Monthly Archives: November 2011

The compulsion is to say everything at once

She used to worry that if she stared too long at the sun she’d end up filled with too much light. The kind that would seep out of every pore. The kind that would flood out of her eyes, her smile; there would be flashes of light each time she yawned. It would be blinding and unusual and she’d never be good at hide-and-seek.
And it wasn’t quite as foolish, though almost maybe, as the time he believed that the lake was crying. He woke up to the sound of the waves and they sounded like sobs, breaths drawn in shuddering. He walked to the edge of the water and looked out to see if he could see the sadness. There was nothing but water pounding water. The ceaseless weight of waves against waves. He thought that there was something tragic in the way that water couldn’t possibly feel how it hit against itself until it broke finally against the shore. The shore was like life to him. The waves were everyone he ever loved. He thought about how cold the water might feel, especially if he let it cover him whole. He thought the lake was crying.
Or, of course, it could be compared to the time that they tried to go a whole day without looking at each other. They both thought the other was okay with it. They both thought that the other was secretly glad to be always looking away. The thing is that every time they snuck a look was the one time that the other was looking away.
Then there’s how you once decided that you would walk across the ice cloaked pond. You said it would be something to do and something to have done once in your life. You just walked across as if it was stone instead of ice, as if there wasn’t just a thin line of frozen water separating you from water that would pull you down quickly. At the other side, everything looked the same and you wondered if your footsteps made tracks across the ice. But there was nothing there when you looked behind you.
And remember that time that we decided to visit every graveyard in the state and you took photos of all of the signs posted. There were so many rules for the graveyards. And I said that graveyards never scared me. They seemed like places of hope in the strangest way. They were there for the ones who go on. They were like saying I’ll remember you and I’ll remember you and I’ll remember you. And you said that you didn’t want a grave stone. You wanted a tree. And I thought about that and it made me dream that night that you turned into a tree. Not all at once, slowly, setting down roots first. And finally the tree looked like you. Even your tattoo became something etched into your trunk and in the dream I couldn’t stop crying, running my hands over the rough edges of bark until my palms wept blood.
There was nothing I thought that I believed in quite as much as everyone else. Or I thought that until I looked out the window one morning and saw the way the light from the sun hit the ice just right and everything seemed to shimmer and the way the light was caught and reflected in flashes reminded me of lighthouses, of codes, of coming home in the dark and seeing everything I’ve ever known suddenly illuminated.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Every Other Word Should Be Thank You

As the stress of filling out MFA applications continues to mount and mount and mount, I thought that one way to get my mind into a happier, more peaceful plane of existence would be to go over some wonderful things.
The first few are REDzine related:
We are almost ready to send our second (Winter) issue to the printers. It is chock-full (has anyone else ever wondered where that saying comes from…What is a chock/ why is it full?) of awesome with interviews with Nathan Englander, Patrick Rothfuss, Kelly Cherry, and Valerie Laken. Plus interviews and writing by our two “Fresh faces”: the amazing David Steinmetz and the wonderful Christopher Grubb. There is also tons of great art, poetry, and a positive slew of lovely prose.
The REDzine release party is also getting finessed into the final details: we have booked several excellent local bands Hewn http://www.reverbnation.com/hewn, Newport Jam http://www.reverbnation.com/newportjam , and Marc LaMere http://www.myspace.com/marclamere .The first hour of the release party will be comprised of readings by such amazing writers as: Adam Loferski, Marie Bacigalupo, Noah Whitford, Cynthia J. Long, and David Steinmetz. So, really everyone should set your calendars for December tenth, from 7-midnight, because this will be epic (is that word over used yet? I think it’s probably over-used, but I can totally get away with it because I am epically awesome!).
Yet, REDzine isn’t the only thing that has me happy. So here is a wee list of the things which keep me sane in the face of MFA applications and their horrifying, stress inducing, mind bogglingly ahhhhhness.
1.) Having a nice weekend with my family which involved, among other things: pierogis stuffed with mushrooms and cheese, pumpkin pie, cauliflower in rofumo sauce, pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting, and lovely (delicately flavored with orange zest and aniset) La Befana cookies, and seeing The Great Yokai War ( a children’s film directed by Takashi Miike—strange and awesome).
2.) Three weeks of classes left and then an entire month in which I will have time to make cakes from my world of cakes book, write, catch up on my reading (new Stephen King, Justin Taylor’s first novel, new collection of Jonathan Lethem essays, new Haruki Murakami, etc, etc).
3.) The Muppets movie is now out. I will be seeing it in the very not too distant future.
4.) A recent visit from two of my beloveds, one of whom I haven’t seen in forever (quite literally, or at least 8 years, whatever)!
5.) Limoncello, a gift from my favorite fellow pint thief, from the wonderful distillery 45th Parallel.
6.) My plan to reread my favorite ghost stories over winter break: MR James and Alvin Schwartz, we have some reminiscing to do! Plus, following this up with some good old magician rereading: Jean-Robert Houdin’s autobiography, Hiding the Elephant, maybe some Ricky Jay. This is happening. And, perhaps, a visit to the Houdini museum!!!
7.) Writing ghost stories and horror stories and using those as my MFA writing sample. Thus, being myself.
8.) Holiday deliciousness being out: egg nog, mint M&Ms, yum yum yum.
9.) Having a great creative writing advisor who still puts up with me though I am no longer his student. The man is a god.
10.) Knowing that there are people in this world who I can always count on, who will eat pie with me, be awesome, and who I can always trust and that just by seeing/ talking with I feel a thousand times less stressed/ less terrified/ less wanting to race away to my future cave home. You know who you are and I love you all!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Some Basic Facts You Should Know

