Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bad Boll 8.1.1998

I gave my paper yesterday. People have had nice things to say about it. Last night, a group asked if I have through of writing a novel.

Before this, during Marjorie Suchocki’s plenary paper, I wrote a note to myself: “If I cannot tell my own story, then what story can I tell? And how can I tell my story if no way opens?”

In the past, I would have construed all this in terms of vocation/calling. Now that language seems empty to me, or, more precisely, the universe (imaginative? metaphysical?) to which it has reference no longer seems to exist for me.

Perhaps I’ve courted my story and danger for too long, not consciously, but just by the way I’ve lived. In such a life, clarity is not often available. And yet clarity’s what I most need now—neat mathematical clarity of the sort that places all the pieces in the puzzle, just so.

But have I foreclosed myself to such clarity precisely by that courting of mystery and danger? And how laughable to talk about my dull middle-aged life as one of mystery and danger. It certainly wouldn’t appear that way to many people. But to me, it does, from the inside. Mystery in the danger in the sense that I’ve never quite settled for . . . answers. And how desperately one needs . . . answers as one grows old.

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