It’s April but the snow keeps falling. I’m sure you’ve noticed
how late spring is, you’re always noticing when things are too late,
even when spring never comes before May, even when
it’s the absolute perfect time, I am perfectly ripe
my heart is soft and I am sweet, just for you.
I remember the fall, too. I know that things have changed,
but things can never stay the same, so please don’t sit inside
while the sun is shining, you are always waiting for rain.
Everyone is trying to hurt me
or maybe I’m just sensitive.
Life is an open wound and I’m a bruise that the other kids at school are curious about.
Everyone that I have ever let into me has turned quickly into salt
but I was just reminded that nothing is important
and sometimes I can hear my dog barking even though she died when I was fifteen.
Depending on the weather or what I wear that day, I feel sort of different like there’s new skin where the old skin was, and I don’t care about the same things, and sometimes I’m crying, and sometimes I’m laughing. Mostly I feel despondent. Or maybe I just feel despondent right now, and just can’t remember ever feeling different. I can’t remember ever feeling different.
I’ve been listening to Conor Oberst’s older music and I listen to the stuff he wrote when he was not much older than me and it makes me feel so many different things. It makes me sad, because of his sad words, and it makes me feel happy and calm and justified because someone great feels the same way that I do, and it makes me feel so jealous and inadequate, because I can’t articulate the way that I feel, and even if I could get it out somehow, it would never be beautiful or even make sense at all. And since I can’t be Conor Oberst, or anyone with some originality or merit, I don’t know what else to do with myself but to wither here in the seasons that keep going, or to simply go to sleep…
Knowing all the things I’ll never be is the only certainty I have. The rest is uncertain, what I will be and it’s so hard to bear sometimes and I just want to be special sometimes.
But I guess that’s probably my problem, everything that I do is for self-reflection. I should stop thinking about myself so much. Even the person that I love thinks so and that’s where I should be selfless. He always has to do it right and sometimes I wonder why because I don’t think he could do it wrong even if he tried. I guess that must be what love is. He can take it with him from now on, no matter where he goes.
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.