I have come to the conclusion that however close life is to a writer, death is closer. It produces an urgency to document life’s conditions that we would typically try to deny: suffering, grief, discouragement, isolation. Maybe this exercise is the essence of art. Indeed, compelling art is defined as compelling because of the art’s propensity to force us to confront those demons that otherwise would be hidden away. Maybe writers are simply compelled to understand why we are here, or to eliminate the same suffering conditions that make life difficult. Or possibly to spare others the same suffering. For many years I saw this trait as a character flaw that fails to see the universe in the same way as my social peers. It inevitably needed to be fixed to make me more normal. Today, I appreciate my uniqueness, my ability to see the dark with the light. I am not ashamed to be the one realist in the room, to feel pain vicariously through the pain of others, to stare at those scenes that others look away from. Without the few like myself, the world may be a little more perfect, a little less tentative, but a vast gap would persist between perception and truth.