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Once I walk in between these trucks, I will be in a different world.

The world is sticky and sweet like cinnamon buns on a weekday morning before school. You’d think he was an ordinary man making a phone call, but the black pinstripe tie on rainbow blue shirt in this world told otherwise: The sketchy couple huddled in between their cars laughing about the days gone past are hiding. They know about the bomb that might come; they know that he’s making more than just business deals.

The air is heavy with spring and it makes you wonder about the poetry of your world: isn’t it supposed to be light? Instead, you feel every breath sighed out of every tree that couldn’t stand winter even more than you.

There is a woman smoking a cigarette outside of an Italian deli. You fail to see the magic in everyday life, but in this world she’s glowing. The ferret on her shoulder can sing and the smoke is more like dark fairy dust, corrupted by years of confusion and sadness. She no longer feels it but it will haunt her forever.

When you’re done with your errands, you don’t need to walk through the doorway to return home. It’s a temporary affliction– your mind is already on something else, and whether that be more concrete or more fantasy it doesn’t belong in this world.

There are many such doorways in our lives. Sometimes we see them and choose not to walk through them, but sometimes they creep up on us and we spend the day wondering why everything seems so off. Do not be afraid: they’re pathways into new perspectives. Reality is what you make it, not what the world makes you.

“There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man’s whole life is a succession of moment after moment. There will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.”
Tsunetomo Yamamoto

October 14, 2013.

On Saturday after the events of New York Comic Con ended Joey invited us out with his friends to eat and explore the town and Kimmie invited us out to eat and explore the town and we told them both we were too exhausted. Instead, we had dinner at a natural food market, walked 5 minutes down the street to take some photos, and then went back to the hotel room to go to bed. It was perfection.

I think Jellybean stayed up to play video games and read or something but it’s the same idea, we were in NYC for a weekend and had multiple resources (available couches) if we didn’t make it back to the hotel room, but instead of going out and seeing the city and exploring all night, both of us wanted to be in the bed. I can’t think of anyone else I know who would have willfully chosen the hotel over a night out, even my parents would have at least gone out to dinner with their friends and then dipped out early.

So there’s that.

Something about it made me realize why I don’t have anything to say for my city. I mean, I do. I really do. I love DC. But much of what I can tell you, you get from a Smithsonian guide to the museums. Air & Space is so cool and make sure you get a shuttle bus out to Dulles because the fucking Discovery space shuttle is there. Also the Museum of Natural History has this enormous squid thing which is really cool to look at, and the Library of Congress always has a ridiculously long line so make sure you see everything you want to see the first time so you never have to go again.

When I travel to other cities, I like to exist as I am in those other cities. I don’t see much importance in visiting the sights or going to certain restaurants. I don’t believe in “must-sees.” I’m not missing anything in my life just because I didn’t eat a cheesesteak in Philadelphia (I’m a vegetarian anyway). I’m not dying to go back to Chicago so I can see that bean thing that everyone in the Universe makes sure they get a selfie from. I treasure the experience I had in Portland: I went to a house show, wandered the streets alone for hours, and ate donuts.

In DC, I do much the same. I don’t eat at restaurants very often, it’s too expensive. Want a recommendation? Chipotle is pretty okay. Don’t take a tour — I’ve never taken a tour on my own, only when my parents were still in charge of my life. The only nugget of information I remember was in London when we passed the first double-sided clock. I still remember what that clock looks like. I don’t remember the castles or historical buildings or even Buckingham Palace where we had to stand and watch the changing of the guard because that’s definitely more interesting than sitting by the water and feeling the breeze hit your face while you eavesdrop. Instead, walk around and experience the city in your own way, don’t worry about directions or time tables. The museums all close at 7:30, I recommend you go to at least two of them.

I don’t have a list of recommendations. When I visit people, they have a brochure ready for me: all they’re missing is professional printing and options for booking reservations. When people visit me, I get anxiety because I don’t want to be a tour guide, I don’t know anything. Let’s wander around and experience something that’s new for both of us.

