From what remained of the dream in the morning, I can recall only that it was a beetle of some kind. Painlessly living in my finger somewhere, and vibrating a lot. Or shuffling unsettlingly and drawing attention away from more important things, like rest, and calm, and life. Opinion, unsurprisingly, differs on what an insect in a dream means.
But before we worded them, we had ideas. Before the scripture of ancient men or the academia of modern ones grew an elegant forest, there was a feeling. A ghost of the thing that animates the human machine, and stalks between the trees in the deep places. The dark-made-fluid places.
It’s a horrible feeling when whatever ghost it is that animates writing takes leave of you for a spell. Leaves you numb, technical and without the sublime experience of an animated mind. Structure becomes the lifeless gatekeeper of the words I want to write, rather than their subtle and committed support.
Rap music in a Gottingen Subways outlet. The old kind of rap. The kind to stir a heart into resolute anger at the world and its injustices. At the institutions that deny liberty and call the result Normal. Fair. The kind of rap that no Subways would have dared to play in the 90’s, but can laugh at now. Humiliate through tinny takeaway speakers. Like the immigration official that’s taken a liking to Bob Marley, or the corporate cat who enjoys Alanis Morisette and Shirley Manson.
The river that connects Siem Riep to Phnom Penh is one of the few – possibly the only – that seasonally changes direction, depending on which end of it is being rained on at any given moment. Or so Lonely Planet told me the time. Jumping between the two cities that afternoon – now years Read More …
Finding the words is key. Not just any words – the beautiful, blunt ones. Each one imprecise by itself, but when assembled in a constellation suddenly able to carry an emotional texture unmatched in its depth and fine, fine resonance. A little like oven gloves. Clumsy and useless alone, but once paired, capable of so much more.
It’s quiet outside. The world is sleeping and I shouldn’t be here. I should be asleep, but here is where the writing happens. It’s a place that the ghosts of the eloquent words finally come gently to my dancing fingers. Like intricate little knots, stories need to be understood before they can be written. Sometimes its as simple as the right words providing the momentum that coerces the string. Flopping into a loose and beautiful pattern. Sometimes it’s so much harder than that.
Miles and miles lost to ourselves in sideways glances from bouncing buses. Good years of good lives spent watching and smiling beyond our greasy half-reflections. I’ve been bored, I’ve felt profound. I’ve been a dozen different doppelgängers in a thousand running landscapes and zip flipping paint on bare black roads.
Unplugging the little white earplugs, I’m assaulted by the airport. It beats down on me with announcement, badly covered music and self-important conversations. Airport announcements always given in that ‘this is important’ voice that never comes through clearly. Or perhaps the private-school accented announcer has a mouthful of marbles. Or marshmallows. Or a deformity.
It’s late and my eyes burn a little. My clock says its sometime after midnight. It feels like it’s always sometime past midnight, but there are journal articles to be read. Things to learn. It’s the third week into my Masters in Media Studies at Rhodes. I’m almost halfway through the readings for the semester Read More …