A riches to rags story…

“Everything I write was once real life.”Max Blecher

I have referenced this opening line a couple times in my posts. The thing is, you can only truly understand it and appreciate it if you know who Max Blecher was. He was a Romanian writer who at the age of eighteen was diagnosed with spinal tuberculosis. He spent the remaining ten years of his life confined to his bed, immobilized by the disease.

Yet he wrote.

He wrote about what was once real life. His life. His story.

William Faulkner once wrote that a man is the sum of his misfortunes. I believe that some men can rise above their misfortunes. Some men choose not to be defined by them. Some men choose to fight, even if the fight breaks them in ways most men can’t even imagine.

Beyond a certain point, suffering is pretty useless, right? Worthless. You cannot buy anything with it. Most times, no one else cares. Most times, you are left broken with no means of putting yourself back together.

Or is it truly worthless?

I’ve always been a sickly, strange kid. Didn’t go out of the house much. I’d catch a cold even by staring out the window. I’d spend a couple weeks before Christmas, which coincidentally is also my birthday, in hospitals. A couple times I almost died.

I read. There wasn’t much to do. Then I began to write.

One of the things few people ever talk about is that you can get used to almost anything. I got used to being this. Sometimes I’d feel lonely, most time I wouldn’t.

The thing is, we’re all alone, but we all wish we wouldn’t be alone all by ourselves.

My family had quite a bit of money. I was supposed to take advantage of certain opportunities. I dreamed of studying abroad, of becoming a proper writer. Starting a business or assisting my father. Things were supposed to happen.

They never did. My father went bankrupt shortly after my eighteenth birthday. He had to sell almost everything to cover his debts.

Things went downhill for a while after that. Couple years. Medical issues, poverty, feeling inadequate, losing friends, depression, anxiety, and a bunch of other things.

Life can break your heart in the most creative of ways, don’t you think?

Some of you might be curious to know how it felt. You know, the fall. The whole from riches to rags thing. You don’t think about it as much as you’d imagine. When there’s nothing left but the fall, it kind of becomes a part of you. Days are spent wishing for better ones to come someday. Weeks pass like minutes. Nothing seems to happen.

So I wrote. Tried to find a job, no one would hire me. It was the only thing I could do. Didn’t require much, truth be told. Writing is easy, you know. You just sit at your computer and bleed for a couple hours. That’s it.

You rummage through your brain for things that hurt and you write about them. Or you write about the things that could almost have happened but never did. About who you wished to be, who you could have been if only…

If only

Saddest two words in all Creation.

I believe that art can enable a person to overcome adversity in ways that almost nothing else can. Come think about it, art does all that when nothing else can. When everything else stopped working. When you’re not even sure your heart’s still beating.

Now tell me…

Is suffering worthless? Or necessary?


10 thoughts on “A riches to rags story…

  1. This truly resonated with me. Writing for me, is so cathartic and it helps me process all those feelings. I think it’s the ability to share our stories and find commonalities with people that makes our experience more worthwhile. I believe struggles and suffering are necessary to appreciate everything else in life. Of course some are fortunate enough to not know suffering, but you can only see stars in the dark. So I would like to be optimistic in thinking that the journey through life is indeed more worthwhile when we overcome obstacles.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. No suffering is necessary, and it comes in different forms, some suggested by you e.g. medical issues, poverty etc. Perhaps it’s better to say ‘endure’. As for material, as a a fellow writer there is enough in all of lives: There is a particularly nasty, caustic person in my life with whom, due to dire financial straits, I have to live with. Unbeknownst to them, they are providing me with plenty of material, as is the state of the world around us, as we face: austerity, neo-liberalism, hate, bigotry, xenophobia, LGBT-phobia, Brexit, Trump, climate catastrophe. Your own situation is something which – in my own position – I could not possibly imagine because I am not experiencing it. What you are enduring is, indeed, your own story, and can provide the biographical or semi-autobiographical stories, verses or poems to tell it. My best wishes.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is necessary.
    I don’t doubt any situation I have found myself in was a waste. It is in my sufferings I find hope. It is through my tears I find joy. It is through my pain I find comfort. It is the struggles that sharpen me and make me wiser.
    Your writing is beautiful. Thank you for sharing a part of who you are with us. If I may make it more personal…with me.
    Endure hardness as a good soldier are words my mom often tells me when I am battling with what seems like the fight of me life.
    I promise, as we keep fighting ( enduring) we will come out stronger, wiser and so much more better than when we went in.


  4. We all suffer, we all fall down, life will always provide those experiences for everyone, no matter how charmed a life it is thought they live. What makes the difference is how each of us rises from being face down in the depths of our despair, what we take away from the experience. If we embrace, learn and grow from our suffering, then we can reference it as a worthwhile, albeit painful, necessity of living our lives. Life is the crucible by which we are tempered and made strong, but that is always our choice to make.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There’s an old story about two great symphony conductors who went to hear a new singer. Of course she was amazing. But one made the comment that she’ll be a much better singer once her heart is broken.
    I don’t care to call what we go through suffering. I see it more as challenges that shape who we are, and what we can do and become.

    Liked by 1 person

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