The stupidity of being oneself. The unavoidable comedy of being anyone at all.
Philip Roth, The Dying Animal
The word for it is quicksand, the disappearance of the ground underneath your feet. And lest anyone think I’m merely feeling sorry for myself, let me say it is a marvelous thing to experience: to be drawn down into the earth. To become and be undone by your becoming.
We’re glad this gives you pause. You wouldn’t be human if it didn’t. However, consider this: Do you think, when you were a boy, that your father would have been philosophical about any threat to you? Would he have weighed his options, thought on it awhile, then reluctantly come to a decision, full of ambivalence? No. Your father would kill puppies and step on old ladies’ throats to protect you. For your sake he would sack and burn cities, salt the fields of the world. Then or now. And though over the years he’s set an example that any son would find hard to live up to, there will never be another time, in either of your lives, when it’s so important for you to try and emulate him.
Because only when you fuck is everything that you dislike in life and everything by which you are defeated in life purely, if momentarily, revenged. Only then are you most cleanly alive and most cleanly yourself. It’s not the sex that’s the corruption - it’s the rest.
And maybe who you fell for and who you eventually loved wasn’t rational, no matter how hard you tried to list pros and cons and sum the results. You couldn’t think your way through it, not all the way. Maybe just the scent of somebody carried more weight than everything else put together.
Charles Frazier, Nightwoods