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.

2:04 AM

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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.

Cisneros and Chai

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“Chai” means “tea”. So whenever you order “chai tea” saccharine sweet cinnamonmy goodness, you’re essentially ordering “tea tea.”

Steaming redundancies aside, I’m nursing a Chai while reading Sandra Cisneros. It’s the first time, in nearly ten years, that I’m reading her work, since our teachers last assigned House on Mango Street to us as children. Some background on Cisneros–she’s a Latin-American novelist, poet and activist. She oft writes about straddling the cultural in-between of being both Mexican and Chicana; of being the Other Woman; of race and class and living in poverty. Heavy context, good literature.

Unfortunate for us, though, we were too young to know what we were even reading. Most of this flew over our heads. It was also around this time, I remember, when they threw Animal Farm at our small heads scrawny builds as if we knew a thing about WWII. Like we knew which animal meant who or what scenario meant which–an allegory without the lesson is an empty tale. For the longest time I really thought it was just a book about talking animals bickering over tables, feed and inequality.

Now I’m a little older, though, I can better appreciate these books. I can nibble, munch, and digest the literary contents. Allusions don’t fly over my head; the craft doesn’t go unnoticed. Making little kids read meaningful texts is like offering a delicacy they gobble down hastily, without realizing its weight. I’m no longer a kid, but these books are still literary delicacies (that I like to pair with chai).

Six Flags

….was insane. In the past four years, I’ve gone to Six Flags thrice. Of all the times I’ve gone, this time was the absolute best, hands down.

As my friend once said, “the faster, the bigger, the scarier, the better”. We rode the 2nd scariest ride three times, the scariest ride twice, a moderately scary ride three times, and basically any other extreme thrill ride that didn’t just spin around. To make things infinitely better, there were no lines. So on each ride, we either rode at the very front–for the view, the incline, the steep regret as we swooped over metal criss-crossed beams-or the back, for the whip (It’s a physics thing: roller coasters feel fastest in the back, mildest in the middle).

My favorite moment was probably when, at the top of a vertical ride, we paused, stopped screeching, looked to the 90 degrees below–right at that moment, the full-bearded man behind us look threw his hands up and bellowed, “take me down, Jesus!”

And down we went.

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The eight and a half hours flew by. Drenched in sweat (and fun!), we rode each thrill ride on my list with time to spare. This time around, unlike the past five times I’ve been at amusement parks, I memorized the map, marked out must-go rides, then made a mental path, so we wouldn’t waste time wandering back and forth. On the walk to rides, we stopped for Giant turkey legs and funnel cake, Six Flags cllllassics.

Ironically, I probably felt the most terror on the seemingly delicate swing ride. Much to my dismay, I had confused it for the miniature version. Instead of being calming, it turned out to be terrifying, hurling us up 400 feet in the air. Toes dangling hundreds of feet in the air, above lakes, coasters, Lego-like cars and buildings, with nothing but chains to connect us to the structure, we bellowed for dear life: “oh god, you said this was supposed to be calming!” Plot twist: it wasn’t.

After the swing ride, we got onto yet another ostensibly calm ride. This time, we faced a terrified five year old gripping onto her youngish dad, with whom we shared regular “oh!’s throughout the ride.

Turn. “Oh–” Shift. “Oh!” Dip, swivel, glide. “Oh?” Another dip. “Oh, haha!” It was delightfully awkward.

To end the night, we trekked across to the other side of the park to where we began: at the scariest ride. I think, though, that after time, you get used to the stomach-drops, steep dips (when I dip, you dip, we dip), barrels of regret and fear coursing through your veins. At any rate, we left the park at closing time feeling exhausted and exhilarated.

Four Years Later

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There’s an experimental freeness to this sketchbook. Sometimes it’s messy, blank, smeared or incoherent. School notes from 2013 are tucked in corners. Art brainstorms, thought fragments, mundane day events (“somebody gave me hibiscus tea today) litter the pages.

Been working on this sketchbook for nearly four years now, from 2013 to 2017. I’d work on it for a month or two, get bored, then forget about it for a year. Come the next year, I’d pick it up for a month or two, then forget about it. Repeat. In the spaces in between, I’d buy other sketchbooks to draw in and fill up. This time, though, I want to complete this sketchbook before getting a new one. Here’s hoping I’ll finish it (four years later)

Bittersweet

 

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It’s a bittersweet day. Exhaustion’s hitting me in waves. At work I wrote stream-of-consciousness poems in my yellow fineapple notebook. I wrote about the way the sunlight filtered in, the way I let our presence expand, the way the green fabric folded, how I held onto time and just listened. There wasn’t much to say.

You’d think that saying goodbyes would get simpler, faster, easier with time. It doesn’t. There’s that saying about being grateful for having something in life that’s difficult to let go of, and it’s true:

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.

But then bittersweetness just sort of snakes its way up up up, rising like bile. And there it is again: the melodies, the memories, the abyss.

Purplish Abyss

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I haven’t been writing. Not as much as I usually do, at least. I’m afraid that, if I write, then I must think, and there are things I’d rather not think about. There was a point in time where it was fun, amusing, almost better to get stuck in my head, to loop around my thoughts and introspect to the point of madness. But nowadays, it is easier to turn outwards. I can watch comedies, play pinball, drink boozy shakes and sing loudly in the back of cars to indie pop I listened to in middle school. And I can do all of that without thinking.

What I am trying not to face: a lurking purplish abyss. It sits in my chest. It rises at the prospect of change. Of goodbye’s, packed bags, new cities, separation, winters, fluorescent lights. Of time passing by too slowly. I see myself trudging through snow, finding pockets of peace, but also succumbing to the abyss. I don’t want to, clearly, and most of the time, I don’t, but it’s growing louder. This, now I know, is the cost of attachment, of love, of care, of connection, of all the soft squishy-icky-gooey things of cotton-candy existence. Indifference renders you apathetic. But things akin to the four-lettered-word, they’ll leave you with every variation of human emotion. (That, I guess, is the price we pay.)