I can offer provisional proof of this in the simple fact that the sun has addressed me for years in human speech . . .
-Daniel Paul Schreber
A thousand years before any of this happened, I was rich and bored and living in the famous city of Z. Something came over me. Even before I got the bad news from the five trustees, something changed. For several days I felt a paralyzing frustration, sexual, occupational. I longed—the longing was so balky it wasn’t clear what exactly I was longing for. I longed for a subject in my life. I hunted sex but came up with nothing. I cravenly abandoned my idiosyncratic numismatic research. I stopped calling people I knew. The fifth day was eerily overcast and warm. A friend who’d been wondering about me stopped by. We drank a few bottles of beer, and he innocently bored me. I hustled him out. Just before it set, the sun dropped below the distant margin of the cloud layer and cast a pale, swelling glow on a table of photographs in silver and leather frames. Mom and Dad, some famous but staid ancestors, the house I’d grown up in, me as a camp counselor showing a crowd of boys a leaf of edible yarrow.