Semester 4 has ended. 2 years at Lewis and Clark. Amazing.
There’s a moment in my life that has stayed with me. It was in 1999, in August. I was living in Palo Alto with my friend Daniel. I had thought I would come down there and work for him at his web startup, but I arrived just as the bubble burst. The money dried up and so I just paid rent with cash I borrowed from my parents and worked on my second (failed) novel.
Anyhow. Sometimes I took BART into the city and hung out in downtown San Francisco. It was (and is) a pretty city — and so I’d write in some cafe or hotel on my laptop and then wander back out to the suburbs. On one such night, I walked all the way back to the house from the train station (rather than call and have Dan come pick me up).
It was a warm summer night, and just walking and being alone and unencumbered — it gave me a resolute sense of joy, a shiver, that I’ve felt rarely in my life.
In the geography of mental status, I’m certainly closer to the side where depression lies — those formidable dark lands that can be such a struggle for many. But I have had a few moments of happiness, of happiness so pure you can feel it in your body. That night, walking from the train, I experienced one. For no reason, other than I was walking. And I was young. And it was a pretty evening in the Bay Area.
Now, sitting in my classroom, my 94-seat auditorium where I held a lecture class on the Rock N’ Roll Novel this term, I experienced the same feeling. It was the end of classes. My last exam. And the seats were silent. Quiet. I was alone with the classroom, and my memories of the class, and the formidable performance that is teaching. And I was filled with that same happy visceral shiver.