Past Life

This was an absolute joy to read. Like a Faulkner story, you need to hang on to the end to get the full effect: a message of acceptance and love.

Looking down, I realize it’s not my credit card I’m handing to the checkout clerk, it’s my mother’s. I don’t own one yet. I’m only 17, living at home with my parents. It’s my senior year in high school.

Looking down, I realize I have breasts again. No problem, I can handle this, I’ve dealt with breasts before. I just need to buy a binder online. Wait! I don’t have a credit card. I don’t even think you could buy binders online in 2004, much less have them shipped to Mexico. But even if you could, I don’t have a credit card. Or any money, for that matter. I’m only 17.

I realize I could do with a haircut. My hair is not long anymore, but it’s not as short as I’d like it to be. Maybe I can convince my mom to drive me to the supermarket (of course…

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A Treasured Blink

Two weeks ago, I saw one of the most majestic things I have ever seen in my young life. And this ephemeral image was not something that many would call majestic. It was only a moment captured from my dirty car window and to anybody else it would have been a blurred picture left behind in a cloud of gravel dust and fallen leaves. It was a simple thing, really. A simple scene played out under the hot Texas sun that I, by pure chance, happened to turn right at just the right time to see it in all its glory.

There were three kids, around the age of 8, laughing and running down a sidewalk. One little boy had black gym shorts and a red shirt that was a little too big for him. He carried a medium-sized stick in his hands. Behind him, a flash of bright pink pursued. It was a little girl with a playful look in her eye and a huge I’ve-got-him-now grin, chasing after him. She swung a large stick of her own high above her head. A third boy, with a white shirt that was a little too big for him too, popped out of a yard. He raised his stick above his head and charged down the sidewalk after them, battle cry in the air.

And just like that…we passed each other and my Rockwell moment was over. I turned the street corner and was back in my when-is-that-research-paper-on-Faulkner-due world. At the time, I didn’t know why but this image completely echoed a truth in my soul–a truth so pure and stout that I had to get out of bed and break out the old laptop to write this down at 2:09 in the morning. (funny how inspiration strikes at such ungodly hours, but, hey, when the bug bites it’s best to scratch the hell out of it until you roll your eyes back in utter pleasure) Betwixt the realms of slumber spirituality and carnal responsibilities, I realized why those running, laughing kids impacted me so heavily: they were playing. Of all the amazing, groovy, wondrous, and enchanting things that a person could do to spark inspiration, they were doing nothing more than simply playing.

Big deal, Victoria. So they were playing. What does this have to do with anything?

Calmate, I’ll explain myself. I promise in the end it will all make sense. Or, at least, I hope. Okay?

Sigh, I guess. Proceed.

Glad to see you so enthused.

I have this very dear friend who says she is 10-years-old at heart. And she is. Anybody that truly gets to know her can see this beautiful whimsical light radiating off her. I would always shake my head and agree and smile when she’d tell me this, but the truth is I coveted her. You see, when I first met her (about a year-and-a-half ago) I didn’t understand what she meant by being ‘ten at heart’ because I didn’t feel that way at all. I didn’t even feel my age, 23. I had forgotten how to feel any age. All I felt was worry, fear, and doubt. Worry over where my life was heading: What the hell am I gonna do when I graduate? What if I end up working in a cubicle for the rest of my life? Fear of letting people down: I can’t mess up. I can’t mess up. I must be perfect. I can’t mess up. Doubt about my writing: I think I’m an okay writer, but will anybody ever read me? What if they don’t like me? I CAN’T HANDLE REJECTION!

You get the picture? I was a bit distraught. Up until a few months ago (november, to be exact) when I decided that all these melancholy feelings swirling inside the depth of my soul and reverberating off the walls of my mind could go to hell. I just wanted to be happy, so I took the leap of faith and finished my first novella. I am now going through the process of publishing it.

Really? A novella?

Yes, a novella. Though short, I am very proud of it. It deserves to live and breathe in the world of published literature. And, yeah, I still don’t know what I’m going to do when I graduate. And, yeah, I’m still afraid of messing up and letting people down, but I now know I am not perfection bottled up and wrapped in a pretty pink bow; I am a young adult, a neophyte punk, learning and weaving my way through the dark Amazonia jungle of life and paddling my way through the treacherous Bering Sea of writing and publishing. And, yeah, I still have doubts about my writing style and my stories, but I’m not gonna go sulk in some corner and cry about it; I sit and write and write and write and read and read and read and improve and improve and improve. And I am happy when I do this.

That’s great and all, but how does this tie into the kids at the beginning?

Will you calm down? I’m getting there.

When I saw those kids running down the sidewalk in absolute bliss I realized I was like them. I had found my play. And by “play” I don’t mean I chase little kids down the street, laughing. No, I mean I have found the one thing in my life that makes me happy, that one moment where I can lose myself in and leave reality behind. I finally understand what my friend meant by ‘ten at heart’. Writing is my play, and I can feel the ten-year-old in me jumping in the glittering sprinkles of my imagination. I can feel her big stupid grin as she runs down the corridors of my mind with a giant crowbar, breaking into all the locked doors filled with stories that I, as an adult, have forgotten how to open.

