The End of a Journal

Time to confess, I tell myself as I sit down at the computer. Time to tell the whole truth at last. But what truth? What besides the lack of truths to confess, of anyone to confess to?

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I’m looking for something. It looks for me too, in these words. Meanwhile I write to ward it off, biding my time in detours.

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It’s too late, I tell myself, there’s nothing for it but to start to live. To wrench something out of these sinkholes of time, these gaps between self and others, self and self.

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This journal is impossible. To use writing, the very thing that distances us from life as a tool to bring life closer: ridiculous enterprise.

I used to dream of a form of writing that would write itself. Of writing without writing.

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Each word I utter to another is a call into a cave, and its echo is an ethical demand. It says: who are you that you can say this and mean it? It says: who are you that you think you can help me?

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This journal barely exists. It splits into a hundred pieces as soon as I start writing it.

Do I write or am I written? I write and I’m split in half. But writing goes on.

I say ‘I’ to gather myself in but as the word escapes my mouth I lose it.

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Not stories, rather those moments of undoing when you’re stopped in your path and something lies before you like a challenge, demanding that you bear witness to it and let it do its work on you.

Perhaps the only true thoughts are those that have been obvious all along, that have been lying in wait only to show you how you’ve obscured them.

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This double I carry through my life. The double who writes this journal!

Strange to see the contents of my head strewn about here, as if they’d been dropped from someone’s pocket.

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To return to what was here in the beginning, to what’s always been here: patient, indifferent, waiting. To end this journal so I can start to live. No: so that life can begin in me. But is this not living? No: this journal was enmeshed in failure from the beginning, like a fish thrashing in a net. Which is why it should seek its own never-having-been, as though it were being written in disappearing ink.

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I write to say the same thing over and over, as on a palimpsest. I write to confirm that I have nothing to say – that what I have to say is nothing compared to the everyday that this journal hides. The everyday that’s hidden in our daily lives.

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One moment submerged in the moment, the next empty. The moments themselves are scattered, they long to become one. Does it need me, the moment, to come to itself? Is that why it calls these scattered words together, so it can escape them and become itself?

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I don’t escape into writing, I write to escape from writing. I’m what writing’s made me, what I’ve let it make me.

I’m looking for something. It looks for me too, in these words: it’s already here, calling me out of these words.

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The woman in my bed. Our laughter. In the morning I bring her food, offerings in the clearing of the everyday. We speak, explore each other.

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I confess my debt to kindness. Without small acts of kindness, my own and those of other strangers, I’d be cowed, alone. Soup brought to someone’s sickbed, a word of encouragement, a listening ear. Kindness is the last miracle on earth, a miracle of the everyday.

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Love the other as yourself. What can it mean but that that you too are another, that love lives in the space between others? That love is a space that makes you by unmaking you?

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The aim of this journal is to end this journal. And if it can’t end, though it was finished before it began? Then let it at least make a clearing for what it obscures. Let these words rise like smoke and the everyday grow in their ashes.