Road Trip

Dear Dazai,

I am away from home at the moment, and I’m using that for an excuse for why I didn’t write yesterday. It wasn’t that I simply forgot, or that I was too tired, it was that I was away from home, seeing a part of the country that I’ve never seen before.

And I forgot.

Yesterday, I was thinking about how naive some people can be. I was reading a translation of some of your works and mistakenly read the translator’s notes. I generally don’t read them because I don’t want to be influenced by their own ideas of a work, that’ll come through in the translation enough, but I’ve read enough of your work now that I worry less about these things. I have my own opinions now, and don’t need someone else to tell me what I think.

In these notes, there was a comment about how in reading your work that although you became known for an autobiographical style, that there were elements of your life that were deliberately left out of the stories. Because of course they were. There was no surprise in that for me, because no matter what people create, what they write, or how honest they are, there is that part of them, that part they can’t fully divorce themselves from, that wants them to be liked. It’s something that most of us will never be fully able to escape from.

We’re small children at heart, who need other people to tell us that we’re worthwhile.

This is what surprised me about these notes. This naivety that people might have ever assumed that you’d been totally honest, because no one is ever totally honest. No one is ever able to be that person. It’s not who we are, and someone who had read your works I would have expected that to know better.

To know you better.

Still there are moments, even with the people we know the best that make us unsure of what we know. Or question the way in which we interact with them. Eliza is on this trip with me, and it’s been a while since we’ve travelled together, and one of the few times we’ve been somewhere she knows better than I do. This knowledge and security on her part, and I assume is similar to what I feel when the situations are reversed, that somethings should be liked and others not. That certain things are worthwhile seeing and others are not.

Occasionally I resent her for that. Just small moments where I crave a bit more independence from her own view of the world and a desperate want to create my own. Perhaps I’m not assertive enough about what I like, perhaps I’m hesitant to speak too loudly because I don’t want to drown out anyone else’s thoughts on the matter. I wonder if that makes me seem perpetually unenthusiastic at the time, neither positive nor negative, just existing in that space.

I worry that I’m a burden for that. I worry that she resents me for that.

Still the trip has been refreshing, it’s nice to look out over the small pond below, to hear the frogs croak at night and to be far enough away from my life to not have to worry so much about the things that are speeding towards me. The potential end that seems so close now that if I close my eyes for too long I’m standing on a precipice unsure of where to turn.

For I cannot turn back.


I am not that naive.

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