a poem: open waters

open waters.
in high school, in college, in my first year of teaching and living overseas, i knew exactly where i wanted to be. i wanted to be in Korea. i was in a boat rowing hard down a single lane track with all my might,
Korea at the end, the prize, the destination. nothing could have gotten me off that track. i might have hit the sides a few times and come upon some rocks but i only had one way to go, forward to Korea.
forward, straight, with no veering and no uncertainty. it was comforting, and infuriating, to see that one track
and all that one track left to row.
until i went to Korea.

but then Korea came, the flag passed overhead, i threw my arms up in victory, waiting for applause.
my hands came down, slowly, as i looked around in the silence.
behind me the track, closing down, fading as i gazed,
ahead and around of me, open water.
no lanes, no destination, nothing but some rocks
and gulls overhead, looking for the dead.
the dead who are in open water and don’t row.
i began to row.
i’m in open water.
i miss the single lane. i miss the safety of knowing,
i miss a signpost to steer to.
i miss the stars overhead pointing a big arrow.
these stars are just pictures.
where am i supposed to go?
what am i supposed to do?
who am i supposed to be?
with open water comes freedom, and paralysis.
with open water comes me.

Excerpts from my journal; Early June 2017

June 1

I have no clocks because I don’t like to be reminded of the passage of time. I don’t remember what the book was called, but something I read once talked about how we took power away from God when we made clocks and set them up as our new idols, forever worshipping the efficient use of time. Killing time, spending time, allocating time; all new ideas that turned time into currency, to be bought and sold, and, most condemning of all, wasted. The notion that we could waste the seconds, that they somehow should be wrung out for all they are worth, is not ingrained in the human psyche. Rather, it was invented along with clocks. The ticks, so arbitrary in reality, march our lives along to a beat, and woe to the one who steps out of line to admire the view. He will be crushed beneath the march of the future.

So I don’t keep clocks. The ticking drove me mad. I can’t sleep when I hear ticking, thinking of all the time I’m not sleeping, not using well, but lying awake as the hours tick by. You could drive me insane quite easily if you stuck me in a room with a clock. So I don’t keep them.

Going along the highway and being able to absorb the ads and billboards is like having your finger on the pulse of the culture. When I’m in a bus riding down the Korean highway system, I don’t have my finger there. I can’t feel it. Usually. Today I was able to (probably) correctly translate a phone company billboard. It said something like “Customers are family too.” It’s the kind of inane, cliche thing billboards usually say. It was weird, because in that moment something shifted in my perspective. All the mystery and attractiveness of foreign life flickered, shuttered, began to fall. The mystery is being shaken slowly down, until life in Korea becomes as commonplace and media-saturated as America was.

June 4

As soon as I sat down all my words dried up. The words that had percolated with the coffee while I was washing the dishes, that swirled and seemed ready to drip down my fingers, slid back up with gale force speed as soon as my digits headed for the keyboard. Is it because I forgot to close the cupboard doors?

Getting lost is not something to romanticize. Getting lost is scary and dangerous. What if you ask the wrong type of person? What if no one knows? What if no one will try to speak your language and you end up staying out all night? Getting lost is scary.

Who stopped by during the night to gurgle and wake me up, and drop me off a feeling of desolation? This is why I shouldn’t read about deserts first thing in the morning. I get all dried up.

And there is a bubbling sensation in my left shin. Like something has been blocked. Maybe I just need to exercise, or maybe I walked too much. It’s hard to say.

My body is only a vehicle for my head, after all.

I dreamed of a sunburn and blistered skin last night. I looked it up today to see what it meant. Dreammoods.com said “To dream that you have a sunburn indicates that there is an emotional situation or problem that you can no longer avoid. Some urgent matter is literally burning through to your soul and demanding your immediate attention.” Well that’s true. I have an external and an internal problem. Externally I am worried I might be deported. There is talk, and lots of teachers at some Canadian schools have been. So there’s that. Mostly I am afraid of dealing with a lot of stuff. Not the actual event itself. I would live, and it would be amazing writing material.

Then there is the matter of if I were, what to do with my life. That is always an internal situation, but this threat makes it seem more real, more immediate, thrust the question into the forefront of my brain. That frontal cortex so famous for making us rational beings. Anyway it was a burning question yesterday, so my brain turned it into a weird sunburn on my back and pus-filled blisters on my chest. I tried to go deeper into meaning but blisters didn’t turn up anything useful.

I listened to a sermon about Joseph and dreams today. I wondered if any of my dreams are like his, showing me my future. Or are they just my brain turning problems into pretty metaphors and the result of too much pork?

June 6

I just ordered pizza online. This is a huge moment in my expat life. I have never EVER ordered food by myself to be delivered. I have had friends call for me, and have gone to pick up food oodles of times, but this is my first time doing it all alone. I am stupidly nervous and proud. What if they ask me something in Korean? It will be okay. I am telling myself it will be okay.

They said they will deliver around 3:24. Seems oddly precise.

Travel writing. What is it? The definition I just found on Google says it is writing in which the author describes places they have visited and their experiences while traveling. Or something. Am I a travel writer? No. I don’t really travel. I just happen to live in a foreign country. But I do not travel around and have experiences on purpose. They happen more or less by accident. Just as interesting.

Take, for instance, that fear that many people have that when they are out and about everyone is watching them. If you’re a foreigner in Korea, that’s not just idle paranoia, but a fact of life. You either perpetually hate it or end up resigned to it.

June 8

This morning on my way to work I dropped my trash off. I hate taking out my trash. For one thing, I’m always scared my landlord will come and yell at me that I’m doing it wrong. For another, I have to walk by the convenience store and other shops there, and it’s weird to do something as personal and gross as taking out the trash so publicly. Like anyone sitting outside the convenience store has to watch stanky trash go by. Way to ruin the ice cream and chatting, yo.

At one point, I hated taking the trash out so much I had about six bags on my balcony, and had to take them out all at once on a weekend. I decided never again, and have since just taken them out like a danged adult in the mornings. Paying the bills is another danged adult thing I dread. It’s easy, really. We pay at that same convenience store, and there’s a nice young kid who does it in the morning. But I have to do it before work, and usually I’m just not up for anyone saying anything to me at all. I wish he didn’t speak English, because then the exchange could be in silence. Much like going to the cafe down the road.

June 9

Amazing how quickly a mood can go from great to terrible in the space of five minutes. Just give me three thousand questions from five kids and that’ll do it.

Today is Friday. Thank God It’s Friday. On the one hand, it’s really nice having a consistent daily schedule. On the other hand, it sucks feeling like you only get to live on the weekends and for about 3 minutes every night.

I bought a new ergonomic bag for my trip to New Zealand. It’s just as silly as it sounds. It has a billion pockets and zips in such a way that doesn’t let hooligans MUG ME. Come at me, bro! My zippers are body side and protected. It’s really only for the one trip, and maybe camping if I ever go. B said I should wear it in Seoul. That’s a laugh and a half. You don’t dare be unfashionable in that city.

June 11

I am writing in the early morning, around 10am, and it feels good. It feels flowing and natural. 6am might be too early, but 9 or 10 feels just right. Coffee in me, juice at hand, food in my belly.

Keep it locked up tight, the worries. Don’t borrow from tomorrow.

This is being a writer. This is being a real  writer. Forging ahead. Figuring it out. Working with zero budget and borrowed minutes from an already-busy life. Not knowing if you’ll get that dream agent, or if your book will ever be a bestseller, but sitting down in front of the page anyway  to make the sentence in front of you the most beautiful sentence that it can be.” – Lauren Sapala

This amazing quote will help me forever. Thanks, Lauren!

