life, on writing

the settling

I know better than to tap on glass to make whatever creature move, but as I looked out the window this morning and saw the massive striped orb weaver shimmying up and down its glittering web, I wanted nothing better than to see what sort of underbelly it had, what color, and if it was poisonous. It’s been like that lately. A small obsession with all the things I haven’t experienced in two years, and all making me a little impolite, even childish. The yard is full of unswept leaves. They crackle underfoot, a common enough occurrence when I lived here, but so unlike the bendy green debris of my old home. Every once in a while, the wind will blow, sending down a burst of leafy yellow confetti, and I itch for cooler days.

It’s been a little over two months since I’ve been home. People ask me about Thailand, about cultural things I miss or don’t, and I’ve grown tired of answering them with the same sort of impatience that I turn toward myself: when will it feel normal again? In that vein of trying, just trying, to make sense of it, I sit down to my books and old notes and look for words. (When else will I remember it all as vividly as I do now?) But when the person inside you seems absent, standing back watching as if to see if things really will stop changing, it’s hard to make truthful statements about anything. I’m reading a really good book right now, If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland, and it’s only served to affirm my own quest these last years: make it real. Make it unpretentious. Make it yours. (Read it if you haven’t. I found it, a castaway treasure, at Goodwill.)

And perhaps it’s given me the peace to tell you, I exist currently in the moment, waiting for it all to settle. There are still many more autumn leaves yet to fall.

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fiction

the taste out of peanut butter

The baseball moon hangs luminously over the windshield. Once, maybe months ago, you would have smiled up and whistled to that craterous face. But everything, even whistling, feels exhausting now. You join the stream of cars on Main Street and set your teeth forward, as if you could deafen the rush of a happy, autumnal world on the cobblestoned sidewalks–sweatered university students, clutching freshly-carved pumpkins, clutching each other–by clenching your jaw. As if you could deafen your thoughts.

Then you are there. Sooner than you want, not soon enough. And even as you think it, you know it is not Time being unfair but you. It’s just that there is so much unfair, it’s hard to keep it from rubbing off on you. Continue reading

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on writing

on same-olds and thought-thieving

I was walking around downtown the other day, standing by a rain-swollen river and trying to think of something, anything, original. But the more rocks I “skipped” (more like, plunked) across the water, the more I dug around in the old leaves of my mind, the less innovative I discovered my thoughts became. Continue reading

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