The Unambiguous Diary of a Disconcerted Man
With apologies to Enrique Vila-Matas
A bird flew by and I did not follow it. After returning from Berlin I had promised my wife and myself that my journeying would come to an end, and I would be, in her words, words that she had borrowed from some cheap television show, “more present”. The first night I was home we opened a bottle of champagne and drank it underneath the spreading tree out the back of our home, and while she slapped mosquitos I told her without thinking that there was nothing, absolutely nothing, that I felt anchored me to this life other than my books, and that I could feel myself floating away or, worse, ebbing, fading, into the background. She burst into tears and I slept on the couch and thought about Calvino’s cities, how focused they were and how jumbled I was in comparison. I know a man is not a city but I couldn’t sleep. Anxiety everywhere.
Anxiety everywhere. The next day I wrote an article for an online newspaper detailing the conditions under which writers had written their masterpieces. After I submitted it the editor came back almost immediately requesting that I turn the article into a Top 5 or Top 10 style piece in order to make it punchier, and so I did, and then for a while I browsed the same website and read articles on PlayStations, lactating women, awkward engagement photos, an upcoming election, the politicisation of clothing, jilted husbands, romantic proposals, promising vacation locations, angry dogs and oceans of inspirational quotes. No anxiety, but not much else either.
A letter from my wife has arrived. I won’t quote it. She wants to leave me but can’t quite muster the courage – the certainty? – to say so. And thus she posts me these letters whenever I have committed a grievance, which is to say that I receive them, now, practically daily.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.