Lie down and look up at the ceiling and breathe with those curiously fragile lungs of yours and remind yourself: Don’t worry. Don’t worry. All is as it was meant to be. It was meant to be lonely and terrifying and unfair and heaving. Don’t worry.
The Faceless Old Woman Who Secretly Lives in Your Home, Condos
Last year nothing happened, the year before nothing happened, and the year before that nothing happened. To wait. In our lives we know joy, anger, sorrow, and a hundred other emotions, but these emotions all together occupy a bare one percent of our time. The remaining ninety-nine percent is just living in waiting. I wait in momentary expectation, feeling as though my breasts are being crushed, for the sound in the corridor of the footsteps of happiness. Empty. Oh, life is too painful, the reality that confirms the universal belief that it is best not to be born.
The Setting Sun (1947), Osamu Dazai
There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.
Not enough. One life is not enough.
I’d like to live twice on this sad planet,
In lonely cities, in starved villages,
To look at all evil, at the decay of bodies,
And probe the laws to which the time was subject,
Time that howled above us like a wind.
It was autumn, the springtime of death. Rain spattered the rotting leaves, and a wild wind wailed. Death was singing in the shower. Death was happy to be alive.
Tom Robbins, from Still Life with Woodpecker (Bantam Books, 1980)
May my silences become more accurate.
Theodore Roethke, from “Words for Young Writers,” On Poetry & Craft (Copper Canyon Press, 2001)