Another obligatory entry about home, where no catastrophes are in sight, but somehow rough grains underneath your feet work their way inside your skin anyway. It’s taxing. That’s all I can say to sum it up. Actually, I can (and have) summed it up in a million ways, maybe even too much. But why throw away something that gives you so much material each time? As a writer, the electricity-laced air is practically my bread and butter.
I can’t explain any of these million ways to anyone else. Because people understand concrete, time-measured events. And I understand only the things that are never said—the truest revealed intentions (or so I’ve been taught). More importantly, I understand the things that are never said to outsiders. No one practices the art of hiding dirty laundry quite as well as the one who rules this house. On this point we are vastly different—say it out loud! i always rush to campaign. there can never be enough words. words! words?
Still, I can’t tell if this is an innate difference or simply the symptoms of youthful rebellion. Raw, bleeding, and fresh from the slaughterhouse, stamped with a ‘best-if-used-by’ date. Maybe not far from now, all the tinged blood will dry and all the meaty substance will expire. Maybe someday we’ll merge in our ways of insidiousness, and my daughter will write the same lines as I do tonight, while the house drowns in things unsaid. What will I think then? Will half my life, and all my trusted words, have been in vain?
First year, someone called me a transparent mirror, probably because I take on whatever identities imposed on me without much reflection (pun intended). It was the most razor-sharp insight anyone’s had into me, to this day, I wonder how he knew.
When I was one-and-twenty I heard a wise man say, ‘Give crowns and pounds and guineas But not your heart away; Give pearls away and rubies But keep your fancy free.’ But I was one-and-twenty, No use to talk to me.
When I was one-and-twenty I heard him say again, ‘The heart out of the bosom Was never given in vain; ’Tis paid with sighs a plenty And sold for endless rue.’ And I am two-and-twenty, And oh, ’tis true, ’tis true.
“We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”—
Kurt Vonnegut (Mother Night)
This theme keeps coming up today, the idea that we all put up a “theatrical” self to everyone, except when we’re alone. I don’t think this makes the “selves” we present to others any less authentic though. Because, really, what are we like when we are by ourselves? Utterly boring and filled with non-sensical and insignificant thoughts, if nothing else, an audience forces us to organize into distinguishable objects, rather than lumps of raw material.
“Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.”—Robertson Davies (via misswallflower)
I talked to a stranger in a coffee shop for the first time today. We were both reading for a while, then he asked me what I was reading, and we struck up a conversation. It turns out that he’s from LA too! Covina, came here for divinity school, wants to go into ministry. We talked about getting out of the socal bubble, future career plans, his poli sci to the ministry transition, city living, surfing, and even touched on religion a little bit. It was great fun. I always had this fantasy that people met new people and opened up new conversations at coffee shops, and just when I thought that’s more a myth (like how people meet and get asked out in bars in non-sleazy ways), life proves otherwise.