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I mentally filed it away under "pretentious modernist experiment". It took me 20 years to come back to Miller, and when I found him again, he was a life-saver. Ironically, I found myself living within a mile of his old home in Brooklyn, wandering from drink to drink and bed to bed, dangerously close to total collapse. In many ways, I blamed my downfall on the permissive society that Miller had helped spawn through his influence on the Beats. Along with medication, a doctor prescribed that I cut out all destructive behaviour and sit quietly each day, taking stock.

I needed the company of a book. In a bookshop on Park Slope, Brooklyn, my eyes came to rest on a book, the title of which had worn away. When I picked it from the shelf it fell into three pieces. I bought it for 25 cents. Beneath a cherry tree, I started again to read Tropic of Cancer. What came across was not the graphic sex or the experimental prose, but the generous spirit of an author who had made a total mess of his life and somehow from it, created an even bigger mess of a book that, somehow, saved him.

Rambling, rambunctious, aimless, vain, flawed, with no methodology, a diary of a living catastrophe, it had more heart and vulnerability than any book I have read since. Beneath the cherry blossoms, I started to write a diary as Miller had done, and I learned that even if you have no direction, writing can give you the strength to go on, at least to the next line.

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I guess I have a blog, now.

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Rugby union. Motor racing. US sports. Rugby League. Geoffrey Macnab. Tech news. Tech culture. News videos. Explainer videos. Sport videos. Caroline starts a conversation with Alaric]. Tyler looks intrigued by her and starts to check her out, but Matt looks angry at the sight of her]. However, when Damon looks down at his hand, it's covered in blood and has an actual heart in it, which confuses him]. Before Damon can react further, Stefan walks outside, frowning and sighing at the sight of Damon and Ellis.

Damon looks embarrassed]. Stefan looks seriously stressed about Damon's condition]. Nora looks awkward and a little hurt]. Nora looks mildly ashamed of her behavior]. Bonnie, overwhelmed and feeling guilty, looks back at Matt, who has only become more furious. He walks past her and yanks the bottle of bourbon out of her hands and shoots her a dirty look before he leaves as well]. Stefan is in the middle of dreaming about drowning at Steven's Quarry with Damon when he suddenly awakens with a gasp on the couch in the late Mayor Lockwood's study].

Caroline, looking panicked, tries to get through to him]. The park is full of Julian's new vampire friends, who are gathered around trashcan fires and are generally causing a ruckus. When he hears a motorcycle race going by on the nearby street, he stops walking and turns to watch for a moment as Julian and his friends splash liquor around the road]. Just then, Caroline walks in, and when she sees what he's doing, she rushes over to him in a panic].

He finally shuts the lighter, and Caroline pulls him closer so she can hug him comfortingly]. When the brothers look around to see who it was, the man beats in the driver's side window before hitting Stefan in the head with it]. He seems dazed and disoriented as he looks over at Damon, and the scene gets a blurry quality to it when he finds his brother staring at him without injury. Stefan looks at him with concern]. Let me deal with the consequences of my actions, but no —Saint Stefan to the rescue.

Always there to clean up his big brother's messes. Stefan puts his hands up in a non-threatening gesture, and he's clearly still disoriented from the head trauma]. He wiggles his fingers at Tyler as he stands to his feet and approaches him].

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  • I just want to see her face for a minute. A little reminder that everything's gonna be okay, you know? DAMON Listen to me—we can walk upstairs right now and turn that baby shower into a bloodbath, or you can take me to see my girl. No muss, no fuss. Just a little visit, okay? He pulls it out to check it, though the screen is too far away to see the message or who it is from.

    Whatever it says, he's momentarily distracted by it, and when he looks back up at the road, he realizes he's driven into the nearby lane and is about to run head-on into oncoming traffic. Fortunately, he manages to swerve out of the way just in time, but in an unlucky twist, a Grove Hill police officer is behind him and turns on their lights and sirens on their car to indicate Matt should pull over]. She takes it and examines it before checking out the ID that is with it]. Damon doesn't look at all impressed about Tyler's choice of secure hiding places].

    Tyler watches him warily as Damon approaches her, resting his hand on top of the wooden lid before pulling the coffin out on its wheeled stand. Tyler, who looks like he's up to something, backs up away from him and ducks behind a nearby container, but Damon is too distracted by his reunion with Elena to pay attention. However, when Damon opens the lid, he finds Henry laying inside with a satisfied smirk]. No, no, no He shoots Damon, hitting him in the hand and making Damon angry enough to vamp-speed toward him and backhand him across the face before flipping him onto the ground.

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    Damon pins Tyler to the ground face-down by the neck and slams his head against the concrete until his skull cracks and starts to bleed everywhere. Once Tyler is incapacitated, Damon stands to his feet]. I thought he was with me, and then he wasn't, and Look, I was talking to Damon, and I think he was there, but now I don't know when he left. And neither is he. He starts yelling at the top of his voice as he walks toward him].

    My soul was literally trapped in a rock. You know that.

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    Stefan's face is suddenly illuminated by a red light, and he's able to swim up to the surface]. I let my brother drown so I could save myself. It's trying to prove a point. I will never be happy until Damon is out of my life for good. Now I'm gonna end this. Once it goes up in flames, Damon backs off and watches in satisfaction, not initially noticing that Henry has appeared behind him].

    Oh, my god. There is nothing written on it except for a large red X scrawled in marker].

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    It's Matt's bag, full of stakes, a crossbow, and other vampire-hunting weapons]. It's from Southern Methodist University's Department of Anthropology, offering him a job as a tenured professor. Caroline's eyes fill with tears when she realizes that Alaric is planning on moving away with the babies.

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    After a moment, she hears Alaric come in with several more gift bags, and she quickly puts the letter back where it was and goes back to folding the new baby clothes, trying her best not to look upset when Alaric walks in and joins her]. In my virtual hell, we were drowning together. And the only way for me to escape was to turn my back on you.

    And everything I've been hallucinating since was to drive that point home.