This is a tale about George and, as you may have guessed by now, a shore. George is just like you and me. He doesn’t have super powers. He cannot fly, and he doesn’t even have night vision (except of course when he uses his night vision goggles).
George lives on a shore. Do you know what a shore is? I’ll tell you what I know about a shore just to be sure.
A shore is where land stops and water begins, which makes the certainty of a shore hard to see for sure. There’s really no clear line or path on a shore, because the water’s tide changes the shore’s perimeter every few counts of a “Mississippi”. Do you count in Mississippi’s, too? Maybe that’s just something people down in Mississippi do.
Anyway, I guess a shoreline is a pretty simple concept, but for George there is an awful lot of trouble that comes along with living on a shore. I can’t think of all the confusing bits right now, but I can tell you the most significant trouble is George’s inability to ever be, you know, sure.
I heard George say a shore is like a fringe – loose, unformed, and always on the mend. Living on the shore means he’s mostly in flux. He gets pushed back and rebuilds, back and rebuilds, back and rebuilds. Sometimes though, really scary storms come through and erode the shore’s border so much that he has to build from scratch on a new shore a few feet back from where he began. Does that make sense to you? I’m sure.
Well, George got so scared of the shore that he moved to a place off the coast of France. It’s on the water and everything, just like Mississippi, but in France they call the shoreline a Riviera.
He says he’s happy there, but I’m pretty sure any shore — no matter what you call it — is still a shore.
I have a body 5,129 miles from my home. All seven organs, all 206 bones, and three layers of skin. A mesh of veins and muscles and tendons are all there, too. Ten toes, ten fingers, and breath in its mouth.
I tied two toes with big, red strings before I sent her off sailing into another dream. My body, you know, has seen a lot. But down here, I can feel she is starting to pop.
She’s walked 22.2 miles, traveled Normandie and Paris. She’s eaten a crate of cheese, and a whole fish with carrots.
I let her go on pretending she’s dauntless and brave, but I can see her strings are starting to fade.
So I gave her two toes a few tugs while she was out there – suspended and free – and I asked her nicely to remember me.
I’m nearing the end of my graduate program. Life is hectic, my mind is fuzzy, and my brain seems to work in reverse. I mix up numbers and letters, I put milk in the cabinet instead of the refrigerator, and every three to four months I catch myself crying in public from a song on the radio or a bird in the sky. Bright lights make my head pound, I can’t handle people walking behind me, and I’ve convinced myself there is a recorder in my apartment transmitting information into instagram ads.
My mom is starting to worry, “Do you have schizophrenia?” She asks earnestly.
“I just need to sleep.”
“Are you on drugs?”
“I just need to sleep.”
I believe I’ve grown immensely as a student; but for some reason, transcribing what is in my head onto paper (or onto a keypad) remains the most difficult task for me. This is bold to say, but my trouble with writing isn’t geared around fear. What people think of my work, or the weird sense of pride I must have to feel it is important enough prose to share, no longer haunts me. Instead, I’ve replaced that fear with a bigger one.
An indefatigable thought that asks: What are you saying?
I recently heard of something called automatic writing. In short, automatic writing is writing with intent to free your unconscious mind. It’s very Freudian and weird and cool.
I found a photo and sat for three minutes on the subway today, quickly jotting down every word that came to my mind after studying the patterns and red shoes on my little phone screen. I didn’t worry about grammar, or form, or how it would come across to anyone who read it. It was freeing and weird and oddly spiritual. I’m sharing below in hopes you join my hippy bandwagon:
I am here.
I do not know why or how or what purpose my life entails but
I am here.
I have wounds and scars and marks I’d like to hide but