June 12

Today is going pretty well. I have a lot of extra time since we’re doing nothing but testing this week in LA. I should have lots of time to write and read. I could also be working on Summer Camp stuff. Oh yeah.

Well anyway.

Let’s see how creativity goes at school. I might read a book. I might write a new story. I might do none of those things. But whatever I do, I want to do it nicely and gratefully and not worry or stress out too much.

This week does feel a bit like a copout week. Like even the classes without a test feel like they should be lax, easy, not real, where I can sit and just relax. 

I just sent off my reports cards. It felt pretty anticlimactic. There wasn’t the feeling of intense pressure to get it done. That’s down to my incredible planning skills. I had as much of it done as I could do a couple weeks ago, and added in what I got when I got it. No hurry, no worry. Of course some of the teachers were late getting their grades to us, but we expect it by now, so we can plan in their lack of planning.

June 13

Last night was strange. My dreams were intense, but I can only remember part of one. At one point I woke up slick with sweat. Actually dripping. I don’t know if it was from the heat or some brief illness. Either way, I had to strip, and so then woke up cold around five. Interesting night. I feel okay now though. I did my meditation as soon as I could and listened to part of a TED talk from Ann Lamott. I’m really getting into TED. They’re bursts of inspiration for life.

I also found out I’m a multipotentialite, which is a word I love. Emilie Wapnick is my new hero. I’m excited to delve into that topic and explore more. I keep finding out that I’m not as weird or crazy or flightly or spastic or lost as I thought, but just very very different.

I kind of don’t like that though. I’m getting tired of finding out I’m super different than the world. I’m going to have a list after my name of all the reasons why I don’t fit in and am NOT LIKE YOU. INFJ. HSP. MP. When will it end? And I hate that this is a concern but I feel like I’m trying really hard to justify myself, and no one is going to take it seriously. Oh my gosh, they will say, you have so many things special about you. You must be the most unique snowflake to ever sputter and fall from the sky.

 

Excerpts from my journal; May 2017

May 25

Fruit flies are the smoke of summer. Leave a bag of trash out for an hour, go to close it, squeeze the edges and poof! – out pop three of the suckers, whirling into the air like so much vapor.

Funny how the things you used to be scared of don’t bother you forever. I never wore contacts when I first needed glasses because I was scared of the idea of something in my eye. I could barely touch my eyes at all, and I was terrified a contact would roll back and be lost in my brain space. Finally I got sick of glasses and got over it and started wearing contacts, and got really comfortable touching my eyes and messing with them, as you do when you wear contacts. And then, today and once before, I’ve rubbed my eyes too hard and pushed my contacts up past my upper lid so they’re caught above my eye. Gross. A bit painful too but mostly just freaking annoying because you have to pull your eyelid out while you roll your head down and eyes up to get it to shift down again. Do that and dig with your other finger under your eyelid until you grab the thing. No worries. But I still won’t watch Minority Report.

My mornings are way better these days because I bought hazelnut coffee. My local small grocery store didn’t have it, so that meant that for months I just drank the other kind of coffee. But last weekend I went to the big store farther away, the one that takes me about twenty minutes to walk to, because I needed to get makeup. So I got makeup, and some on-sale shoes, and two bags of hazelnut coffee.

The shoes are cute, and the makeup is smoky because I had just read about beatniks, and the coffee is nutty and amazing and makes my mornings lookforwardtoable. You can get me up easy if you promise coffee.

May 27

What a day. It’s always strange to have a full Saturday when normally I just laze about at home and wile away the hours reading or watching TV.

It was Sports Day, and it went amazingly well. All the teams did something right. Even though my team had a sucky cheer, we came in second overall so it didn’t matter. And in the end, after the prizes are handed out the kids just want to leave anyway.

I got a sunburn, and my eyes hurt and my stomach hurts but I’m so happy it’s over. Sports Day is rough just because it’s outside in the heat and sun and extra chaotic. Other events like Wax Museum, being indoors, might take a lot of preparation but it’s easier on the teachers. I don’t just care about that but…yeah, I just care about that.

