someplace far away 

I’m building a garden in my head, an entire small backyard of garden, with stepping stones and moss and trees and flowering plants and lights strung about. I’ve been building this small backyard of garden for days, thinking of a place to hide in, to get lost in, to see and taste and smell, with savory thyme between the stones and wisteria overhead, with honeysuckle and jasmine climbing the sides and lavender and ferns tucked behind cascading green things. A place to share with butterflies and bees. With a willow to share the moonlight. 

My new backyard is just the right size for a sanctuary. It’s just big enough to fill with my imagination.

People scoff, but I can’t see why. They see a tiny, useless backyard. It’s just as well. They won’t think any more of my little space. Which means they won’t find me.

I read somewhere that George Bernard Shaw had a writing hut in his backyard. He named it London, so that when people would call for him, they would be told that he’s in London. I’m going to name my garden someplace far away. 

Scream

I’m going mad. 

This is an outlet, a place to scream because I can’t physically do so unless I’m on a remote island in the middle of the Pacific. And that’s not happening in the foreseeable future nor this second nor ever. So I scream virtually and fling myself into the upper end of the troposphere and do anything else terrifying I can find to do that’s within my grasp. I force myself into distraction so intense that I don’t need to scream. But the world is too often too quiet and demons surface to pull me under. So I’m here, screaming at the top of my lungs. And maybe you hear it or maybe you don’t; maybe you hear it in your head at 3am as though the world were exploding and you were somewhere on it, which you are and it is and you reading this now is a fucking miracle because we’ve all been annihilated. How gruesome. But my screams, this space, they’re here for me to destroy you and rebuild you over and over because that’s the only way I have to share what burns inside of me without sharing what burns inside of me. And I have to share it because it’s locked up and I’m going mad. 

.

It’s summer, and I’m getting out, setting off to do things that I can do only when the prison walls that enclose me for 10 months of every year detach at the seams and fall away. My painkiller awaits me today in the slopes and obstacles and heat of a forest. Tomorrow? I’ll see when I get there. It’s day to day. Minute to minute. One foot in front of the other.

requiem 

I took a drive today, a long one, to someplace to spend time with people I don’t know. These people are as friendly as people could be, but I felt uneasy around them. But I survived, and I’m now back in the discomfort of my own company.

.

I listened to Mozart’s Requiem a couple of times today. He wrote the piece for someone who died, but the requiem ended up being for himself. He died before he finished it, so his understudy finished it for him. Likely literally. I read that the piece was played at his own funeral. 

The best way to hear it is loudly while lying on the floor with eyes closed. 

 .

I’ve been editing posts after I publish them. It’s easier for me to catch mistakes and decide what to cut once it’s out in the world. Sometimes words appear to be what they aren’t meant to, and I don’t catch the problem right away. I’m becoming bold with my swift touch of the Publish button. I’m becoming reckless. I say that as though I’m not normally so.

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When I listen to this, I imagine being in a ruby red room surrounded by ruby red things because the sound sounds as ruby red as it looks. 

Mozart’s Requiem


claro (que si)

Some days, not often enough, I have great clarity of self; I walk by mirrors, or through them, and I see the real me. I feel my true being. I feel this real person that frosted filters placed by a lack of confidence or a misplacement of my soul prevent me from feeling.

….. . . . …  .

The Spanish assignment is going well.

My dialect is a mix of who knows what, since I have learned and am still learning from people from all over. My teachers have been my students (funny) from Mexico and South America and actual Spanish teachers at the high school from Latin America and Spain. I’ve taken almost every opportunity I’ve had to learn from them, though some days I can hold a decent conversation while other days I can’t put two words together. (To be fair, some days I can’t put two words together in English.)

For an hour and a half every morning for the last week, my classroom has become its own small country in which virtually no English is spoken, and in this small country of mine I’m not practicing casual conversation but teaching kids math concepts and, ironically, how to interpret language usage. It’s an exchange of describing the meanings of words and sentence fragments and whole essays, me describing what I understand things to mean and a little boy describing what he understands things to mean, and a lesson in how to read math word problems in English by learning how to pick out the important stuff and focus only on the bare minimum information necessary—a skill I teach anyway but lately in an entirely new way. The experience is incredible. I don’t realize how immersed I am, how completely separated my mind is from English, until I step out of the room to talk to someone and catch myself speaking Spanish unintentionally.

Someone from the country beyond the border of my classroom door came in today to watch me so that she could make fun of the gringo language-butcher she expected to find. I didn’t notice her off in the corner, but later she told me she was there and that she left because she was both surprised and disappointed that I didn’t meet her expectations. She wanted something to poke fun at, but I didn’t give her the satisfaction.

Pobrecita.

I feel at home, and I feel like I’m actually doing something.

And I came here not so much to tell of my adventures with Spanish but to say that I feel like a normal human. I came here to say it was a good day.

 

 

The Road to Damascus 

There should be some kinda algorithm, an innate process, like breathing, that seals the heart when claimed. Like how an egg seals shut when the sperm that gets in first gets the prize.

Love can be torture.

… . . .   .

I had to put my counseling hat on this week.

A woman came to me, crazy out of her mind, asking for my infinite wisdom. (For the record, counselors are not wise, they just listen and ask questions.) This woman had to choose between fidelity and love. I asked her what she felt was the right thing to do, and she fell quiet. “Right?” She asked, as though right and wrong were irrelevant or indistinguishable. She avoided the question and told me that she nearly gave in, and it scared her. Then she wept, sobbed right there in the room with me. So I sat in silence and gave her space to cry until she gathered herself. 

She was pretty messed up, going back and forth in her mind from one path of the fork in the road to the other, spreading her confusion by telling half-truths and giving her lover mixed signals. She wanted advice, but as a rule, I generally don’t give advice when I have my counselor hat on. She had to draw her own conclusions and come up with her own solution. She told me that she had ripped her heart out to do right by the one she is legally and morally bound to, and she hurt herself and the one she loves in the process. She wondered how her life would have been in a month’s time, or a year’s, or longer, and how his, the lover’s, would have been too, had she chosen him. I couldn’t answer her, not because of the hat rules but because I really couldn’t. No one can.

….. . .. .  .

I live on the outskirts of town, on the edge of civilization, and I drive down a lot of country roads sheltered by trees and vines and tall grass. Today I drove alongside wildflowers. They were beautiful. I got sad thinking they’d be gone soon, but I was focusing on the wrong thing. The flowers were there, are there, and I was fast-forwarding their season by thinking them gone.

Natural seasons in life aren’t temporary anyway; they return again and again. It’s the stolen ones that scare us into believing that once we let the good stuff go, it’s gone forever.

…   . .

How long are situations acceptable before they aren’t, and how do people tell the difference when the change is so gradual?

If we had time machines, all of this would be a nonissue. We could pick our seasons and keep them unchanged. I imagine that, if that woman had a time machine, she would go back to when those flowers were new summer blooms, before everything got complicated, and enjoy their company indefinitely.

2:19am

I started writing a story. I thought maybe what I wrote would be the beginning of something, but I read it later and decided that what I had written is a complete story in itself. I started a second story (actually the first one, the one I mentioned a sentence ago is the second), but that one is incomplete. Being that I’m a bad storyteller, I went with the advice I’ve always heard, standard advice for the masses, to write what I know. And it’s working pretty well so far. My biggest problem is that I start strong and then fizzle out after a few paragraphs or earlier. So maybe these super short stories are the way to go.

I’ve been writing and writing with nervous energy, and now I’m here unable to speak.

 

the next post will be better