It was two months after Mum died. I would not meet anyone. I would not answer messages. I would not talk about my feelings. I didn’t want to chat. I didn’t want people. I didn’t want feelings. I wanted nothing, except a place where I could spend my days walking through bare, remote, even boring places, and my nights drinking hard liquor until I passed out. I found the perfect spot.

In his story The Wild Palms, William Faulkner wrote, “Between grief and nothing, I will take grief.”

I first heard this when I was a teenager watching the 1960 French movie, À bout de souffle, known as Breathless in English, directed by Jean-Luc Godard.

The heroine, an American in Paris played by Jean Seberg, cites this reference in a conversation with her boyfriend, played by Jean-Paul Belmondo, who is on the run after killing a cop.

I understood that this meant to feel is better than not to feel, even if that feeling is the worst feeling one can feel.

Read more in Split Lip.

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