"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Saturday, September 11, 2010


My dad's suicide in 1993 was not his first attempt.  I don't know how many times he tried.  I only remember his 33rd birthday.  It was a night or two before his birthday that he didn't come home.  His girlfriend, Karen, stayed with us.  I am a little confused by what exactly happened.  It's only with retrospect that I realize what must have happened.  Bottom line is he went out, took a bunch of pills and probably drank, too, and then went driving.  He ended up in a car accident, but was only minorly hurt.  No one else was either, thank God.  I think he purposely crashed into a median or something.  We (my brother and sister and I) had no idea.  The adults around us were very careful not to explain anything, other than that Daddy was in an accident.

During the hours that he didn't come home, Karen loaded us into her car and we went to look for him.  We drove on the freeway until we got to this part of the freeway where there was a pull-off.  She pulled over and got out and hung her handkerchief on the chain link fence so he would know she'd been there.  What did this mean for them?  I don't know.

At any rate, my uncle, I think, brought my dad home on his 33rd birthday.  We had made a cheesecake, with Amy's help, of course, and put candles on it in the shape of two 3's.  My dad was definitely out of it when he came home, but he sat at the table and blew out the candles anyway.  That's all I know and remember.  It wasn't until some years later that I knew he had tried to kill himself.

I wish I knew more about his depression, where it came from, how it felt; how long had he suffered?  I wish I knew more about the kind of kid he'd been.  I wish he was still around for me to ask him these questions because in some ways, I really feel as though I didn't know him at all.  Being a child and then losing him as a young adult, I really only scratched the surface of who he was.  I only know him as a parent, even when he was barely that.

So I have this weird association with the age 33 that I usually keep to myself.  I shared it with two of my close friends when I turned 33; it was bittersweet and a little unlucky:  first, my dad tried to kill himself at age 33; second, Jesus died when he was 33.  I know that's weird because I am not a traditionally religious person, but it creeps me out.  Thirty-three was also when I went through a major depressive episode that I couldn't think myself out of, the way I always had, and was finally diagnosed with generalized depression and anxiety and started my anti-depressant and therapy regimen.  I was pretty relieved to turn 34.

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