"What do you write?"
I get this question a lot when meeting somebody for the first time. Often, it seems to be the result of a blind impulse toward social connection which I have always lacked. Today, it came up in the context of a physical therapy appointment, my first since I broke my ankle several weeks ago. I still haven't figured out an "acceptable" answer to this question. I knew immediately that I couldn't tell the physical therapist, a young (younger than I) doe-eyed woman who was practically shiny with health, what I really write. Surely, she was expecting some sort of conventional answer, some nonsense about small towns or an eternally optimistic blonde protagonist who finds love with a ruggedly handsome police officer. But I digress...
How could I expect her (or anyone else, for that matter) to understand the inverse moral code of my work, the elevation of pleasure to cardinal virtue. Not the sort of superficial pleasure that television commercials promote in ads for fast food and sparkling kitchen appliances, but genuine, sublime pleasure that allows us to live outside ourselves, if only for a short while. The sort of cataclysmic, eternal, elemental pleasure that modern society tries to convince us that we don't need anymore. The sort of pleasure that most people don't even realize that they need.
"What do you write?"
Sometimes the simplest questions are the hardest to answer.
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