I ran away from home only once in my life; generally speaking, I have always been a fan of home. On this occasion, however, I took umbrage at something my mother had said and announced that I was out of there. For good. Never coming back.
Pursuant of this, I stomped off down the block and around the bend and crept under a voluminous forsythia bush, settling in to see if anyone would come after me. Before my mother could put down her coffee cup and untie her apron, however, a truck drove by and liberally sprayed the bush with one of those chemicals that have subsequently been found to render entire populations of certain frog species extinct. Needing no more proof that the world was a dangerous place, I crept out from under the bush and made a beeline for home. It seemed the sensible thing to do.
Which is to say: I change course.
This brings me to the subject of my last post: All She Wrote, in which I announced that I was going to stop writing the blog and, indeed, writing. I didn’t last an entire weekend. I tried the whole not writing thing on and it felt . . . well, unsettling. I can’t just not write. Dogs with nothing on their stomachs often throw up foaming yellow bile of a morning. I should know;I’ve stepped in it enough times. Was that what was going to happen to me if my brain had nothing to munch on? And how to deal with the inevitable run-off, the effluvia — all those notes to myself and bon mots and felicitous phrasings scrawled on scraps of paper and stashed away either to be tossed out or revisited, fluffed up and dispatched unto the aether?
In the dark hours following the publication of my last blog, I even considered coming full circle and finishing my long-abandoned dissertation on Athanasius of Alexandria and his cynical exploitation, for his own ends, of St. Anthony, who, I’m pretty sure, was someone whom we would today recognize as a homeless schizophrenic off his meds.
Only this time, I could make shit up because. . . . You know: fiction.
Alas, the first, hand-written chapters of my dissertation and all my notes for it perished twenty five years ago in a flood: errant tree roots hacked the pipe leading from the main sewer line to my ex’s benighted house, causing sewage to back up and flood the basement where they were stored. I say ‘hacked’ because it seems to me that God took out my dissertation much like the U.S. and Israel took out those Iranian nuclear facilities, only using a large and gnarly maple tree as opposed to code. The result was the same: all that painstaking research, destroyed. I would have to do it all again. And did I really want to? Really?
Then there’s my age to consider. Every morning I read the “Area Deaths” portion of the paper and, much to my continued alarm, people my age die. In fact, people younger than me die. (I know. Shocking.) I spent the best part of this year finishing, for once and for all, the manuscript I abandoned my thesis for because I was too embarrassed to die with it unfinished given the fact that I’d been working on it, off and on, for forty years. What if I were to embark upon my research and, midway through it, drop dead — perhaps from having had a DDT shower at the age of eight? Then I would have to be embarrassed because I never finished my dissertation and I’m already embarrassed that I didn’t finish the dissertation … so what’s the point?
So that’s it. I’m back. And, really, you shouldn’t be surprised. I might not have foreseen that I was going to relent, but I did foresee that I was likely to.
I am nothing if not inconstant.