seconds tick by as i read the excerpt of michael chabon's book on amazon, and i am waiting, desperately waiting, to plunge myself into this world, to be what i want most, and to be done with this with which i am exhausted. i am waiting to return here and to see my life before me as something other than a series of deadlines and a continuum of futility. i am waiting to comment on it, to have something to say about my own existence, to have observed something of note in my day, to have felt as though i have learned something worth the reiterating or worth the application of to my life. i would like to see something stunning, here, in the world, and to feel it in my chest. i would like to not feel so useless and counterproductive. i would like for my fingers to have something better to do than to write papers on subjects i find mildly interesting at best and typically, merely trivial. i would like that rather than memorizing slides of art in a dark room, that i go to view art. i would rather participate in art. i would rather have art in my life from the perspective of an artist, where the analysis is about the soul rather than about the allegory. i would rather not formulate sentences precisely to get the best possible intent of out the most possible words to increase the length of the page. i would rather be writing from my heart than from my ego. i would rather learn about and formulate how to be that which i dream than to scribble as quickly as a professor can speak, postulations on the nature of learning or dreaming or being. i am ready and waiting for my life to begin to be again my life. i am ready to take again the helm and to exert some control over my own destiny. i am learning as i go. i am done with learning the path that i might one day view it.
i am paralyzed to create by the necessity to study. i am required to be writing papers instead of poems and on three by five note cards rather than in my journal. i must study for exams rather than create studies for paintings. i am very much looking forward to next week. in a matter of days i will be able, finally, to concentrate on that which perhaps i've been procrastinating and that which perhaps i am a little fearful of committing to, but it will be required by the threat of my own guilt to focus and to commit myself to a life of being, finally, myself, the writer, this person, writing. in a matter of days my new occupation, my new full-time job will be to write. my new station in life will be to explain in words that which i am and that which i've created and how it all happens, each day, every night, all over. my new persona, will be a writer, staying up late and thinking constantly about my characters and what their motivations are, will be, have been in the past. i must spend all of my time now plotting and replotting the path of point a to point b and possibly back. my new office will be in front of the computer or outside on sunny days drinking hot liquids (because it should get cold at some point soon, i'm assuming) and writing furiously, writing manically, writing fervently, writing infinitely, writing perfectly, writing absurdly, writing squiggly, writing sheepishly, writing impressively, writing impassively, writing murderously, writing egotistically, writing narcotically, writing eagerly, writing zealously, writing enthusiastically, writing creepily, writing suspiciously, writing wrongly, writing rightly, writing justifiably, writing writing writing writing writing!!!
i am the good little housewife. i am full of being busy and washing and baking, hands in constant motion, tracing with the fingertip a bit of stray dirt off the table and picking leaves dragged in, off the carpet. i am good and i am productive. i merit the donna reed badge of self-worth for being so devoted and careful to take those steps necessary for domestic tranquility. and still, somewhere far away, a liver has failed and a brain is bleeding, taking with it mi familia. my devotion to my household does not stave off death for those damaged by alcohol, by years of lone star in cans and one singular concussion, one kiss of asphalt and forehead. when i was quite small my grandfather shot a rattlesnake that was eating his chicks. everyone rushed outside to see the snake held high in his hand with two round lumps near the head, two chicks swallowed whole. my grandfather wore a cowboy hat and cowboy boots everyday and a big metal belt buckle. living in texas requires such attire. even for chicanos. when i was twelve my grandfather made me sing "somewhere over the rainbow" for him. when i was four my grandfather was yelling at one of my aunt's cats, kicking it out of the house and i said, "now be nice grandpa, be nice." my grandmother tells this story every time i see her. my grandfather has a giant grill in his backyard that looks like a well. my grandfather owns seven acres of land with five massive oak trees with spanish moss hanging all over. my grandfather collects old metal signs which he covers his barn with. my grandfather will die soon. i will miss him.
disastrous living has made the everyday catastrophic from the miniscule to the major. perhaps not disastrous living. perhaps merely disastrous thought. the constant, incessant buzzing of the analysis running in my head of detailed descriptions reworked and reformed of my head and all that it sees. everything i do comes out of fear. writing now, here, at the computer, not reading up on chardin or indian art or cell structure, is about the fear of eyes reading or looking and finding an absence of new words. its about the fear of being the opposite of an artist, of being untrue to my art. it is sprung of the fear that nothing new has crossed my thoughts today. and then, when i will stop, at whatever moment that comes, it will have come out of the fear of ruining that which i've written, of writing too much and unorganized and ridiculous. it will be born of the fear of what procrastination has brought me to, this fury of fingers typing and working, eyes reading, scanning, the cutting of the pictures to fit the flashcards and the rapid memorization of everything. fear triggers most every move. and this adds to my life, a texture of the damned. i give that to myself in the magnification and dramatization of my life and how it is lived. but in truth there are not enough good days to go around. in truth, the texture of my life is full of these dark holes that i've perpetuated by my own cyclical thought, these holes that i bore in my own skull, in my own mode of thinking and the breathing of my breath through hands and beyond tears, choking, understatements filled with self-hatred, resounding about the room and never landing upon other ears. my heart is crushed between rocks and hard places that i've imagined and placed, there, where the mundane should lie, looking so much like the everyday of everyone's lives, but here in my heart quaking with the sensations of torture. i am my own illness. i am aware, overwhelmingly, of my own hand dealing me the blows. here, on the page, it sounds as though my brain is a prison where bombs are dropped in continuous motion. it is, in truth, merely a melancholy, a confusion, shackled with hand and with fist to me, this mind and body. it is merely my lot and i live it.
influenza. there are no medicines available for what has ailed me and the cough comes deep and with green ghastly phlegm now. momentary no smoking. and no classes. aced a midterm coughing and chewing on leudens throughout, tissues wadded in hand and palms sweated and shoved into the coat pocket. sixty degrees outside and i'm wearing the full winter artillery. hat, gloves, scarf, wool pea coat. bundled up and coughing unable to bike the rest of the way home, i call a friend to drive me up the hill. seems to me the last contact i've had with the outside world. went home for the weekend for my sister's birthday. jon's as well. decorated the cake in the car and saw katie allen and her brother paul walking by - jon and i bang on the windshield to wave hellos. goodbye. and the sinister feeling that though it is not cold yet, as it should well now be, winter has crept and bonded itself to my heart. i could not get the classes i wanted for next quarter and have decided that i will either commit myself fully to the life of the writer, as the writer must be, up late and smoking cigarettes and drinking, typing at the computer the story of the girl, whoever she may be, the composite of me and everyone i've ever met, killing herself slowly, or quickly, but surely dying - or i will most likely hate my life and die it slowly or willingly or somehow. it is how the story will go. and these are not options that i have set before me, on the table, lined up like choices or the holy grail of my life, but rather, these are the choices as i know them to be, as i know it in myself to become. this is what my future looks like. and i am banking on you, the reader, to read. or, as it is more likely to happen, for jon to make enough money to support our future as we have deemed it with our satin finish nickel-plated whatever (probably bathroom fixtures) and the red, red walls of my living room with books. me, writing. because it has come to my attention, and perhaps to everyone i know's as well, that i am a writer and that i must write. that i must write my fictions and my poetry and my vision of the world in all its watercolors and nightmares. that i must write my story as it occurs to me, and my experience as it is experienced by these eyes, this heart, flesh, blood, bones. dust. i am book ended, as we all are, by my past and my future, and i cannot for the life of me, take my eyes or my mind off of either. birth, death, and all that lies in-between, collecting memory and soot. i see my future stretched before me in the great cyclical nature of the universe, spiraling beyond me, outstretched, waiting. i cannot tell you for certain how it will occur, but i know inside of me all about its foothills and deep, reaching valleys. i know all about its tangles of intent and miscommunication, about misinterpretations of me and what i say, who i am. i know about the lies and the heartbreak. i can see all of it spiraling out beneath me in the past. i know that it will all repeat in infinite cycles. and my grandfather is without tumor now, yet in texas, intensively being cared for, unconscious. he is dying. it is not certain, but likely, and i am to make the decision right now about staying or going. i have decided to wait. i will wait to go until the immediate future is clarified. because i have responsibilities here. i have invested thousands in passing this quarter in school, and i have decided to try to do it. this decision is not without feelings resembling regret. but going could not be felt without regret either. there are turkeys to be baked and dressed. there are hearts here to be mended. perhaps that process is lifelong anyway, though. perhaps this heart will never be mended. it has not yet been successful. it seems likely that success will never reach the arteries. there is no certainty with anything, however. there is no certainty worth citing anyways. the apartment is spotless as of today, and there is satisfaction in that. yet not much hope for the future. sadness is trying very hard to overcome me, to envelope me. much like the disease with no cure, it spreads and is fought off by blood cells or by brain cells, and much like this ridiculous war, it is never certain which side is winning. at least not by my watch. there is no way to measure it. there are no words to hold it, no language to clarify or explain. water slipping through cupped hands and so on and so forth. there. i've hit on it finally. words with which to articulate the texture of my life - water slipping through cupped hands.
sometimes i live life. sometimes i can feel life coursing through me. most of the time, however, i'm too scared to do it. to take risks, to prove myself or whatever. i think it's kind of funny i'm supposed to be an artist and yet i'm sitting, cowering away from life like the weight of it will crush me. or maybe life is just the mundane punctuated by the spectacular and i'm in it, but afraid that it won't always be the spectacular because it isn't. afraid, perhaps, that it could be and that i should be capable of seeing it through 'til it's all fascinating, but i most likely won't, or can't. perhaps there is a way to see what we need - to dedicate ourselves to experience and then the art of experience, the regurgitation of experience through art. perhaps there are places in the world that don't resemble hippy communes where people make art all day and live it and eat and drink and are merry etc. perhaps it is up to me to create that experience within the confines of this mall-america, within the confines of my own humble existence, within the confines of this life. perhaps life is not defined by achievements, but by the mundane, by the washing and the caring. i cannot look back and tell you the texture of my life without creating anecdotes, telling the stories as stories, or ending them with punchlines. i try very hard to convey the feeling, the texture of my life as the thing that it is, but i cannot define it with language, so i cannot tell you whether or not i have really lived or whether or not i have been merely racing toward the end of this like a rocket shot from the eternal pocket of dust, of memory, of obscure similies in emails. what i do know is that i want very often to reach the end, or to cut life short. perhaps that is an egotism, and perhaps i already knew that. it's because the sadness is everywhere, all around, and i am trying everyday to write it right, so i get all caught up in myself, and the parts of me that are not myself. but there's an alternate egotism that stops me. that makes me think that i've got something better to do than to weep every day, each night, all over.
*thank you to just for letting me reproduce this email i wrote to him.*
*thank you to just for letting me reproduce this email i wrote to him.*
the words you say send me over edges. and i am off of cliffs, careening into the space of my brain, its agony and misery, its inexhaustible depths, where i lay and weep and wail about all my hatred for myself, professed by your words as well and thus only reiterated. the things you say to me are terrible, but perhaps not even intended in this dosage; perhaps not intended to do that which has been done, to commit the act of pushing me over the edge, eyes covered over, not knowing. and yet i find myself falling despite mislaid intentions; in spite of my will to not fall. the part of me that goes on and on for hours, perpetuating the agony, is not the part of me that has control day to day, but rather the unconscious part of me, my molecules fighting off misery and thus producing a variety of its own. much like the flu and the blood cells that fight off the virus, causing your fever and your aches, your cough, your sore throat - something that is not of you that takes control and your body hurts itself trying to get rid of it. my body does not have a say in the virus that inhabits it. my consciousness does not choose to hate itself. and yet i become overwhelmingly aware of my own role in all this. so much so that it adds to the misery. i know full well that i am being ridiculous - that there is no reason for me to weep, the thing is not so much to hate yourself over. the thing is merely the thing - whatever it is that you said. the hurtful thing spoken, yet perhaps not intended. and still i find the truth in your statements. i know that i am self-obsessed. i am aware of my own indulgence of my misery. i am overwhelmingly coherent in all this. so much so that it kills me. or at least it'd like to try. it (me being the it, but not me) would like to slash throats or down pills, starve to death, stick this head in that oven. it'd like to swim very far out in the ocean and not come back, to exhaust itself. it'd like to gouge out its eyes. whatever the method, it is trying very hard to kill me and i am trying very hard not to let it. it's a bizarre dance - the right hand holding back the knife in the left, one trying to hurt the self, while the other is trying to save it. the words dance about on the page even while i am attempting this explanation of that which inhabits my head. there is something growing deep inside of me and i've been learning over the years how to quell its periodic manifestations, yet i've not had the opportunity to diminish them to a nonexistence and it's a doubt that i ever will.
nothing/everything. the plans of my world are falling into being plans and not necessarily into place, but there's a sense of relief coupled with anxiety nonetheless. my plans are not growing from my fingers like words in books as should be their intention. my life is not taking the shape i am intending for it. i am in-between. i am waiting. i am working on the quarter and being tired and uninterested in the lives of those around me and generally pretty uninterested in my own life. i am curious as to what the therapist, were i to return to her as i am supposed to, would say about all this. would i have anything to expound upon - my life, the forms it takes? for right now it is in this amoebic shape, going nowhere, doing nothing, merely waiting for winter to come, to swallow me, merely waiting for the moment when the novel is ripe in my head and thus in my hands - when it is ready to spring forth from the wells of my being. yes, the waiting. currently the thoughts in my head involve balancing the checkbook and doing the laundry - tasks and tasks and chores and tasks. what did i forget to get at the grocery store? how much of this material must i read in order to do well on the midterm? will anyone ever come into the computer lab while i am in here, this huge sterile white box, filled with the heat of these machines and their incessant humming? would it matter? and these thoughts are of the mundane - i am beginning to think that i am of the mundane, that same stuff the rest of the world is made up of, i too, am apart of this, these actions, daily and overpowering, their consequences miniscule and unremarkable. am i too then unremarkable? must i admit that the fantasies in my head of daily life with children and family and my own home are the mundane, the weak, the opposite of powerful, striking, fantastic? must i admit that all that makes me an artist are simply the same things that make others human? that i see the same thing, perhaps not even in a different light or with a different edge, perhaps it is merely the same thing and yet i am struck by it - i am fascinated, and one day, when i have managed my fantasies of my own family and that life, it will all disappear into the cloudiness of everyday. for what is it that keeps us wide-eyed and child-like? what is it that keeps us fascinated by sunsets - the stillness of twilight, anything simple and remarkable? what is it precisely? i have noticed in my time here, on this earth, that there are those folks who make everything we do seem amazing. there are those in the world who make being in a parking lot incredible, those whose smile is an electric storm on your brain, kerouac's mad ones - so is it them? are these, whose aura is so electric we cannot spend vast quantities of time with them, the reason that life is beautiful? or perhaps is it that the world is beautiful already and yet these mad ones become the eyes we need to see it with? is it that everyone is capable of seeing the world in this light, with star-struck eyes, but some of us lose our grasp on how to use them? is it that everyone sees the world as this incredible thing that it is, but forgets when they are wrapped, unconsciously, in this blanket of the mundane? is it possible that i might lose my sight and forget forever? barring that, is it possible for me to write it right, to show the world in my words that everything i see is incredible for split seconds, that the way that light reflects off walls is more full of meaning than a volume of my descriptions of it? there are moments in this life where i am conscious of what things look like and what they mean by looking the way they do - and though i am without the language for it, i hope to be able to convey somehow, somewhere, the meaning and the history wrapped inside of each and everything that i do; that anyone does. i remember specific instances in my history - sitting in an old car with a good friend watching the sunset, talking about our futures; standing above the city in which i grew up any number of times with all the men that i ever loved, feeling truly sentient; and last night, as i was leaving the bar, giving hugs to those i love, finding two friends, deep in discussion, hugging and kissing goodbyes, but holding on longer, squeezing tightly, without words knowing and conveying that i am sorry, for whatever it is, for whatever it might be, i am here and your tears do not need to be hidden. and how do i tell you, with typing, what this was for me, however momentary? how am i to keep telling you, years from now, what i think and make it beautiful, and make it worth the reading? how do i say everything that the world is, everything i know or don't know, when i am all filled up with functionality and the mundane is creeping in and threatening to kill me? more importantly, does it matter just now, or am i trying to fill my time up with the contemplation of anything of remote importance?