I feel that when we grow up, we forget how to play. We grow up and accept the mentality of I-don’t-have-time-to-play-because-I-am-an-adult. We become part of the herd that declares dreams as impossibilities and cubicles as the only possibility. We grow up and forget that we love to swim, paint, write, jog, cook, sing or whatever it is that gives us joy. We go to work or school and condemn ourselves to leading boring socially acceptable lives. (unless you are blessed enough to have your play be your work or your choice of study then high-five, man, you totally made it) But there is no rule that states we must grow up and forget. Or perhaps that is the price we pay in order to step into the threshold of adulthood: forgetting our play and losing the bravest part of ourselves, that ten-year-old in us. Like Wendy, we have forgotten how to fly.

As kids, I guess, it’s easier to let go and live so freely in that one precious moment that makes them happy. They aren’t worried about what happens five minutes from now or tomorrow or five years down the road. All they know is that they are having the very best moment of their lives right now. And for all they know that moment is a lifetime, a treasured blink in the eye of eternity. As we become older, we forget we have this ability. Some of us even lost this ability. But, damn it, we grown-ups were kids once too, and we possess the privilege of being able to go back and experience that beloved blink in the eye of eternity that is so sweet and pure we feel infinite like the ever-expanding universe. But it is up to us to dig deep and take that leap of faith and trust that our ten-year-old-selves will catch us and say, “What took you so long?”

That’s all fine and dandy, Victoria, but we are adults. We have responsibilities.

Yeah, we do. We all have bills to pay, deadlines to meet, and promotions to keep in mind. I’m not saying to hell with all this, let’s just have fun and forget I have to pay the rent tomorrow. I’m simply saying we must not forget the responsibility we have to ourselves: we must find our play and live in that moment of pure fucking elation even if it is only for a fifteen-minute run or twenty minutes of writing or an afternoon of painting fruit. We must find our play and experience infinity. Because, yeah, tomorrow you do have to pay the rent and do God knows what else, but right now you are happy. Just like those kids running around with those big silly grins. You are happy.

I don’t know if this post made much sense, but I just had to sit down and write out the sentiments that that fleeting moment gave to me. I had to acknowledge my play. My own moment of pure I-am-having-a-fucking-stupendous-time-right-now-and-I-can-feel-myself-living-forever.

I hope you find your play. And I hope you find your moment. Neophyte Punk, over and out.

Writing From Below

Interesting topic from one of my favorite bloggers.

Stealing All the Sevens

Stars at night


Sally Sparrow:  I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy Nightingale:  What’s good about sad?
Sally Sparrow:  It’s happy for deep people.

I have been writing in my writing-journal for the last hour. When I write in my journal I put every thought in my head down on the page. At least, that is the idea. When the process clicks it is seamless. Often I do not know my thoughts until I read them on the screen in front of me. My brain, the keyboard, and the screen are part of a single closed system. My thoughts have momentum and tangible definition. It is effortless.

Right now it is not effortless. As I type my fingertips slip into a gap between my mind and the keyboard. I pause for minutes at a time as thoughts swirl around my consciousness. When I look up at the screen it…

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The Writing Exercise That Actually Worked

Very helpful tips if you should ever find yourself stuck. I’m going to try a couple.

Stealing All the Sevens

Writing Ball

I love tricks. Teach me a way to peel garlic in 10 seconds, and I’m hooked. This is partially because doing things the easy and interesting way is better, but for me it goes deeper than that.

Habit-forming does not come naturally to me. When I was 8 years old I got glasses for the first time. In the first year I had them, I spent more time looking for my glasses than I did wearing the stupid things. This plagues me still. Every time I move into a new place I spend six months searching for my keys before I leave the house every single morning before I figure out that I need to put them in the same place, without fail, every time I get home. Even now, if I don’t put my keys on the small bookshelf next to the yellow chair as soon as I…

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Disgruntled Birds #1

Hilarious story about a grumpy goose and siblings. Read and be enchanted.

Milk & Whiskey

I seem to have a bad luck streak regarding birds. This is probably one of the reasons I feel totally okay about eating them. The first fowl experience was The Mad Queen and the hits just keep coming.

For example, I’ve been hit in the nuts by a haunted plastic goose.

When M.I.L.K. and I were small, our mom took us to a duck pond in Palo Alto. We jumped out of the car, each clutching a loaf of stale bread, and ran to feed the duckies. We got to the water line and began frantically shredding and tossing bread to a bunch of enthusiastic ducks. The duck feeding was going swimmingly when a goose almost as tall as me, and easily eye to eye with M.I.L.K. ran towards us. Neat, I thought.

But this goose didn’t want to be fed, it wanted to hunt.

I was in awe…

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37 Lessons from 37 Days

This is just so inspiring to me. Read and be enraptured.

Stealing All the Sevens

Möbius transformation

37, day…thirty seven!

For thirty-seven days, I have been violating the laws of hyphenation. Also, I have been posting in my blog every day. I noticed that I wasn’t posting nearly enough. Worse still, I wasn’t writing nearly enough. This was a serious problem, and like most serious problems it needed a silly solution. I decided to undergo a transformative journey. A hero quest of epic proportions, where upon I would journey into the underworld, fight mighty philosopher-dragons, take tea with weird gods, and return with a profoundly enhanced understanding of myself and my relationship to the expansive and nuanced cosmos.

I didn’t do that. Instead I wrote a bunch of blog posts.

The obvious way to end all of this is to talk about how the experience has changed me, and what I have learned. I had a sense from the start that I was not going to…

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