Before the Birds

Quarter of five.

Up before the birds again. I feel a sense of what a stuffed shirt I appear to myself. I dreamed that I had written a novel, but the first few pages were copied from Henry James, so now I had to go back and rewrite it. Awake, I mused on being a failure, since blogging is not the same as real writing. To write like Henry James required much more work than simply jotting down short posts with an iPad. And to aspire to write in his tradition is probably rather shallow and unworthy. My family would be the first to attest to this discovery. In my head I hear “The Unforgettable Fire” by U2, maybe significantly. I guess what I’m trying to say is I need be a bit more humble and respectful. It could be a mistake to bypass my natural feelings of remorse when I’ve done a bad here and there. Cognitive therapy has its pitfalls. My sister once asked me if I respected her and her family, and I sidestepped the question by saying, “Do you want me to make you a list?” She called me childish and said she had a great number of friends who loved her. It was all occasioned by the previous night, when I had used the word “didactic” to my nephew. The next day, he was beside himself with fury, and complained to his mother about it. But on the issue of respecting them, I have to say I really don’t. This is the sad fact, and my honesty compels me to admit it.

Lent

Eleven thirty. The caffeine must be quite toxic to my system. I stopped it today and did a lot of sleeping. To my waking mind, the dreams I had don’t make much sense. A ways back, there was one about a person who had died, leaving a record like a headstone outside of a building like a library. It was night. My brother heard about the death and was agitated, while I received it more philosophically. The dream may refer to the death of my mother’s sister, who had an illness at less than a year old. In reality one day, my brother drove us up to Pioneer Cemetery to locate our grandmother’s plot. The graveyard happens to be adjacent to the Knight Library on Campus, but it was broad daylight when we visited. It seemed sudden the way my brother took an interest in family history. Hitherto he’d never cared, while Mom had always been enthused about the past. He didn’t take her word for anything, however. I don’t know how I feel about it. When the house fire happened, I let a lot of history go. Old photographs of family were lost, and my attitude was good riddance. I considered the fire to be a cleansing or purging thing. It didn’t occur to me that my own existence was equally forgettable in the greater scheme. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust…