strawbs (things are coming to life here)

(i don’t really have the words yet (soon, perhaps) but i don’t want to forget any of this, either.)


it’s been so long since I’ve felt well – not just passable; serviceable for another day, but well (for all the good the italics do). it was such surprise and wonder to notice the absence of any discomfort, today. to notice tiredness and realize it was the sort that could simply be swept away with a coffee: grinds fresh from a new bag, water straight from the tap, four minutes on the stove.

a touch of cold milk, plain and sweet.


it has been such a long way here. my shoulders are aching again now from physically carrying too much, but everything else is light (a soft quiet light). i can never quite believe it, but i am almost sure it has been years now since i’ve been a day without heaviness – tiredness – even in the absence of struggle. and i am still here. incredulous and amazed and furious and (how on earth?) here. somehow?! and my god, i am so glad.


(the sunset was pretty today, and that made me happy. just – what a feeling. what a fucking lovely and weird feeling.)





i was searching for something, once. even that has been lost now. what is left that could ever make me anything worth having – that could possibly make this life worth living now? instrumental worth if worth is to be found anywhere, perhaps; but in itself? it is quite nearly nothing. i don’t know. this could just as well be an absurd attempt to make sense; make abstract this intermittently resurgent conviction: I am worth nothing.


(or: how days creep by) 

and that’s how it’s been for the past few months, really. beyond work and beyond not quite being able to write because it’s all been weights piling in my head and then swollen emptiness and even these words are twice-recycled rags – beyond all that, i don’t know what to write. I think thoughts and then I read some more, and I find it’s all been had; it’s all been said. And then I find that I’ve forgotten what I was looking for in the first place, honestly, because I’ve forgotten, and then some, and again.

Anyway, there’s no real point to this either, but there’s nothing else. I found this quote (below) from The Silver Chair written on an old notebook some weeks ago and had a little jolt of hope, but that fizzed out fast enough. All haze and dust, now, but you’ll still find me scrutinizing dust particles as though it could possibly matter.

It will pass, I know you’ll say. Well, yes. And so will this moment: so will the next. What’s the point?


“One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”


oh god – i don’t know where to begin. method; an essay; the question – the hunger, and the urge; the urgent. The urgency.

I have been aching for words; for a certain rightness; a precision of expression; a coherence of experience and thought. But what nonsense, really, when I barely know what I am asking, and –

Well: I do know. The question – whether one must live, on pain of eternal suffering. Whether I must live, and live truly, on pain of eternal suffering. But perhaps there are questions whose answers are questions in themselves; the answers to these questions’ questions could well be unattainable; it doesn’t matter. Must one live? You must define your terms. What is ‘must’, and what is ‘live’? Perennially: what (the fuck) is life?

You see.

I would wait; I’d write and rewrite; I would think, and think again. My god – I would be sure before I set ink to insoluble paper. (But dammit let’s be real: metaphors are cool, but your laptop is not paper because paper doesn’t crack, you fool. Well then. But it’s all urgency and haste, these days, and I have a brief summer (half-gone now), and I am breathless; gasping and grasping – it is this goddamned endless not knowing. It’s enough to make one sick, knowing how slow it will go no matter how hard you try and how many corners you cut.

So the words are tumbling all over, tonight, and I’m not proud – but words – what good are words, when you barely know what you speak of and what you ask? And I’m not unhappy; merely eager for suicide to prove permissible. It entails limited liabilities. “One can always get through”. Whatever for? And then – “what greater wealth than the suicide each of us bears within himself?”; only – what if we are not our own, and what if our deaths have never been ours?

It is decidedly peculiar insurance: I will allow just this much to be taken and lost, and then I will feed what is left to the wind. Disenchanted and bitter, perhaps; outrage. “As people disappointed in love”. Insurance: it is knowing that suicide is yours; borne within your constellation of possibilities. – a door, if you will, that is yours to open or close; to walk through. If you will. And this existing – this endless frustrating tedious being – just the sheer fact of it and not all its contingencies: I could not bear it, not knowing (only i must, this season).