Today was also the day my brother and I finally pegged down our accommodations and tours for New Zealand. Sorry, Middle Earth. I should call it what it is. I think that was causing me a lot of stress too, not having those taken care of. I was worried we wouldn’t get the places we wanted or the tours would be sold out, yadda yadda. But we got them paid for and done, and we got our ETAs for Australia so we can enter, and we found all the amazing places to visit and eat around each city so…I think we’re good to go. Everything’s coming together, and it’s starting to feel like we’ll really be there. Oh man, oh man, oh man.

I even looked at souvenirs to buy, but honestly, I don’t want much. Maybe a poster or shirt or the one ring, but not a lot. Pictures and memories of good food and travel. Just seeing and being somewhere else. And seeing my brother have fun will be all I need.

May 30

I shake my shoulders and try to shake them into a place they fit. Music sends waves through me that jangle my soul up and shake the water, letting it settle more comfortably again.

Didion writes with no mercy. There is no soft justification in her. Just the facts, ma’am. Yes, sir. Cold and clear and hard. Got it. Meanwhile I spin a gossamer around every word. Pounding out word after word carefully, not to reveal too too much, not to hurt or imply anything uncomfortable.

May 31

“Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant rearrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.” – Didion

I like to read Joan Didion. Her pieces don’t excite me, don’t thrill me, but they do keep me fascinated, keep me reading. There is some peculiar power there. And I recognize in my writing, even before I read her, an echo of her voice. She writes like me. To read her, and to read me, when I’m being honest, you’d probably think we were unhappy. We write like unhappy people, looking at life ironically, cynically, bluntly. They say INFJs have a sad soul with a happy personality. I am certainly that way. I’m rarely sad for people to see. I write like I’m always sad. I’m always melancholic. But I wouldn’t say I am a sad person.

Blue Blood: Chapter 1

Link to Prologue

Bronwyn awoke all at once, startled into consciousness. She lay still, not opening her eyes, running the dream through her mind. It had been so clear, almost like it had happened yesterday. But she had been what, ten at the time? So Angie must have been…seven. And the dream had certainly turned dark at the end. As far as she remembered, after the fairy ring nonsense, they had just walked home, and forgotten all about it.

She shifted, and felt something stick painfully into her back. Startled, her eyes popped open, and then her whole body froze as she looked up into an unfamiliar sight.

She was not lying in bed, safe in her room at home. Gazing upwards, all she could see were branches and waving green leaves that stretched far above until they ended in a canopy. Sunlight was streaming through, but only dimly.

Perhaps it was still a dream. But it didn’t seem that way. It was easy enough to tell when you’re awake for real. She shifted again, trying to get away from the root or rock poking into her, and felt around with her hands. Only then did she realize that her hands were sticky. Confused, she turned her head. She brought one hand up; it was red and slimy. Blood. She knew where it was from, and with that realization she sat up, her breaths coming in great gasps. Other images, like memory, like dreams, flashed into her mind, and she thrust her head between her knees, covering her head with her hands, shaking all over.

No, surely that was not real. Surely that had also been a dream…but what of the blood on her hands? It was too fuzzy to remember clearly. Slowly, she regained control of her breathing. It had been dark when she entered the woods, but now it was daylight. She must have been out for hours.

But how had she come to the woods? Now that she thought about it, she didn’t actually recall entering them. Did she? And what woods were they? Standing now, she looked around, brushing her hands on her jeans without looking at them, trying to get the congealing blood off. As she did so, she felt dread creep over her. Something about her surroundings sent cold fingers of fear down her spine. As she looked about, she saw strange herbs and bushes she had never seen before, and the tree next to her had unfamiliar bark. At its base was a clump of red flowers, and she felt her heart leap into her throat, thinking of pimpernel, and her sister lying on the ground…but no, they weren’t pimpernel.

Wondering what on earth was happening, she took a step forward, her slick boots slipping on the leaves. Slipping? She looked down at them, feeling within that the socks were wet. Soaked, even, and there was a small puddle where water had leaked out while she was on the ground. But how had they gotten wet? There were no ponds around her, and the ground elsewhere was completely dry. She looked around…

“Who the rutting hell are you?” Said a shocked and angry voice behind her.

Bronwyn turned sharply and faced a sword tip. The sword was in the hand of the biggest man Bronwyn had ever seen. She looked up and up into his face, dark, lined, and furious. And scared, if she saw rightly.

“Uh, what?” She said blankly. Her voice scratched and hurt, as if it hadn’t been used in ages. She felt sweat begin to bead on her temples.

“Where did you come from?” The man said, taking a step closer, the sword tip coming nearer Bronwyn’s heart. It was shaking ever so slightly, and this confused her even more.

“I…I came from Glynneath,” she said quickly, “I was asleep. I must have sleep-walked here, but I don’t know…where here is.”

“Glynneath?” The man repeated, looking more frightened now. “What country? What kingdom?”

“Kingdom?” Bronwyn said, the game of fear lobbying back and forth. “Glynneath, Wales, United Kingdom of Great Britain.”

At the words “Great Britain,” the man gave a mighty shudder, and his sword tip dropped for a moment. Then he put a hand to his eyes, and the tip righted and did not shake.

“I see. And your name?”

“Bronwyn Hughes.”

“Well, Lady Bronwyn, you need to come with me. You’re far from home now, and there’s nothing but these woods for miles. Can you ride a horse?”

Bronwyn nodded, and the man looked relieved.

“Good. Did anything else come with you?”

Bronwyn looked around vaguely, not really sure what to look for. She didn’t register the oddity of his question, but shook her head and followed him into the woods.

She watched him as they walked; he walked lightly for a man so large, but he had put his sword back in the scabbard strapped at his side.

“Who are you?” She asked finally, deciding it couldn’t hurt.

“Brendan. I’m a King’s Hand.” As though that explained it.

“Which king?”

“Not yours. I know you have questions, but I’m not in a position to answer anything. Mostly because I don’t know, so you’ll just have to wait.”

Bronwyn was silent, and after a moment more Brendan turned to look at her. He seemed a little sheepish, but she looked back steadily and he nodded. She knew it was foolish to follow a stranger, and a man at that, but what else was she to do? Whether she was in her land or not, she was lost in unfamiliar woods, that stretched for miles, he had said, so what else…what else?

They walked for an hour at least, through trees that never changed. Bronwyn stared around her as she did, and what she saw did not lessen her fright or confusion. The plants were all wrong; shapes similar to the ones of her home were the wrong color or were too many. The right flowers grew on the wrong stems, the heights were all off, and the smells of the more pungent were totally foreign.

Her heart was beating rapidly, her stomach in knots, her palms sweaty despite the cool air. Being familiar with fairy tales, especially the old Welsh folklore, gave her a script to follow in this situation – she had been spirited away, or taken, or some such nonsense, into another land – but her rational 21st century mind rebelled against this. It could not be true. It would not.

Surely she had been drugged and kidnapped by normal people, or had sleep-walked into a far region, though that seemed less likely.

Or, and this was the most terrifying idea – she had simply gone mad, and entered a world of mind. This thought made her pause, and stumble, and the big man, Brendan of the King’s Hand, looked back at her. She shook her head, fearful that he would offer her help. She didn’t want him to notice the blood on her hands. As they had been walking, she had been scratching it off bit by bit, but it was now caked around her fingernails, and her sleeve cuffs were stained at the tips.

At last they came out of the clearing, and the bright sunshine and air did much to clear Bronwyn’s head. She breathed deeply, facing the strange hills and unknown rivers below, for they had come out at the top of a shallow valley, and a road to their left curved down between the hills and went far west, into the sun now setting.

