Diary 2020-2022, part IX

Sunday April 11, 2021

Something happens often to me as I write, something like grace leaving me, a painful separation. The text, even before being born, rebels and excludes me. There is a kind of membrane that separates us and I can’t break it.

Sometimes I feel that if there’s something true in there and it’s meant for me, then I’ll be able to cut through that film, find an opening, and sign a truce with words, so we can finish what we started together.

If it doesn’t happen that way, which is most of the time, the writing will remain as it is: deformed and mutilated, and it will go on to increase the population of the cemetery of embryos that I carry on hard drives and notebooks.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

I’m coming out of my cornea surgery.

About said surgery: the ophthalmologist, a huge and very nice woman, welcomes me in a large, white room where a bed, crowned by machinery that would soon hover over my face, awaits me. Masked attendants wait around. There is something of a ritual in surgeries. They lay me down, give me two stress balls. I ask why. «Because you’re going to be here around forty minutes, so you don’t get bored» the doctor answers suspiciously. They cover me with a blanket and I ask why: «So you don’t get cold», she lies to me again, as the wolf lied to Little Red Riding Hood. I know the real reason is to prevent any self-defense reflexes from covering myself or, worse, slapping one of the nurses.

The anesthesia is local, applied with drops (I think). I am aware and I see everything. The worst moment, the only one that really made me nervous, was the beginning. They inserted something into my eye that I assumed is like what they put on Alex in A Clockwork Orange. Then a tiny pair of scissors came in view and cut something. From there on everything became less terrifying and more interesting.

The procedure is a psychedelic and astronomical affair. Corneal scans look like climatological maps of alien planets And then the riboflavin droplets and beams shooting into the open eye create a vision that reminds me of 2001: A Space Odyssey (funny, a lot of Kubrick). Green light, red light. In the center a fluorescent sun that breathes, swells and contracts, surrounded by thousands of red stars. Rhythmic eclipses, a total darkening of this system of stars every time a new drop falls.

Too much pain now. I can’t write anymore.

Saturday May 22, 2021

I am stuck again and with an anxiety that threatens to boil over any time I have no activities to serve as a dam to contain it.

Tuesday June 8, 2021

Something happens to me. I am tired and distracted. I’m stressed, but there’s no reason. I can not focus.

Early morning of July 23, 2021

I can’t sleep. I think it’s time to accept that I’m going through a crisis. That I have been falling for months. I have blamed medications and there may be some truth to those suspicions, but they are definitely not the only culprit, much less the reason for the problem.

My spirit is dying. He has been prostrate for a long time. Bedridden and intubated. I go to visit him from time to time, I feed him crumbs: a movie, a book, a walk; I entertain him and try to cheer him up so that he ignores the electrocardiogram next to him which is tending more and more towards the horizontal. I feel bad seeing him so emaciated. The diagnosis is not favourable: he was born with a debilitating artistic temperament that fed on nefarious bohemian airs. His insides are infested by parasitic dreams and, to top it all off, a romantic sensibility has spread throughout his body. And the world to which he came is one that calls passions hobbies, that looks at the fruits creativity brings to its table and asks: what is it for? what is its usefulness? how am I going to sell it? If the answers are not satisfactory: to the garbage or, with some luck, to a well-lit corner that you can look at at certain times, to distract yourself or rest from the activities that really matter.

Who am I kidding? The truth is that the spirit dies because it’s lazy and cowardly. It is true that nothing comes easy, but there are those who write in prison, in the early or late hours, on the streets. As Kafka said: «God does not want me to write, but I must.»

Saturday August 21, 2021

We traveled to Riga aboard a double-decker bus. We are sitting on the top floor. As always when traveling in this part of the world, we cross forests and fields. Autumn colors are announced. The light is very beautiful and through my sunglasses it is even more so: golden, and the greens are more intense. An unexpected advantage of my illness.

I feel this almost like a meditation. What I can’t do with the stupid Headspace App comes naturally to me here. Thoughts come and go, light, affable, like birds seeking a branch to rest ever so briefly before taking flight once more. I only know peace when I’m in motion.

J.L.F.

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