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19 May 98

Memory Brief

Primary Source

I am exercising and eating right, which brings forth many dark emotions. Normally I would wash down my feelings with chocolate bars or grilled cheese sandwiches.

Earlier today, a friend told me I was stable and mature for 23. We were walking towards the Brooklyn Bridge. In response, I digressed on family history, the things I'd stumbled through, both to share the story and to feel though the telling.

I leave my own abuses out of those descriptions. I need to be the hero of the narrative.

Later, looking for punishment, or trying to thwart my young diet, I clicked through past email and found year-old love letters, angry notes, and emotional confessions. 12 months makes it mundane, makes the amorous paragraphs merely sweet, and the anger academic.

The Subway Diary began a new narrative. The following email, with many like it, helped end the old one:

what a world you are missing, Paul. I'm so glad you don't read these because I wouldn't ever write to you. You got all caught up in the world and it is killing you, but you'd rather believe that than have the courage to even talk with me. I'm so sorry you fell under the psychology of your time, but you did and you believed the lies. So many young people who were bright and sensitive bought into the bullshit and now you are left with lies you probably can never forget and a father without the ability to help you. what a sorrow for you. Still I hope but not too much. I have gone on. You certainly missed a wonderful chance to have a good time trading off for worldly bullshit. But you have lots of company. Love mom


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

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