“You know, they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acreage. Occasionally the river floods these places. ‘Floods’ is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding; it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that: remembering where we were, that valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place.”
Recently, I doodled in my sketchbook AND lamented to a friend that I was abandoning a hobby I call “celestial quilting”. It’s something I’m quite terrible at, as time and again, my attempts end in explosion; patches of colored fabric everywhere, bits of thread, all efforts at assembling a nice pattern wasted. What IS celestial quilting, you may ask? It’s that nasty habit of trying to figure things out, usually before they’re finished. My life so often feels messy, meaningless, full of holes and unanswerable questions, that I sometimes become desperate to figure out WHY. If I can make sense of the pieces, if I can find a unique purpose for each one, I can justify the pain, the confusion, the failures, the mistakes, the wild miscalculations; and I can feel better about the idea that it will “all work out someday”. That my life won’t end in disaster, that it won’t be “wrong” forever.
But I have, even more recently, come to a few conclusions, all of which will help me quit this habit once and for all. What I said to my friend was that every time I think I’ve figured out the pattern, and start reaching for it, start rushing to put it together, it explodes in my face. He pointed out that, while unpleasant, that is also a pattern. I’ve noticed this before, this repeating explosion (repeat being the keyword for any and all patterns), but I’ve not been able to look at it from all angles. I had a desperate moment, near tears, operating a cash register at a smoothie shop, at the end of last summer after a particularly ugly explosion. I vowed to quit my celestial quilting habit then, certain that the universe didn’t give a fuck about any of us (I still don’t believe it does), and the only person or entity in this universe that could shape my life into what I wanted was me. I was done believing believing in any kind of mysterious architecture, or that there was any purpose hiding behind past mistakes or past hurt. There was no reason behind anything.
It was a bad time. But as soon as I accepted that I was alone in the universe, I felt sad, but also remarkably free. Read More
The solution? Write.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the choices I’ve made in my life. Some make me squirm, some I wish I could undo, some I’m still a little angry at myself for making, some make me worry I’ll never be capable of making the “right” choice. That I’ll forever be just a few inches away from the life I was “supposed” to be living, but could never quite grasp.
the temple bell stops
It may be a wild miscalculation (much of my life has been), but I’ve decided to teach myself how to code. It began last weekend when I was editing the code on this very website, and as usual, I became obsessed and lost track of time for hours on end. When I realized I was running late to meet up with friends, I found myself wondering: maybe I should look into actually learning this stuff for real? And perhaps using that knowledge to eventually change career tracks? So I did a bunch of research, attended a free workshop, bought a few books, and set to work.
I’m really excited about this. And, as I mentioned above, it might be just another temporal and silly obsession that I tire from relatively quickly. I might also be downright terrible at it. I can’t know either of those things unless I try it. So: here’s my attempt! If I love continue to love it and do well, I might even take a formal course in the hopes of (someday soonish) switching careers for real. Time and practice will tell!
Something I’d like to share more on this blog are the things I find/read that inspire and motivate me. So! In the midst of still trying to figure out how to change careers, I’ve experimented with a few ideas, one being coding/website design/development. In searching for classes in Atlanta, I found this lovey piece of work that demonstrates, quite beautifully, how far light can travel in a year, and how, in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t really that far at all. Being a space nerd, I loved this! Alightyear.com was created by Debra Ohayon.