Day in, Day out

I’m no good at writing ‘journal entry’ posts, as my last few entries have demonstrated, I believe. However, I have not been posting new texts/reviews for about two weeks and I kind of, weirdly, feel I need to explain. Before I do so, I recommend visiting De Seuil en Seuil again, unless you’ve done so already. The blogger has put up a beautiful new post on the Danube and a moving encounter at its waterside. To read it, click here. As to me, it’s been a tough two weeks. I worked hard on my dissertation, writing a précis for my professor, working out kinks in my argument. Saturday, I went to a friend’s wedding and it reminded me how fast I/we can lose contact to people who were once so important to us. My friend, Christoph, who now lives in Japan, was responsible for my studying literature in Bonn, for coming to Bonn in the first place, too. Without him, my life would be infinitely emptier, both my heart and my brain encountered something new here that they will hopefully never have to live without henceforth.

And on Friday, I learned that a friend had died, well over two weeks ago. If you follow this blog and its links, you might have found a handful of posts linking to bookbabble. Of those, three led to bookbabble episodes that Gem partook in (link here). Gem is the friend who died. I have been almost constantly close to tears for the past week. I have never met Gem ‘in real life’, but she has helped me through some rocky times, and I loved her as I loved few friends in my life. Gem is/was the most big-hearted person I have ever known, a smart, humorous, amazing, beautiful person. I feel incredibly selfish in talking about her in this way, but her ear, her words, her heart, they were at times a life-saving support. Literally. She is/was an inspiring person, in the most horribly corny sense of the word, she inspired me, and many others, to be a better human being. If I failed at it, as I so often surely did, it was despite her luminous presence. But she wasn’t grandiose, self-aggrandizing, she was always just herself, gleefully, bravely so. She lived through so many bad times, working through all of them with a strength and an unassuming bravery that few other people possess. She was talented in all kinds of ways, she connected with so many different people, and so many people connected with her. People like her are rare, and for everyone who knew her, her loss is terrible. I feel her loss every day. I can hear her voice still and, dammit, crying again, I remember things she told me, the things she wrote me, although I don’t have the strength so far to look at old emails and messages. I started to compile my current manuscript of poems because of Gem. Gem has (still does) inspired me to try and use whatever talents and strengths I have to make something of my life. She has made so much of hers. And so much of mine. All this above has been rather crude, simple, but I can’t write about this in more than simple terms so far. I don’t want to seduce myself into writing something that isn’t true. Every day that passes, her death seems more real to me and every day I am afraid her presence will slip from my life. Her voice will dull, her words lose resonance, one more light in my life go out like a wet fag. Apart from burying myself in work, I spent the past week drinking a lot, reading god-awful trash and watching crappy movies, all to postpone this, to stop it from becoming real. I don’t have a great story to share or an anecdote. There is just that imprint on me, this emptiness that I’m figuring out how to deal with. I drank a shot of gin last night in a bar, to commemorate her, who was a gin enthusiast, but it didn’t feel right. I am doing the same right now, and if you have a bottle or a glass of something nearby, please, drink one with me. One of the most wonderful persons I have ever known or am ever likey to know has vanished from my, no, our life. за здоровье!

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