Annie Dillard teach me your ways.

She is nine, beloved, as open-faced as the sky and as self-contained. I have watched her grow. As recently as three or four years ago, she had a young child's perfectly shallow receptiveness; she fitted into the world of time, it fitted into her, as thoughtlessly as sky fits its edges, or a river its banks. But as she has grown, her smile has widened with a touch of fear and her glance has taken on depth. Now she is aware of some of the losses you incur by being here--the extortionary rent you have to pay as long as you stay.

Aces and Eights

I who have died am alive again today

well here I am. moved into a new comfortable cozy apartment. wonderful friends and happy reunions.

something feels funny though. something heavy. the night before I left we talked of brokenness, uncertainty, sickness. a friend of mine is praying each day for her husband's life to be spared overseas.

and summer is over. with it goes that strange season of nothingness, of blankness, of emptiness. I lost myself this summer; I became somehow less.

but now to be in this place surrounded by people who know me at my best and fullest. to realize how many steps backward I have taken these past few months. to see again, and bitterly, and more acutely than ever before, how living at home reinforces my insecurities and renders me functionally incompetent.

[note to self: never live at home for more than two weeks straight ever again.]

it's nice being here, of course. the freedom is priceless. here I can be a person, find myself again. but here I no longer have the safety of indifference. here I feel, here people treat me with respect. here I will be found out.

sanctification, it seems, is a continual crumbling into bits. always I am breaking, healed only to fall apart again.

[so I turn to annie dillard yet again:
"Holiness is a force, and like the others can be resisted. It was given, but I didn't want to see it, God or no God. It was as if God had said, 'I am here, but not as you have known me. This is the look of silence, and of loneliness unendurable; it too has always been mine, and now will be yours.'"]


life is good in santa barbara

I found the piece that was missing. in Santa Barbara, of course.

now I am home but just waiting to get back. I am whole and brimming when there.

my santa barbara friends teach me about living, growth, possibility. we adventure, we explore, we walk. we don't sleep much--there is too much life to live.

lights in a garden, classical guitar, black tea, fire pits, peach hookah, a corner loveseat.

heavy rolling clouds of fog, streetlamps.

freedom. yogurtland at 11 at night. hours spent in antique shops. a penis traced in the dirt and ash on my windshield? somehow it all feels like I am finally living, like I have finally stepped into the world I've been watching turn on its axis.

the ocean is there. still and ever-moving. always the same, always changing. so easy to lose the baggage, to drop all that weighs down. it is enough to surrender, to let the beauty surround, to realize yes I too belong in this picture, I am beautiful too.

one day I will have a little house and decorate it all in blue and white with birds and vases and candles. maybe I'll start collecting now.

I am humbled in this city
There seems to be an endless sea of people like us
Wakeful dreamers, I pass them on the sunlit streets
In our rooms filled with laughter
We make hope from every small disaster

Everybody says "you can't, you can't, you can't, don't try."
Still everybody says that if they had the chance they'd fly like we do.

weepies, a painting by chagall


Summer, a sketch.

Somedays I wake up, look in the mirror, and don't recognize myself. Everything is the same: I can trace the contours of my face, nose, mouth, I see how comfortably my hair falls across my face and eyes, I even see how my body fits just right in the little familiar bathroom space. But something unnamable, something just underneath the surface is different.

That strange unsettling feeling defines my entire summer. Everything is normal on the surface, but there is something deeper that is not right, something that remains just beyond the reach of consciousness. This summer, like every summer, like every time I spend any extended period of time at home, I lose touch. I live in indifferent routine, moving from day to day, task to task mindlessly, accomplishing nothing.

I've written little all summer, and I think the reason is because writing requires long looking, attention to detail, stillness, thought, analysis, patience, work. Almost daily, I realize I am slipping, somehow losing parts of myself that I have worked so hard for years to maintain. When I was younger, there was something inside me that compelled me to make music, to write, to stargaze, to seek solitude and silence, to create--no matter what the circumstances. But I've realized this summer that the need to create is gone.

In a way, it's been freeing. I've been thinking about Hedda Gabler's obsession with Ejlert's "beautiful death," and I wonder if I have had an obsession with living a beautiful life, with creating beautiful things because somehow that beauty will transfer back to me. I am learning to let things be, to let myself be: a process approaching but never reaching product, in continual refinement, change, and growth.

At the same time, however, I feel blank, lost, somehow less than who I know myself to be. Spending more than a few minutes at the piano every few hours gets more difficult with each passing day. The moments when I lose myself in a book and find myself more invested in the lives of fictional characters than I am in my own life are few and far between.

My life is a constant state of transition, it seems. A continual give and take, a neverending loss of one thing and gain of another. But I think I'm okay with that--I've been reading Annie Dillard lately:

At a certain point you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, the world, Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait, listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing, or spread. You feel the world’s word as a tension, a hum, an single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: this hum is the silence.

We were put on earth to recognize God's work before we carry out His will, to receive before we give, to experience before we create, to see before we share, to be before we become. It is enough to be here, to rejoice in what is known and the mystery of what is not yet known, to see the beauty that dwells in all.


too long.

I haven't written in ages.
something about me feels lost.

oh well.

this entire month I'll be home in gilroy [the middle of nowhere] with nothing to do. my older sister already left for college, my younger sister is leaving this weekend...and I won't be leaving til the last week of august. hopefully I'll write.

new favorite pandora station: she & him.
currently reading: angela's ashes, a heartbreaking work of staggering genius.
and I'm a little in love with jim halpert.