Saturday, February 21, 2015
Once you told me you’ve been reading Toni Morrison’s Love but can’t get to what she was saying, you decided to discard it, tucked it away somewhere out of sight. Did I get you right about this, or is my memory messing up again, mixing up a bit of something with other snippets of past conversations? I bring this up because I wanted to tell you about that particular man in Toni Morrison’s fiction; how he reminded me of a real person, someone I interview every day, sometimes at the dead of night, when everyone else—except for power-starved reporters—is already sound asleep. I think about this man, this Toni Morrison man, whose magic has caught everyone in his spell, so that, just like any other writer who came close to him, I, too, was overwhelmed by the desire to write his memoir; until it struck me one day that he was a Toni Morrison man, whose memoir I wouldn’t dream of writing, if I’d continue to love and honor Toni Morrison, unless I’d do it from the point of view of those who loved and suffered under his spell; the women. Dear Prateeh, is there a way for writers to unravel the spell of an exemplary magician able to enthral his audience with the strength of his personality and magic? Is there a way for us to span the growing distance between Davao and Kathmandu before it grows even bigger than the nautical miles in which it is usually being measured? Is there a way to reduce time and space and matter into pulp so that we can finally travel beyond walls, our minds soaring free of our bodies? It’s a Sunday morning here at my desk, where I face the growing clutter of wires, cables, chargers, keys, which I never had the luxury to set in order, as I was in a constant rush, just like the way we were in that dorm at Esteban Abada. From my desk, I keep hearing the soothing sound of running water in the kitchen, where Sean is washing the dishes I abandoned, and somewhere in another corner of the house, Ja deep into his writing, quiet as a mouse. Outside my window, the three cats bask in the sunlight. Both soles of my feet keep brushing the top of the magazine pile growing fast under my table. We always dream of writing memoirs, though, we know no one else can write a memoir but the owner of the life we want to write. Unlike a biography, a memoir dwells only at a particular moment of a life, projecting it to eternity so as to render that particular life some meaning.