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"...a story of the author's personal recovery from chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome...explores the connections between literature, meditation, illness, and corruption."
While I retreated down to lower ground,
before my eyes there suddenly appeared
one who seemed faint because of the long silence.
Yes, this is the dangerous, lucid hour.
That sense of descent, hurtling downward toward the original image of all that is fundamentally bad, a body in pain. And always accompanied by fear, the nearness of death, or other endings, the termination of capabilities, lost limbs, eyesight, hearing, hair, skin erupting, blood appearing, breath disappearing, menacing sights, sounds, smells, the unavoidable presence of what is unpleasant, disagreeable, unlucky, even evil. This palpable badness having invaded or mysteriously appeared from somewhere or come about from some heretofore unsuspected cause. Or in its own way, just as terrible, a known cause that could not be prevented, despite every effort, the secret failure, the failure that cannot be hidden.
How do you dare speak of this?
And now, just as you prepare to tell your own story, you hear another story, one you know will be with you as you make your descent.
I know I am here to tell a story. And perhaps it is for this reason that as I ride on the Métro, on the second day after my arrival in Paris, I am acutely aware that all around me, in a language that is still not fluent for me, stories are being told. A group of girls speak almost at once, each giving a different piece of an event they experienced together. An older woman, perhaps a mother, listens as a youngerwoman, perhaps her daughter, recounts what happened to her that morning. A man sits reading a newspaper filled with reports from all over the world. In my purse I carry a Pariscope, the weekly publication that lists hundreds of movies; compelling tales are being unreeled all day in theaters all over the city. And sitting alone for two brief stops between Châtelet and Hôtel de Ville, I am composing a little story now, not only imagining the lives of those around me, but configuring myself in the narrative I call my life. The subterranean depths of the Métro seem fitting. My story is immersed in the body. And it is also right that I should be in this city. The story I will tell alongside my own was set here. As I wander the streets for the flavor of this history, just as certainly as I have entered Paris, the body of the city has entered me.
The tale I tell from my own life concerns an episode in an illness I have had for more than a decade. Over a period of three years I was very ill. Now, though several years have passed since I got back on my feet, and though I have regained most of my strength, something else inside me has not recovered. An affliction remains that may seem ephemeral compared to fevers or tremors yet nevertheless acts powerfully in my life. The dimensions of memory loom large for me. I am still afraid. And this is why I have decided to move toward rather than away from a terrain of suffering I might otherwise just as well forget. There is a part of myself caught in this underworld, a crucial fragment of being that, only because I have grown stronger in body and soul, I am able to rescue now. Something else, still molten, remains to be discovered in my past.
The memory frightens me. Still I am drawn not only by the hope of staring down this fear but by something else, almost outside the ken of my own story, there in the background, dim but still signaling to me now. Illness is often treated as an isolated event, an island of suffering significant only in itself. Yes, there is drama in disease; in fact, cast as it is between life and death, what more could one ask from a good story? A woman struggles valiantly for years before she succumbs to a little-known disease that turns all her tissue to a stonelike hardness. A celebrated writer laughs his way to health. No longer able to pitch a ball over the plate, a famous and beloved baseball player discovers he has a fatal illness that will soon make him helpless and dependent.
But I have begun to look beyond the solitary figure, toward a background that has all but faded into obscurity. It is there outside the sickroom, outside even the house, occupied as it may be by worried friends and family; it is also in the streets, the town, the city, society. And if illness is already understood by some as a social problem, I am beginning to see it as a source of vision too, a new lens through which one can see society more clearly. Just now, I find myself transfixed by a slight glimmer of promise at the edges of my story, barely discernible traces of a new way of seeing.The glimmer only grows more intense when I add a second story to my own. Just as I was emerging from the worst episode of my illness and preparing to tell the tale, an older story, legendary in my childhood, caught my attention. Though I had nearly forgotten it, this story took on such a powerful life in my thinking that soon I found I had taken on a companion for my descent into memory. And now it seems entirely natural to me that I should tell it along with mine.
The presence of this tale has widened the scope of my vision by over a century. Known in America as Camille, the older story that accompanies mine, though fictional, is based on a true story that took place almost one hundred years before my birth. This was a time of titanic events. A revolution had recently occurred. There were high hopes for democracy, equality, justice. And yet in the same period, while great fortunes...
Posted May 27, 2013
Appearance: All white with one black paw•••
Looks: Icy blue eyes, scars all over body, one over his eye•••
Personality: Mostly in a good mood except when annoyed•••
Mate: Morphine ((Love ya))•••
Kits: Snow & Blizzard•••
Sisters: Eclipse & Snow•••
Others: Dislikes imposters•••
Theme Song: Thriller By Micheal Jackson•••