“We should ride fast,” said Brendan, eyeing the sun.

“Is there danger?” Bronwyn asked quickly, thinking of every story where darkness heralds evil.

Brendan shrugged. “Not especially. But it’ll take a few hours to reach the city and I don’t want to camp out here, do you?”

Bronwyn shook her head before noticing the obvious discrepancy.

“But where’s your horse?”

Brendan grunted and jerked his head towards the road. Bronwyn could see then, just at the side of the road, a horse waiting patiently, it’s bridle connected to a weight on the ground.

It swished its tail idly as they approached, its ears pricking, but otherwise not seeming perturbed at the wait. Brendan scooped up the weight before helping Bronwyn mount, then swung himself up behind her. In this position, his height and breadth was apparent, for Bronwyn, of fairly average build, sat with her head squarely in the middle of his chest.

As they set off down the road, Bronwyn continued to look around, though the unfamiliar landscape did nothing to ease her nerves.

“Why did you leave your horse and come into the woods? I only ask in case you had reason to look for me there, or if you came on me by chance.”

“I wasn’t looking for you, no. But be glad it was me who found you.”

“Who else might have? Bandits?”

“Of a kind. Gangsters, most likely, or weirdos living in the woods. You shouldn’t wander  through them if you’re unarmed.”

Bronwyn didn’t respond. That didn’t seem too ominous – she’d given pretty much the same advice to her sister the first time they’d gone together to harvest herbs.

The landscape did not change much as they continued west; and as the sun set it was difficult to distinguish what they were passing or what lay ahead. Bronwyn was glad, when darkness crept up, of Brendan’s large, solid chest behind her. Whether by magic or madness, she was grateful not to be alone in a new land.

The night had fallen fully for some time before the path leveled out at last, and Brendan nudged her arm.

“You can see the city walls now. See the torches?”

Bronwyn squinted. Fog had fallen with the night, but she could vaguely make out lights shimmering through the mist; flickering and shifting like so many fireflies.

“How much longer now?” She asked. Her legs were aching, and she was starving.

“Two hours. But once we arrive, someone will need to speak with you. And they won’t trust you as easily as I did.”

“Did you?”

“I didn’t actually spear you, did I?” He had a point.

“Why didn’t you then?” And then she had a thought. “Am I not the first to come this way?”

Brendan didn’t reply, which told her everything she needed to know. Well, she wasn’t sure if that made her feel better or not.

“I would tell you not to worry, but, well, I can’t guarantee a warm welcome.”

Bronwyn nodded. “Right.”

After that they did not speak. Bronwyn withstood her aching legs and empty stomach, but she could not hold back the sigh of relief when they at last approached the high wall of the city. As they came near, she saw it stretched some fifty or sixty feet in the air, and was made of large white stones. Windows were cut along at three levels, indicating passages at those heights. At the top the were battlements, and between she could see figures in light colored cloaks passing behind large gas lanterns. Gas, not electric. Excellent.

Brendan spoke to the armored guard wielding a wicked looking spear. The guard stared at her around Brendan’s shoulder, as he could not see over it, but grimaced at length and let them pass. Bronwyn avoided his gaze as they trotted through the smaller one-man gate, and flinched when it closed with a bang behind them.

They passed through what looked to be a market courtyard. Empty stalls were pushed back up against the wide walls, but she could make out their brightly striped awnings even in the darkness.

The mist had turned to fine drizzle. Bronwyn could feel her hair curling upwards, and began to shiver. As they passed more houses, most dark, Brendan drew up his cloak and put it around her. She clutched it to her, and fought the fear that was now rising steadily. Soon they would arrive, and soon she would be questioned about things she had no idea of. Perhaps she might find answers, and go home, or be imprisoned forever in an unknown place.

The city was massive, and it took them at least another half hour to come to the center. Here a large hill sat, overlooking the outlying regions, and on its summit was a great house. It should have been a castle, but without towers and battlements of its own, it resembled more an oversized mansion. But it was obviously the seat of power, for it was walled as well, and guards in more resplendent armor barred the gate.

