Swing me back up again. Bring me back something true. Or if not completely true, give me a good story. I keep writing what I want, what is loved, what misses me and how much I miss. Hemmingway wrote: “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”
There are two kinds of artists. But only one will do. Will do. Only the writer who duels with himself, drools dreams of joy or otherwise drab crabgrass growing in the heartland of despair. The writer I want grows up, wakes with a belly of everything and nothingness, considers the weather, his cooling coffee, orange juice, the omelet like a swollen body to eat, even (and perhaps more so) enjoy. It’s a duty, a job, a consideration of life and afterlife. What for? What? What more? Where is this going?
I’ve learned enough to know I don’t know either. I know it’s July now. I know this letter I’m writing is being sent to a good place. A place with shared voices and a deep concern for connecting with each other through words. It’s clear we don’t have so long to live. This swelling concert of angels weep in falsetto. How beautiful they touch their faces.
And so I’m issuing this wild call to the canyon. Now is the time. Come out. Give me champagne, tubs of sewage, the kitten at the dumpster of what we leave behind, landfills layered with brown lettuce and how the light in an empty oil drum sings. Amputation, solace, grandeur, every one of God’s angels measuring the ounces of fallen sweat from our hair. Get out of the bones of the city and then the skin. Trying to understand the prayer. Singing anyway. Write the truest sentence you know. Singing. I’m going to keep believing. I’m going to keep believing. I’m going to keep believing.
I’d been gluing stickers of the cosmos on my ceiling again, trying to receive a membership to the dark everything of the universe, so it’s taken this long to respond to your question about bricklaying which I know nothing about. Instead of saying I built this house, I should have told you I only surveyed its being built. But it’s not like you remember it. The lemon trees seem to be suffering a reverse puberty, shrugging the acne shoulders of their branches like what? I don’t know. I don’t know why the grass continues to brown in patches or else doesn’t grow at all. The bonfire of spring is in full swing. Last night I killed three rabbits trying to uproot the squashes we planted together. And I repainted the barn so I wouldn’t have to remember the planks that need replacing. Now I think of their rotting more, what we’re left with. Is it raining where you’re at? Is the city still like we remember it? —the newspaper-wrapped shoe of a man on the subway tapping out a beat, the dingy white strobe of phonebooths like elevators in skyscrapers? Just now I realized I won’t be able to tell your children about phonebooths without explaining to them—sometimes it was hard to get ahold of each other. But what has changed? The metal weathervane above the barn swivels to a stop. Stars taped on the fanblades above my bed glow in the dark as if the rings of Saturn were not blocks of ice and space.
Every time I had met her during the fifteen years of our — well, I fail to find the precise term for our kind of relationship — she had not seemed to recognize me at once; and this time too she remained quite still for a moment, on the opposite sidewalk, half turning towards me in sympathetic incertitude mixed with curiosity, only her yellow scarf already on the move like those dogs that recognize you before their owners do — and then she uttered a cry, her hands up, all her ten fingers dancing, and in the middle of the street, with merely the frank impulsiveness of an old friendship (just as she would rapidly make the sign of the cross over me every time we parted), she kissed me thrice with more mouth than meaning, and then walked beside me, hanging on to me, adjusting her stride to mine, hampered by her narrow brown skirt perfunctorily slit down the side. - Nabokov, Spring in Fialta