diary by Edward Mullany

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One thing that happens to you after you’ve fallen in love, if this love abides with you, whether the person does or not, so that the possibilities that had appeared in your mind when you and this person met have resolved themselves into one eventuality, and there no longer exists for you the question of whether, in the future, you’ll have the opportunity to see this person as often, or as nearly as often, as you’d like, since the answer will have made itself clear…yes, one thing that happens to you after you’ve gone through this falling in love, once the pain has subsided, if you and the person didn’t end up the way you’d hoped you would, or, if you did, once the happiness has ebbed, though not departed, is that upon you comes a resignation that isn’t unpleasant, but that ages you, even if you are young, so that the world, as you encounter it, no longer seems like a place inside of which you need to hurry, for what could there be to hurry toward?  

diary by Edward Mullany

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Don’t let me become like Lily Briscoe, the painter from the novel To the Lighthouse, whose integrity I admire, whose indifference to success I would like to remember, and make my own, but whose fate, it seems, as a person among people, while not keeping her from understanding them, and interacting with them, and even, one might say, connecting with them in a way that goes beyond touch, or verbalization, is to live out her days alone.

diary by Edward Mullany

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An actor who played, in the movie I watched last night, a painter who lived more than a century ago, and who was so beset by what he called demons that, seeking to escape them, he hung himself from a tree in a field where he’d once liked to walk, and to set up his easel, and work with his brushes and oils, on canvas, also played, in a movie that was released around the same time, but that is set in today’s world, or in the era that we now call contemporary, though I suppose that won’t always be the case…yes, this actor also played, in this other movie, which I saw when it came out, a man who dressed expensively, who enjoyed fine food, and whose job it was to terminate, using a pistol to which he attached a silencer, individuals with whom his employer had had a disagreement.

diary by Edward Mullany

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In college I read The Death of Ivan Ilyich for a course in which it was assigned by a professor who made the remark, when she was paging through the syllabus with all of us students, on the first day of the semester, so that we’d seen the title of this work where it was printed, beside the dates by which we’d need to have it finished, that even though we could guess what would happen to the main character, without reading the story, based on what the author had chosen to call it, it was still worth reading, as its importance lay not in the fact that Ivan Ilyich died, for that fate awaited everyone, whether we appeared in a novel or not, but rather in how he died, or what could be said of the life that he lived before he died, which is what I remember now, whenever I see a copy of the book in a bookstore, or on a shelf in someone’s apartment, though this professor also said other things, all of them insightful, when, later in the term, she spent a couple of classes lecturing on it.    

diary by Edward Mullany

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Some of the leaves I saw falling this morning, from the branches of trees on the street where I live, while I was walking toward the end of the block, where there’s a café at which I sometimes get coffee, I probably saw again, not much later, when I returned along the sidewalk in the direction from which I’d come, and happened to glance at the ground where they now lay, among other leaves, in scatterings and in piles, or strewn in irregular patterns, though of course I wouldn’t have been able to identify the ones I’d seen falling, had someone asked me to do so, for they all looked the same to me, in color and in shape, though they did vary in ways that would’ve been noticeable had I stopped to collect them and hold each of them up near my face, to regard them in the daylight, though the time and effort I would’ve expended on such an activity, without any purpose except the one I’ve described, might’ve caused me to appear frivolous or insane.

diary by Edward Mullany

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When I think of Lucifer and the fallen angels, I don’t think of them as rebelling, for that is too good a word for them, and does not really describe them, but instead I think of them as souring, like wine that has turned to vinegar, though I don’t mean to suggest that they soured by accident, or due to a defect in their nature, or because such an event was inevitable, but because, wanting to be higher than God, they chose to do so, although, in their envy, they obscured themselves to themselves, so that I imagine they wouldn’t have known that they were souring, unless they’d been able to look in a mirror, and behold the change in their countenance, by which point it would’ve been too late, the souring would’ve been complete, their choice would have been irrevocable, as indeed it was, for, as spirits, angels do not persist in time like us, who age, and who experience moments that elapse, and who thus can choose to return to God, if we have gone away, by a love or a caritas that begins in sorrow and is transformed, through the action of the will, into deeds that are not self-centered, although, eventually, death puts an end to our temporal lives, our chances for reconciliation disappear, and we find ourselves in eternity, heading in whatever direction the sum of our choices has taken us.

diary by Edward Mullany

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It is said that John of Patmos, who is recognized as the author of the Book of Revelation, before he was banished to that island where he experienced the vision that I imagine he recorded, with ink, on parchment or a scroll of paper, though perhaps he used some other implement, or method of transcribing...yes, it is said that this John, before his exile to that place in the Aegean, though after the events in Jerusalem and in Galilee, so that he and the other apostles had begun their work as evangelists, which had already caused them to disperse, and find themselves far from the region where they were born…that this John, in what must have been intended as his execution, was plunged into boiling oil, inside the Colosseum, by the Roman authorities, under the Emperor Domitian, in response to his activities and his zeal, but came to no harm, the sight of which, once they’d had time to grasp it, brought the spectators to conversion, though they’d gone to the arena for the sake of entertainment.

