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
My whole day has gone and I’ve got nothing to show for it. I sat in front of a computer at 5am to write and, here I am; watching night fall with only a sentence or two down. I’ve done nothing to justify the adderall, three cups of coffee, leftover Indian, and three melted chocolate Lindt truffles I’ve consumed, but I keep up with the flow of bad habits in hopes that a life of monotonous suffering will somehow produce a prosperous return. What have I done all day?
I want to be a writer, or at least that’s what I’ve told myself for the past ten years. I want to be a writer, or a bird, or a duck, or even a band-winged flying fish. I tell myself I am a writer like there’s an optimistic guru hidden somewhere in my soul, but when the time is finally carved out to write I’ve got no authority. I am beat down and pessimistic. Which perhaps is a valid feeling for a writer, or a fish. I said one day I’d write about this giraffe that’s been walking around my head or about a kid named George being scared of the shore, but I can’t persuade those thoughts to leave the hidden corners of my mind. They’re trapped in a tangle of expectations, weighted with heavy soil-less potting mix like seedlings in a ten dollar garden kit under prefabricated light. I can’t force them out, so I break from the business of doing nothing to buy a bottle of wine in my sweatpants. On my way back to writing I watched dusk fall and street lamps flicker on; a whole day gone again.