The irrelevant events of my life are now just stories I tell people at a party. All feeling, all love I held so deeply, is now a cheap laugh or worse, an ill-timed joke, a scoff and a sip of whatever drink is on the table, over and over. All my years going forward will amount to the same—so will the years of others. All lives make for a good joke if told right. I feel this is what numbs people eventually, this tarnishing of what once was the purest of emotion. A joke, laughter, the thud of the mug on the table—that is all anything is ever worth. Where has the time gone? I have slowly written and laughed it away. Where has the sadness gone? It has become material for a show no one pays for but everyone goes to see.
I have told the stories of letting things go for more years than I spent doing it. I have told the stories repeatedly to strangers and friends alike, and strangers who turn into friends especially, so much that I seem to have lost track of what I originally felt. When I look back, I see only stories of stories. The events and how they transpired has faded. They have lost all their originality and charm. The same story gets told, with bits and pieces amassing over it like iron fillings get pulled onto a magnet lying about on the table—banality attracts banality, tragedy begets tragedy, and joy seeks joy.
It is but the curse of the curator, the raconteur: to find stories at all times, no matter the cost. He is the person who suffers the most, with this curse of constant inventory, constant remembrance. I am writing at all times. I think of a metaphor before my heart gets a chance to make contact with the surface and shatter. The story is written while it finds its way to the ground, and so is the joke. And when lost in a bout of happiness, a quiet part of me takes notes.
On the one hand, my life happens right in front of me. On the other, I can’t help but think of writing about it, or perhaps, which parts fit correctly, and which I can conveniently forget or omit. It is a second-hand life, the life of a storyteller. The first draft of all I feel is given to the page or the narrative. The leftovers are what I have when I sit and sip coffee by myself.