Afterword

There’s a me outside my self that’s still me. That’s what I’ve learned writing Crystal Delusions. It’s a complementary self, not a contradictory one. A coin can’t choose a side to keep. I chose a tack, and it got me where I was going–not where I expected, but where I needed to be. The boat is docked; I’ll keep going inland, toward people.

I walk away from writing; it has done its job. I had trusted writing to get me out of the mess it had gotten me into. As writing had forced my engagement, so had it forced my detachment. It was what I had to do: Leave name, places, times, feeling and equivocal words out of the mix. What does that leave? A process? Supposition? Abstraction?

Would that I weren’t writing now, but I promised, and I’ve been reminded. This is not an odious task, just a difficult one. In the distance I found my self, and it was not a writer–or at least had finished being one–for the time being or forever, I don’t know. I remain, unsure as to how to wrap this package, because I don’t know where it begins. Does Crystal Delusions stand alone or does it conclude A Bright, Ironic Hell and Satellite Dance, both of which I closed knowing I had not put the subject to rest? But conclusions are overrated. Nothing stops. It just changes form or direction: A Bright, Ironic Hell became Satellite Dance; Satellite Dance, Crystal Delusions–which is more satisfying to know than to say, yet I feel an obligation to satisfy more than myself. You. How can I do that? Is it true? I wrote to find you. I wanted to talk to you. You didn’t talk to me (enough) and weren’t Julie (“Herself”), besides.

Would you believe I am a better person now, for all I put us both through? For the first time in my life, I have felt happiness. It isn’t constant, but it often finds me when I need it, and I feel its presence not far away–not a taunt, but a comfort. I still ache for love, but sometimes now I find it within myself to give to me. Many of my thoughts are still of Julie and many of my slumbers are bookended by them. Occasionally she enters a dream, and she is not unwelcome. I cannot help hoping for another chance with her, though understanding all the better why there never really was a first chance: She decided there wouldn’t be. It was her call to make. Nothing has changed but my attitudes. I haven’t learned anything I didn’t already know, but I’ve learned to look at my attitudes with a certain calmness, if not dispassion. That amounts to wisdom, I suppose.

Pursuit of love is no longer my raison d’etre but it has not been replaced. Love can pursue me now. That’s not resignation but allowance. I’d been hunting deer with a fly-rod. From now on, I’ll leave it to the pro: Love knows what it’s doing–I can’t improve on that. I’ve seen love. It’s open and hopeful. It’s what I think of myself, of what I can give and what I can receive; and of what I can trust and the confidence to know it every bit as much as I believe it–that it’s true and real.

It’s only the writing I walk away from. The themes of my contemplation are intact, but I have better ways to express them. I found writing to be a kind of passive aggression; that, and its attendant narcissism are worthless to me, but indulging them in this fashion was the only way to reach that conclusion. What I write is not as important as how I live, but I had to write my way into that embrace, so I wouldn’t dare say that this has been a waste of time. What I dare say is that I have left something worth reading, worth having written. I walk away from writing with somewhere else to go. Writing has taken me to the trailhead, but the path is only wide enough for me.

If you haven’t been the friend I wanted, you’ve been some of what I needed to get this done. Like anyone, I enjoy being admired, but it was understanding that I was after. I got it–enough of it to feel less alone, less like what I used to call myself. More of what I am. I like me, more less, more and more. You helped me. Thank you.

I won’t shut down Crystal Delusions. I won’t shut down A Bright, Ironic Hell or Satellite Dance, either. I would like the chance to read them. And I’d like to think my kids will do me the honor one day of reading them. And if, because I don’t continue to push out product, my readership dwindles to an occasional look, I will not consider what I’ve produced to be any less relevant or that look to be any less rewarded for what it’s found than when I published my first post in

There’s a me outside my self that’s still me. That’s what I’ve learned writing Crystal Delusions. It’s a complementary self, not a contradictory one. A coin can’t choose a side to keep. I chose a tack, and it got me where I was going–not where I expected, but where I needed to be. The boat is docked; I’ll keep going inland, toward people.

I walk away from writng; it has done its job. I had trusted writing to get me out of the mess it had gotten me into. As writing had forced my engagement, so had it forced my detachment. It was what I had to do: Leave name, places, times, feeling and equivocal words out of the mix. What does that leave? A process? Supposition? Abstraction?

