On the Genesis of PMS (Part 1: On All Six Meditations)

Yesterday, I posted the link to a series of essays I’d written for the online journal Kritika Kultura. Today’s post says a little about their genesis:

I began writing these essays in September 2010, in response to a suggestion by a very good friend of mine, Jeline de Dios, that I submit a piece to the first literary anthology of Kritika Kultura. It had been a while since I’d written anything remotely creative, and having a definite target for a finished piece was all the incentive I needed. I didn’t have anything specifically in mind, but once I began the first line of the first essay, the pieces literally wrote themselves.

The essays express things that had percolated in my mind for years. As a whole, they articulate the broad spectrum of pain, bitterness, desperation, grief, irony, wistfulness and bravado that have accompanied me throughout my twenties. People often wonder: Why pain? Why bitterness? Why desperation? Why grief? Why such melancholy from one so abundantly blessed?

I don’t quite know the answer. The most I can say is it’s a temperamental inclination. I’ve felt, perhaps more keenly than most, the freedom offered by the times we live in as a burden. To be given so much—to be granted so much—yet to have to suffer the constant dislocation and disorientation of migratory friendships, transitory homes, ephemeral desires, fluctuating identities and relative absolutes: sometimes I would trade all the choice I have in my life now for the simplicity of the given. In a journal entry dated November 2008, I wrote: At twenty-seven . . . I just want peace—from the constant second-guessing, anxiety and regret. Peace. That’s it.

Many things have changed for me since September 2010—more so since November 2008. The despair that’s been part of my internal landscape for as far as I can remember still remains, still surfaces in moments of joy, but it grips me less. I doubt it will ever go away, but perhaps growing older is less about exorcising demons than it is about embracing them. These essays are about me acknowledging my demons, naming them, and perhaps in this way, being free.


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