I’m tormented by the idea that it’s all nothing. I accept that things exist—coffee, Casablanca, you, your favorite songs—and I allow for their valuations, subjective as they may be, that things matter or they don’t, are wholly good or wholly bad or fall somewhere in between. But what is the Holocaust to water or to Saturn’s rings, to the expanse of time and space, within which we may as well never have existed? What is tomorrow’s ecstasy or horror to yesterday? Moments come and go, things happen and stop happening, that’s all. I spend half my time trying to turn this nothing into something, to capture and preserve it, to bring life to lifeless dust. This is nothing, I keep saying, but here it is. Look, it’s nothing, look.
I have written a novel, The Use of Regret. What is it about? I sort of try to explain a little bit, a very little bit. You can read that here, or buy the novel (that’s better), plus you can find out other things, like who designed its great cover.
I don’t know what you’d think seeing me at the mirror now. I always linger, my eyes hovering about my image: my hairline, my pores and lips, the contours of my jawbone, a nostril, wrinkled skin, the eyes themselves. My expression is always neutral, empty. It seems I am searching for something, I don’t know what, the impetus hidden from my consciousness (a euphemism for the fact that I am the one doing the hiding). But I persist, obsessively, knowing all the while that I will find nothing but a face both familiar and utterly alien, a face providing no comfort, no answer, no relief from my inscrutable quest, a face, my face.