Posts tagged ‘change’

January 28, 2011

take your plane and steer it into the ground

it’s like january has been the process of learning how to do january. i have a calendar on my wall full of x’s for the days i’ve written, and a book of scribbles that show where those days went. before january i was all set to roll into the year like a straight shot, overconfident like i sometimes am and even then lying to myself only a little bit when i notched out each days’ work as part of a larger build towards Something. the last week has been the low part of a cycle i have gone through god knows how many times, when things don’t work. it’s not even that they don’t work so much as you just lose focus and soon your hands are in too many projects and that bilbo baggins image of thinly-spread butter is coming into your head at least once a day. check yo self.
bad days, really bad days, are always better than those low level, in between days where you’re still humming along in a broken routine, but it hasn’t gotten bad enough that you stop for maintenance. part of growing older is you learn to see the patterns more quickly and when you feel yourself in a loop you take that fucker and drive it straight into the ground, because a crash is a beautiful thing sometimes and then you’ve got to do something other than just keep going. one of the strange things about being yourself is just being so bored and so tired of your own mind that blowing shit up, in some juvenile metaphorical sense, sounds like the best idea ever. when you have the attention span of a wikipedia jumper and read only the first fifteen pages from each of the ten books you’re juggling, it’s time to crash land.
what does that mean. for one thing i am aware of my own need to clean up my writings to a certain external standard, and i may stop doing that. it rarely feels natural to mouth off at such length as this; i’d use twitter more if it didn’t feel like yelling at actors on a screen. but the way thoughts come out, and the way the good, unavoidable certainties come out, is like this: in colorful disarray. in poetry, if i may use a word i used to frown at. so whatever. that was january.

December 4, 2010

so that happened

i’ve been putting off writing about my trip and it’s starting to give me bad dreams.
after a vacation the first thing everyone asks is ‘how was your trip?’ they do not want to know so much as to hear you say it was wonderful and continue on with their day. i have said how good it was half a dozen times now and each time it’s left me feeling a little more dead. the truth is much more complicated; on the last day i was so homesick and heartsick that i nearly broke down the moment i buckled my seatbelt on the airplane. there were moments of pure anonymous bliss, walking the streets of hanover, and the empty spaces that fill every day that’s already been foreseen. a week is a long time, and also no time at all.
much of the time it feels as if days react to one another. good days always precede bad ones. in the same way a trip of any length takes on a narrative arc; the first day was a mix of exhaustion and euphoria at getting away, at last, thank god, followed by endless airports and the final collapse into the arms of a new place. i’ve found the more you look forward to something the more you are certain to have nothing to say when it finally comes. talk fills the in between moments. after a few days this wears off and you’re still in a place, albeit a new one, and it is as real as anywhere else.
i made one very basic mistake before the trip, and that was having certain expectations of how things would go. getting away is never just getting away; it carries the burden of providing, in your mind, everything you had been missing from the place you’d left. portland had been my home for 7 years, yet it had never been my community. just a place i live. soaring over the middle states, i was expecting to find some sort of home in vermont; some sort of closeness and camaraderie – i should have known this for the red flag it was by the sheer vagueness of it – only to arrive and find it just another place, with people living their lives same as anywhere. a beautiful place, a glorious place – but i was just visiting and so the narrative was maintained.
my expectations did color my experience, but i must remember the good things. i went and saw the possibility of another life, one that puts everything back here in a new light. i met a bunch of good people and they reminded me who i was. i wouldn’t trade it for anything. it wasn’t what i wanted in a lot of ways and in some ways also left me more tired and alone than before i went. doesn’t mean i regret it.
by the last day i’d come to the end of the arc, as if finally coming to peace with my mistakes and learning to live without expectation. it came just in time to leave. so it goes.

but being back, i get that damned question: ‘how was your trip?’

what can i say?

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November 26, 2010


thanksgiving came and went with good company and cheer. a company largely made of strangers, but warm like friends i’ve yet to make. it felt as if it could be the shape of things to come; every day here strengthens the thought that i might someday move to vermont to continue down the path of comics more seriously.
i’ve recently moved into what feels like the best house i’ve landed in my seven years in portland. my housemate is agreeable and my workspace is more functional than ever before. when i received the keys it seemed like the point upon which the future turned; it was the motion of renewing my decision to stay. now i feel it might have been something else: the deep breath before the final act. like a two-parter doctor who finale, saving the best for last. i couldn’t have known it then, but catching a glimpse of this other life has put things in quite a different light.
i would not be myself if i made any decisions right away. not my way. but as something to work towards, even a mere possibility, is something worth storing.
in the meantime, there are leftovers to be had.