Would that I weren’t writing now, but I promised, and I’ve been reminded. This is not an odious task, just a difficult one. In the distance I found my self,  and it was not a writer–or at least had finished being one–for the time being or forever, I don’t know. I remain, unsure as to how to wrap this package, because I don’t know where it begins. Does Crystal Delusions stand alone or does it conclude A Bright, Ironic Hell and Satellite Dance, both of which I closed knowing I had not put the subject to rest? But conclusions are overrated. Nothing stops. It just changes form or direction: A Bright, Ironic Hell became Satellite Dance; Satellite Dance, Crystal Delusions–which is more satisfying to know than to say, yet I feel an obligation to satisfy more than myself. You. How can I do that? Is it true? I wrote to find you. I wanted to talk to you. You didn’t talk to me (enough) and weren’t Julie (“Herself”), besides.

Would you believe I am a better person now, for all I put us both through? For the first time in my life, I have felt happiness. It isn’t constant, but it often finds me when I need it, and I feel its presence not far away–not a taunt, but a comfort. I still ache for love, but sometimes now I find it within myself to give to me. Many of my thoughts are still of Julie and many of my slumbers are bookended by them. Occasionally she enters a dream, and she is not unwelcome. I cannot help hoping for another chance with her, though understanding all the better why there never really was a first chance: She decided there wouldn’t be. It was her call to make. Nothing has changed but my attitudes. I haven’t learned anything I didn’t already know, but I’ve learned to look at my attitudes with a certain calmness, if not dispassion. That amounts to wisdom, I suppose.

Pursuit of love is no longer my raison d’etre but it has not been replaced. Love can pursue me now. That’s not resignation but allowance. I’d been hunting deer with a fly-rod. From now on, I’ll leave it to the pro: Love knows what it’s doing–I can’t improve on that. I’ve seen love. It’s open and hopeful. It’s what I think of myself, of what I can give and what I can receive; and of what I can trust and the confidence to know it every bit as much as I believe it–that it’s true and real.

It’s only the writing I walk away from. The themes of my contemplation are intact, but I have better ways to express them. I found writing to be a kind of passive aggression; that, and its attendant narcissism are worthless to me, but indulging them in this fashion was the only way to reach that conclusion. What I write is not as important as how I live, but I had to write my way into that embrace, so I wouldn’t dare say that this has been a wast of time. What I dare say is that I have left something worth reading, worth having written. I walk away from writing with somewhere else to go. Writing has taken me to the trailhead, but the path is only wide enough for me.

If you haven’t been the friend I wanted, you’ve been some of what I needed to get this done. Like anyone, I enjoy being admired, but it was understanding that I was after. I got it–enough of it to feel less alone, less like what I used to call myself. More of what I am. I like me, more less, more and more. You helped me. Thank you.

I won’t shut down Crystal Delusions. I won’t shut down A Bright, Ironic Hell or Satellite Dance, either. I would like the chance to read them. And I’d like to think my kids will do me the honor one day of reading them. And if, because I don’t  continue to push out product, my readership dwindles to an occasional look, I will not consider what I’ve produced to be any less relevant or that look to be any less rewarded for what it’s found than when I published my first post in A Bright, Ironic Hell in July 2008.

I am not a writer now–each word here has been a struggle–and I look forward to not being one; but because I’ve put writing behind me, I either can’t quite care enough to end this properly or I can no longer judge how to do so. Let me just step away. I love you.

 

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§ One Response to Afterword

  • Kendall Soulen says:

    Hi Dion
    I was reminiscing and something prompted me to google your name and I ended up at your blog. You are still a powerful writer with a unique voice, as you were back in high school. I don’t think we saw much of each other after I went to Open High for junior and senior year. That transfer saved my life – an exageration of course, but I’m not sure how much. Your blog seems to end on a positive trajectory – I hope that trajectory has continued.
    I teach theology at a seminary in Washington and live in Fairfax County with my wife and three girls – the oldest now off to college.
    Take care,
    Kendall Soulen
    PS
    Do you remember the nickname Joe Kaufman had for you?

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