Saturday, November 13, 2010


As I said in a comment on my last post: "It's always a mix of 'good' and 'bad' ain't it?"

Maybe I should have said "almost always" as there are certainly situations and occurrences that seem sometimes like all one or the other—as in the case of horrendous violence or miraculous escape from imminent demise—and I wouldn't argue with that.

But what I was thinking of, was what my old friend Hubert Selby Jr. used to say to me all the time: "You can't have left without right, or up without down, Michael." By which he meant, and explained to me several times, if I'm looking for pleasure I better expect some pain, and there is no success without failure, or vice versa.

It's the same with any given moment or day or experience or person or... (I know there are exceptions to every rule, Hitler being the usual one when we speak of, as my mother used to say, God rest her soul, "there's a little bit of bad in the best of us and a little bit of good in the worst of us")...a mix of "good" and "bad" as long as we use those terms to judge things and events and people, etc.

So, the point of all this is that there is still some residue from the surgery to remove a growth from my brain. I don't have the energy I had before, it seems to me, and I still make many more mistakes when typing, that I then have to correct, so writing is slightly more challenging than it was before the surgery.

And I've already mentioned some of the changes in habits of mind (no more compulsive list-making for instance) and taste (the whole Meryl Streep attractiveness factor mentioned many times this year) (more about the taste changes in my next post).

And of course there was the initial slow recovery with the inability to read or write or etc. which came back very gradually (for me, though in comparison to others who have had similar operations it may have seemed relatively "fast") and various challenges (not driving for what seemed like months so not getting up to see my older kids and grandkids in their Berkshire habitats, etc.) and changes (I seem to still have more difficulty not saying or writing untactful things at times that I had spent decades learning to have better control over, oh well).

But whatever may have seemed "bad" about having brain surgery and not being sure whether it was cancer (it wasn't, thank God) or what permanent effects that might have, was balanced out by the "good" as in the outpouring of love and affection from so many people, many of whom I hadn't heard from in years or even decades—and the experience of knowing from the inside how difficult it is for some people to learn certain things or understand certain things that have always seemed obvious and easy to me, or had before the operation.

I began this blog because others suggested it was the perfect format for my daily ruminations and list-making and commentary on politics and the arts, or at least the ones I seemed obsessed with. And I believe in many ways that the speed and success of my recovery came at least in part, and a large part, from my lifelong compulsion to write, which remained after the operation, and that I exercised by forcing myself to write a post here every day, or as often as I could, immediately after I was released from the hospital, even though in those early days it often took me a half an hour to write and rewrite one line.

So, as I've said many times, I'm a very lucky man and grateful to the Spirit of the Universe, which I call unconditional love, the power in that concept, and to all those who have sent their prayers and good wishes my way back when I was going through it and since. As we said when I was a kid in my neighborhood: "T'anks a million."


Anonymous said...

How sweet to read. By the way, gorgeous photo of you as a young man...I met you 5 years or so later, and your hair was half way down your back...
and now you are the handsome silver fox!

Lally said...


Jamie Rose said...

And we've all lucky to have you Lals.
Love you,