I had the most vivid dream a couple of nights ago, and the nights following have been the same. They have been so clear that even days later I can remember them in detail.
Calvin and I were driving in a pickup truck. He was driving and I was in the passenger’s seat. It was early summertime, and everything was light green and full of life and sunlight. It looked like the most heavenly day to be in the countryside. The temperature was mild. We came across a small store set up half in/half out of a woman’s garage. It felt sort of like a garage sale, but everything was tastefully decorated. I recognized the woman as Jean, my daycare lady from childhood, although she had no physical resemblance to here at all. There were two trees in the yard– a large oak tree similar to the one on the boulevard in front of my house, and an olive tree nearby. The truck was positioned facing the garage when Calvin started to drive into it. I told him there wasn’t a place to park, and that he should back up, and I started to panic. I looked over at him, but he had been replaced. An old man was now in the driver’s seat, and he was looking at me with this placid expression on his face, and he said to me something along the lines of “It’s okay to have fun,” or “I only want to have a little fun,” and immediately a sense of serenity washed over me. I felt a complete sense of calm. This endured until the driver backed out of the garage to reveal that the oak tree had a large part of it crushed by the truck, and the olive tree was completely destroyed. The feeling of serenity was replaced by a sadness so intense that it bordered on terror. I wish I could remember what came next but that is where my dream ended.
No one cares when you’re crying on the train. The world is not your mother’s arms. The world is cold like hell. The city is a perfect world for a self-centered girl. I’ll look at no one, I’ll hold my own hand at the bus stop, I’ll cry in my own arms until I’m tired enough to fall asleep. My self is split in two.
I wish I didn’t know how everyone talked so that I could write the way that children do. Innocence makes you so unbiased.
Another thing about memories is their immense vulnerability. Nearly nothing in the mind has the same fragility as a memory. It is constantly in danger, always on the edge of being forgotten or buried or twisted out of truth.
Lately I have been trying to observe and dissect myself. I’ve seen myself and also others in a certain tenderness when memories are shared. Maybe it’s because we keep them in a very private part of ourselves. They possess a dreamlike texture, a thin curtain away from reality. They are little whispers that we hear when something reminds us of the past. Certain memories are silent until they are triggered and then it’s hard to stop their screaming. It’s funny, the things we record. Making up songs in the front yard. The morning sun streaking through the dusty air in the living room. The car seat in my dad’s red Ford Fiesta. A PBS documentary about Elvis.
It must have meaning. If there is no meaning to these things then it’s a labyrinth I can’t escape.
The thing about young people is that we don’t believe that the world does not expand beyond our personal reality. Adults say this all the time– you think you know everything at your age, but you have so much to learn! Of course I agree with this, it’s the same for everyone. Adults are the same. There is always something left to learn. I don’t know where I’m going with this.
Anyways, it’s fun to be young because life is so incredibly wrought with surprises. The way that infants laugh at things that I would find totally ordinary, young people experience the thrill of the first tastes of love, sex, deeper forms of human connection and thought. I know that this is obvious. I’m not trying to write as though I’m teaching you something. I just wanted to really examine the silly mistakes that we enjoy making.
We can’t seem to think of the millions of possible outcomes of our actions. We project solely based on warning and past experience. You think that your mistake will cause one thing, but it may turn out completely different, a something that you could have never guessed. I’m really losing my train of thought.
I think the key to writing well is in the simplicity of memory. In every book I have loved, the memories of the protagonist captivate me. I wonder about all the little memories in stories. They seem to spring up like tiny flowers in the cracks on the sidewalk. Their uselessness are what make them so believable. Their complete lack of direction are what make them beautiful. It’s always the things that seem insignificant in the moment that stick to your heart the most, and I do think that while not everyone is consciously aware of the intense beauty of memory, they are dreadfully important.
If somehow I could find a way to do this, I would be a great writer. Everyone can fall in love with a romanticized memory (unless I am the only one who thinks so, or that this notion is already so painfully obvious and I’m taking credit for something a ten year old could do). I do think (maybe not confidently) that I have a strong memory. I can remember hundreds of tiny and incredibly vivid things that happened to me as a child. It’s nice, but it also haunts me that I may not be able to remember this very moment, or any of the things that I experience day to day. Life is constantly slipping through my fingers and one day when I am old I will look down at my empty hands and remember almost nothing. Perhaps that’s why the elderly seem so at peace. Staring ahead of them at nothing as if they were actually staring at a lily in a pond. Maybe they can’t recall how much better and full of life they used to be. Because they just don’t remember life at all. I’m very afraid of growing old. I’m not sure if I’m more afraid of losing my memories one by one, or recalling it all and letting it consume me as I die idle and all alone. Anyway… I’m being overindulgent as I tend to be. This exceptional memory that I have might help me if I want to write. I’ll have to learn how to organize my brain. I’ll have to learn how to thicken my skin to this damn near insufferable nostalgia. I’m far more in love with the past than I could ever be with the present. I suppose that says a lot about me.
