Steve Silberman with an ode to Allen Ginsberg and to failure:
If Ginsberg hadn't clued me in to foreknowledge of death, to the news of our coming failures, I would have tortured myself thinking that the world (at least my world) had somehow gone wrong. I would have thought that my father "wasn't supposed to die" of a heart attack at age 69 after taking that icy sip of apple juice in the union meeting. I would have thought that the 15-second phone call telling me that my 14 years of automatic contract renewals at a magazine were over was a terrible mistake. I would have been completely unmoored by my mother's relapse into alcoholism. I would have been totally freaked out by—oh, where to start: the panicky leap off the Golden Gate Bridge of a dear friend, a spiritual counselor to many; the quick death from pancreatic cancer in her early 30s of one of the wisest, wittiest women I've ever known; the demolition of the rustic old cottage where my family vacationed in Provincetown for 40 joyous summers, just a few months after my father died.
I would have thought I was entitled to a more excellent universe than the one we find ourselves in.
Now that I'm nearly the age that Ginsberg was that summer, I can see what he saw: that so much of the hectic yearning and anxious industry of young people is an effort to cover up a hole in the world.
Silberman's full article from Longshot Magazine is available here.