Days of Travel

Friday, December 17, 2004

Doolies lies to me about distance and time. We’re flying near Alaska, miles away from Asia, and our final destination, Taiwan. “Are we almost there,” I ask. “Not far now,” she says. Never a more dishonest answer than when she tells me this a mere hour into the flight. It’s been a long, grueling day, and it’s not close to finished, but I’m with Doolies, and it’s better to be with Doolies on a grueling day than without her on an ordinary one. I promised myself I wouldn’t complain about the trip, reporting only on the exciting parts and recording what I want to remember. I’m not off to a great start, but since it’s around 8pm Seattle time, I thought it was time for me to write something down for the day. Here it is.

Empty throbbing thoughts fill me head. That blankness, the one that waits in the middle of the blank page, threatens me. I won’t give in to it. I’ll continue writing and see if I can make anything of this day of travels. Trying to give form to nothingness as Doolies slathers slime all over her face. She’s addicted to moisturizing her skin, as I’m addicted to distraction. Without it, she fears she’ll grow scaly; without my addiction, I fear I’ll grow interesting, and not in the good sense.

But I complain and I don’t say anything that’s worth saying. I’m going to let go. Let go of all the bars that stop me from saying what I’m thinking and weaving a story from mere strands of thoughts. It’s the place I find when my mind muddles with caffeine, not for the sake of focus, but for the alleviation of inhibitions. I’ve read more of Fortress of Solitude, a good Brooklyn book. The author (whose name I can never remember—at least not yet), has an uncanny ability to mimicry the past, to summon the spirit of a dead time and show it with all its pimples. Not the remembered glory or the reinvented glory, but a clean and honest possession, as if he was there writing about it only months and not decades after it happened. His voice is strong and his characters stronger. Even his story, a simple one when divested of its surroundings and strange characters, remains true to itself, but never predictable. It is life, from his fascination with obituaries as the reckoning of a person’s worth revealed only when they die, to his exploration of the black and white dichotomy, to his exploration of art through music and movies. He stinks of honesty.

Enough revealing other authors. That’s not why I write this. I write this to find a voice of my own, to tell my own story. I’m getting there. I feel I’m right at the edge, if I can get a push, it’ll come out. I have a great fascination with my potential energy, never enough inertia, however.

The Fascination with Covers

The peeling of the layers of bed for me is ritualistic. It is my nightly preparation for joining a secret club. It should go without saying that the bed must be made. Earlier in life, I did not understand this. Adolescents are not given the capacity to understand why a bed must be made, and adults are not given the capacity to explain it. It is something that must be done upon waking or before sleeping. You prepare the cocoon because it eases the mind. Order does that—it provides a calming influence on all around it, and the made bed is greatly affected by this.

What am I saying? This was not the bridge I hoped to jump off, or the truth I prayed to find. The words seem out of reach tonight, almost within grasp, but just outside. I have no ideas and no ways to explain them. I consternate about writing when I am in that calming space where writing should be easy, childish even. My headaches come and go depending on when I last napped, five minutes or two hours ago.

But that’s enough for today, or tomorrow, or whenever now is.