Friday, November 03, 2006
You Will Tell Me Your Whole Heart
As I sat in a darkening office years ago, a man I was interviewing for a promotional piece about his computer business for a fluff mail circular rolled up his sleeves and showed me his arms. He prefaced this action by saying, I'm going to show you something that I don't show to many people. I eyed the exit as one is wont to do in those situations. Huge scars lined both of his arms, a veritable Jacob's ladder of misery written on his body. I've tried to kill myself several times, he said. By then, I was familiar with self-cutting (a form of mutilation, but not a suicidal behavior) so I was surprised that he'd coded it as such. Everyone I knew that had done themselves in had always used a gun. Or the slower version of booze, drugs, and fights, the traditional body blows. The light in the window faded from grey to dark blue, but he made no move for the lights. I'm doing what I love, he said. I have a staff that makes sure I stay on my meds. I'm extremely bipolar. Nodding, I said, You don't say. I had to take a picture to accompany the article so I made for my camera. I have to shave, he said, rolling down his sleeves, and went into a back room. I thought about razorblades and prayed to the good Lord that he had an electric razor.
I'd gotten this job easier than any other -- a man came into the social work center where I was working to drop off some ads and said, I'm having trouble finding a freelance writer. My friend Phyllis pointed to me and said, She's a writer. And he said, Okay then. I started writing articles every couple of weeks, the usual litany of small business owners and my mind-numbing questions -- What's the best part of owning your own business? I'm the boss! The worst? The long hours. So I was ever so grateful for the occasional live one -- the carwash owner who told me that capitalists sucked and he'd become someone he loathed, the restaurant owner who told me his wife had had seven miscarriages and become a zombie (adding to the strangeness of this encounter, said wife was in the room, serving us food -- in addition to the zombie issue, she didn't speak any English) and now Mr. Bipolar with the job he loved. I had no idea why people told me such personal things -- certainly they knew as well as I did that it wouldn't be used in the final piece which would be the equivalent of a paid advertisement. I often thought of Delilah saying to Samson, If you love me, you will tell me your whole heart. Like most writers, I was a good audience who wouldn't betray their secrets, at least until now.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If I seem free, it's because I'm always running." Jimi Hendrix
Drinking movie suggestion: Slingblade (Between the tour de force performance of Billy Bob, the comic brilliance of the great John Ritter and of course, my boy Dwight Yoakum as Doyle, you must see this movie.)
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy All Souls Day! I'll be posting pictures of my Day of the Dead shrines in the next few days. In Memoriam -- William Styron, author of Sophie's Choice and Darkness Visible. Darkness Visible is a great memoir about Styron's battle with depression.