cared about this happening somewhere reflected back at me in her face, because I didn’t know. I couldn’t fathom the small smile as she made circles in the fresh red stain on my shirt with her finger. I was fairly sure there wasn’t anything like this in ballet.
How much I cared was exactly this much: I needed her. I needed people and I needed that reflection–so imperfect and nonsensical–to figure myself out from.
She’d crawled in with me and we’d simply held each other for a while. Finally she started laying chaste kisses on my forehead, my eyelids, my lips. I realized as she tangled her fingers in my buttons and our kisses suddenly looked urgently for something profound in the situation that my state was far from the depressive one I wished to capture in writing; there were no embers hot enough to bring to flame then, as I had been doing in my anger and as Colette was then in her lust, there had only been a body, a stone circle around the ashes of a firepit fallen to disuse. Perhaps that’s all there had to be written about.