stops and starts. in through the exit. it seems no matter what it is i'm trying to do i stall out, reach an impasse, just sit there with the turn signal clicking. monday i interviewed for a part-time job helping people who never graduated from high school obtain their GEDs. wednesday i didn't get it. tonight i'm out on the couch after midnight with the forest green and burgundy comforter on my lap, pteranodon on the good headphones that pinch, ben snoring in the bedroom. i could light a candle but then i will fixate on it: adjusting the wax, trying to get it to burn evenly, and the glass top of the coffee table is already smudged up with the gummy results of such endeavors. years ago there was some network crime drama where one of the main characters flashed back to visiting a friend in high school. a slumber party for girls who'd grown out of slumber parties. in her friend's bedroom, the door shut and the stereo playing a cassette of, let's say, church's "starfish." proto-shoegaze, watery guitars and layered male vocals reverbed to waterstain. accordingly, the lights were out and candles were lit. they sat cross-legged on the floor, talking intensely about crucial things none of them would remember in three month's time. that little intimacy of closing the doors and lighting the candles. of playing a tape that no one would quite register, that would become eternally associated with you, even if it wasn't your favorite. if it had been me, it might have been talking head's "remain in light," this devastatingly important album i wouldn't acknowledge the importance of until nearly twenty years later. since my high school days were later than the woman in the television show, i would've been listening to it on CD.
those tiny spaces, those moments that wouldn't fill the time between an inhale and an exhale. those things that aren't even gestures, but the moments between gestures. i want to know what it feels like to be responsible for creating that space. i want to someday understand the language enough to even explain what i'm even talking about, here. to feel at home in an atmosphere, to feel authentic in my own skin. to not have this perpetual grasping always pushing me out of the moment before i've even reconciled myself as a creature moving through time.
i'm so tired my vision is wavering. motion at the corner of my eye that might just be my eyes turning toward some vaguely perceived notion at the far edge of my peripheral vision. twenty years ago i was so much more tragic than i was ten years ago, though there was so much less at stake. ten years ago i was emerging from a winter so much more difficult than the one twenty years ago: things would reconcile, at least for a few seasons, better than they did when i was eighteen, but when i was eighteen i understood so little about releasing, about acknowledging what wasn't mine and never had been; at forgiving a mistake for a mistake. the notion of loss was unacceptable, even when not owning a loss meant losing so much more. my best friend. my easiest opportunity to break with who i'd been in high school. my desire to make art without it being a parlor trick. my ghosts. my inexplicable and impractical. my heart's desire. my capacity for exploring my heart's desire. still. alone at night on route twenty. driving and driving. alone.
i need to clear a space. draw the quarters, banish the corners, draw a circle and sit at its center. i need to do this properly, and see what comes of it. empty my mind, fill my heart. tara brach says to stop, to ask: what is happening? acknowledge the moment, name the moment, then let the moment be. i appreciate there are marks left on my heart by those who did not understand what i was trusting them with. or maybe they did understand, on a surface level, but they'd been injured enough in their own lives to not let this alter their behavior. i will love them, but i will do so from a distance until/unless they take the risk of approaching me. if they don't, it's time for me to accept that and release them to the people they're choosing to be.
sometimes it feels like i must release them with each breath. with this breath, i enter the moment. with this breath, i let it go.
mirror* crossed my mind, recently, and i've been reading back through what is there. it isn't horrible. parts of it are even very good. it's these last two sections, starting with maureen's depressive episode and ending in her death, that might be freezing me up. that first section was fun, revisiting an atmosphere from which i've been long exiled. journal-making in retrospect. these next chapters are lonely and angry, and might not be the healthiest thing for me to write. or maybe not. maybe i can write myself into a better place: especially if i manage to write like no one is reading?
i always write like that.
winter comes at us and comes at us again. relentless cold, snow day after snow day. everyone rages, part of me is raging; another more rebellious part of me borders on something not unlike satisfaction. though i don't want my loved ones put in danger, though that's the top priority, it's been more than a decade since it actually felt like winter, like a coming through the ancient darkness; a satisfying initiation, now, at last. will the spring be sweeter, now that it feels earned? or will it go to another extreme, shooting up from the 20s into the 90s before the month is out? you know, like they say: march comes on like a lion, goes out like a shaved lamb in a bikini?
* the YA novel i started in 2009. i never finished it, but returned it to the soil. it has nourished several projects since.