Make An Experience

Put on a song that you love that has no words, or something like Cecil Gant’s ‘I Wonder’ from the audio archives.

Now, read one or a few of your journal entries out loud, like you’re reciting something for an audience and that song is the most appropriate background.

Make your writing into an experience. Push emotion through it, like it needs something more than black and white text. This was something you originally wrote to communicate one way.

Meet the New Boss

Make a new experience. Communicate your words another way.

October 2, 2013.

a lot of people say things about how shower time is essential for creativity because it’s when we have a lot of our best ideas.

yesterday i got a phone call later in the evening from an unknown number. i don’t usually pick those up but i was bored and a little needy for human voice so i answered, and the person on the other end asked for my full name in electronic distress, there wasn’t fuzz but it was like the connection was off by a few seconds. they breathed for a few seconds, then hung up.

obviously my first thought was that i was going to be murdered so i joked to my friends and that was the end of that.

later, i took a shower and i was thinking about this creative thoughts thing and then i was thinking about that phone call. what if this is the start of my movie? what if it’s an adventure/thriller/time travel and that was a message from myself in the future trying to warn me of something? what if it’s a horror movie, and in a few minutes hands were going to struggle through the crack in my bathroom window and i won’t be able to do anything about it because i’m naked in the fucking shower? then i thought about how it easily could have been a convoluted rape story and i’d expect to see someone waiting for me just outside the open bathroom door after having watched me wash myself.

and then i started getting scared, because that’s what i do. minimize the time you have your eyes closed while you’re washing yourself, keep eyes peeled. i live with two people but i separate myself from the rest of the house as if i have my own little apartment upstairs. there are upsides (bearable living) and downsides (i don’t use my couch ever) but overall it’s given me a pretty good hint of what kind of roommate i am: completely introverted, not interested in community. i’m basically a ghost who does her part but no one sees it happening. i could go weeks without seeing my roommates’ faces. other people seem to think this is weird but when i look back, this is how it’s always been living with other people. i only thrive throughout the whole living space when i’m alone or with a boyfriend.

anyway, i started to get scared because i don’t think of myself as someone who has roommates, and so i forget there’s that outer layer of warning. if someone broke into the house, they’d probably shout.

i tried to reassure myself this isn’t real this isn’t real stop thinking this you’re letting the thoughts and fears and anxiety take over and to some extent that works but then i get involved in other thoughts and i’m thinking: would i rather get attacked knowing it or with my back turned or eyes closed? would it make a difference? if i can’t do anything about it anyway, vulnerable with only shampoo bottles to save me?

Meet the New Boss

It is strange how memories change their meaning depending on what you’ve experienced in the meantime.

I am reading the words of a former self, claiming that a week-long trip to Portland, OR, was proof that I could plan and budget a vacation, put myself out there and meet new people, and return home without missing it so hard that I claimed I ‘belonged’ there. I remember those feelings. I remember being so wrapped up in the idea that I didn’t belong where I was; I remember how it felt to learn about other places that weren’t home, either.

Now, when I look back on Portland, it’s a relationship thing. It’s painful. I went with an ex; we were still together when we planned it, but our time there was spent, as my former self puts it, “successfully in friendship.” Now, when I look back on Portland, I feel a sort of nostalgic longing. The only regrets I have are those that wouldn’t change my present condition anyway.

Like all those times I had to stay at a friend’s house when my car had died and I spent the entire time locked in my guestroom, thinking of leaving. I wasn’t writing or reading or playing games or occupying myself otherwise. I wasn’t enjoying the experience. I was in the room, unable completely to leave and mingle with parents or roommates until my friend returned home.

I used to write about my life and thoughts and ideas quite frequently, whether it was in a handwritten journal, online, or through e-newsletters that went out once or twice a month. Now I write long emails to single recipients and words are lost in the muck of everyday speech. Nothing comes out the way I want it to, and it’s all washed away by whatever imminent emotion one or the other of us is currently feeling. Or hunger. In America, we whine about hunger over email more than we’re aware of.

I wonder what Haruki Murakami does with email. Does he send his best friends five per day detailing everything he’s thinking and wondering about, or does he save those for fiction?

