It takes as long as it takes.

3 October 2013
12:30 PM
Manila

M.–

Words come slowly to me these days. Perhaps it’s the morning. Perhaps it’s the light filtering through the windows, glimpses of life I can’t ignore. Every other month I trade the sun for the moon, and I love it–writing in the deep, dark night. Before this project came along, I used to invert my days; if it’s possible to have a life full of evenings I would take that without hesitation, and perhaps just lend a pause every now and then to think of how it is when everyone around me is awake.

These days, I struggle to put myself back together again. These days, especially on months when I’m on mornings, I haul myself out of bed and demand some form of participation, interaction, from my body and my mind. I am learning a few things to love every now and then. For example: breakfast, and how sacred it is. For example: that small window of indecision of whether I’m going back to bed or going straight to my desk to work. The rush of guilt, then the luxurious triumph once I find my face upon my pillow.

I am also trying to unlearn some things: annoyance at dogs barking all over the street, my neighbour’s rooster, the swish swish of the old lady’s broom as she sweeps, plates and utensils being placed in the sink, the vegetable man peddling his wares, and so much more. They’re mostly sounds, I realise that. It’s how my relationship is with everything around me once I wake up–I listen, and listen, and listen.

Last night’s webcast left me with a cramped hand and a head full of epiphanies. Rachel Blau DuPlessis says of Gertrude Stein: “She resists many of the ways that we consume her writing…Her work is anti-normative, anti-everything–partially things you want and don’t want.”

I am listening to Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, Part 5. The whole work is composed of patterns–at least, I feel it is. There are some dips and waves in the music that repeats and repeats and repeats. It is like a memory of a sound, if that makes sense.

I go back to DuPlessis; I remember her last night saying of Stein’s repetition: “There’s an erasure of memory.” I want to sit at her feet, I want to tell her, Teach me.

Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.

– Mary Oliver, from Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond

I am thinking–there are things I love, and I have to fight for it, over and over if need be. It takes as long as it takes.

Yours,
T.

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