November – 1.1
If one were to write a novel in the month of November, what would it be about? The loves you’ve left behind? The love sitting next to you right now that you never thought would come? The bodies of loves laying in the ground where you put them? God, the Devil, and the Expanding Continuing Big Bang? String Theory? Efficient Markets? The law and its discontents which forbids rich and poor alike from sleeping under bridges? Barack Obama and John McCain? George Bush and Al Gore? Bill Clinton and Bob Dole? White marbled Washington D.C., alone with its wide empty boulevards? Japanese cars? Black ipods and white ipods, and people on the subways with buds in their ears, here but not here, present but not present, each listening to his or her own particular song? This is the world in 2008. When I was born, no one knew what killed the dinosaurs. Now, twenty six years later, deep deep in the future, we know it was a meteor that landed in Cancun sixty-five million years ago, a meteor the size of Mount Everest, hurtling through the sky, and then BOOM BOOM BOOM, there it went, there it goes, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
If you were to write a novel in the month of November, what would it be about? Would it be about Phish breaking up, or getting back together? Radiohead and free albums? Yo La Tengo, and falling in love? The places you have been, and the places you will go, and the sad dark waiting place on page 16 of “The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss? Would it be about that time you were mean to a dumb child, or the time you were made fun of for not understanding, or the time you wet your bed, or threw up on yourself, or got so sick lying in bed you thought a thousand years would pass before your mother came to check on you?
Would you talk about the cold depressions of the wide awake midnight soul? Of the nights spent up at 4 AM with the entire world sleeping except for you? Of the contracting of the soul that came with the cold winter winds of an uncle dying of cancer? Who would you write to? Yourself or to others?
If you could play guitar, what song would you play?
If you could sing, what song would you sing? And who would you sing to?
If you could do anything in the world, what would you do? Where would you go? Who would you visit? Dead uncles? Dead fathers? Dead mothers? Dead brothers? The places we can’t go to? The halcyon days of days already dawned? The world has turned, it turns even now, rolling along through the great big empty nothing, sun is before us, and now its gone, Great Big Sun—once called God—now, great big fire, keeping time for all the darling monkeys.
If you were to write a novel in the month of November, one hundred and sixty two pages of thoughts, of actions real and unreal, of conversations overheard and recorded, of all the different lives running around and trying to make sense of these strange days and warm nights and winters and springs and summers going and coming, of crowded subways and Grand Central trains going up to New Haven, and coming back from New Haven, and going back to New Haven, and dinners, and lunches, and breakfasts, and insomnia, and pills and powders and movies, what would it be about? If you were to write a novel in the month of November, would it be true or would it be false? Could you do it? Could you reach down into the painful center of a heart that once was whole but now is broken and turn those swirling feelings into something true and lasting, an abstract painting of words, a poem, a Kandinsky, a Rothko of thought and feeling, rhythm, poem, tone, writing, true writing, free verse, poetry without the net, standing on the shoulders of giants who came before, transforming the world, your world through nervous activity, anxiety, no day without a sentence, no week without a chapter, no month without a book, shelves and shelves of books, like Proust, searching for lost time, always searching, always searching for lost time, murdering your darlings, trying to get it out, trying to get it right, trying to get something, some recognition, some love, some something—
If you were to write a novel in the month of November, what would it be about, how it would it start, how would it end, what strange dreams would come into it, jumping into a broken car in a morning-lit dream, playing different parts, now I’m an investigator for the mob, going to scenes of the crime and destroying evidence, a naked girl, a naked girl is in my dream, fleshy and full—would that go in it, would that be there, how does it connect, how does it advance the plot, how does it serve the story, if I were to write a novel in the month of November would it make me happy, would it make me whole, would it push back the dying, the real dying and the metaphorical dying, would it heal this broken world, this broken heart, the needle punctures the flesh, I press a button and get a random number, and multiply it by nine, and by nine again, and add up the digits and they add up to nine and multiply that by nine and get eighty-one, and multiply it by a random number and then take the baby home and watch it grow into a man like me. Would that make me happy? To have a little me to stand by my hospital bed and throw some dirt on my body’s grave? Maybe it would. In the month of November? In November? Sweet November, Sad October. Maybe maybe maybe not maybe.