I used to self-identify as a writer, but when I left retail for the opportunity to sit in front of a computer all day with no work and every thought escaping into oblivion, I lost my penchant for writing. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because I decided to tell everyone everything about myself.

Over the next few months, I’ll be posting words from six months to two years ago. These words meant something real to me when I was writing them, and I still see that person in them when I review now, but I don’t see myself. That’s something new to ponder, and write about some other time, perhaps.

Playlist: Jan-Mar

More posts →

I Have

Have you ever made someone spit their drink out mid-sentence? Check that off the list.

Haruki Murakami; IQ84


Do What You Want

Any time you do anything, you’re missing out on a world of other opportunity.

You see this concept expressed in some situations more than others.

- When you sit at home on the couch eating potato chips and watching a television show you’re not that into, you’re missing out on time with a friend, family member, or on meeting other people. You’re missing out on adventure. You’re missing out on exploration. You’re missing out on the world.

But let me introduce this another way: any time you do anything, you’re missing out on a world of other opportunity.

- When you go to a creative workshop, you’re missing out on the perfect day (or night) to walk amongst the historical buildings in your town and appreciate the architecture.

- When you go on an awesome adventure, you’re missing out on time spent relaxed at home, recharging and readying yourself for the week ahead.

- When you eat out at a nice restaurant with a famous chef, you’re missing out on the experience of learning a new recipe.

- When you go out with your friends, you’re missing out on valued time with family.

When you do anything at all, it means you are not doing something else.

This seems like such a basic, general concept and yet people feel the need to limit it further. Most people associate the concept with “staying inside rather than going out.”

Here’s your challenge: Do what you want, no matter how much other people pressure you to do something else. Do what you want, no matter how much that one person (usually there’s at least one, I have two) in your life tells you you’re “wasting your time.” Maybe what you’re doing would be a waste of their time, but you’re not the same person. If you want to stay inside your blanketnest all weekend, socializing online or rerunning Bewitched, do it. That’s fucking awesome. If you want to go out and meet a bunch of people you’ve never talked to before over drinks instead of going out with people you already know, do it. That’s beautiful.

If you don’t ever want to cut out the time necessary for meeting the expectations of others because you’re too busy doing the things you want to do with your life, more power to you.

The most beautiful friendships will blossom with the people who understand that you’re just trying to live your life, regardless of misplaced expectation or desire. You do what you want. You only have one life. Are you going to spend it doing what you think you should be doing based on someone else’s rules?

And here’s the key: Find your own balance. Let me repeat that: Find your own balance. Do not let someone tell you that since you spent last weekend camping alone that means you have to spend this weekend socializing. Do not let someone else tell you how you must spend your time. I know it’s hard in this media-driven, pressured world, to take a stand for what you want and the kind of person you want to be… but try your best to be yourself and do your own thing.

Can You Still Feel the Butterflies?

We met when I was still trying to find myself online. I made blog posts during that time that I deleted shortly after. Maybe I have enough ideas to create a web presence that would support a growing community of followers and friends, but I don’t have the commitment or desire. I don’t want to be in the spotlight. I don’t want to go to many events and get involved in the community of which most people assume I am a part.

Every time I hear “For Me This Is Heaven” by Jimmy Eat World, I think of the mix CD he made for me, listening to it on a Saturday and loving every song. I texted him and he told me “no one else loves this.” Something about that is important to me, to feel like I am providing something that no one else has, even if it’s as simple as feeling every note and every word of a song in ways that no one else in his previous experience has. We want to be special in the eyes of those who are special to us.

Before we met, I made a post showing off the work I’d done on unpacking my apartment six months after I’d moved into it. The subtitles were pulled from lyrics, songs I was listening to that kept me moving. He asked if I was referencing Jimmy Eat World, and we started to explore our playlist similarities. The first mix he made me, he sent online. The second, he illustrated and packaged, and it came in two parts.

I’ve gotten mix CDs before, but never like that. Never with the same effort I put into them. The posts from that time are all gone, but the feelings have only grown.

(February 7, 2014)