Thursday, May 26, 2005


Last night, I was late getting to work at the bookstore because, well, to get to my bookstore, I have to drive through Buckhead. And last night, the roads in Buckhead were blocked because this guy was standing on a crane 350 feet in the air, threatening to jump. If he fell, the police were directing traffic away from the bullseye zone. Though it had something to do, I'm sure, with the genuine value of every human life, the cops mostly didn't want anyone's car to get hit.

I've always been fascinated by cliffhangers. When I was a kid, I figured that a movie HAD to have people in peril, dangling from the air, in order for it to be any good. The Goonies all had to walk the plank. E.T. and Elliott went flying through the air. Annie had to hang off that bridge.

If you think back on me a couple years ago, I wanted to write fiction stories about people trapped on Ferris wheels or jumping off a mall balcony.

I've always been fascinated, and a little frightened, of the idea of falling. Taking that leap. Jumping. The seemingly inevitable crash below always struck me as the ultimate - what's the word - abandon. Though I'm not much of a thrillseeker, I've always appreciated someone whose final choice in life came at them as so black-and-white.

Remember the idea of the life that you wanted to live?

Risks aren't easy. But risks, I'm thinking, are necessary.

What if we could have choices that simple? Do you ever get so frustrated with the small things you do that you know don't really matter - but you have to do them - that you envy someone who can just jump?

I'm not advocating suicide. I'm speaking of taking chances, risking things.

There are days on-and-off that I walk through my office feeling just numb. It seems so cliche to say that, but, honestly, it's not untrue. Why does any of this matter?

It matters because I have to eat. Because I have bills to pay. Because I like to go to the movies, and you have to buy the tickets.

I just called my mom, told her that I wouldn't make it to her barbecue tonight. She wanted me at Lake Lanier by 6. It's 6 now, and I'm at my desk, making up some work. Because it's the end of the month. Because I have a production goal. Because I'm trying to avoid traffic. Because I work best when no one else is around.

I want to be willing enough to let go of the safe life I have to try something different. It annoys me that I'm not that brave.

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