They bowed to Brendan, but looked at Bronwyn and did not lower their spear.

“A visitor,” Brendan said shortly, who was a King’s Hand.

“It’s late for visitors, Brendan.”

“I was in the Argan, Perth. He has special reason to see this visitor, anyway. Don’t be a dick.”

Perth smirked, but they raised their weapons and the gate opened from within, and they went through.

The cloak had kept most of the rain from them, but Bronwyn’s hair was a mess, and now she would be meeting…someone.

“I’m going to see the King?” She hazarded. Brendan grunted.

“No, you’ll see the First Prince, Dominic. The King is away.”

Well, a First Prince. As if that was better.

They rode through the gates and into a vast courtyard, at the end of which was a stable. Bronwyn could smell the manure and hay, and the smell was oddly comforting. Something so prosaic seemed to ground her leaping heart, and she took a deep breath that was almost steady. Brendan helped her down before him, and she leaned over, thumping her legs to give them some feeling. Brendan returned from giving his horse to the stable hand, and she followed him into the castle through a side door. The main gate was around the corner, but Bronwyn was glad they opted not to be noticeable.

It was about this point that Bronwyn made a concerted effort to stop caring about what happened to her. Always in life she had feared death, as anyone would, for it would put a stop to her potential future plans. It wasn’t that she had a great life, or anything worth saving, but that her life might get better kept her hoping, and that the hope might be crushed was what frightened her.

But she had passed into some other life, a life that was impossible to predict. And whether she lived or died now seemed to be something apart from her, that didn’t matter. And somehow, wouldn’t count. She had a strange suspicion that if she died in this world, for she was now utterly convinced that she was indeed in another world, she might wake up in hers again. She was in a situation where only a story script could explain what was happening to her, and stories never ended in the main character’s death, did they?

So as she walked, her nerves loosened, and her back straightened, and if Brendan noticed the sudden gleam in her eyes and the slacking of her mouth, he didn’t comment.

Next Chapter>> Coming Soon!

Excerpts from my journal; Spring 2017

April

Today is the kind of day that makes me thrilled. It’s the kind of feeling that Korea translates as heart-fluttering. Sure, the sky is overcast and a thick grey that puts me in mind of fog porridge, and the temperature dipped down twelve degrees, but apart from all that, today is a wonderful day.

We’ve been very busy lately, to put it mildly, and I haven’t had space in my head to breathe. Everything was pressing down, my pace was quickened, just enough to keep everything taught. Now I can relax, take a step back, and let it out for a bit.

I’m eating better, drawing again, writing more, going out with friends, and feel more inspired. My life is going well, and I realize how the bad things that happen are so transient and don’t last. Stuff doesn’t last. Yeah, I’m happy now.

That could also be because I saw cherry blossoms about to burst today. Hmm, maybe.

May

Plant our own mound. Start a little molehill and turn it into a mountain. Mmkay.

Of course all my characters are me. I’m still trying to figure myself out. So I keep inserting my mini-me into different situations and seeing what I’ll do. Maybe one day I’ll make sense of me.

May

Listen, little soft girl. I am not “was just like you as a kid.” I am just like you. I am soft and unsure and wide eyed scared of everything. Only I seem larger than life and bright and confident, leading you here. But it is armor I have crafted, and not even that well. At night it shatters so I have to remake it before morning. Sometimes the light shows through. My light. But that light means the darkness can get in. Anyway what you think of as admirable is only my shoddy imitation of other bright people I have seen. I am like you. I am not like me.

I feel like way too many people idolize kids. I mean, I’ve taught kids. Kids aren’t magical and sweet and wide eyed, breathless with innocence. Kids pick their noses and make fart jokes and think calling the rash on a kid’s hand a brain is clever. Kids are just little drunk people with terrible jokes.