Art by Ben Giles
WHEN THE BOOK YOU READ MAKES YOU WEEP...
When you weep because there is nothing else in you but to weep. When words fail you. When the canvas of your skin ruptures and you're you no longer. A blank. When whatever you knew is gone, and whatever there is to know hasn't come yet, and you're in between the empty and the full, the full and the empty, and you don't get the meaning of either. When the idea of you stops existing, and what emerges instead is so fragile you're afraid it will die the second you touch it, and you don't move, don't breathe, and let it shoot out of you like the long forgotten child that you were before you forgot yourself. Before that child was broken.
When you feel everything and nothing at once, and it's too much, and too little, and you don't know when it will end. When you look at your hands and see stories embedded in every finger, every nail, every bit of skin, and you don't know how to put them to pages. When you hurt, alone, alone because you hurt, hurt because you're alone, and yet you're together with many, and how it's possible, eludes you.
When you read a book that takes away your heart.
When it gives it back to you, larger.
When you get that you are art and art is you and there is nothing else.
When you see your fear hiding in the fist of that heart and you have to unclench it to rip it out, and it will hurt like hell, it will fucking hurt so much you're not sure you're up for the job but there is no other way, not after you saw it, no there isn't, and you do it.
When you see the layers that made you over the years, piles and piles of ossified shit and blood and cum that's not yours, that's been dumped on you by those who were afraid of their own shadow. When you pick it up and crumble it in your hands like dirt, and you stiff it, and it no longer stinks, and it's ashes, you see it's just ashes, and you laugh, and the gust of your breath makes them gone, makes them no more, and you're light, you look and you see that nothing holds you down. Nothing. Nothing.
When you know that you are inside you, always have been, always will, and all you need is to see you. And you do, you do, you're no longer blind.
When the need to shout and be heard is gone, and instead you're one on one with you, learning to love each other, holding hands, two and one, or however many have splintered off while you fought through the detritus of what was your life. No longer. No longer yours. Someone else's. Someone who is gone forever.
When you come to the end, and there is no end, no, no, it's only a start, and your death is your birth, and you have a choice. Take it, or leave it. Leave it, or take it.
And you take it.
Because it's yours.
It's been yours all along.
This is what Lidia Yuknavitch's book THE SMALL BACKS OF CHILDREN did to me. It rebirthed me.