This final chapter of Nine Gates serves not only as summation of the book itself, but of my own journey as a writer, and a person. I think anyone who gives themselves over to the pursuit of truth - for that is all art is, is the pursuit of truth - is aware of their existence at this border between misty countries. I think, to be responsible, one cannot shrink away from it. You must give yourself over to that struggle if you are to speak honestly. Because, in the end, there are two paths before you: the path of easy ignorance and the path of hard-won awakening. It would be easier not to question these things, certainly. It would be easier to live a life free of pain. But there would be no wisdom or grace in it.
What Hirschfield says about accepting everything - weed and flower in equal measure - spoke to a feeling in me that's been growing the older I've become. I think the job of an artist is to see everything, to see and speak about it honestly. We are the people who are trusted to make sense of life. And we have so little time on this earth. So I think the only way to make sense of it - all the beauty and hardship - is, as Hirschfield says, to accept it. Maybe with the right perspective we can turn suffering into blessings. After all, hardship is as much a part of human experience as joy. Everything we see, every part of our little lives should be exulted in. I mentioned I was genderfluid the first day of class, but that's why - if I have one life to live I want to claim everything I can. Womanhood, manhood, happiness, grief, strife, joy. I claim it all.