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August 20, 1997

Notes From the Inner Territories

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC

JAMA. 1997;278(7):543. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550070035020

Someone fundamental to me is dying, breaking down in body and breaking up in mind. It seemed to happen very quickly. His interior terrain is shifting, its topography reconfiguring, its elements recombining. I visit my friend in his changing world, and I find I am in unknown territory, whose logic is alien yet elegant, whose landmarks are familiar. For now I can still enter his world, as he can at times still step back into mine. More often we meet halfway, on a little island suspended between our worlds, outside of time, whose language is a psychic Esperanto and whose climate is calm.

My friend and I are the only people on this island, but we are not alone. It is inhabited with everyone each of us has ever known, resonant with the sum of our experiences, animated with the light and dark of unfettered imagination. On this island, the