I made these images, I think, in 1979, before the evaporation of the illusion of happiness. They are my children, Lara and Stephen, and Barbara, my wife at the time. After the divorce, she moved the children permanently to Texas, while I stayed behind in Pennsylvania. Her decision, not mine. I visited the children in Houston once or twice a year, which was all I could afford, given the child support payments I was determined to maintain.
Lara and Stephen grew up down there without a father. Years passed. Eventually they both married.
A couple weeks ago on Facebook I encountered a photo of Lara, with a child in her lap. I wrote, asking her if it were hers, or adopted. She didn’t reply, and blocked me from her site on Facebook.
Later I learned that she had two other children. I also learned that Stephen had two kids of his own.
Which means I have five grandchildren.
I’ve been permanently banished, and blocked, so I don’t know my grandchildren’s names. Wait. One of Stephen’s kids is named Liam. I got that from a photo of a birthday cake I happened to see before the door slammed shut.
This is nothing less than the precise enactment of The law of Karma.
“...every man reaps what he has sown, neither more nor less, and, in his passsage through earthly life, will reap every grain of that harvest—tares or corn, nettles or roses...We may acclaim the notion of a God, kind-hearted, indulgent, who is touched by our tears and prayers, who will forgive us our sins or fulfil our desires, if we will but humour Him. But there is no such God...For better or for worse, no man may escape his Karma.” --Arnould.
Yes. Of course. How could it be otherwise?
Emily Dickinson wrote that After Great Pain A Formal Feeling Comes. She was exactly right.
This is the hour of lead
Remembered if outlived,
As freezing persons recollect the snow--
First chill, then stupor, then the letting go.
What must come next is my narrative of everything that has led to this, and it has to be in my own words, not those I can so effortlessly quote. Not an explanation, a justification, or a rationalization. Just a full and truthful account.
I’ll do it soon. Maybe tomorrow.
Before I begin, I’ll revisit the notorious St. Augustine. He was the master at confession, he perfected the practice. He said:
“And what was it that I delighted in, but to love and be loved? But I kept not the measure of love, of mind to mind, friendship’s bright boundary: but out of the muddy concupiscence of the flesh, and the bubblings of youth, mists fumed up which beclouded and overcast my heart, that I could not discern the clear brightness of love from the fog of lustfulness.
“Both did confusedly boil in me, and hurried my unstayed youth over the precipice of unholy desires, and sunk me in a gulf of flagitiousnesses....I was grown deaf by the clanking of the chain of my mortality, the punishment of the pride of my soul....and I was tossed about, and wasted, and dissipated, and I boiled over in my fornications...into more and more fruitless seed-plots of sorrows, with a proud dejectedness, and a restless weariness.”
Will I be able to so fully and accurately document my flagitiousnesses?