“Sometimes I can hear my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
— Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
I am aching to read something beautiful. I’ve switched already today from Kerouac to Ginsberg, Rowling (just for fun) to Foer - but nothing is right.
Two months into my freshman year of college I went with my roommate to watch her get a tattoo, Hebrew words: “אני חי” (“anee chai” - the phlegmy “ch,” not the chai tea “ch”). On her wrist. A constant reminder.
Alive - c.1200, from O.E. on life “in living.” The fuller form on live was still current 17c. Alive and kicking “alert, vigorous,” attested from 1859; “The allusion is to a child in the womb after quickening.” Used emphatically, especially with man. (source)
“We are unusual and tragic and alive,” says Dave Eggers (the author for whom I have my own body art) in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. We are young and virile and we can do anything. Though I may feel a mirage, a sell-out of the person I hoped I’d be, I am here, able, will do more. It’s a hazard of learning the business of magazine branding and consumer interest when my whole life I’d dreamed of writing writing writing and entrancing eyes and minds through words, not carefully cultivated content.
The translation of her tattoo: “I’m alive.”
Originally posted 30 june 2012.