February 21, 1971
Perhaps consciousness of the horror of death never dawned on me until I was 18 because until then, my ego, my sense of "I" had not developed enough for me to be terrified at losing it. I remember having premonitions, similar thoughts through the years. But somehow I never thought very much about my own death, and certainly the fact of it never dawned upon me with full impact until that time. This writing could last longer than me, and I wonder if someone will read it after I am dead. What an eerie thought-and what will they think? They would probably be somewhat amused at the irony of it, and deep inside think "Thank God it's not me." But ultimately how could they do anything but despair, because they know that it's only a matter of time until it is them.
***All traces of the past are important to me. Somehow I strongly feel that my own particular past was meaningful, even sacred. So I save all the relics of it, with religious fever. It's strange to think of something like an old magazine-we think of it as belonging to the past, but still it is in the present too, and influencing the present.
Always, I am tormented by the need to accomplish something. Something deep inside me is struggling for fulfillment. But I don't know how to carry this out. What can I do, what is worth doing? How did Proust extract the essence of his life, which is his book, from his actual life? I thought of writing down what happens each day-this is what Anais Nin did-but I don't think I would be interested enough in it to keep on doing it. How quickly the days pass-it is easy to expend all your energies in just getting by day to day. Where does the extra energy come from to go beyond this? Whenever I sit down to read I torment myself, thinking, "Is this what I should do now?" When I do the dishes, this doesn't happen because I know that I have to do them. In class the other day, Maureen asked, "What do you want to be when you grow up." I could only answer, "Nothing." On Thursday, we saw The Seventh Seal. That is a tremendous accomplishment. What it reveals about death is just the way I see it. The picture of the Middle Ages is perfect, almost mythical in its completeness.
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