(life:) razorblades included
For all that so much of the material in this book deals with death, this is a book about life. It has two starting points, the two things we wake up to every day – that it would be so much easier not to open our eyes, but to lie back down and slowly forget to breathe; and that we do not. We take that magnificent, exhilarating, impossible, anarchic, destructive, mind-boggling, terrifying decision to live.
Choosing life does not mean oblating oneself on the altar of beige. To live, in the belief that it is somehow easier to do so than to die; to live, and to believe every obstacle is thereby behind us; these are acts of self-deception I long to able to perform, but can’t. For many many people, making the choice to live means a daily struggle with, and embracing of, pain, hurt, and helplessness.
This collection is about the full implication of what it means to live, not just to breathe, but to grapple again and again with the effortless simplicity of death and the impossibility of life, but to choose, again and again and again, the latter. To choose life is to choose the unpassable course. To choose life is to live at the edge of the map of the human soul, in a place where every eyeline looks beyond the horizon, and to continue into that hot, chill, black, burning bright unknown regardless. To choose life means, on occasion, to choose the unacceptable, the inconceivable, the immoral, the ridiculous.
My writing has been called bleak, dark, and bereft of joy and hope. The first two of these I will readily concede. The latter two, never. In a world where the default setting is vanilla, acceptance, expectation, normal; in a world where the tragic few who wrestle with life full-on and fail are condemned when it is not they who are too sick for the world, but the world too sick for them; in a world where the grey, suited swamp of the billion walking dead is revered; in this world, anyone or anything that celebrates the full, damaged, despairing, fucked-up and spectacular reality of life is a shriek, a shout, a holler of joy to pierce the eardrum of death.
Open up this book, take a deep breath of it into yourself and smell and taste and touch the words and let them graze the inside of your lungs. Fill your heart and your blood and your head with its oxygen, and go out and live.