I fell once down the slope of a hill. Tumbled through dead leaves. And I’ve been chased by a swarm of bees on a mountain. It wasn’t really a mountain though. Just named as one. It was after the time I nearly wanted to jump into the river. The river was the color of root beer and foamed just as much. Oh the river. You know that most things I want are things I only nearly want. I nearly wanted everything once.

I used to dream that I was running through a field and there was a sliver of light in the distance and that light always felt like home. The best feeling I’ve ever gotten was coming home through the darkness and seeing our porch light on, glowing green because my family likes colorful holiday bulbs even in summer. And I always felt that coming home was the best thing about leaving.

There is this cake that I had when I was young that I try to recreate and always fail. I’ve decided that the first person to find this cake for me will be the person I will love forever. It’s like Cinderella. The cake standing in for the shoe. The first bite will taste like distance disappearing. The first bite will remind me of everything I’ve ever lost and then refound.

And sometimes I believe in everything. I believe that the fireflies are sending me messages with each shimmering green blink. I believe that the keys I find when digging in the garden will open doors everywhere. I believe that every light is the light of home. Of returning. Of being found. I believe that there is a beauty to falling, to that graceful arc, to the way it feels like you might never land. I believe that one day someone will give me a taste of sweet and it will taste like finding the edge of the sky as I’m falling and the edge will be something to hold on to and in holding on I will have finally found everything all at once.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

I Will Tell You Somewhere New

There’s a story that I keep telling. In it you are still right here. But, here’s the strange thing I didn’t know you that well. And here’s the sad thing I still can’t stop thinking about who you might have been. I’m a would have and a could have and a should have kind of person though I wish I weren’t. You were someone and I am someone and together I think that makes it somehow worse. There is so much left  to wonder about in some. And here are things I guessed about you: the way you liked your hair best in the morning the moment when you first got out of bed, your favorite flavor of sucker were those mystery Dum-Dums because you liked that you could never quite tell which flavor you were eating other than that it was sweet, your earliest memory was of waves crashing on a beach and you don’t know how it could be because you’d never been to the ocean, and that you once made a wish on a shooting star that you’d find a door in a tree that you could escape into. But, those are just my guesses. I don’t really know that when you opened your eyes one morning and saw how perfect and blue the sky was you felt like everything was going to be alright. How could I know that? So, maybe, mostly, the only thing I know about you is a picture, is a name, is a face, is an understanding of what I’m missing. Maybe, I’d never have gotten to know you, and maybe that’s alright. We’d be two someones lost amongst everyone else. But, maybe, I’d know that someone else was out there and I’d think that everything was alright. Maybe it makes it alright if we’re lost not knowing one another in equal parts. It seems unfair, to me, to know that I don’t know you and know that you can’t know that. So, there’s a story that I keep telling. In it you are still right here. In it you are opening your eyes to a perfect morning and a cup of coffee where the cream swirls perfect patterns across the top and the sun is just so warm. And the point that I end the story, the point where I leave you to stay forever, is the point when you are thinking about everyone you don’t know and you’re thinking about how much you want to meet them all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

