Rewind, recyle; onboard, offload.

To stand up and be a man.
To stand up and be a woman.

I’ve been tired lately, way down deep in the Everybody Gets There.

The stories push at the bars of my mind, but they don’t get out.
I think of them in there, throwing their bodies at the wall,
growing thinner and smaller, their bright radiance worn off in the stew of time.
The Specialness wears off if you wait too long.

“Stew of time,” I stole that from Rex Wilder.

I’m afraid to speak, but I hate myself when I don’t.
How’s that for a Catch-22?

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Side A/B

Side A: I’m much too tired to be the bigger person tonight

Side B: but I do it anyway, like the lamb to the slaughter

Flash Fiction

(Featured image by Nico Paix via Flickr)

I’m organizing my thoughts, going through a huge stack of notebooks trying to parse the skeleton of my novel’s series. All that to say, expect me to feed you some of the scraps that I find in the coming weeks. Like this six-word short story I wrote forever ago:

I insult strangers because of you.

And this one is seven words, but who’s counting?

Pain tempered her, made her more swan-like.

Writing is the act of peeling your skin off in front of an audience.

I’ve lost the villainy of what the Mad Scientist is. I love her, so I want to make her loveable. I want the world to love her too, that rare lady.

I had an unsettling dream about a car crash on the freeway last night. I followed the wrong car and tried to make my way back to the scene of the collision on foot. But dreams are like walking through thick water, and I never made it. Wound up at the house I grew up in, instead.

My mom and I aren’t speaking.
“You have mama issues,” F says.
I can’t deny it. I do.

I don’t talk about it, because what can you really say?

“People will let you do anything, Mads. You’re smart and you’re cute.” It heartens me to hear it, that people still believe in me.  I feel like I am getting too old for this. I’ve heard it all my life– “You’re so smart, you can do anything.”

But if that were true, then why am I still here, doing what I’m doing. Why aren’t I Somebody yet?

“Because you don’t apply yourself,” he tells me, entirely without malice, and this too comforts me. That it is for lack of trying, and not for lack of ability.

Privately I think to myself that I’m just scared. It’s always been easier to be bland than to be real. If they reject the construct, then who cares. You’ve got no skin in the game anyway. But if they reject you— the real flesh-and-blood, beating heart of what you are– well now that’ll hurt.

“What’s a little pain?” I’ll laugh when I’m feeling cavalier.

What is it; but I know what it is. A deterrent. A balm against rejection. A flame retardant.

06.28.13

I was the girl with the magic bullet, trying to weave fantasy into the world, trying to make the myth flesh.

And sometimes I succeeded, in that little cozy room with the lights that winked amethyst, that winked rose-water pink, cast soft shadows on glittering wall tapestries. Rigid and straight-backed, often I failed, but sometimes I wrought such beauty.

Does the joy outweigh the pains, I wonder? In the sea of time, do I count it as a loss or gain?

Hindsight isn’t always 20/20, but sometimes the fog does lift for a little while. Sometimes we do come out of the forest.

Tassajara, what did Ginsberg pray for? What steep yellow lights have laid your insides so bare and foreign?

The night folds her wings around us.

A Wing Breaks from a Chrysalis

I’ve been the absent gardener yet again, left you alone for months, and for that I’m sorry. What do you say to a woman who’s good at starting things but then gets tired, who falls away, falls asleep and starts to dream?

I’ve been changing a lot, and hermiting too. I’ll tell you about it someday. It’s going to take some time. For now, just know that I’m here. I haven’t forgotten about you. My old offer still stands: I’ll tell the stories if you’ll stay to hear them.

I have plans, things to say, schemes in motion: watch this space.

For Ana and Sarah

We all made art, you know. We all still do.

We were little beads of light, forged in the midst of so much darkness— I am forgetting our origin story, because for so many years I had to turn my head away.

I couldn’t look at the pain of what we were,
the honest brokenness of what I was.

I’m not broken anymore, but I doubt I’m honest either.

I lost something when I lost the ability to truly grieve with others.
With every gain, there is a loss.

I am so content now, so happy nearly all the time. But the crow-black wings I once had, folded and damp and heavy with sorrow— those have been amputated.

Sometimes in the middle of the night I catch myself trying to run my fingers through their feathers, and I come up with only warm ocean air.

What we were has been lost to the tomes of memory
but sometimes I miss it.

What the Fuck is a Love Tincture?

Finally, the post I’ve meant to get around to creating: What the fuck is a love tincture?

You all know what love means. I’m not going to pretend you’re morons by defining it. Tincture, however, is a rarer word. A tincture is a remedy. The dictionary defines it as “a medicine made by dissolving a drug in alcohol.” Or, alternately, “a slight trace of something.” Pick your poison.

In my eyes, Love Tincture is a cure. A cure to the common, a cure to apathy and boredom, a balm for this world’s malaise.

I say that, and I’m afraid I’m being selfish.Why should I get to say that this writing is a cure? (brash, rude). It is at least a salve for me, and with luck, maybe for you too.

You see, I don’t have the authority to talk about you, to say who you are. I don’t know you, but I do know who I am. I know you have stories, and maybe in telling my own, I’ll tell some of yours as well.

I still believe that if I tap my own well deep enough, I will get to the groundwater that binds us all together. The only way out is down. We’ve got to swim for the bottom, plumbing the depths of all that fear and  wonder that’s in us.

I promise to be unflinchingly honest if you promise to keep reading.