as if you could construct anew, as if any version of self were anything besides a reconstruction. there is no way of presenting yourself without some degree of re-creation, of inventing words to describe all the strange new creatures, of inventing the very idea of words. words are a reconstruction. something unrelated to anything you look at that is intimately fixed to each thing that you look at.
outside there are cats, rats, bats. last night ben caught sight of a fox trotting into the treeline; her babies across the lot cried for hours, presumably at her absence. we went out to pace around the building, see if we could see anything, the small grey cat who occasionally walks with us to the glass door dashed ahead of us, glancing back regularly, following us in advance. we could not find the foxes. they stopped calling while we were out. occasionally bats dive bomb us while we sit on the balcony. there are more crickets and cicadas at night here than i ever remember when we lived across town.
remembering the urgency with which i used to write. remembering when i associated the word "urgency" with something other than the intensity with which one needs to use the toilet. twelfth grade self had her own universe, of a kind. i remember all the notebooks (i still have most of them) mead five-subject monsters with tuff plastic covers and manila divider pockets, hungry compartments between each bundle of narrow-ruled pages. how moving into the next section felt like moving into my next era of existence. the kinds of things i'd keep, in the pocket dividers of my poetry journal. my one letter from a boy, the crumbled remnants of the pink drugstore candle wax he'd used to seal it. favorite poems from class, treasured notes from teachers. half folded song lists for prospective mixes. letters i would give, had i the guts. a xerox copy of a page from some woman's magazine, something my geology teacher passed out freshman year, describing the metaphysical attributes of crystals: tongue in cheek, but really, what does it do, can it get me orgasms? perhaps more timely to who i was at seventeen: can it help me differentiate an orgasm from a panic attack? then, come january, i couldn't find a new poetry notebook with pockets. it meant i couldn't start to release the notebook from junior year on the timeline i needed to release it: it meant i still carried it with me everywhere, my backpack altar: as if having that two page note on deckled stationary in his thin, uncertain hand on my immediate person everywhere i went would make it all work out, would give us a happier ending than the ending we were clearly headed toward.
i remember my flowers in the attic fantasy: beautiful children hidden away. lives lived secretly in the excess of another's decadence. obviously, it wasn't how i wanted to live, myself - at least not the part with the poisoning grandmother zealot, the torture, or the starvation - but how they could have these vast little lives without interacting with the outside world. finding a way to do this, i don't know, it was my fantasy. i already had to endure the sexual abuse and the emotional torment, out exposed in the cold broad world. couldn't i also have the lovely dark places, the high contoured windows, the attic full of unknown ancient treasures? couldn't i have the balance? i suppose it is for the best that i couldn't.
"a journal is not a diary," carol writes in how to build a long lasting fire, then words to the effect of how a diary is just writing about the events of your day, whereas a journal, a journal is... something else. uncharted waters. there be monsters, in journals, or there could be, whereas a diary, you know, that's just where you document your fancy vegan supper and brag about how the cuffs of your socks match the glaze on your latest batch of tequila cupcakes.
all at once it hits me: so that's where that idea comes from. years of guilt. so much shame. no wonder it's so hardcoded. damn.
my diaries - journals - whatever you might call this here - have never been about reality or fiction. why would i document my day? but then, why shouldn't i? it's arbitrary, it's created boundaries for me where there do not need to be boundaries. so i make lists of similes here. so i write about cancer here. so i write the word 'turtle' thirty times without break, until the word becomes rhythm, fingers at the "t," marching along a cold bright surface. and?
i'll note what a strange little challenge it was, just then, to put the actual year after the date. i had to stop my hand for a moment and remember reality, digit by digit. not that this particular issue stems from some kind of fantasy jaunt. i've recently learned how much harder it is to be in a position where you must identify yourself by your birthdate over and over and over again.
sideways on the couch with the radiohead & grimes playlist, grimes weaving out and over the cloud cover.
fortress of. bridge to. road from. the only place to go from rock bottom is.
blue glass sphere. pearlescent sheen. brittle. brittle. the rustling of pages, the turning of leaves. how the light falls this time of year. the cast of the shadows, this time of day. myss suggests i keep a journal for one month: lies i tell myself. myss suggests i keep a journal for a month: spiritual fantasies. the magical powers i will acquire if i just pray hard enough. if i simply walk with my head held high. if i learn my true name, if i rename myself, if i walk into the shadow of entitlement with no fear. in a voice livid with the indulgences of her generation, she reminds us that spirituality is not feeding quarters into the slot machine until we win the prize. as a process, spirituality can be ugly and isolating, leaving you little to impress others with. well. yeah. tell me something i don't already know.
tracing back over my words instead of writing fresh. i wonder where the bookmark is. where they left things with me. where they had to be left. where i tried to leave things off. i wonder where i am - at the top of the page, at the bottom. under the fold, deep in the margins. an annotation, referenced in the moment, not explained until several more pages in. and like that, you know? like that. the crack of fingers splitting from pressure. the rupture of palm against palm.
(rest of entry reposted separately so i could secure it)