I enjoy writing. I enjoy writing here. I’d like to continue. I noticed, when I stopped, I had nowhere else to turn. I am on the other ‘playground,’ to be sure. It’s simple, and simply unrealistic, fiction. It’s teaching me something else I should have learned about writing thirty years ago – it’s not a product, it’s an activity. But still, it doesn’t tell me who I am.

I’m just a guy, fifty-five years old. An American guy, with a little education and a little bit of success, right where so many of us must find ourselves, and I wonder: who am I?

I’m strapped into a smiling, self-confident, quite capable exterior, complete with skillsets and sensitivities enabling me to negotiate any situation you can think of, perhaps more competently as intensity increases – and yet internally I’m a jangling collection of taped-together broken parts, desperately looking for somewhere, anywhere, to pull over.

I pay a little attention to my culture. I know desperation is boring, just another theme in my kids’ cartoons. We all know there’s no ‘meaning of life.’ So I, too, have learned to stop battering at myself, to relax into the practical world as it is; the place that simply exists for me. That’s it, then, and on I go.

But I don’t believe anything, really. I don’t trust anyone, really. If I’m disappointed, it’s okay. I didn’t expect anything more. And I’m exhausted by it. I envy those people who know the truth. I wish I could be a born again Christian or a liberal Democrat. Every thing I’ve ever believed has collapsed into pieces around me; every promise I’ve made, I’ve broken; every dream I’ve had – well, there’s still time, isn’t there?

So that’s why I come here. It’s not fiction, but it’s not quite real, either, because anything written down is just an echo of an attempt. For me, it’s worth trying because I don’t feel like I’m hiding; like if any of the torsos bouncing along on the sidewalk suddenly stopped to take a look – there I’d be. As close as I can be to what I am. Because it only seems to happen when I write it down.

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