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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

coming clean


There are handfuls of parables floating around the world, about knowing yourself. They fit neatly on a t-shirt or a coffee mug, maybe a meme superimposed over an image of a dark pool of water with one drop in it. The question, "Can man know anything, really?" it has been reduced to a parlor trick. Post-truth, the answers are all custom-fit.

I find myself thinking of the days when we had a rotary phone, and a party line. Waiting for the neighbors to be done talking and eavesdropping a little each time I lift the receiver. The tv was black and white, small in a corner of the living room. We only got one channel, so it was either on or off. I had to be told that the Incredible Hulk was green - to me he was gray.

Waking up feeling lost has become familiar. I'm not going to live in a tree or anything, but I feel like putting distance between the fire hydrant of news bytes and the rest of the world. There is actually an entire world out there beyond screens and paranoia, past the latest tragedy and the next one. I am beginning to take comfort in the fact that I know less than I would like to. It feels good to come clean.

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