You guys, I don’t much like talking about myself anywhere and always feel like the deer caught in the headlights when I asked to do so. However, I cannot deny that I have on occasion used this space as a soapbox to rant about my feelings.
So anyway, things happened, I took part in #DVpit on Twitter and I found an agent who is really more awesome than I think I deserve.
I am surprised that anyone other than my friends like my writing. Even my mother hasn’t read my book.
So The Road of the Lost is currently on submission. Let’s hope that an editor likes it enough to want to work with me on it.
Other than that, I am working on another project. A totally different project that has already led me to sleepless nights and turgid dreams.
So I feel like I can use this space to talk about my writing, woes and glows, as I persistently bang my head against the wall that is my book-to-be. Currently the book is a lot of notes and pictures scribbled on notebook paper and post-its. I only use 0.38 pen because the thicker nibs drive me nuts. I hate them.
I feel like the writing posts should be a separate post so hang on a minute.
Look, I love trees. I can’t, I won’t, hide it. Even though it makes people think I’m weird–but I’m used to people thinking I’m weird. I mean that’s the norm now and people thinking me normal would be weird and what am I saying now? I’ve tangled myself in my rhetoric and let’s just just end this paragraph.
So what I’m saying is I love trees.
The cherry tree in my backyard is one of my constant sources of comfort.
I had a favourite tree on campus. It’s trunk had been defaced by some asshole but it was stoic and it grew and though thin, it was flourishing. When I went back after Spring Break in my final year of undergrad, some bastards had cut it down and replaced it with freaking pavement. I was inconsolable. Yes, you can too mourn trees.
It was a sweltering day and I was hungry but I had to take a picture of this tree growing downtown. It is glorious.
I also spend a significant portion of my time standing under trees. Because that’s the thing to do.
Happy Birthday, Earth.
She wears her pain like a chip on her shoulder.
I don’t understand why but that sentence wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote it down so there you have it.
Over the course of the past few days, two famous men have died and so have countless other people whose lives may not have been lived in the spotlight but who were, nonetheless, heroes of their own stories.
I am no stranger to death. One of my earliest memories is of a funeral I attended with my mother. I, for reasons I will never know, laughed a lot at that funeral and was spanked when we got home. I was maybe 6 or so. Another memory is the funeral of a newborn baby, and then someone’s 13 year old son. One year was particularly terrible as my paternal grandfather died and then two months later my khala, my mom’s sister died and then not even a month later, a naani, my grandmother’s cousin sister died. More recently my daadi, my paternal grandma died and before her, my fufa, my dad’s sister’s husband.
With my fufa and daadi death came closer. We stood by their hospital beds and watched their heartbeats recede, their pulses slow, their lives ebb. We saw people becoming bodies and lives becoming memories.
We gathered together after funerals with composure thin like onion skins and held up our hands in prayer. We cooked and fed the people who came to our house to offer their condolences; we stuck close together and lost our pain in the sound of our voices as we talked about the person who had died. We made the dead live through shared memories accompanied by laughter that sounded like sobs. We gave comfort and received comfort. Death became natural, an inevitable conclusion to lives no matter how they are lived.
Grief though never feels natural.
Right now a relative lies on a hospital bed dying. His wife clutches his hand tightly in hers as though she can will death away. I could talk to you about his kindness, the warmth he evoked in the people he interacted with, his gentle smile, and above all, the love he showed his wife. He cherished her as though she is the most precious being imaginable.
This grief I feel is about my loss but more than that it’s about the loss his wife will feel. I grieve for her grief, for all the days she will open her eyes in the morning and realize his absence anew. I grieve for what she is going through right now.
I don’t quite understand what to do with this grief–I no longer have the adaptability I did when I was younger when I could shoulder the grief and live on. I try to do the same now but the grief is more insistent; it demands to be felt fully and exclusively. It demands to shade my daily life some colour of bleakness. It demands a song a dance and tears. I feel emotionally turgid as though one word, smile or action will send the waterworks spinning and I will drown in my own tears.
There is no way to end this piece except abruptly.
There have been times in the past when a particular friend or family member have given me the excuse of being “too busy” to do something essential. At that time I thought they were just giving excuses for not doing something they didn’t want to do anyway but now that I, too, get crazily busy (at times, not always), I understand that it is definitely very possible to not do something you thought you couldn’t not do just because you don’t have time. I still think though that no matter how busy I get, there are certain things it behooves me to do. Every person will have a different list. This is mine:
- Read. I don’t have to read an entire book but if over the course of a day, I can read even a page, I’m good. Some people require coffee to face the world, I require the written word.
- Respond to a friend who has messaged me in whatever way. I don’t understand people who don’t respond to messages whether on the phone or email citing time as a limiting factor. You can email using your phone, text message, or whatever app you use on the phone to keep in touch. It doesn’t take long to do and you don’t have to write an essay but just respond to them and let them know that you’ve received their message and will talk to them as soon as you have time. It doesn’t take much energy and goes a long way to maintaining your friendship.
- Eat. I mean, seriously. People can forget to eat? People can be too busy to eat? If I don’t eat, I don’t function.
This is about it. What’s on your list?
How I feel right now.
Feelings. I have them.
It can strike any time. Any where. About anything.
Is my face too round/narrow/cheesy?
Am I not a fun/friendly/cool person?
What if my book is all purple prose? How will I ever live down the horridness of that?
How do you deal with it?
Because I don’t. I can’t.
I turn off the world and eat ice cream. Usually it works. Other times it takes my mom to tell me to get out of the house before I finally get over myself.