Lots of nights when I can’t sleep and I am wrapped up in ideas from books I spend a lot of time just doing Google searches of that particular book. Reading quotes, looking at old pictures of authors, reading their biographies or criticisms of them. Tonight I was doing this obsessive routine about Roberto Bolano, after reading a few hundred pages in his posthumous novel 2666. I was looking to see if a particular quote existed on the internet. I always feel like there is a potential for connections on the internet, even though it has been a long time since I have had one. But I feel like I may find the blog entry of someone who I agree with completely and strike up a life-long friendship with, that kind of foolish thing. I found the quote on a website I had visited many times before, always on nights like this, late night literary-quote rampages. It is called The Floating Library and has a lot of Borges’ work in its entirety, I have always admired the site and thought of the creator as a mysterious presence, perhaps some old college literature professor, a like mind with similar tastes. Too intimidating to ever actually contact, but a great resource on nights like this when I want to feel at least a little bit like someone out there understands and feels as deeply about this shit as I do. I looked at the most recent entry and saw that the author of the blog was actually a young man, only a few years older than me, and that he had committed suicide last October. I feel enormously sad as I read through his obituary and find out about his life.
I was looking for a quote about exile and fate.
“Exile must be a terrible thing,” said Norton sympathetically.
“Actually,” said Amalfitano, “now I see it as a natural movement, something that, in its way, helps to abolish fate, or what is generally known as fate.”
“But exile,” said Pelletier, “is full of inconveniences, of skips and breaks that essentially keep recurring and interfere with anything you try to do that’s important.”
“That’s just what I mean by abolishing fate,” said Amalfitano. “But again, I beg your pardon.”
– Roberto Bolaño, 2664
Now I feel incredibly alone and like the one person I could possibly talk to about anything is already dead. And I feel like that is the fate most people like us end up meeting. That or liver disease like Bolano and my father. I feel exiled from the entire human condition. That seems very over dramatic, I go to work 5 days a week and smile and laugh and tell jokes and entertain people, and my co-workers and customers love me. I seem like a happy person and not a desperate one. But on my days off I take care of my sick mom and go for long walks into the desert and it is becoming very clear to me that I am unhinged and in exile.