It’s Christmas day.
I feel alright, more or less, sitting in my apartment in the Tenderloin, San Francisco. My partner, parents and most of my friends are in the Midwest so I’m out here alone, but that’s okay. I think Christmas for me is mostly a non-issue, unavoidable but at the same time not really resonating no matter how much I used to enjoy the season in years past.
Last night I was walking through Union Square with a friend after spending some time in North Beach for dinner and the square was packed with people taking photographs around the city Christmas tree. My friend kept singing one phrase over and over again, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas,” and as I listened to her and watched the revelers, I didn’t feel a whole lot. Didn’t feel bad or sad, it just didn’t resonate. I thought today I’d wake up feeling like it was another day, and this was a correct assumption.
Yesterday from my journals:
“I think of suicide on occasion, but it’s merely fantasy, just a sense of escapism, a release. I detach fast. The darkness, the deaths, the monstrous, lean into it, take it all in and build a cultural knowledge of the implications, then let it go. Eastern philosophies. The neighborhood, decay, the communal hopelessness of it all here, barely making a dent in the problems that escalate and climb and drive, but that’s okay. Absorb it. Build. Make it a part and transition it towards a growing sense of purpose and a strength of perseverance.
Path: embrace everything, the light, but especially the dark and rather than wander into the bleak stretches of crumbling street with some facile attempt at invincibility, do so with a complete honesty and vulnerability. Chase the latter perspective, opening your arms with a bowed head and transform, again, to build. The way out is through.”
Yesterday I had delivered the Monster Theory Reader, a very comprehensive, scholastic collection of essays around a school of thought that studies cultures through those cultures’ monsters, as clues to the anxiety of a time and people and place. I also purchased The Complete Gary Lutz, an equally voluminous collection of short stories by the author Garielle Lutz. There is a bleakness to those short stories, many of which aren’t more than a few pages, but also an intelligence and creativity of which few ever exhibit. I plan to trade off between these two books the next month, working through all 1200 pages combined.
I believe that I will be back in Chicago again, living and working before the end of 2023.
That city likely won’t be the same collection I left.