First I considered starting somewhere fresh.
Unburdened by the past and its events, the varied locales–muggy, bug-thick Vermont, drily heated, wine-soaked Madrid and the quiet, quotidian stillness of Connecticut–I could be what I am without the responsibility of what I have been, the various mantels of me I’ve donned and shed over the past two years. And yet… where else would I write? The idea of concocting a name I like as well–or of which I could grow as fond–as yonosomaría was also pretty daunting. Reinventing the wheel? That is decidedly and wholly un-Germanically inefficient.
Then I considered not starting at all.
Writing mostly for (and about) oneself, with the assumption of invisible eyes combing through the tangles of words time zones, oceans, continents away–where is the utility in it? I’m not sure of the answer, but I do know that for some time now, the delicious practice of textually crafting something undeniably well said, of documenting a moment in time or a silky cord of memory or a particularly plangent emotion has been calling me to come. And finally, I’m done resisting with a skeptical, sardonic, “Why?
See, I could supply a lot of good counter answers to that one, which explains at least in part the relative silence I’ve kept. Aphonicity–a sort of internal laryngitis–of the soul has a way of spreading out into the fingertips. I brood less. I worry infrequently. My heart is in less turmoil than the days in which I would record adventures in this space nightly, sometimes more than once. I do not clamor for companionship the way I used to. For a while, I’ve misconstrued this quietness of spirit, this deficit of drama, as wellness. I am not sad, I am not judged. I am not frustrated or incensed or alone. I must, I thought, be well. Hurrah! To be whole, however, and to be truly well I think isn’t simply a matter of keeping a relatively calm silence undemanding of exhaustive analysis, but of occupying the stillness with creativity, of being able to stretch the bounds of perception by examining the melange and finding some meaning. For me, being whole and well means writing: not writing with an agenda, not with the hopes of attracting spectators or winning popularity or stating an over-obvious case. Just writing. Just noticing the world. Just sharing with whomever might be interested in reading it. It means being here.
I’m here to record Chapter One of a gleamingly fresh-minted start. Life in Berlin is new for me; life plus cohabitation in our first apartment is new, too. Life in German? It’s not exactly new, but every time I’m caught unawares by a stranger’s question “Möchten Sie eine Tutte?” (Wie, bitte? I’m sorry, was I supposed to understand that?) it still feels like it. Please know that I’m writing now with humility; I am woefully rusty at my craft. What I’m going to do here I’m not exactly sure, but I know I want to do it. It might not be good, it might not be beautiful, but what, who am I if not a writer? Quite frankly, I don’t know, and that answer coupled with the stoic, static neglect of this place–this gift–is more unsettling a response to me than “A mass murderer” might have been. Although that’s also no good, particularly for said darling living-partner.
Who am I if not a writer? And where better to recommence the task of chronicling a life, of uncovering the significant minutiae that patter, unwatched and unheeded, below the surface of a day than here? Nowhere else. Nowhere but now. Nowhere.