A Bright and Sunny Post

December 13, 2007

I was riding the good old New York City Subway a few days ago when I came face to face with a scary looking character. This character was a man of average height and build, his clothes and his face both appeared slightly worn, and his eyes were swollen and about as red as his jacket. The jacket was old and too big for him. He had a beard, too, which needed a trim, and his hair had needed cutting two weeks ago. He looked tired and he looked beat and at the same time I wouldn’t have been surprised to see him snap or explode then and there.

This scary looking character was me. My reflection in the train window.

Part of the damage was done by insomnia. There’s really no describing the effects that prolonged sleeplessness can have on a person. The best explanation that I can come up with: it gives you a taste of insanity. Real insanity. Not pleasant. Insomnia bites my eyes.

The rest of the damage is less easy to explain. I don’t think it’s separable from the insomnia. It shows up with relative frequency, and is the result of an ongoing beating that I’ve unfortunately gotten a little too used to taking. This is the beating of artistic circumstance. I am a writer, and there’s no changing that. There’s no arguing against it, there’s no fighting it. There’s no being anything else.

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