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74

After Peter

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Chee, A. (2018). After Peter. In Chee, A. How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays. Mariner Books, pp. 74-96

79

Why am I telling this story? I am, as I've said, a minor character, out of place in this narrative, but the major characters of all these stories from the first ten years of the epidemic have left. The men I wanted to follow into the future are dead. Finding them had made me want to live, and I did. I do. I feel I owe them my survival. The world is not fixed, and the healing is still just past my imagining, though perhaps it is closer than it was. For now, the minor characters are left to introduce themselves, and take the story forward.

—p.79 by Alexander Chee 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Why am I telling this story? I am, as I've said, a minor character, out of place in this narrative, but the major characters of all these stories from the first ten years of the epidemic have left. The men I wanted to follow into the future are dead. Finding them had made me want to live, and I did. I do. I feel I owe them my survival. The world is not fixed, and the healing is still just past my imagining, though perhaps it is closer than it was. For now, the minor characters are left to introduce themselves, and take the story forward.

—p.79 by Alexander Chee 3 months, 2 weeks ago
90

When an artist dies young there is always talk of the paintings unpainted, the books unwritten, which points to some imaginary storehouse of undone things and not to the imagination itself, the far richer treasure, lost. All of those works are the trail left behind, a path across time, left like the sun leaves gold on the sea: you can see it but you can't ever pick it up. What we lose with each death, though, is more like stars falling out of the sky and into the sea and gone. The something undone, the something that won't ever be done, always remains unendurable to consider. A permanent loss of possibility, so that what is left is only ever better than nothing, but the loss is limitless.

—p.90 by Alexander Chee 3 months, 2 weeks ago

When an artist dies young there is always talk of the paintings unpainted, the books unwritten, which points to some imaginary storehouse of undone things and not to the imagination itself, the far richer treasure, lost. All of those works are the trail left behind, a path across time, left like the sun leaves gold on the sea: you can see it but you can't ever pick it up. What we lose with each death, though, is more like stars falling out of the sky and into the sea and gone. The something undone, the something that won't ever be done, always remains unendurable to consider. A permanent loss of possibility, so that what is left is only ever better than nothing, but the loss is limitless.

—p.90 by Alexander Chee 3 months, 2 weeks ago