And What Would We Trade

Imagine that you know me. Imagine that I’ve told you that I can never pick my favorite color—sometimes it’s the deep green of pine trees of the forest which surrounded the house I grew up in and sometimes it’s the lightest gold like the flecks in someone’s eyes that only show up when the sun is just right. Imagine that I have a too loud laugh and that I find some things so funny that I sometimes lie down on the ground just to laugh. Imagine that I think that there are seven ways to fall in love but I don’t believe in any of them and that I stopped looking people in the eyes because I was afraid of turning into someone who cares. Imagine that when I placed my hands onto the stones in the garden I thought that I could feel the sun but I was a child and I didn’t know that the stones held their own warmth. Imagine that I lost a shoe in the river once when I was jumping and it is still there somewhere, maybe washed out to sea or eaten by fish or caught against the sharp edge of a rock and just waiting for any foot to come along and fit inside and I am the kind of person who wondered more about Cinderella’s shoe, lost, forgotten, then I did about her. Imagine that I used to like to sing but I’ve forgotten every tune to every song and maybe if you sing them just right then I’ll be reborn back into memory. Imagine that I don’t believe in God but I believe in souls. Imagine that I’m foolish and scared most of the time but I hate to say things first. Imagine that once I stood in a  forest surrounded by trees and I thought I saw a ghost and all I wanted to do was wrap my arms around him and see if he would stay, if staying, just staying in one place is what can save. Imagine that I am someone you know and that you know me well enough to ask me where I’m going. Imagine that I will answer you because I can’t not answer you, specifically you, and that I will say that I don’t know and I will mean it and I will ask you for your thoughts and I really will listen and I will ask you something in return. Imagine that when I was young I found a staircase and it didn’t lead anywhere and maybe that’s the moment I wanted most to believe. Imagine that sometimes I wake up and think that I can’t remember what faces look like—of anyone, of everyone. Imagine that I’m in love with you and that I can’t help thinking that there are ways to forget everything and that there are ways even to forget you. Imagine that you turn around and I am gone.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

If you can number it, then it will make sense

I always like hot chocolate made super dark and rich and just a little sweet. I like it best hot enough to burn my lips but be cool by the time it hits my tongue. I used to wonder how I should make it for you. If you’d like it the color of chocolate milk from plastic bottles at the store—lighter and sweeter—or if you’d like it dark as the earth.

I love the guitar work in my favorite song. I had a guitar once but never learned to play it though I named it. Something about naming a musical instrument has always appealed to me. It feels so close a relationship, so personal, that it should be on a first name basis.

I like to eat wafer cookies in layers. The crème and the cookie and the crème and the cookie. I always wondered if you’d eat yours the same way. Maybe you were more practical, just bite by bite and all together, all at once.

I sometimes wake up and can’t remember falling asleep. No, I’m saying that wrong. I can remember getting into bed and closing my eyes but I can’t remember that one, perfect and exact moment when I actually fell into dreams. Sometimes you’re in my dreams but you never look quite like you.

I’ve never liked my hands. The scars across them seem so unremarkable. A cat scratch, a dog bite, a knife cut, and burns. I asked you once if scars shouldn’t be remarkable. What does it say about someone when they can’t remember exactly how they got scarred?

I like making lists. I try to remember everything in numbered order. To put things into patterns, into sets, into their place, seems a good way of keeping one’s self from harm. That’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do.

I liked the color of your eyes. The shape of your jaw line. The way you sometimes looked like someone else from odd angles. The sound of your voice. I probably meant to tell you this. To list the ways in which I loved you. I don’t remember if I did though.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Io Sarò Con Te

We only appeared dead. For the longest time. Like children
playing in grown up clothing. Remember the way we teetered around on high heels
and long dresses. And you said I looked like someone who didn’t quite belong
anywhere. Funny, for the longest time I assumed you only meant that when I was
playing dress up. We were children for the longest time.

There are stories we used to swap back and forth. Stories
about people who fell asleep in the forest and roots grew up through their
flesh and into their veins. Oh how the roots pulsed with the dance of their
blood. I remember the time I feel asleep in the limbs of a tree, waiting to fall,
but I only kept dreaming about it. I woke up every time I hit the ground. I
always woke up.

We used to almost speak in tongues but only to each other.
But, remember, how I stammered each word out until even their nonsense meant
less than nothing. I asked you something but the words came out sounding like something
else. Everything I meant was always something else.

And when we finally saw some kind of path. We reached the
edge and looked out at everything. You said look at all these empty places, they
were once crowded and now they are like small cities filled with ghosts who
never came back from the dead but meant to. You repeated it until you thought I understood, they really did mean to. I never understood.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized