My recently published novel is dedicated to my sister, who passed sixteen years ago today. In a sense, it’s a tale of love in search of itself, a particular conversation we fell into all the days of our shared life. Sixteen years ago this day my spiritual heart stopped beating, when all talk between us ceased. The light of my world then dimmed to darkest gray. Even before the terrors that followed just a month later on September the eleventh, I had grown numb to living world. Words began to fail me. I had nothing to say because I could feel nothing.
Those days were difficult to write about. I found it difficult to write and live at the same moment. Either I could observe the whirlwind around me and comment on events with ironic wit or weighty prose, delivering profound utterances of life and love. Or, I could be in the moment, allowing sadness and pain to wash through the confusion and chaos, spinning itself into threads of memory that inform the heart.
I used to believe that writers could perform through the pain, that nothing served a good poem or fiction better than pain of loss. How simple I was. There’s writing and there’s writing. Writing essays about technology and business can be a distraction from life as it often was for me. An exercise in mental gymnastics, pulling and stretching abstract concepts into new forms, establishing principles in the manner of the Greeks. Looking for meaning in meanings.
Not all pain can be overcome with words and now in dire moments of living—in the loss of sister, mother, father—I am paralyzed, unable to call words to my bidding. And so the experiences of my last moments with Char were enshrouded in the darkest caves of my heart, unable to catch the light.
The story lies in truths buried in the heart, rising up through memory and currency to this day into this book. I wonder what other stories lie within waiting to be born.