A sort of life

Preface to Volume Two

WASHINGTON — We’ve grown apart, you and I. My dear reader, more than two years have passed since we last spoke. But it’s not like we haven’t been here before.

Let’s speak honestly: I’ve told you many times that I was ending the sabbatical. I said I had gobs of letters stashed away in notebooks. That my pen would soon return to the days of wine and roses. That a period of happiness and prosperity awaited those who held on just a little bit longer. I’ll be right down honey. Just a bit longer.

But it’s just not so. Not then, and maybe not even now. I’m dry, you see? Been dry for quite some time. I didn’t lie about wanting to share things again. Those sentiments were real. Are real even now. I just didn’t have it anymore. The thrill was gone. I was burned out. A Burnt-out Case.

And so I feel like I owe you an apology for saying things I didn’t mean. Saying I’d do things I didn’t do. Couldn’t do. And even though our relationship is most often a one way courtship of sorts, an entertainment, a distraction, I can’t help but to feel I let you down.

And then there’s this: I’m not going to apologize. You don’t really deserve it.

You’re not my audience anymore. Things have changed. Not better. Not worse. Aged. We’re all a little older. I have grey hair now. Not very much, but still I look at it every day and wonder: how’s it going to end?

So while I feel an affection for those of you that have hung in there, those of you that still regularly check this space for new material — it’s shameful to do it really. We all have those long vanquished sweethearts, the faded memories of happy times. Maybe happier times. We all have those. About a boy. About a girl. Aborted memories. And maybe memories are what this is, between you and I. Old times. But I’m not your lover. I never was. And so I do not apologize.

The story here is much simpler: I died. And now I return. Not resurrection. Just this.

So what now? As I lay here in my old room, I’m reminded of the many sweaty nights spent knowing that my future was very much in doubt. I struggled to understand and to conquer those doubts — a process that resulted in many of the writings previously featured here. It was a sort of a mental manus sturbare, if you like. And yet, years later, the only certainty is that heavy doubts still prevail. Not much has changed, but everything is different.

Or, maybe everything is changed: “Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.” Thomas Hardy said that.

I say this: It is the end. The end of one thing, the beginning of another. What came before shall be known as Volume One: Frank’s Wild Years (1983–2009). What comes now is tentatively called Volume Two: The Honorary Consul (2011– ).

This space and the writings that occupy it will remain fully intact. They’ll be moved to the attic next to the old baby blankets and Brown Boose Bear. What comes now, well, I’m not quite sure. Maybe nothing. But maybe it’ll be something. We’ll find out together I suppose. Like old times. But new times.

And still no apologies.

“Preface to Volume Two” is from Volume Two: The Honorary Consul (2011–2014).

The cat will mew and dog will have his day

The cat will mew and dog will have his day

Bishop plays peek-a-boo in a newly opened box at the Nansemond Street apartment in Richmond, Va. on September 3, 2010.

Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.