Oh struggle, old friend; in your arms again.


In the rumpled sheets, I leave my shape; in these rumpled sentences. A friend says my writing is too sad; perhaps she’s right. I don’t want to deny what’s difficult, but I don’t want to exalt it, either. My wife says, “Don’t worry about making people sad.”


Last night, all I wanted to do was relax; all I succeeded in doing was numbing myself. The movie I rented was disappointing. I could have turned it off. But I didn’t want to turn it off. I didn’t want to read anymore, think anymore. I didn’t want to be Sy Safransky.

It’s important not to condemn myself for that, but it’s also important to remember that the morning isn’t separate from the night that comes before. Sleep isn’t the end of some chapter called a day. Waking up isn’t like turning the page. I can pretend it is; I can wake up early, filled with adamant determination to accomplish something “before the world wakes up.” But what can I really accomplish as long as I imagine the night is “time off.” Time off from what?


The courage it takes just to be here, with the tiredness, the sadness: not ignoring what I’m feeling, or bullying myself with sly shoulds; not driving a wedge between the heart and mercy.


Brother Lawrence: “I possess God as tranquilly in the bustle of my kitchen . . . as if I were on my knees before the Blessed Sacrament. . . . It is not necessary to have great things to do. I turn my little omelet in the pan for the love of God. . . . When I cannot do anything else, it is enough for me to have lifted a straw from the earth for the love of God.”


You see, I told him, I’m organizing my own religion. It’s strict and holy: I can’t read about God, talk about God, think about God.


I’m Your wayward heart. I look for You in every face I see.


I’m melancholy this morning, and I don’t know why. Yet I blame myself — not only for feeling this way but for being unable to explain it.

I don’t rail at the heavens because the weather has changed. I know that nature is unpredictable. What about human nature? What about the heart in its seasons?


Waiting for this mood to pass. I don’t want to punish Norma with my surliness — run up to her when she gets home and shake myself like a dog.


I bind her to me with the thread of my sorrows — the hurt expression; the small, pitiful gesture; the too-meaningful goodbye.


Gunnar Ekelof: “Who is coming, you ask / You wish somebody would come / Don’t you know you are the one who will come?”


I still need someone in the room to remind me love is real. I’m still learning: only love is real.


Forgiving beauty for being such a tease.


I struggle to live truthfully — despite the grumpy old bureaucrat in me, who fixes me with a raised eyebrow, makes me sign in triplicate for every risk I take, wants to know where I’m going when I slip away from myself.


Real passion: not the shimmery aura of one more “passionate” act. I mean, loving myself when love is impossible.


To trust my life rather than my rules for living.


Ram Dass says that after all the years of spiritual practice and therapy and drugs, he hasn’t gotten rid of even one neurosis; all that’s changed is that he relates differently to his pain.

Can’t I say the same? What’s really changed, except my ability to forgive myself, to see myself from another perspective. The woundedness remains. I’m human, after all; human and broken.


I was a beggar outside the door to my heart, until the door opened and I greeted myself, and made a home for myself, and made what was broken whole.


They talk about writer’s block. I’ve never known anything but writer’s block. I wonder — as I might wonder about some exotic, faraway land — what it would be like to write more fluidly, unselfconsciously; what it would mean to find my true voice, the voice that doesn’t dress in words so tight people can’t help but notice, that doesn’t turn images like tricks.


Oh to give myself more perfectly, the way the world gives itself — these words falling around you like leaves.


Is it glib to say we’re all homeless? Or is it glib to imagine my house is home? Maybe I’m so far from home I don’t know it; so lost that I’ve confused my wandering, and the monuments I’ve built to that wandering, with home itself.


The wind lifts the roof of my life. I nail it down with answers.


Yogananda: “The mysteries of life and death have one purpose: to make us seek, with all fervor of our souls, until we find God, our eternal beloved.”


Words become sentences in spite of themselves, as moments become a life. I look back on what I’ve written. I can hardly believe it: raising myself letter by letter, day by day.