I sit here stunned and need a place to put it. This morning I found a diary (that’s what the author calls it anyway) hidden in the bed of one of the boys with HIV/AIDS I care for. Dylan is eight. Apparently, he’s quite a writer. I had no idea. Do I feel guilty for scrounging around this diary. Not really. I would seriously like to know where this talent for language comes from.
His parents were junkies. Both dead.
Dylan is on the computer a lot (I refuse to believe this is from the computer) and it’s hard for me to get him to even crack a book. His favorite books are the Harry Potter books, but Dylan’s writing leaves Rowling in the dust. Most of the diary is poetry. Some narrative. I thought you had to LEARN (accompanied by sweat) how to do this. Dylan does not attend school. His HIV has prevented it. Anything “literary” that he’s learned, he’s learned on his own.
I can’t quote him because I don’t have his permission (yet). But I am going to tell him I found the book. His subjects are: love, sex (which mystifies him but he was born with HIV so his connection to sex is visceral), friendship (who likes who in our family and who doesn’t and who’s in who’s out and why he loves his pet pig), and loss. Some of it is in Spanish (we now live in Mexico and he’s learning Spanish and faster than I am).
But it’s the subject of LOSS that knocks me on my butt.
One of his “brothers” died last week so Dylan spills his guts in this book and writes and writes and writes. It’s the excrutiating LOSS he writes about that concerns me (and frightens me) and why I have every right to read his stuff. Dylan had testicular cancer and one of his testicles was removed. He writes that if the other one starts to hurt him he will refuse to tell me because I was the one who made (he says forced) him to go through the surgery which he describes as a living nightmare in hell. He describes his love/hate relationship with me in vivid detail. Poetry is not a dead thing in this book which certainly wasn’t written with an eye toward publication but maybe it should have been.
Even the spelling is flawless. I wish I could say the same. He speaks to how he has discovered writing and (choke) wants to be like me but he doesn’t understand why I am so angry with publishing and he wishes I wouldn’t hate it so much.
Something tells me he’ll find out on his own.
I just read it cover to cover. I will have to read it twice. Then I am going to call him in and tell him that when he is in pain he must tell me. THEN he can put it in his book. He will be angry I violated his privacy but I have lost too many of them who kept all their secrets.
Where does this language come from. This ability to speak to pain with symbols. I wonder if he will give it up now that it no longer belongs entirely to him. I wonder how I can keep him at it; if I even have those skills. I wonder if his next subject will be betrayal.