The publication of the Man Booker Prize Long List is another one of those “events” in my life I both celebrate and mourn.
I pore over the list each year, upset that I am ineligible. No, not because I haven’t managed to publish a book, but because I am an American author. Since I have known about the Man Booker Prize and started reading the winners and nominees, I have longed for one.
These things I can’t have. These unceasing longings for the impossible. What strand of disruptive DNA or untreated mental disorder is to blame for this endless aching loss I suffer for that which I have never had and can never have? Why? Why? I want to goddammit know what gave birth to this anomalous, ridiculous life of lamentation? My life is all absence.
Can it possibly be that the simple act of my father driving into that telephone pole when I was seventeen months old, disappearing overnight, leaving a mother and four older siblings and extended family in mourning, a mourning around which they built the rest of their lives, programmed me to think that “should be” equaled missing and mourning and waiting and wanting and re-imagining into being someone (something) who (that) never really existed in the first place?
Memory is all haunting. Memory is all ghosts. But, I live in memory. I have constructed an ephemeral ethereal otherness in which I have lived since I was a child. Everything is metaphor. Nothing is solid. I live in the layers beneath, in a world that has no meaning without the imposition of backstory and symbol and shamanistic divining of what it all means, what it’s all about, what it’s all for.
And now, having realized that it is about exactly nothing. Well. As with the Tony Awards, as with the Algonquin, as with the smell of moth flakes, as with Kay Thompson, as with Dolores Gray, as with “Flahooley“, as with so many things that mean so much to me and almost nothing to almost anyone I know, thus further exacerbating and highlighting just how fundamentally alone I am, the release of the Man Booker Prize Long List brings me joy – because somehow it matters to me – and sorrow – because there is no one I know to whom it matters, there is no chance I’ll ever win one, there is no ordering the books from Amazon and sharing them with someone in a big king sized bed in a beautiful room we share.
The beautiful room is empty. (Kafka. White. And no one with whom to smile knowingly at the reference.)
P.S. Do physicians still prescribe Seconal as a sleep aid, or is that too “Valley of the Dolls” and I would need to find some from a dealer. And, does anyone know where I might find a dealer? It’s been such a long time since I’ve had a need to acquire any pharmaceuticals, I’m out of every loop. I suppose I could resort to Craigslist. But, I really would rather not end up in prison . . . not when I’m looking to be Mr. Goodbar’ed.