Beneath the Skin

Take the feather dipped in ink/It begins with the first mark

In my head I have so many things I want to say. It’s just a matter of what to share. I make lists. Long mental lists of topics that constantly change in my mind. Would it be something worth reading? Worth sharing? Worth anything at all?

Maybe today will be sex, or a stranger I met on the street. Will I write about relationships, or life, or about a moment or conversation with my wife? Maybe talk about finding something out of place. Like when you find one child’s velcro shoe in the middle of the road. Where did it come from? I find those moments unsettling.

Just a couple of weeks back I noticed a small bag of rice and a box of bulgur wheat in the apartment building laundry room. And it was there for an entire week. And you might not realize it now, but think about it; the mismatch of object and geography is somewhat… bizarre.

Sometimes that object is me. And something the geography is my place in the world. You ever feel like that sometimes?

I guess I’m having a strange day. I can speak about the obvious – tangential and nonsensical, whimsical and silly like yesterday’s post about wanting more hours in the day. And as fun as that one was to write, maybe there was something more that I could say; I know I want to tell you the truth.

I am afraid of dying.

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It’s haunted me since I was a young boy, through strange nightmares of just blackness. Of nothingness. Of not-existing. I remember my mother would come into my room and tell me to stand on the bed while she would recite with me the Jewish prayer of Shma Israel. She told me they would banish the nightmares. Those words would keep me safe. My Jewish mother was a magician.

Because it worked.

As I grew older I became more resilient to those thoughts, but sometimes they’d catch up with me.  Every wonder how certain thoughts crawl into your head?

It’s a strange combination of the music, the movies, the words and ideas that land within my proximal stimuli. (Of Monsters and Men, Intersteller, Wild, Dylan Thomas, Shakespeare.)

Somedays when I was living in Toronto, I’d be standing waiting on the subway platform and feel it then. The gust of air from the incoming subway would blast through, those heavy thoughts would usher in like the flood of subway riders brought in by the North Yonge line. And as my lungs would fill with the cold stale winter air, I would get sad.

I’ll be reminded I am sand and dust.

Lately, I have this fear that I’ll die before I’m ready.

Part of it is because of my mother. Her life. Her death. You stop seeing the world through child eyes. Part of it I believe is part and parcel of growing up.  Part of it is also… well that’s a lot of parts, you get the idea.

Life is shorter than we realize, more fragile than we think, more chaotic and random.

I want this sense of completeness in being, and sense of accomplishment. So I keep writing. I keep creating. I have often said I couldn’t stop doing comedy if I tried, because I’d die without it. And the ironic thing is I would rather subject myself to dying on stage, then avoid it and die having never tried.

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From the movie The Grey (2011)

Part of me wants and needs to make people laugh so I have some kind of impact in their life. Make them forget their fragility, and stress in their lives.

Some days I think of my future children. And the impact I will have on them. Will I have something to show them?

When I die I wonder what I will leave behind? And will any of it matter?

I want to matter.

Take the feather dry with ink/at the ready make your mark

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