May 18, 2007


I’m not sure why this cracks me up, but.

Went on a road trip from Dallas, TX to Bisti Badlands, northern NM, and Mesa Verde, southern CO. Basically a two-day drive home.

Nite before the nite before we’re to start driving back, my arm starts starts puffing up. Next day it’s worse.

After my sig. other starts snoring, I google swollen arms — normally I’d just call my dr., but I’m trying to decide whether to call his answering service (since it's the wknd), fly back, ignore the problem, etc. — and learn that puffy arms can be a symptom of a rare breast cancer that’s virtually undetectable until too late to treat; I could, like, have 6 mos. to live.

So I call my dr.’s answering service and the dr. on call has never heard of this kind of cancer; a blood clot's a possibility; my options are to start driving home or spend time waiting in a Durango emergency dept. So me and my honey start driving home.

So I've got my arm in the air for two days, to try to minimize further puffing (and since I happened to have had minor surgery on my other hand a couple of weeks ago, I'm supposed to keep that arm up, too -- I'm in continual "touchdown" mode); I'm NOT telling my hon I might be dead in 6 mos., ‘cause I don't want him to be as freaked as I am; I'm blaming my leaking tears on sunscreen while thinking how unfair it is for me to die so young while I’m pretty sure that gal behind the lunch counter is doing less with her time on Earth, even if she is younger; could I maybe cadge help from sympathetic friends to try to finish my various incomplete art and other projects? which would actually be pretty great ‘cause I’d actually much rather think works up than execute them; how I'm really pretty f---ing tired already and the main reason I want to stick around is to complete my work; how dying young-ish might lend glamour to my creative products and enhance their impact; who should speak at my funeral, and at least there would be more good speakers now than if I’d waited and survived more of my friends; how I'd write an oration to be read at the end so that, even though I'm pretty sure my friends would be eloquent, I’d still have the last word, ha ha! I actually start writing it in my head, etc. (Ok I'm nuts, but it was a pretty vivid way to spend two days in a car.)

To extend the sports metaphor, I'm not sure why: my goal is not to make the game last forever. My goal isn’t even to “win.”

My goal is to develop everything I’ve got — every energy, aptitude, and capacity — to the maximum; to deploy it all as effectively as I can; and then to slam into home plate having depleted everything except whatever I’ve managed to pass on for others’ use (let's call the latter torches, just to add a third sport — seems most people who like them can't get enough).

When I die, I'll lose many things I love — my work, my boyfriend, my friends, sex, art, literature, beauty, all the sensual pleasures of life, the joy of dancing, travel, interacting with so many people and things in so many ways, booze, shoes (though perhaps near the end I'll try the few drugs I‘ve avoided so far) . . .

But what I’ve lived with most closely all these years — what must be by far the greatest loss, at least for me — will surely be myself (except, of course, to the extent I'm already losing my mind and body little by little in advance).

I’m the one who’s always been there for me, though often only theoretically; I am as much, for me, as intimacy will probably ever be; perhaps only my own thoughts have never been too dumb to engross me nor so smart as to go over my head. Why should the loss of myself matter less to me than the loss of anyone, anything else?

I’ve had lots of complaints about myself over the years, many fully justified; but I’ve also tried to be someone I could love, ‘though I rarely thought of it that way — I thought I was just trying to be someone I could stand.

I sure haven’t succeeded in the sense of being all I wish I could be; but I’ve been lucky enough to find a value or purpose in life I feel I can justify as well as any other, and to have had the luxury of being able more or less to persevere in trying to further it.

What I think is most important, for me, is just sincerely, continually trying make things better, including just augmenting the total truth, beauty, and fun in the world.

(Because even if you're an agnostic, as I am, I'm pretty sure we’ve got nothing better to do.)

Knowing that sooner or later I'll die, I think I'm entitled to mourn the loss of me, in addition to everything else. (And, to be more complete: not just because of whatever virtues I've managed intermittently to display, but also for some of the things I'd miss about anyone else: the smells, textures, instrumentalities, and effectiveness of my own body and mind, the delicious vices, the intentional and especially the unintentional humor, the surprises — it's always fun to find any of us are capable of anything other than what we expected.)

You can say I won't be here to miss myself, but you have to say that of everything else, too.

The swelling turned out to be from a blood clot (knapsack strap pinched shoulder); so, for now, I'm living.


  1. Miss Love dreamed she had a bug in her ear--only to realize later in the day it was not a dream. Luckily, she didn't have as much time as you to contemplate her impending brain implosion before the flea hopped out. It has been saved.

    PS Praise the lard that you are living yet another morn.

  2. Now it's time to celebrate and DANCE!