16 November 2013
I know we have the ability to backdate. I know I shouldn’t be flustered about getting caught up on posts. I know we have infinite patience for each other, and transitively for ourselves. But I find that I get to the end of these days with so much to say to you and words don’t seem to be the best medium. I find that I feel this way a lot, and it makes me question: Who is the writer when she is not good with words? Why is this my preferred medium if I get stopped by language so often? Tonight, I went to see the movie “Gravity” and afterwards at the pub, I wanted to talk for hours. I wanted to diagram the reactions of my soul, of my lungs, of my heart and nervous system. I wanted to map the movie into my psyche and share it and have it witnessed and be able to say something, one thing, once that made sense and conveyed my thoughts. Not just coherent, but eloquent.
And then I wanted to write a book, not just a poem, but a whole book of reactions, of thoughts and musings and maps. Linear and non-linear. I thought about it on Thursday, when I stopped writing to you. I was going to come home that night and map out my brain. I was going to write a narrative about how when I found out my grandmother died all I could think about was whether I could keep cornbread batter in the fridge. It’s the kind of thing you make from a box. It’s just eggs and milk and powder, but the powder is always measured, always has enough of everything to form the right reaction. Of course, I could have kept it, but I felt the obligation of meeting expectations. I had said I would bring cornbread to dinner, and so I kept making it, even though it wasn’t out of the oven until after 6, even though I had said I would be there at 6, even though I could have never gone at all and they would have understood. I got into the taxi, because there was no time, really I needed to go back in time, really, I needed this to be a whole decade earlier to make any difference. It wasn’t until I was in the taxi that I realized I had brought my oven mitt along with me. It was a Sherlock oven mitt: you are getting warmer, it says.
But when I got home, all of the thoughts circling in my head had left, and I couldn’t find a way to retrace them. I couldn’t find a way to say that grief is never linear, and never logical, and never makes sense. It didn’t make sense to explain a comparable grief, and I couldn’t address all of the questions that were getting raised in my head, because they were questions for me to ask myself, and not really questions for the world at large.
I am aware that not much of this makes sense. But, does it ever?
Somewhere in the middle of the movie tonight, I felt like I came back to myself. I felt like things clicked together, and I felt receptive and afraid and tense and alive. And it hurt to watch someone else’s life journey flash before your eyes. And it hurt because I wanted to be sympathetic but I was so frozen inside already. And it hurt to see the grand perspective: in terms of the whole of existence, this is not a massive tragedy. All of it hurt because all of it is true and what is relative is never not true. It’s so hard to talk about the real-ness of contradictory truth. It’s so hard to make sense of everything for yourself, let alone to everyone else.
When was I the most brave? The first time I thought I had something to say and tried to say it. The first time I wrote and kept writing. The first time I showed up, and it was hard, and it hurt, and I kept going. The first time I started over. The first time I carried on.