“It’s my fault: too much imagination.”
November 28, 2021
Imagination: a very short introduction: Idealization of imagin-
ation tends to conceal a wider reality of a flourishing life that employs imagination prudently. Otherwise, imagination can get out of hand.
So, I should be giving thanks for having not gone over the edge.
One sees such gratitude commonly at PostSecret: planning to kill oneself, but someone arrived in time, or one found the way to stand again alone.
I’ve never been suicidal. So, can I understand those who are (or have been), such that I stand feeling the truth of loving life for its own sake (falls, winters, spring again), yet with compassion for those who fail, then finally fall?
“I lost a love, too. Dear, don’t we all.”
Was I at fault for not being there? Was I at fault for being blindly optimistic?
Did I love my love of being too much, her presence not enough? Could anyone have loved her “enough”?
Janna, my partner of 25 years, said, in effect (via suicide note): No.
But she was wrong. She failed to reach out. She failed to let me know she was on the edge.
No? I victimize myself through so much imaginability by vainly believing I was so important—thus importantly failing to see her Signs in time?
So it goes in the life of imagination: finding balance with evidential otherwising is difficult: a wisdom of acceptance, a trust in love shown. Not making oneself a dramatic character in a too mundane life. [Insert capacious discourse on difficulty.]
I remember the time we were hiking in Wildcat Canyon, a part of the Tilden Regional Park, beyond the eastern hills of Berkeley (where I live). I was in love with the day and being with her. She invited my effusiveness: showing an equal joy in the day.
I got into free associating on my conceptual loves (being a philo-
sopher by calling), which I thought she enjoyed—until she began crying, because she couldn’t understand—but she didn’t ask me to slow down or back up. She didn’t ask.
I was entranced, to be sure, but never pretended she wasn’t with me.
Well, that seems to have been a turning point. Years passed. We continued to be part of each other’s life, she with her psycho-
therapy practice in the Upper Haight, I in Berkeley. It worked!—
I imagined. She was my best friend. I thought I was at least still the love she’d loved enough to have kept me near enough to her
so-called soul such that she’d tell me she was at the edge.
I imagined I was there to her.
Was my blogging about a friend at work, as if she was a lover (writerly musing only, but as if unimagined) discovered by Janna, since I’d never confessed to blogging at all?
OK, I’m shy. I would get around to confessing a writerly life. (Professionally, I was “in” health care publishing: philosophy doing good!) I needed my sense of anonymous audience. So, also,
I failed to confess a thrill of playing with Nabokovian authorship. So, did she believe there was some Other Woman I’d hidden from her?
But she didn’t let me know she was reading? She wasn’t reading, but I’m overcome with guilt for not being more candid?
She was reading and didn’t let me know because I had no role in her private pain?
Anyway, I’m at fault for too much imagination that won’t even grant her the dignity of her decision as being wisely and solely about her?—like she had late-stage brain cancer? (Her suicide note mentioned unbearable mental pain.)
Otherwise, imagine: a psychotherapist devoted to promoting creative living doesn’t save herself. (There was never any involvement with medical services.) A novelist wouldn’t get away with such a trite ruse?
Life is strange, then you die for no reason.
Life is trite, then you die, just as well.
Life is beautiful, then you die too soon.
Three seasons after she died, I reached out to the love of my youth. It was a crazy impulse.
I was coy, summer of 2010. I knew that then. Anyway, “what’s to lose?” She was a long-tenured Professor of Literature, 30+ years after we planned to make our literary-philosophical affair our life—but we didn’t, due merely to circumstance (doctoral programs on separate coasts) which didn’t survive time apart.
Kathryne didn’t reply. No biggie, no surprise. But it turns out, too, that she didn’t let me know she was grieving the death of her husband (I learned years later). She didn’t give me a chance to share that I had been grieving, too.
Yet, she did know by my hand that decades didn’t cause me to forget.
So it goes. So it silently went out of mind.
Life goes on without knowing that one doesn’t know what could be known.
So, I mourned horribly, fighting too much imagining that my capricious emails had led to her tracking my audacious blogging (archived over many years and avidly ongoing), and that had unwittingly drove her to the final edge, because I was flowing with creativity, and she felt wasted. I was anticipating a friend’s first child, and Kathryne was never able to have children.
She had a cat (I learned from her memorial Facebook page) and “Friends.”
Obviously, I was really imagining myself to again have a tragic role in someone’s death.
So, I resorted to a muse—well, actually: a living professor of literary philosophy in New York whom I made, via fantasy bond,
to symbolize longing for literary-philosophical synergy in terms of her work.
I mean, am I a comedy one can’t stand or what?
The What became a long story, in terms of postings over some years (she never knew about)—the links to which I impulsively decided this Halloween to email to her—Ha!
After all, when I’d earlier written of my infatuation with her cosmic aspirations in the preface of her first book, she wrote that she cried.
But I never heard from her again, not substantively—until
I criticized something she’d written. Then, I got a long stream of consciousness paragraph defending her “voice.”
Anyway, better angels prevailed last Halloween midnight: I didn’t send the links. Instead, I deleted all the postings—but I kept my major sense of fun, “a creative life” (link at the end here—and I archived the offline postings because I’m a textual hoarder).
Deletions, shifted attention, dwindling vanity...I’ve moved on. Halloween sequed into All Souls Day.
Twelve years ago, Janna filled a bag over her head with helium
a few days before Thanksgiving, leaving detailed instructions for family and friends whom, Janna avowed, gave her so much selfless love.
Eleven years ago soon, Kathryne jumped, no instructions left on the car seat.
After so many years, a sad thing is I feel need to send Janna an email, because she’s probably pretty busy across the bay at her place, being there so alive because I forget she’s gone.
And Kathryne, I’m pretty sure you did read my blogging, which unwittingly dramatized too unbearably some pointlessness of all the years?
Or maybe I unwittingly resented that Janna wasn’t Kathryne, so
I failed to see the signs before she finally fled.
Maybe I felt too Halloween-ish last month because I wanted
a muse to come alive, and of course she’s busy: Imagination:
a very short introduction.
No matter. I shorted before she got shocked.
Creative writing’s a better way to go, as I’m primordially amused by framing too much imagination to a fault by making the best
I can of time I have, moving on, as if it was all fiction.
Everybody’s got a story, you know.
And who, if I cried, would care.
Hey, the PBS Nova series on “The Universe Revealed” is full of young astronomers (facing the camera with exuberance about ultimate mysteries) “comforting” us about the joys of ultimate mystery. Come back here, after you follow that link!—if you follow.
Yes, bring on the sentences!
As far as we know, We humans (wee beings in a corner of one galaxy) are the intelligence of the universe writing its evolving odyssey as so many instances of standing [in] The Intimacy of Mystery (or not standing it), loving to move on, creatively standing to last.