“And it’s all good
cause I’m no good
and believe me
you don’t need me
it’s a big world
and I’m old news to you.”
-Allison Weiss, “July 25, 2007”
A year ago, I’d just finished editing my first novel to be completed in the better part of a decade, American Dream On. It’s my longest book in a decade that saw three novels written and I’m pretty sure it’s my best. It’s probably the best thing I’ll ever write. The world looked new and hopeful and everything finally seemed like it was falling into place and I was thinking most of the time about two things when I wasn’t focused on writing. The first was how much I wanted to be able to go back in time and tell my old despondent self that life was going to work out. The second was how much I was preparing myself to have a child, to get into the mindset and mentality and place in life to raise a child with the woman I loved and had married long before.
There are really no words to describe the amount of loss that I feel when I confront 2010. To say that it’s irreparable feels at once like giving up and like saying something blandly self-evident, akin to “people should probably get some oxygen from time to time.” I have to have the humility and perspective to realize that if December 2009 Storey wanted to tell prior incarnations of himself that things would work out, there could be future mes who want to come back and ensure this me typing at this second that the same will happen. Ah-ha, I must remind him, you have no idea what might lurk around the bend and how random and crushing it could be to your life. And on and on it may go, until inevitably it doesn’t.
It’s sad to think that this is all that life amounts to, or is sort of the quick summation one could throw on it. It’s also sad to think that I only focus on this when things aren’t going well. Truly, rationally, reasonably, I should lament these kinds of things at all times, even when my own life is in swimmingly good states. And indeed, my capacity to still be unhappy, or more accurately thoughtfully depressed, even when life was good, is something that probably baffled a whole bunch of people. “If you’re not angry, you’re just stupid, you don’t care.” I quote it often and it comes off like justification, but it’s really just visceral awareness. How can people accept the world as it is and still be paying any attention at all?
I have no conclusions tonight, save the titular one. It’s profound and all-encompassing and I don’t care who knows. I get in this mindset where I try to craft a capacity for a murky, undefined future that largely seems untenable, and I sometimes try to come off as a little more hopeful. I mean, look at the banner for this site. I get irrationally exuberant with the throes of not being quite so depressed as I was for days before. But you know what? It’s illusory. It’s temporary. I am sad. I am probably just a sad person. I have all sorts of reasons and all sorts of factors, but in the end, this is the way that it is. I can seem different in some contexts, I can get myself up for interactions with friends or a favored activity or whatnot, but in the end, I’m just sad. The world, beautiful as it can be, is a sad place for our species. It should make you sad too.
Sadness is not the enemy. Sadness is a motivator, as is anger. These things have their limits, maybe, but ultimately they are the root of caring and striving and trying. I don’t know how much capacity for any of those I have or will have, but I know I’m sad. And I’m not going to apologize for it or try to make it something it isn’t. I am sad sad sad sad sad. And I should be. And I don’t care.