After that long, meandering letter to you last night, I decided today that I need to be in motion, to keep on doing things, to not be at a standstill. I remember Philippe Petit: “You must not fall. When you lose your balance, resist for a long time before turning yourself toward the earth. Then jump. You must not force yourself to stay steady. You must move forward.”
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get out of bed this morning. For a moment, I thought, wow, an internal struggle being manifested physically. I felt boneless. I had the chills. What is happening?
I was buried under the blanket until lunchtime. Then, illusions aside, it occurred to me that I might just be sick because of staying up late these past few days. After a big mug of coffee though, I think I might be okay. Move forward, T., move forward.
Here are some lines written by children:
[Writing about a family member’s recent death:]
“My brother went down/ to the river
and put dirt on.”
[Writing about a terminal illness:]
“I am feeling burdened
and I taste milk…
I mumble, ‘Please,
please run away.’
But it lives where I live.”
[Writing about life as a movie:]
“The choir enters, and the director screams
‘Sing with more terror!!!’”
— from Hannah Gamble’s The Average Fourth Grader Is a Better Poet Than You (and Me Too)
Fantastic, yes? I love Gamble’s insight on how they can have a beautiful grasp of language at a young age:
These young writers are addressing subjects that still obsess poets fifty years older: sadness, death, love, responsibility, aging, family, loneliness, and refuge…and they are addressing these subjects in language that is new, and thus has the power to emotionally effect a well-seasoned (/jaded) reader. The average fourth grader is able to do this because she hasn’t been alive long enough to know how to do it (and by “it” I mean talk about the world) any other way.
…By middle school/high school, the average student has learned how normal people talk. The resulting language is underwhelming and predictable—the safe regurgitations of a thoroughly socialized consciousness.
She says, “The poet’s job is to forget how people do it.”
I think—I really want to study and re-learn language now. With new eyes. New ears. I have other things to focus on, to worry about, but I will make time for this. Forward, even if done slowly. Forward.
This is my seventh post during the evenings. I noticed that my thoughts tend to be…less hopeful? I think that as the night deepens and I give myself more time to reflect on what happened during the day, I also mull over myself and who I am. I end up worrying more, and taking those thoughts with me to bed. More introspective, yes, but exhausting, too…and not all of these make it to the page. The rest I carry with me, and more often than not, get nurtured instead of resolved.
And I know—that’s not always healthy.
This is usually my preferred time to write though. There’s not much activity outside (no passing vehicles, noisy neighbours, etc.), the temperature’s cooler, and I love that everybody else is asleep. But since there is nothing else ahead of me but the long night—it can be hard when one is alone, I’ve found. I’ve no anchor. I am repeatedly unmoored.
I want, no, I need to do better than this. I think it might be nice to have bookends—to start the day with an activity, or a point of reflection, and end the day with the same thing. I desire more grace in my life. Routines.
How do you do it?
I fly on and on not knowing,
wounded in the dark night
Good night, M.