lost and found

A lot of things hurt around me.

I see them all in their own little spaces — moving around somewhere between heaven and hell. I can’t quite put my finger on anything these days. I think getting older, in my experience, is showing me that everything is fluid.

Rights and wrongs used to be so much clearer and now I see more and more why we always go to war with one another.

Why is it that I always start off with this stuff? Ah, yeah.

“Write hard and clear about what hurts” — Hemingway said that, though I’ve never read anything by him or his famous friends. Whatever. What’s important to me is that I’ve settled down in the marrow. I feel what’s in my bones and for better or worse, learn a new way to move.

This life is harder in ways I could never imagine. You witness your parents getting older and softer among other things. You squeeze them and they almost disappear. You’ve had this same hug a million times before and each time it is the collision of lifetimes — of regrets and also victories.

What a thing it is to settle into yourself and feel the very cosmos itself pressing into every cell in your body.

In other ways it is hard. Learning to be kind to people. Learning how to discipline and be in charge. Imprinting on someone who is smaller and more innocent than you will ever be again. Or how does one spill your words into a friend when they’ve made you feel all sorts of ways. I think it’s okay, ya know?

I love hard questions. I want the truth and I want what you have to offer. I want to know if you think of the same things or if you’re also shitty at math and wish sex wasn’t always so damn personal.

But it is.

Everything is personal.
I know I am not alone, but this is why we feel it. Because it is all so new, regardless of what we are told to feel.

IN_THE_WOODS_2012_41_5x58cm_collage

Every life is a new force moving into something they’ve never known before. I think we deserve goodness and ice cream because that shit is hard. Maybe there are people that clock out at the end of a day and fall into their rhythm, but I am not one of those people.

What I am is a person who is selfish and stubborn and live in a lot of worlds. Not only do I live, I thrive! My only complaint is that I can’t see it all. I can’t know every feeling and that I am missing something or someone.

Most of the time, I want you. And I crave you.
That selfish part of me is the part that can’t have it.

I give thanks to the Great Mystery. For all it is that I know, I am thankful and glad.

I mourn for the things I’ve lost and I move ever forward,
heavy step after heavy step,

forever in the middle of what is lost and what is found.

 

 

Advertisements

swallowed up by the sea

I think often about story and narrative.

More recently, my story and my narrative.

I was having coffee with my buddy Kyle a couple of weeks ago, and we were talking about writing and story and art.

We are each others biggest fans, I think. He’s an illustrator/artist who gets his stuff published weekly in the Sunday New York Times magazine and I well, have a sort of successful blog. At least my mom thinks so.

I love hearing about his creative process. His self-deprication is hilarious, and he’s always so humble about his success. (You can find more of his stuff here.)

Anyways, we were discussing my move this past year, how messy it all has been and how things happen so fast. He told me I had a way of seeing life as narrative. I suppose he is right, I had just never heard it out loud.

I’m not going to get into the parts of the story. It’s been a while since I’ve had high school English, but it has parts, okay? Things like  exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution. Lord knows resolution is sort of vague. But I suppose writing has always been in the back of my mind. For those of you who follow this blog, know that I’ve come a long way from what I originally started it for. (Which funny enough, was a food cart in Portland…)

As a person who writes, I am always looking for this outline. Rising action and conflict and then the mighty downfall. We all know it’s coming. You can only ride the wave for so long before you crash.

I know that sounds rough. Well, it is.

4a-noah-angel-turns-back-on-humanity

There’s also clarity in story. There’s a point, usually. Thought is explored and there is some answer. Maybe not the one you were looking for.

I’m sure there is some danger in seeing your life as a story — maybe the glorification of the mundane, but seriously, why not? Why not see a metaphor and explore the depths of a left when you were supposed to be taking a right.

I am lacking clarity, at the moment. I can’t see very far. It’s good to have goals, I just can’t put my finger on any of them. My foot is still firmly planted in a lot of things I’m not ready to lose.

I am afraid to lose things — things that I have learned and the person I have become. For some reason, I think I will forget my time in Oregon as some sort of defense mechanism, and I don’t want that to happen.

Oregon was a wonderful and strong part of my character development. There was a lot of beauty and a lot of heartbreak. It surely makes my story richer. It adds depth, but at great personal loss.

I miss that love.

Even in the day-in/day out flow of my life, I know there are people out there fighting to live and for one another. That’s powerful. I suppose I have to figure out what it is I’m fighting for now. In a different way, I am having to create another exposition of my transition back to life in the Deep South. A new chapter.

Maybe even an entirely different story. I’m not quite sure.

But I see them, on my shelf. My other stories. Some quite sad, and some very short. They’re all there though. I can crack them open and examine my character to see how much I’ve changed, and to take in deeply the pieces I’ve underlined. Even more so, the words that aren’t that special. The everyday words.

Because everyday words, are just as important, and hold up the rare moments we actually get to say what we mean.

So no, my story is not about building an arc for all the world’s animals, but things have been washed away a bit. I suppose rocking back and forth on the rough seas feels about right.

When the sun bursts out of the them dark clouds, I will feel it on my face and feel thankful that I was not swallowed up by the sea.

being chased by dinosaurs

It has occurred to me that I might seem very uninteresting.

I suppose I’ve always had trouble telling people what it is I like to do. Lately and often, I’ve been asked this question. For one, I hate talking about myself. I hate having to make myself seem interesting or mysterious in a five to ten minute span. I’m over that.

I can’t say which books I’ve found to be influential or what I’m reading now, if my attention span allows me to do such a thing in the first place.

“Oh, I like to cook…it’s my job. I also write, and read from time to time.”

Gulp.

I see it in their eyes. Their clothes. The Patagonia fleece and brown boots which means they hike a lot or something, so the thought of sitting in one’s room to read and write is awfully boring. But maybe not.

I realize my lack of eye contact is misleading. But I swear, I’m solid. I just don’t trust you yet. My eye contact says a lot about how I feel about a person. I don’t just lend it to anybody, unless I need to be impressive.

“Wait, why am I so nervous explaining myself? I like who I am. I am comfortable and sharp and aware. Why am I doing this to myself again?” (Of course, said to myself ten minutes later as I’m digesting another rushed conversation.)

I think about how some books, when translated into movies, don’t always work out so well. You have to thin out some things. You also have to add twists and pit falls and dinosaurs and stuff. Do you realize how short our attention spans are these days? Yeah, exactly.

galluh--galluh--gallimimous!

galluh–galluh–gallimimous!

You want content. You want it to be good. You want to be challenged. Excited.

You want to feel something.

I understand that.

And this is where my mind starts to connect the dots.
I’m not some expert on writing. I don’t host workshops because I got a degree in writing or was featured on a more popular blog. I don’t write about writing (except for maybe this one) and I don’t call myself a writer. Just as I don’t call myself a chef or any thing of that grandeur.

But there is something sacred about a story. Your life is a story. And I’m not trying to get all narrative on you, but there is some truth in it.

In these small conversations, where we have to sum up our lives in a tiny paragraph or five minute conversation; it’s just hard. And I’m not so good at it.

So I reach deep deep down. Into the marrow. Into whatever it is that makes me, me.

And I sit there and feel strong. loved. important.

I embrace the insecurities like an annoying companion, and leave it when I need to. They will never leave.

Because in the span of 500 words, there’s so much that can happen.

like that time I was chased by dinosaurs…