20 December 2013
I am no longer aware which day it is. I only know that we are getting closer to Christmas.
I am in another bedroom. Half of my body is on the mattress, the other half is lying on the floor. I am wrapped in three blankets and I am still freezing. My chest feels tight, my throat is sore. There’s a heaviness in my limbs.
Here’s a bit of trivia: I always seem to get sick right around this time. Every year, without fail. On Christmas Eve, I have a fever. It’s puzzling. I mean, I don’t wish it so–who wants to be sick? And I seem to be better the next day, too. It’s weird. Is it just all in my head? Or is it the cold?
My migraine finally went away this morning, and I went shopping for gifts with my sisters. It’s not as fun as it used to be. I don’t know what changed–I mean, I still am eager to buy something for people I love. But when it comes to what I want, it seems as if I can’t come up with anything.
Of course there are things I want–but it’s not exactly want, you know? I’m fine if I don’t get any gifts at all actually.
I’ve been wondering about it all day. Is this what it means to be content? But I still have a lot of desires–I am nowhere near content, I think. But why do I not want things–actual things–in the same way?
I am thinking if it’s because I have already received a lot–mentally, emotionally, and spiritually–these past few months that material things pale in comparison.
I’ve been rereading your letters.
Here are books that I’ve read this year that’s meant a lot to me:
- The Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, edited by Carl van Vechten
- Poems New and Collected by Wisława Szymborska
- The Griffin and Sabine trilogy by Nick Bantock
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed (not yet finished with this though)
- Long Life: Essays and Other Writings by Mary Oliver
- Matter of Fact: Poems by Eamon Grennan
- Theories and Apparitions by Mark Doty
- Helen in Egypt by H.D. (just read excerpts, don’t own this book yet, and I must!)
I’ve limited my list to new books. There are others which I’ve reread that has always meant a lot (Stephen Dunn), are exciting (George R.R. Martin), a joy to dive back into (Bishop and Lowell’s letters), and more. But the above, especially, have been on my mind constantly.
I had thought there would be more. There must be something I am missing, but my eyes feel hot, and I should really end this letter soon and get some sleep.
I think I have been living with songs, too, and films, and poems. Perhaps I should make other lists.
The reason why I am in another bedroom is because the renovations are still ongoing. I’ve been instructed to start packing my things in my area and have been temporarily dislocated. I am here in my sisters’ bedroom. Last night we tried to cram the four of us in bed. I ended up sleeping perpendicular at their feet.
While packing my things I realised that most of it are already in boxes. Only my books and notebooks are left scattered around my office. I haven’t got many clothes, they could fit in one trash bag.
I told myself not to read too much into it, but as usual my thoughts are way ahead of me: am I in the perpetual state of wanting to leave (and getting ready for it)? Do I not feel that I belong here hence the need to keep things in boxes? Is this just paranoia in case there’s a fire (i.e. my notebooks and journals and some books are always in one place so I can just grab and go when it’s time)? How much of myself do I share with the people around the house, and how much of myself are in those boxes? How much of myself do I keep here, with me, and how much of myself do I send together with all of my letters?