It’s not even that I could go back. I know better than that, my better reasoning keeps me marching forward. It’s just that I truly over-romanticize everything that ferments inside me for too long. I think about things until they become a part of me and embed themselves. It’s so much better than the cold and defeating world that I live in– a world so cold that my memories are the only thing that keep me from turning blue.
I can’t believe the corners of me that you have slipped into. You tell me you love me but how is that possible when you’ve undressed my heart? Sometimes I experience writer’s block. Lately, the problem has shifted a little. I have so much in my brain, but I can’t seem to find a good enough reason to write it down. I mean it’s time for me to grow up a little bit, and if this is really something that I would like to do then I should at least do myself the favor of keeping a pen and paper around.
Ernest Hemingway advised me to write drunk and edit sober and I suppose that’s exactly what I’ll do. He did, after all, seem to know what he was doing. As I sit here on my bed, six feet underwater, I’m thinking of the many things that I could ramble about. The types of thoughts I consider writing down at the moment of their birth, but can never find the motivation for.
I could tell you about the restless feeling that has had me in its hands for several days. I could tell you how I smoke cigarette after cigarette trying to drive it away, and how nothing seems to work. I could tell you how I think the feeling might go away when I am with Calvin. I could tell you about the hunger I feel. But maybe, for honesty’s sake, I have nothing to say.
Oh hello! Life is good and that’s why I’ve been absent. Calvin makes me so happy! We’ve been getting closer every day it seems. We are going to Seattle next week!! Can you believe it?
I’ve been paying close attention to memories these days. It’s been pointed out to me that I have an incredible memory, and now that I think of it I remember a lot from my childhood. I should really write some down soon.
I’ll try and write more these days.
It’s incredible how quickly something can appear. It’s as though life is really liquid, as though it’s never really been solid at all, and it shifts and forms to fill the cracks and quiet. I’m trying to keep my cool. I am. It’s hard when I’m liquid, too, I think I might be cupped in your palms, I think I might spill out onto the floor but what warm hands you have. I’d love to stay.
I slept in your bed last weekend. You slept on the floor next to it. I wish you would have crawled under the covers, I dreamt of having your arms around me. I feel so weak next to you. I feel like I’ve lost my wits. I feel like my friend has taken my car keys from me after a long night of drinking. I’m not in control. I want to kiss you and feel your nails on the small of my back. Everything is just beautiful. Everything is just wonderful.
How will these scars look to me when I finally make sense of it all?
I’m so tired of being such a sensitive person in a world that is so desensitized. I’m sick of looking past the intricate tiny miracles that saturate this world each day and dismissing them as subtleties.
Love is weird. We don’t need it to survive, but we need it to live at all. It doesn’t make sense like other things do.
I’m ready for love to tear me to pieces.
Time is a ticking fuck!!
Last night was super great. Got super twisted with Adam, Jordan, Sara, Celeste, Parker, and Calvin.
I think I’ve been fighting for a long time, afraid of failing, grabbing excuses on the way down. Worked so hard to carve out the spaces, but panic when the spaces begin to fill. Sometimes my bones bend when I look at you. I’m a little rusty. I creak sometimes but I’m doing fine tonight. I must have rearranged my brain with my bedroom last year.
Sometimes, when my watch is on the verge of tears, I get incredibly angry. There is a cliche in my culture that life is short. And my whole life I have dismissed it because it’s so ordinary. Now my age has grown so much since I last thought of it. I had fallen asleep one night when my mom read to me, and when I woke up, I was almost 17 with the mouse heart I had as a child. I just wish that someone had grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me hard and screamed in my face that it will all be over soon. I wish someone had told me how important that was. Now here I am, time being the devil on my back, and the greatest part of my life is almost over. Soon I’ll dissolve into routine, sell my soul to stability.
I have done it! I’ve fallen in love again. Life is bearable, I’m able to escape myself for more than an hour at a time, life has shed it’s tired skin and now it waits in the snow for me, naked and terribly beautiful.
All my delusions from my previous book have dissolved, they’re all gone and melted away. It feels so good to feel safe again, all I can think is that I’ve done a good job at picking myself up after a long time spent in the dirt. I’m truly optimistic, such a new phenomenon, there is so much to look forward to.