My Dear Blogateers,
I’ve been remiss. I know—I don’t need to tell you that. It has to do with my voice, I think, and lack of certainty about how to say what I want to say in this light, bloggy form. I haven’t been feeling light and bloggy lately, as many or most of you know. Anyway, I have a new assignment: to write about my father. Probably much of that I can’t do in this form, but who knows? Do you want to know the sad, gritty facts of devastating loss?
The thing I haven’t really inspected, you see, is that fact that I loved my father as much as a person can love another person. Or I think I did. That is, the aftermath of his death was pretty bad for ten-year-old Deitch, and I’m pretty certain that I went back, just after he died, and did a little rearranging of facts and feelings, let’s just say, so that devastating loss would disappear. Maybe I toned down the love a little bit, and later made my dad a bad guy.
Anyway. The point is that I’m going to try to tell you some of the the stories. I’ll start with this intro:
Last week was the forty-fifth anniversary of my father’s death. Can you believe that? It was a different anniversary from the many, many that have gone before it, because I’m reeling from another huge loss right now, and another, and another, and another, and so my heretofore brilliant grief-and-pain-stuffing ability seems to have broken down, and all that stuffed stuff has built up huge steam. I didn’t know this, exactly, until a few days ago, on the anniversary of my father’s death, when I suddenly felt it, walking up Madison Avenue in the Seventies: the physical, energetic pressure—hundreds of pounds of it, all there since 1966 or before—pushing up through my muscles and joints and veins and organs. I didn’t know which to do first, vomit or cry. (Deitch has been doing as much crying on New York City Streets as men are doing shitting in open fields in India.)
Anyway, to keep myself from exploding into a massive cloud of sad particles that will cover the earth and enter the spinach and milk of everyone, I’m starting to let out little bits of very, very sad steam, every few hours. I’ve got it under control until I don’t. So that’s the start.
That and the fact that I took a pair of jeans out of the closet this morning, that I hadn’t worn in a year or two. Upon lifting them off the hanger, fifteen dollars fell out of the pocket. I had the usual minor thrill at having discovered forgotten money, but the main thing I felt was that this was money that had secretly been living in my pocket during my old life, before it unceremoniously and suddenly and horribly ended. This was happy, innocent money—money that was in my pocket when Scout was alive, and Dolly and Scooby. When Julia and I were probably sitting at Community over wine and hamburgers, laughing about something we both thought was very funny, or walking down Broadway at night, pointing at the ugly clothes in locked stores and saying, “I bought that for you.” When we were friends. This is money from the time when I was feeling light and bloggy and happily talking nonsense about whatever: about the magic of things, mainly.
I put that money in my drawer today. I’ve decided to keep it for awhile. It’s covered in magic. I’m not giving it away—and I’m not letting anyone take it away. I will finally suffer the loss of my loves, but I’ll do it with it with a few talismen from the past in my pockets and drawers, to remind me that it wasn’t always dark like this: you can’t lose it, if you haven’t had it.
Here’s a song for you: