Sometimes I don’t really know what to write, and then I think oh, you shouldn’t write for the sake of writing, you should write because–because you’re trying to write something. Because you’re trying to convey something. Because there’s a story you have to tell, a thought to flesh out, a destination to get to. You’re driving your point home.
But I don’t always have a point or a story or destination. And then I remember how I used to squirrel away hours just stabbing down words, stringing together sentences, writing whatever I wanted just because. Because it was fun and it made me happy and I didn’t really care if people read it or loved it or hated it. It was like rubbing on unscented lotion. It’s therapeutic, no one really knows you’re wearing it, and it’s something you do for yourself. You’re not trying to leave behind little scent fragments of yourself. You’re just doin’ you.
And I like how writing’s an avenue to sort things out. It’s like talking through a problem, but writing through ideas instead. I’ll start off with a nebulous idea of what I’m going for, or something I’m trying to get out and by the end of, oh, five or ten pages, I’ll have come to some conclusion. That, or at least have reached greater clarity on something than I would’ve if I hadn’t written it at all. Thinking is thinking: chaotic and constant. Feeling is feeling: sometimes uncontrollable and inexplicable and discomforting. Writing’s sorting through that. If my head were a tree raining varied thought-leaves, then writing’s my little rake.
I don’t feel much in the summer, not as much as I do in the winter. There’s something about the onslaught of cold—the onslaught of nostalgia, the wave of emotion, of icy blustery wintry reflection.
It’s barely Halloween and I’m ready for Christmas. We’ll have lights, I’ve decided. Rainbow lights. A tree, spindly and green. A tree, plastic evergreen, our first in years.
Cold and rain joined forces today. Yesterday was another story. It was hot and muggy and I greeted an old friend SC with a head glazed in sweat. MT had invited me to an arts festival that reminded me of small alternative spaces in Austin, New York, Philadelphia.
It brimmed with people, people with colored hair dyed bright angry neon. People with nose rings, with tattoos, with large dark eyes under heavy-rimmed glasses. Artwork lined the tables. You are so talented, I tell an artist after skimming through her comic book. Doodles. Paintings. Prints. Bags. Comics. Film. I feel guilty looking at their art and not buying it.
It made think of Philly’s first Fridays, where all galleries opened their doors and artists lined the summery streets, their work on display. And New York, but more likely every day of the week. I didn’t realize how much I missed it, basked in it, until I was surrounded by it again.
Inspiration never comes steady, it just hits and slows and comes in waves. Projects like Daily Art are sometimes excruciating because I’m so all-or-nothing, and it’s everything until it isn’t. When I do feel the familiar art fever, I let myself become swept by it, because it’s when I’m most happily prolific.
That being said, it’s midnight and I’ve got wild zine fever.
I–I made my first zine last night! Well, my first art zine, at least. It’s nothing wild, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do! I’ve made little photo books before, but not quite a zine. I was massively inspired after the past weekend’s event, so here I am! (This’ll be relevant once I’ve posted about the art fest I went to.)
This first zine was a semi-angsty October-related pseudo-therapy fest. It was tossed together in less than an hour, an inky collage salad. I jotted down phrases that made sense, phrases that I felt, doodles that harkened back to early days. Octubre. Fall. I’m thinking of pulling writing snippets from the blog and translating them into zines, recycling emotion and text and visuals all in one.
So now I’m brainstorming possible zine ideas. Identity? Emotion? Fake unprocessed therapy? Nuggets of realization? Love? Beards? Single stretched poems? Photography?
Any ideas? Do comment! Anything small, anything great, anything will do!
Saturday morning. I woke up at 5 and we arrived by 6, the wind so cold it bit into us like knives. I wore my frayed red scarf as we boarded the bus, skies were purpley blue. I watched the sunrise through the sketch of back roads, blues and oranges and rocky gravel.
Countless love triangles zig-zagged their way unrequited among the best friends. Among him, you, her, me. Your best friend. My best friend. My best friend’s friend’s then-best-friend, then his best friend, or your best friend. I was to you as he was to me; she was to him as I was to you as he was to me. Now he’s little to them and we are nothing to each other.
Cycling through obsessions like a broken washing machine. I am: drawn to the same aesthetic like a film-drunk moth. Film, film, film and light gossamer. And beautiful people in beautiful places.
when the lights gazed down
for our attention and petals fell
rain-streaked you tied a ribbon around my
waist before we sank in a sea of swimming bodies
streaks of sunrise flushed angry
in our cheeks
A man darts out in rainbow swim trunks and grabs his mail. The moon’s a slice of flan in the sky. I slouch and The Weeknd mumble-hums about an after party.
I’ve never listened to Wanderlust in full but every time time the song pops up, I hear: “there’s a song by The Weeknd called Wanderlust.” And then I think back to drawing fingerprints in green sharpie and doodling Leo Tolstoy in the margins and how the seasons had never looked so vibrant.
cool air fading sunsets
silhouettes of schoolchildren
high high high up
don’t know what it is about
that evokes deep nostalgia
for plaid skirts that
knit lumpgreen sweaters
for Halloween nights and
for reflective lakes reflective
tears reflective friendships
moving on we moved
on we’d moved on we
to my left are babbling
indifferent silly raging
lanyards, red and blue, gabbing
away as my head slow throbs from
to my right are circles of
renovation two years
too late of graduation young
running away to run
right back a quiet joy handpicked–
selected, curated, sieved through
plucked and chosen–it’s summer
i zigzag in circles
into the warm
arms of memory
Now you can say you’ve had Vietnamese butter barbecue.
Seafood sizzles on the family-style butter doused griddle. Hot pockets of grease bubble onto my wrist as I turn the onions. My best friend gingerly puts the salmon on its side, browning slowly, as I stab a squid into the griddle. Ssssss.
We sit in silence. I contemplate the comfort of home, a home, of my best friend’s home, where I feel free to be myself and accepted for who I am. Her parents’ eyes still bug out each time they peer over and I’m there, in the backseat, unannounced for the 10th time, spacing out. They gasp.
Over the cash register we order our three cups of gelati, Italian ice combined with vanilla ice cream. The sun sets behind us as we stand by the parlor, eating quietly, plastic spoons scraping against blue paper cups. How do you reconcile a disliking of people with the desire to help them? By cognitively differentiating between patient and stranger. So are you still having a spat? Yes, but it’s not personal.
This might be the last best friend sleepover in a while. The fact that I’m done is slowly sinking in–emphasis on slowly. It’s coming in bits and pieces, waves and wrinkles, unraveling, unraveling.
Months ago, the ‘future’ seemed muggy and incoherent. I could barely see past the next five, ten, fifteen years. Now, the ‘future’ has solidified into something uncomfortably rigid, and if I really wanted to, really wanted to, maybe I could look past the next thirty or forty years. Life will life, but the least I can do is plan.