I meant to start blogging in earnest again over break, now that finals are over. I wish this weren’t the occasion for my first post after my accidental hiatus, but everyone in my house is asleep, and I’ve got the feeling sleep is not on the table for me for a while; therefore, this post is disorganized and personal and mostly for my own benefit, but I hope someone out there gets something out of it.
I’m not even entirely sure what to say, though, except the gist of what I’ve already talked about on twitter and facebook: Christopher Hitchens was one of the giants whose shoulders I shall say I have stood on if ever I should accomplish anything important. That in itself, along with the loss of his acerbic, brilliant voice, would be enough to write about all on its own — but it’s already been said by just about everyone who happened to be awake when the news broke.
I’ve talked before on this blog about my dad’s cancer and subsequent remission. It was May of 2010 when he got the all-clear from his doctors, June of 2010 when the two of us went to see Hitch at the Chicago Printer’s Row book fair (and got tickets from a kindhearted fellow atheist), and July of 2010 when one of the first things the internet had to tell me upon my return from a computer-less whirlwind tour of Europe was that Christopher Hitchens had cancer.
There’s a lot of overlapping mental scar tissue there, is what I’m saying. I’m also saying, of course, fuck cancer. In the cold light of day, you know what I’m most scared of? Prion diseases. Earthquakes. Burglars. Things that are statistically unlikely to kill most people in general, and me in particular. But right now? It’s half-past one in the morning on a December night not a week from the longest night of the year, and I am petrified of the things that will (most likely) kill me — cancer and heart disease. And yes, I am young, and there’s plenty of time to be afraid, and plenty of night when the thought of death never enters my mind. This is not one of those nights.
Tonight is a night for a slow reading and rereading of Philip Larkin’s “Aubade,” while the rest of the house sleeps and our floors creak too loudly for me to obtain alcohol or even Christmas cookies from our kitchen without offering an explanation. Continue reading