Thursday, December 08, 2011

a steppenwolf in new york city moonlight

"I had had a bad year this last year, and for a while it got very bad; I may as well admit that for the first time in my life I had come to understand there was suicide in me. (Murder I had known was there for a long time.) It was the worst of discoveries, this suicide. Murder, after all, has exhilaration within it. I do not mean it is a state to entertain; the tension which develops in your body makes you sicken over a period, and I had my fill of walking about with a chest full of hatred and a brain jammed to burst, but there is something manly about containing your rage, it is so difficult, it is like carrying a two-hundred-pound safe up a cast-iron hill. The exhilaration comes I suppose from possessing such strength. Besides, murder offers the promise of vast relief. It is never unsexual.

But there is little which is sexual about suicide. It is a lonely landscape with the pale light of a dream and something is calling to you, a voice on the wind. Certain nights I would go leaden with dread because I could hear the chamber music tuning up, tuning up and near to pitch. (Yes, murder sounds like a symphony in your head, and suicide is a pure quartet.) I was approaching my forty-fourth year, but for the first time I knew why some of my friends, and so many of the women I had thought I understood, could not bear to be alone at night."

- Norman Mailer, An American Dream