Writing

handsSometimes 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.

Jiangyin, China

img_2464img_2491

Jiang Yin is beautiful (and for a million reasons).

There is a certain gritty you-do-your-own-thing feel to the streets of China. They’re usually crowded–the markets always are. People push and shove; after a while, you get used to it. Babies roam. Strays don’t give a shit. They trot and they stumble and play by the people, who pay them no notice.

Cigarette smoke lingers in the air: at home, in the streets, in the markets. There’s a “NO SMOKING” tacked on the entrance of the “grocery market” (if you’d call it that—it’s more like a giant meat cafeteria) but the butchers smoke anyways. I watch as the butcher chops our meat, takes a drag, picks up the RMB another smoker slaps down. I peer at the smoke wisps. Then I dodge them.

img_2772img_5097img_5102

The past week has mostly been spent with le fam. Over the weekend, my cousin returned from a neighboring province where he’s been working. Grandma says I’m prettier and that my skin resembles Putin’s (Thanks, G-Ma). My Chinese listening skills have improved and I can better understand Ma, Uncle and Grandma rattling on in their dialect. I take to sitting and quietly absorbing their conversations.

During the weekdays, when time seems to go by slower, I wander around the neighborhood. I photograph strangers. I take it all in. China feels like home. And then I wonder: can you fall in love with “home” over and over and over again? I think you can and I do every time.

img_2758

2:04 AM

tumblr_o7ngcjaatg1u5zmspo1_1280

At two in the morning I’m never quite sure of what I’m doing anymore or what this is except that it feels a little like madness and I’m hell-bent on creating. Being consumed by art is familiar and reassuring and like being home again.

But it does not/will not/cannot replace the voltage you feel at 5 in the morning when you’re inching along and it suddenly dawns upon you: this fits. You fit. Then collapse on your bed in tired happiness and make poetry out of it in the morning. (Hearts handing out little paper milk cartons that read MISSING.)

In the cosmic blink of an eye we will be gone; in the cosmic flutter of a lash we’ll fall in love. With things like definitions and coppery fingers and catchy songs and awful hope. With deviant behaviors like smiling all the time and daydreaming through class. With rain and shadows that you skip-skip-skip through because you’re too busy, you’re too busy dreaming in the confusion and the emptiness.

Something Uncanny

1IMG_7271

There’s something called the uncanny valley, “the hypothesis that human replicas that appear almost, but not exactly, like real human beings elicit feelings of eeriness and revulsion.” It’s the intersection between realness and artificiality that unnerves and disturbs.  The Uncanny Valley’s always intrigued me–what’s it about creepy humanoid likeness that disgusts, fascinates, weirds us out?

Life Updates

collage thing.jpg

The past few weeks have been a blur of Venezuelan, Thai and Japanese cuisine; mango peach boba smoothies; running errands. We drove around the city, past the haunted hotel and chic urban neighborhood, around uptown (funk you up) and back downtown. Sauntered through malls, munched on teriyaka, raced through arcardes. Talked about heavy topics in a pseudo Target living room for two hours. Later I named my boyfriend’s GoPro Susan as we drove around and pretended to narrate to an imaginary Youtube audience.

Last night he drove back to drop off my sweater and I gave him a huge piece of watermelon in thanks. Then we sat outside as he munched on watermelon and talked about ridiculous things and how you can see the stars with night vision goggles–the Big Dipper and Little Dipper (“I know my dips–“). It’s nice to sit under the stars and just talk.

Work’s been fun as well. I’ve been feeling chatty and I’ve always really liked the people. We went out for lunch two Friday’s ago. And two days ago I organized a little Boomerang video shoot for the office. My co-worker and I found props for the others to don, and then we all danced to the first day of summer. I do a good bit of writing and editing but other things as well, and I like that.

This weekend I’m seeing some friends. I hadn’t been feeling well the past week–had a cold–but I’m all recovered now. Before I was sick, though, we got all caught up over Thai, took the train downtown, sipped on smoothies and talked shows over flowers at Chick-Fil-A.

In general, life’s been pretty gouda.

Hope everyone’s doing okay! Been catching up on my favorite blogs. For a while I wasn’t on WordPress as much. I’d like to be more consistent, though, so I’m looking to post 3-4x a week, ideally MWF. Maybe more life updates here and there. Journal entries feel more halting, though I’m not sure why; I used to write about my day all the time.

Pause, Rewind

FullSizeRender-2.jpg

“I wish I could pause time and moments like this without having to think about what’s next.”

Pause. The sun set. We were quiet. It felt like the moment when my friends and I were in Central Park, New York. We’d found a pond with ducks and turtles facing a castle in in the distance. So we sat on the rocks, quiet and contemplative, swimming in our own thoughts.

A blanket of peace descended upon us; I asked them what they were thinking. My friend said moments like this were rare. And maybe we wanted to achieve material success in life so we could buy intangible moments like this. Maybe we strived to make money, lots of it, so maybe we could buy peace, calm and happiness.

But wait–no–that didn’t sound right.

Que Sera, Sera

IMG_1174

The heat makes me slow the way it did the day when we were by the lake. We talked about love wasn’t because we didn’t know what love was. It wasn’t until hours later that I could formulate a coherent response. But the time I’d just stared at the water and the setting sky and muttered something dense.

Time will do as time does, I wrote a month later.