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May 22, 2011

A desire for solitude.  Driven by fear: the anxiety of the weight of connections.

May 28, 2011

Painfully aware of my duality: the self that is the image constructed by her, and the self which falls irrevocably short of those moral marks.

May 30, 2011

The anxiety of her absence (her mortality) taints everything.  Bustling crowds leave me winded: to think that their trajectories would remain unchanged by her departure.

June 1, 2011

Beauty assaults when preoccupied with thoughts of her.  It is impossible to consider that the world without her would remain captivating.

June 4, 2011

“What are you laughing at?”

No answer; a private joke.  She seems too far from me when I am at my best or my worst.

June 11, 2011

A fear of death, not for myself, but for her.  Polluted by a fear that even this is selfish: I do not have the strength to be alone.

June 17, 2011


A potent reminder of time wasted.

Always accompanied by an acute sense of disgust.

July 21, 2011


I only seek her out when I am in need – condemned by her generosity. 


I will call her to listen.

July 23, 2011

Guilt.  Even in this anxiety, I find my thoughts wandering: to chores, to lists, to daily distractions. That this is indicative of my selfish nature instills fear: that my mourning might likewise be suspect?

August 5, 2011

Newport beach.  Last place we went together; she wanted to feel the ocean again.  Her disappointment was crushing.  Too cloudy.  Cold.

The realization that this could be my last memory of her.

August 5, 2011

Rarely am I conscious of myself in time; my mortality is no great burden except through its logical extension to her.

She is time embodied.

August 3, 2011

The comforting murmur of an approaching storm, so long a reminder of home, becomes a source of apprehension: what was once reassuring becomes fraught; home has always existed in relation to her.  The threat of displacement.

July 29, 2011

The physical manifestations of her, fluid in my memory, now that she is distant, so that I cannot even focus on a single evocation of “her” since no stagnant representation could embody what time has composited, could not pull me from the trappings of the everyday; meanwhile, her presence announces itself vividly in an aromatic sea-breeze.

The reality of regret becomes overwhelming.

July 28, 2011


Under the weight of her sacrifices I find the tenor of my anxiety in Proust:

“I asked myself whether my desire to write was of sufficient importance to justify my father in dispensing so much generosity.”

July 22, 2011

Betrayal:  A sudden wish for the inevitable, that I might be done with it; that I might be cleansed of my anxiety by its sudden realization.

August 4, 2011

A reprieve from my anxiety: in my work, in distractions (temporary by definition).

This ability to focus is double-edged, simultaneously relieving and compounding my apprehension:  through this abatement arises a new concern: the effect that the inevitable mourning will have on my capacity to work.  Guilt: that the contemplation of such a loss should focus on the nature of my recovery from it.

A fear of being inconvenienced?

May 24, 2011

How strange that in our closeness it has become more difficult to express that sentiment which was once, for us, the very substance of life.  Even when I manage, at last, to find my voice, my words sound recited, their inflection altered by stagnant air and lapsed recitation.

July 7, 2011

An argument.

Followed by a whispered apology to the steady rise and fall of a reposed silhouette.

In that darkness, my imagination permits no sleep.

June 26, 2011

The root of my neurosis:

That my understanding of death is borrowed from books (Barthes), philosophy, images; the fear of the unknown: not death, but my reaction to it.

August 7, 2011

In so much as we cease to be ourselves at the very precipice of epiphany, so I find myself agonizing over the schism that change has effected between us.

I stumble when confronted with diagnosing the nature of these shifts, but they seem to weigh heavily on this anxiety regardless.

August 7, 2011

My memories, continuously worked and reworked, in her absence, so as to erase any incongruities in my perception of her, reveals an impossibility:  that she has not changed in all this time.

That where I am ephemeral, she must remain eternal.

August 10, 2011

Knowledge, that my current anguish is merely a continuous state of anticipation, of speculation, cannot allay suffering; it is the promise of an infinitely greater wounding.