diary by Edward Mullany

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In the novel Moby-Dick, after Ishmael has begun his journey toward Nantucket, but before he has boarded the Pequod, which is the ship that will carry him to sea, under the command of Captain Ahab, who is, as it turns out, obsessed to the point of madness with the white whale, he sees, in the dim light of the vestibule of an inn at which he is staying, a painting done in oils of a storm-tossed vessel upon whose masts a leviathan, having breached the surface of the ocean, with what seems like impossible fury, is about to crash, though of course this painting never existed, just as the painter who painted it never was born, and the inn in which it hung never was built, and the character who beheld it never breathed, or walked, or spoke, but in fact was no more than a thought that occurred in the mind of a man who did exist, and who imagined it all, and who wrote it down on pages that were then copied and printed and reproduced, and bound between covers, and sold in bookstores, and loaned from libraries, and obtained by people like myself, on down through the decades and the eras, so that all of us who have read it, and who will read it, do dream up, in our individual brains, visions or moving pictures that, because our psyches are separate, or distinct, must vary from each other’s in detail, emphasis, and scope, but not in substance. 

diary by Edward Mullany

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Maybe it is true, as people sometimes say, that artists don’t need to suffer for the sake of their work, by which it is meant, I think, that suffering doesn’t add to one’s talent, nor help one make use of that talent, when the time comes to use it, though it is also true, I think, that suffering, if it doesn’t embitter us, or wreck us so thoroughly that we lose our minds, or ability to function, can bring about an increase in humility and love, both of which can be of use to an artist, in the practice of their art, though more important than their art is what can happen in their soul.

diary by Edward Mullany

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Because I have become obsessed with this diary, with contributing an entry to it every day, so that the idea of skipping a day fills me with dread, as if to do so would mean more to me than it would to anyone else, and more to me, also, than it would objectively amount to, I recognize that I’m not as interested in what I have to say as I am in merely saying something, though even now I’ve tried to say this as entirely or as thoroughly as possible.

diary by Edward Mullany

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There are the Seraphim, the Cherubim, and the Thrones; the Dominions, the Virtues, and the Powers; the Principalities, the Archangels, and the Angels. They are, all of them, angels. That is, beings made of spirit, rather than matter alone, or rather than spirit and matter both. But of these nine choirs, it is from only the lowest of them, the one that is furthest from the presence of God, not occupied with singing, or with praise of the divine, or with the overseeing of the cosmos, or the deployment of wonders and signs, or the protection of heaven, or the sustaining of those properties by which time and creation persist, but rather with the quotidian, the everyday, the humdrum, with, in a word, the affairs of humankind…yes, it is from this lowest choir that the guardian angels appear.

diary by Edward Mullany

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A friend of mine who has been reading my diary told me that I omit too much from some of the entries, so that readers are left in a state of uncertainty, or ambiguity, with regard to how they should feel about the events or the observations I describe, though when I asked this friend if she thought I ought to say more in these entries, so as to remedy the situation, she said she didn’t know whether saying more was the answer, for there was something about even these that she liked, though she wasn’t sure she could say why, and though that didn’t mean, she said, that they couldn’t be improved.    

diary by Edward Mullany

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When I was wandering last night through an aisle of a bookstore in the city, after I’d left the building where I work, but before I’d gone down into the subway to wait for a train that would take me in the direction of the neighborhood where my apartment is, so I could sleep, I saw a book of poems that I didn’t reach for on the shelf, but that caused me to stop a moment, in the place where I was standing, when I noticed its title, which was, What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire.

diary by Edward Mullany

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Some mornings I’ll sit here, not knowing what to write about, until that in itself, the not-knowing, becomes the thing I write about, though I suppose, in that case, I’m not writing about a thing so much as the absence of a thing, unless the not-knowing is a thing, the way silence can be a thing, if in fact silence can be a thing, which maybe it can’t be, I don’t know.

diary by Edward Mullany

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When I first saw the movie Citizen Kane, where it is revealed, at the end, that the main character’s dying word, Rosebud, is in fact the name of the sled he’d loved as a child, when, in winter, he’d go outside and have fun in the snow, before his life assumed the trajectory of ambition, responsibility and guile that would carry him into adulthood and old age, I thought of a stuffed animal that was gifted to me when I was so young that I cannot remember a time when I did not have it, and that is still somewhere, among my belongings, a panda bear to whom I gave the name Moynin.  

diary by Edward Mullany

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Last night, when I was getting ready to sleep, but before I in fact was sleeping, though I’d positioned myself in such a way that I might have appeared to be asleep, had anyone been in the room to see me, though no one was, I heard the sound of voices and footsteps in the stairwell of the building where I live, as a person who dwells on one of the floors above me, and who was returning from somewhere, in a cheerful mood, with a handful of friends or acquaintances, proceeded to the landing on which the door to my apartment is, and then continued on up, so that the noise they were making, as they talked and laughed and made jokes that belonged to them alone, or to the experience they were having, as a group, grew fainter, until I couldn’t hear them anymore, at which point I think I did fall asleep, for I don’t remember anything after that.  

diary by Edward Mullany

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I once worked in an office where the guy who sat in the cubicle beside mine, so that we were separated by a flimsy wall that didn’t quite reach our shoulders, if we were standing, would toss over to me, at random, without announcing that he was doing so, or giving me any warning, a tennis ball he’d found one morning, in the lot of the business park out front of our building, and that would bounce, each occasion that he lofted it, off the carpet behind my chair, or off my computer, or sometimes off my head, in which case I’d pretend to be annoyed, and would threaten to keep the ball on my side, and to not return it to him, though in fact I was amused, and was happy he was there, for he kept the day from becoming tedious, though I never told him this.