June 07, 2006

Where I’m Not: An Exercise in Geopositioning

Lately it has seemed necessary to remind myself of these fundamental facts:

I am not in 1988, when I was a promising, critically acclaimed young novelist whose career seemed to be just taking off.

I am not in my parents’ apartment in the Bronx between the years 1952 and 1969.

I am not in the shoes of my teenage best friend, whose current net worth is in the nine figures.

I am not in Greenwich Village in 1960 or San Francisco in 1967, and if I were I might not be mingling with the right set.

I am not in heaven or hell.

I am not rotting underground.

I am not inside the pages of a book – not a character or a clinical example.

I am not living alone in miserable poverty, spurned by my children and sniffed at by my ex-wives, still pounding away at hackwork in my seventies.

I am not in Austin State Hospital, just down the street at Guadalupe and Forty-First -- neither as a doctor nor a patient.

I am not in New York -- and I never will be again, not the way I used to be.

Those negative boundaries being established, there remains only one question to answer:

Where am I?