L’enfant terrible

Dear Dazai,

I had always hoped that given our similarities that perhaps when you embarked on each work, there was a part of you, no matter how small, that might have questioned the purpose behind it. That you might have taken the wrong step, that no one might find anything worthwhile in your creation.

I fear that is to be my artistic destiny.

Works that will be forgotten, dismissed. Kindly spoken about by those that know me and know how much it means to me, but I fear there’s little truth to them. That their compliments are there to talk me back off the edge that I’ve perched myself upon. That it is only because of me that they say such things.

I worry that if we’d met. That if we’d been contemporaries you would have been angered by my devotion to you. That you would have laughed it off, cruelly, as a pathetic whimsy that should be disposed of. That I would have been nothing more than a plaything, easily swayed into depravity because I could not see it for love of you.

Perhaps that’s who I have become anyway.

The fear of being something ordinary is more terrifying than the thought of depravity. Alcohol and sex hold little fear compared to the thought of being the person who wished they had done these things. That I would have a good life but not one of my own making or choosing. A husband and children that I inevitably resented for being the focus of my life when they should have never existed.

This book is supposed to be about you.

I fear it will be more about me.


(Excerpt from Shūji ©2018)


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