Monday, October 08, 2012

Whispers of a Boggled Mind

boggled : bog-guld. verb [ intrans. ] informal. To be astonished or overwhelmed when trying to imagine something

Good word, “boggled,” and it accurately describes my mind a great deal of the time, especially when I look back on yesterday afternoon and realize it was in fact several months, years, or decades ago. It is especially applicable to my response upon reflecting on loss.

Loss is a part of life. We all experience it…some more than others…and each must learn to deal with it in our own way. I have never handled loss well, and even though I always manage to get on with my life after each one, its ghost joins the many others restlessly walking the halls of my mind, the shuffling of its feet sending up little clouds of memory. I have developed the ability to largely ignore them, but if I’m not careful,…

I came across a batch of photos of my last house in Los Angeles; probably the nicest house I have ever owned. I've been gone from Los Angeles for...dear Lord...almost 30 years, now? Impossible. (See: boggled) But no matter; looking at the photos, the ghosts of time reached out and grabbed me yet again, carrying me back to a place I cannot go.

That these ghosts grab me is one thing…what really hurts is their whispered taunting: “You had this once. Remember? Look. You’re almost there again. Just reach out, and…” and then the humorless laughter before they continue: “Oh, that's right; you can't, can you? It is gone, and you will never have it again. You will never sit at the breakfast room table, or look out at the hill behind the house, or spend time with the friends and conquests who came and went with comforting frequency. You can look at these photos, but you cannot have what you had there. Never again.”

While I am given to melodrama, as you may have noticed, I am being sincere when I say that those rare occasions when I allow myself to dwell on the whispers are not only mentally excruciating but actually cause a definite physical tightening of my chest. I had it. I want it! I want to see and talk to and touch all those people who were so much a part of my life. I miss them terribly.

I know, too, that this dwelling on the past makes me—wrongly, I can assure you—seem ungrateful for the present and all the good things and people around me today, and I apologize for that, but it is simply the way I am, and I can’t change it.

Since I was a very small child, I have been aware that each passing minute brings me closer to the time when I will no longer be here, and that thought can, if I allow it to be, terrifying. Not the idea of death, but that I will no longer be able to enjoy life. And as a perverse result, many of the good times of my present are tainted by the realization that, even as I am enjoying them, I know they must pass and become more ghosts to wander my mind.

As I’ve mentioned often before, I spend the majority of my time storing up bits and pieces of myself as a squirrel gathers nuts; not for the winter but for the time when I will no longer be physically alive. I fervently hope others may find my books, my letters, my blogs, all small parts of who this Roger/Dorien person was and is. I would hope that they might enjoy my cache and allow me to live once again through their viewing of them. The irony of that fact I won't know if they ever do certainly does not escape me. Even as I write this, I am bitterly resentful of the fact that my physical body, already far from its best, will at some point simply cease to exist. It’s been a good body, and it has served me very well, and I feel sorrow that it cannot always do so. I still have it, but I deeply miss it already.

Have I perchance happened to mention that I do not like reality? My body is forced to live in it, but my mind refuses to.

Also, as I write these little exercises in seemingly maudlin self indulgence, I wonder exactly why I expect you, who have your own life, your own losses, to have any interest at all in mine…and the answer is, as always, that I trust you may see in me parts of yourself, and realize that we humans are not quite as…I started to say “unique,” but prefer to substitute “alone”…as we sometimes feel.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please take a moment to visit his website ( and, if you enjoy these blogs, you might want to check out Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs (

1 comment:

Kage Alan said...

I sometimes feel that way about (and don't laugh) where I went to college. That's where I really came into my own as a writer and as a person. I have pictures and I'm still in touch with a few people from that time, but the place itself has grown into something I don't recognize.

I'll never get that place back, not here.

But what keeps me going is that it still exists in my mind. I still visit it, still walk the cold, snowy pathways, hear the wind, feel the rain, smell the wet grass and listen for the sound of approaching laughter from other students.

It's enough to keep me satisfied...just until I can invent time travel.