oct 7 // morning writing
You can see it as you trace your eye along the folds and lines that make up my room. I drift along, forgetting to water my plants sometimes, often at unease with myself and the things around me. And I pick up books that are orange and pink and have bold white sans serif titles and I draw swirling clouds in the margins of my class notes and I breath in the scent of wildfire and wonder where it is coming from. And I could draw my finger along the twiny net of rope and string that makes up my family, and I could show you where it burns against your hands, and I could show you the parts of this town that send me spinning off into places that aren’t really here. How when I ride my bike off the yellow-painted curb on the street after the tunnel I feel a glow in my stomach, how it pains me to walk up the first flight of stairs in the design building because they are made of stone so cold and taught they vibrate like a stringed instrument, how if you emerge from your house at the wrong time of morning you will spend the rest of the day with a dull, flat disk suspended behind your eyebrows.
If you asked about the morning here I would say: if it is foggy, brew peach green tea and swaddle it in a towel like miriam has taught you, and pour it over oat milk and drink it slowly, always slowly on a foggy morning. If you left your window open overnight and it smells like smoke and the light is too-golden, too-red, close it and light a vanilla candle and drink coffee with creamer. If it is sunny, or if it is tinged blue-green outside and there is a light mist coming through your window, drink black coffee, no creamer, and eat banana, breaking pieces off with your hand. If the mist is heavy, make black tea instead. And if you wake up and it is pitch black and there are headlights streaking across the opposite wall, go back to sleep, unless it is late fall. If it’s late fall, you get up despite the darkness. To spite it.
My tea darkens the more time it spends in the teapot. Obviously. But people are surprised when I do that too: I have been steeping in the sun. Or in my room. If I have been steeping in my room, it is the inside of me that has darkened, become more thick with selfness, become more full-flavored, more embodied, more myself. I know the difference between a teapot that is full and one that is empty just by lifting it with two fingers, maybe even one, but I cannot do the same with myself.
Maybe it’s that there’s nothing in particular to fill. I am not always sure how different my body is from the air I breathe, how different my body is from my notebook and my mug of tea. They seem to contain me just as much as my body does. If my self can extend downwards five feet into the heels of my feet, surely it also extends five inches away into the ceramic mug filled with herby water i am about to consume. And then surely it extends into the bosch painting in front of my desk that I look at every day, and then into my lamplight – and the book I am reading – and the notes I have written – and my iron teapot that is hot to the touch and that, by now, has filled and refilled all the water inside my body multiple times. And then surely I extend into the music coming out of my computer’s speakers – and if what McLuhan says is true, that the medium is the message – it is not just the music I extend into but the speakers, and the internet conveying it to me, and the interface upon which I can see all the music my friends are listening to . and then i am all of their music too, and I feel myself pouring, and I feel them pouring too, and we are all pouring together, into no vessel in particular. Just pouring.
I made cookies this morning, and it struck me that we are drawn to things that are soft and sweet and remind us of the color gold. A cookie has the same chords as Comfortably Numb without the angsty thematic undertone. But the same roundness, the same accent notes. The first note is the same: it emerges quickly and round out of nowhere, doubling over itself in sudden self-recognition.
When i see beauty I want to tell everybody about it. I want to put my hands around it and cup it in front of me and let myself expand within it. I want to look closely at it, at every grain, so that I understand it completely before it’s gone forever. And then I want to throw it upwards so it becomes the sky.
But it turns out – I think – that that’s not how beauty works. If you see something beautiful, you will keep seeing it. If other people find it beautiful, they will see it too. They usually do. And if you’re alone – it’s still beautiful if only you see it. It will last forever if you don’t try to pluck it up between your hands, and squinting at it won’t teach you anything more about the world.
If we are made of words, then some other force is the punctuation. Or maybe the world is the words and we are the punctuation. Or maybe we are the spaces between the words, and even the spaces between the letters, or maybe we are the breath you use to say it all.
I used to cast my consciousness when I was little. I would sit on the bus home from school and stare out the window and wind up a little line of self and throw it across the street to a person on the sidewalk. Suddenly my vision would be replaced by theirs, and I would see a line of cars and a bus passing in front of me, filled with the faces of middle schoolers, and I'd feel the rain on the hood of my coat. I stopped doing it at some point. It’s intoxicating to always be throwing your eyes and your feeling across rooms or streets or tables. You end up having to cast your consciousness back to your own body, and you forget to feel those things any differently than you feel the things the stranger on the sidewalk feels. But now, sitting at my desk, more settled in myself than I’ve been for a long time, I want to cast myself into the bosch painting in front of me. There’s a little blue pond in the first panel with a deep and unknown reflection, and I want to put my face under the water and propel myself down to touch whatever is there. I wonder if it’s cold. I want to lay across the sun-drenched hill and look up into the face of a unicorn. I want to watch the lake ripples expand outwards, and i want to feel every part of the breaking water, and I want to imagine that I'm a bug and that the ripple is a tidal wave. I want to run my hands through the trees. There are too many things in this world to be experienced. I will probably never even run my hands through the tree right outside my bedroom window, because I will be too busy doing laundry, or I’ll be scrolling through the digital pdf’d story of a Victorian woman who was so trapped in her domestic life that she had to imagine the overwhelming bliss of running through hills – a bliss so strong she couldn’t physically take it.
“You are the spitting image of –”
– my father.
– my mother.
– my teapot.
– a satsuma orange.
– the tree outside my window.
– the smell of clove.
– a huichol flower.
– a corn tortilla.
– a slightly over-kerned group of letters.
– a hummingbird.
– the handle of a ceramic mug.
– lowercase letters.
– small-petaled flowers.
– my wrists.
– my ribcage.
When I listen to music, it is because I am holding it in my cupped hand. That’s why I listen to the same songs again and again: I am watching them grow. I am incorporating them into myself. Music is not gaseous, is it liquid, and you drink it until you are drunk.