I write this in the spirit in which it is written. Billie, I’m getting killed over here. I have no drive, no energy, no satisfaction, or feeling of being settled. Complaining makes one unseemly to friends and family, I know. But in an atmosphere of constant competition, a man only owns his own misery, and irritability provides a way out. Both are his. They belong to him in a place in life where nothing else, where everything else is at risk all the time.
Burn out means trying to work harder and being able to do nothing. A person falls behind and can’t do anything to catch up to his or her ambitions, dreams . . . They drift on the horizon as promises. And, as promises, they provide hope. Hope is chimera. It keeps a person in the game. But the game leads only to defeat. Even to those who win. All of life leads to nothingness.
And that’s brilliant. Beautiful. In a world where change, innovation, and advancement promises progress when, in fact, there is no progress, only change, I seek to lose hope. I seek to lose dreams and ambitions. I want to step out of the competition. I seek to end my seeking.
The only way to end seeking, I think, is to embrace the illogic and foolishness rather than to seek logic and sense. In this, I think, the existentialists answered all the big questions. That is, to know the answer to the question of meaning is understand that nothing one can do means more than an affirmation of being alive. Nothing one will do can be good enough for him or herself unless human relationships are involved. These relationships mean responsibility, and, ultimately, pain, disappointment, and finitude. But without being responsible to human relationships, existence is empty.
When Joachim died, I felt the weight of emptiness. Death had cheated and removed my responsibility to him and to our relationship. For a time, I wished I never met him, because I never would have felt this burden. The pain of his loss was so great, I decided for a time that all my introductions and meetings, all my friendships, and all of everything I’d ever done, great and puny, lead only to pain. Or they would. I had loved and felt transcendence. Not just love of human beings that lie under the layers of society and personality, but love of the essential. I have known the love of lovers, not just once but four distinct and meaningful times. The love of my children. I think of all of them. Everyday. Not just women, but all the men and women—people, essential human beings—I have known. None of them are endless. When Joachim died, I wished I never met them. They die or will die. They will be removed from me. I will feel the pain of their loss. I will feel the pain of them always being a part of me, of my essential, of my human being.
The pain, of course, made me feel alive. Being alive meant bonds. Bonds meant responsibilities, and I had to tend to them to make that aliveness have meaning.
I go on, but I have a different kind of emptiness. The spark of creativity seems to have left me. I want to write poems and make art with my words, the only other things besides complaining and misery that are mine. They are the only things I possess. Even then, I only own their beginnings, their birth and infancies. Then they are gone. A poem leaves a void that something must fill, and the only things that fill that nothingness is the spark that gives conception to more poems.
A void is still a something, and there is really nothing there. It is a nothing that closes in on itself. We have no words for it, because to put a word to it makes it something. That is why a person must learn to hate themselves. That loathing of self and that self-destructiveness that comes with the hatred are like poems that fill that for which we have no words. Life cannot abide what lies beyond the end of the universe. The constant striving I have for my own end fills the space. The end, however, lies beyond that border between universe and non-universe. So, I kill myself with food, work, sloth, gluttony . . .
Burned out, my friend. My own idea of what I should do spins on the ice. It will end, I know. But for now, I have only complaining. I hope you take this as working things out. The spinning.
All my love,