Today I am starting a new writing project. I do not know what it is yet, but I have known for three years that it is something, and today I am starting in order to find out.
When my father-in-law Lindy shuffled off to kick the old bitch three years ago, he left behind whatever journals he had not used for firestarter. I have had them in piles and cardboard, shelved near me, along with whatever books he had not either given away or used for firestarter or ripped apart or drawn all over.
I feel wary of revealing the way in which his loud old ghost makes a racket in my heart and mind and the corner of my eye every day, and wakes me up at night, singing, daughter-in-law, daughter-in-law, and wobbling his tall old head and foolish eyes at me. But last night I was told, again, by a person so near to me that sometimes I wonder how he can be real, to own my opinions, and that means my opinionated heart as well. So this declaration is me putting that into practice. It means defenestrating notions of rights, ownership, inheritance, deservedness, and authority. Out the window they go.
So I am transcribing the journals. It is probably going to take a long time. Nothing seems to be dated or organized chronologically, but I will be able to start piecing more of his story together as I type it out.
I have decided to write about the process for a couple of reasons. One is that it is so personal to go through someone’s journals, and I am scared about what I might read among the rant-and-rave catharsis of heart and history, and I want to give myself a way to deal with the intimacy. I promise to be careful about what I share here. Two is that I hope, by following the process of transcription, that I will create space for the project. Three is that I have been meaning for a long time to write about Lindy here, because he really personifies thegoodbadpeople. And I hope that this will create space for other projects to emerge as well. And when I have questions, you can help me find the answers.
He had a lot of pain, with his body and with the world. He had a lot of lovers. He left a lot of people, or drove them away. He was angry and tender and wounded and impossible and loud, the only real anarchist I have known, who grew gardens and talked to gods and ate poppies and hurt feelings, and wept at hurting, and did not lie about lying, and was impulsive and loving and crazy and full like a bomb. He is the only person I have ever seen die. His arm was so heavy when we tucked him under the sheet. His legacy is private and political and relevant, and writing about it might not be what he wanted. And missing him might not be what he wanted. Because all of these words are just the words people say.
Since the journals are not dated, I will just begin with the one on the top of the stack. I expect it will be plain and glorious and boring and repetitive, and full of cliché and poems and insults, and I will be embarrassed, and criticize myself for romanticizing the obnoxious, and I will express myself anyway, and I both hope and fear that I will be offended, and I will probably write about him in the present tense sometimes, and try to talk myself into realism through neverending metaphors and struggles with the cave.
But this is my space, and this is my heart, and these are my feelings, ever, ever, ever opinionated.
Dear Lindy, I am sorry we forgot your pointiest boots. But I am sure you got a good kick in anyway with your bare feet.