ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 318: The Essentials
Relationships are the key to peace and joy, I think, beginning with the relationship with myself.
Pick Sixes and Best Sellers might have made me happy for a while, but that kind of happiness — based on an external thing — has a short shelf life. Contentment that comes from within me is authentic. It will last.
I’m amazed that Ernie and I, finally, are so much alike. We’d make a great couple now. We would feel such contentment with each other, such peace with each other, such gratitude that we’d met, that our love was growing, that we were growing. At least, this is what I like to think.
I’ve yet to visit the memorial wall in Cave Hill with Ernie’s name on it, with the words The Writer underneath his name. I don’t have to. I finally understand his need to write — why he called himself, first and foremost: Writer. It was essential to who he was.
If I had died first, he would have turned, once again, to writing. It’s what he did in times of trouble, and because he experienced a ton of trouble in his life, he produced a ton of writing. In his memoir, Dinner with D. W. Griffith and other memories, he writes: Through it all, writing has sustained me. It is my rock and my refuge. It has driven away my demons. It has given me wings. Without it, I would turn to dust and blow away.
Without the Ernie and Ernestina writing, I will still exist. Writing these chapters is one of the things I do to help myself — yet not the only thing. I can live without it. One of these days, I will. I don’t think I can live without reading, but I can live without writing.
Or can I?
I will always write notes to myself and letters to others — most of which I don’t mail. It’s my way of helping myself through whatever troubles me at the moment.
Reading and writing. They are my essentials, too. As I say, Ernie and I are very much alike.