August 13, 2011

“She is like...”

    The simile fails:

    God is not like something else; it is in everything else that we find God.

August 21, 2011

The impulse to portray artfully – to paint picturesquely – through the artifice of language, the causes and manifestations of my anxiety, reveal a deception: that, within these writings, I am becoming conscious of my writing:

An inevitable(?) cognizance of the reader.

M. Baxendall: Warning signs of fabulation: narrative elegance, particularly of closure, interestingness in general, presence of dialogue.

July 16, 2011

            Dependency: needing her beside me but not by my side.


    episodes of panic whenever I wake alone.

August 23, 2011

Love betrayed by an anticipation of new beginnings.

Anxiety returns. Self-consciousness: I will regret that thought.

July 5, 2011

Death as interloper:

That life will change at any moment undermines every effort.

August 25, 2011


The selfish desire that she should outlive me.  Not love – fear; that I should be confronted by a grief so profound.

August 18, 2011

Startled awake; I’ve been dreaming.

Memories reconstruct the world slowly: disjointed, out of sequence;  a search for proof: that I have returned to reality.

“Thank God.”

     An expiating exhale.

August 28, 2011

Suffering, the epithet of my anxiety, is a pregnant apprehension: different from fear by virtue of inevitability.

Loss will deem its use here too theoretical: language adjusts.

(Counter: suffering is not displaced, it is accumulated.)

Sept 2, 2011

Memory, invariably past tense, is marked by death:

In my writing: “She was –”

Sept, 2 2011

Bereavement:  too dignified, too controlled;

Too removed to satisfy (even in this state: in advance of) a loss so significant.

August 19, 2011

Evaluating (penetrating) death:

More than mere speculation: a theoretical knowledge – abstract, impotent: it is not the same as knowing.

The physical impossibility of death in the mind of someone living:” art animates (art breathes) – Hirst’s sculpture is too alive

The psychological impossibility of happiness (Proust):” the theoretical remains lacerating.

Sept 4, 2011

My plans – our plans:

Chains of justification (for living, working) – purposefulness – dissipates with the promise of loss:

the death of our future.

It’s time to die, says Zarathustra, when the purpose of life is unattainable.

(There is no yea-saying in me.)

Sept 6, 2011

“I love you:” not an offering – no prostration.

Murmured or whispered, it unfolds like a gift, but cried out, it reveals a truth: Subject, verb, object: “I” am the subject on which this love is acting.

“I love you:”

    a plea – not an offering – a grasping.

August 15, 2011


Unrealized, passive:

        I cannot get to it.  I cannot do anything.

Sept 12, 2011

Habit disrupts (though never displaces):

Despite my best intentions, all these thoughts, engendering while I am away, recede in her presence:  our interactions are overwhelmed by Habit; I cannot reveal the misery her absence causes me – the imperative has passed, superseded by history.

Some notes: 


       That this work is similar in structure to Barthes work on death is not coincidence.  It is precisely the relationship between mourning, which his work so beautifully captures, and the anxiety of a mourning-to-come that I seek to analyze.  How long should I mourn before I can get back to my work? Does the very inception of that thought already amount to a betrayal?  Am I preemptively preparing for her death? Another betrayal?

        Furthermore, it has occurred to me that I must not wait for a tragedy to transpire in order to examine the nature of my relationships.  How do they affect my life and what hold does the fear of death, that great interloper, have over me?  My anxiety in this matter is towering and I hope to address it through this introspection.


     //  “The  anxiety of death” is an on-going project that takes as its catalyst the work “Mourning Diaries” by Roland Barthes.  Following the death of his mother, Barthes kept a diary of his mourning.  The aim of this project is to address the relationship between the anxiety of yet-unrealized loss and the influence that this anxiety has on our mourning.  The steady mounting of my own anxiety pushes me to examine those relationships that mean the most to me.

This work is very much in-progress, and the order in which I have been transcribing my notes has been random.

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