So this is where I begin: full of uncertainty and a little hope; with questions that I barely know to ask and the half-moon hanging brightly outside my window. I don’t know if there will be answers. Perhaps I will never know – but really and truly – I cannot imagine living any other way. And I am glad of it.

how odd

snapshots of days survived

that sort of hollowness – that all of life has lost its savour and beauty – even the richest and boldest parts? one may as well spend one’s days waiting listlessly on tables and refilling jars of parmesan cheese. but just halfway; not too much.


what makes you think you have a right to happiness? to have a right to want it, even. people go blind; they lose their sight. maybe you’re blind in a different way. what does it matter? you don’t see them clamouring for their sight back. they’ve to go on living anyway. and if you/they can’t, that’s just too bad.


no, perhaps you genuinely don’t have a right to happiness. nonetheless, if that is what you were made for, the pursuit of it ought not be taken lightly or made light of.


different sorts of happiness – profound wonder and awe; and then a defiant middle finger determined to get all up in the universe’s arse. can’t have the first any longer it seems, but i’ll bloody well take the second if i may. vehemently furiously defiantly stubbornly happy and never mind if i haven’t got a fucking right to be. i would say fuck you too, but no. DUCK YOU. DUCK YOU, UNIVERSE. HAHAHAHA


quasi-okay seems mocking: look at you. not feeling terrible anymore, are we? all you had to do was wait it out, see? not that hard. no reason at all to have hidden away from the world or to have even thought you needed help. see? you’re doing things again, aren’t you? fuck you.


Hope; affection.


perpetually clenched (lungs grasping at hollow atmosphere; empty wind); shudder, and convulse again.


Love with neither the levity of fleeting passion nor the gravity of an ideal beheld and taken captive – that, i think is what you give me.

And I am glad to walk with you in these tired nights and long shadowed days – your footfalls alongside mine; and we move on.

It’s been a strange few months wandering the precipice bordering doubt and belief; grasping at the unknowable in a land of deep fog, and vast seas ensconced in roiling mists – the heaviness of mere doing has kept me from writing far longer than I would have wished. (The snippets above are fragments over months and weeks and gathered scattered tweets). But even in these lands, there are seasons (days?) where honeyed skies unfurl from grey.

So: we learn hope. And breathe.

And we wander on.


I’ll be back soon; hopefully. 🙂

contentment / the living

I wrote this for an admissions essay nearly a year ago. It turned up in the latest iteration of my never-ending attempts to housekeep my laptop, and I thought I’d post it here to remind myself of the wonder and awe I once knew in seasons of clearer sight.

(the essay prompt – describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?)

– – – – – – – – –

Contentment is a funny thing. It lies, I think, less in possessing than in the feeling of enoughness. Contentment comes when it pleases; without warning or fanfare. It simply happens. It catches you sequestered in the upper deck of an open-air bus, munching on an apple with all the crispness of a new spring morning and skin streaked through with the colours of fall. It arrives amidst midday sunlight filtering through window panes; in watching dust particles dance their lazy waltz in the spotlight of warm sunbeams on skin. Or it might descend slowly – in the minutes and hours that sprawl lazily across an afternoon spent tracing the paths of raindrops with your eyes.

It’s the stillness of wonder captivated by the richness of the present moment.

It’s the 2a.m. street wanderings in a new city; in the wild moment you look up from maps and street signs and gloved hands clutching hot coffee to the splendor of the winter night sky and realize that this is the same sky under which you have always lived; when home grows a little wider and grander and you are still lost, but lost at home.

It’s in the moments when I am inexplicably gripped by fascination at the shape of a tablecloth stain – that it is this precise shape; that it is where it is and not a centimeter lower or higher; that there are years upon years of stories of people and creatures and things that have led to it being what it is.

Contentment comes with the realization that I am not so different – that I am, for reasons unknown, me and not someone else; here at this moment and not another (amidst vast oceans of time and space); that I will never be able to comprehend fully even the story of a stain. Perhaps it is part of the wonder in seeing more clearly one’s place in the universe: I did not have to be, but I am.

It’s when I surrender to the moment and am taken out of myself to see something greater – when I’m free of the temptation to have a name and a history; when I may simply exist. It is only then that I may marvel at a tree, a cloud, or a person, and “not ask what they are but simply be glad that they are”. (After all, we may be made of star-stuff, but so is mouldy bread.)

Contentment is the same, whether in wandering the streets of a new city; wondering at the existence of a thing or person; or seeing anew some great truth between the pages of a book. It reminds me of how life is to be lived: that it is better to see the world than to own it; that seeing and hearing and tasting and smelling come before telling. It matters, because it reminds me that there is nothing in the whole of time and space that we can truly and completely possess: no creature or thing, no ephemeral moment in time – yet we are granted the privilege of apprehending reality, and that is enough.