Tiny Tales from the Night-Time: Sheets of Grass

His eyes were wine-red, but without the hint of a good time.

He felt the grass beneath him and looked up, wondering his way through a brooding night sky. The stars stared back at him, diligently illuminating what was left of a hollow night.  He could always depend on the stars, no matter how ironic their shine. Many nights they offered him a reminder of why, but tonight they were distant and uncaring. They did their job and nothing more.

Again he felt beneath him. His grassy bed was damp, which seemed fitting. He wondered if he could ever get up again. The night’s sky lit the pathway home, but the road didn’t make sense anymore.

xo squea

The Ethics of Creativity

Indulge me for a moment as I ask the following: Is creativity only for people who are unhappy?

Earlier this month, I decided to start a blog. (It’s this. Dig it?) The decision has helped me progress through some weirdness in my life, and choosing to give in to my creative side has reminded me how much I actually like my creative side. Writing, as it turns out, has helped me stay OK at times when that felt quite untenable. But as my mood has increasingly improved, my inspiration to write has seemingly plummeted. It’s as though my inner well of inspiration has run dry, and I’m wondering what’s the culprit.

The last few days in particular have been very unproductive for me. (No blog posts all week!) I’ve accomplished plenty (relative) within the realm of adulthood duties, mind you, but I’ve created nothing. In this situation, happiness (relative) has prompted me to say less (relative). The troubling idea that sticks to me is that so many authors have penned greatness while being themselves very unhappy.  Some of my favorite female writers in particular lived sad lives that met even sadder ends–often at their own hands. And thus I arrive at a further point of my original question: If I want to write, do I need to be sad? Does a muted heart create more interesting stories?

I’m currently teaching one of my favorite novels, and–dang–I forgot how heartbreaking it is. The story is a beautiful and moving creation to absorb, and yet, it is also unforgivingly sad. But it’s also one of the best pieces of writing I’ve ever read. As I reread it I feel my own long-lost heartaches reoccur and deepen, as I suppose the author intends. But could this happen if the author were not, in some way, broken?

Perhaps when we break we become stronger in building stories rather than ourselves. Perhaps this is why broken hearts paint beautiful pictures. Perhaps pain really does equal beauty. But indulge me in my final question:  What happens when we heal?

xo squea

 

Being OK

I haven’t exactly been myself lately.

For the last few months, I have been feeling not OK. If you don’t know me, I can assure you that I am a regularly OK person. In fact, my common default is a probably annoying level of optimism and high-pitched reflections of being OK. This has not been the case lately. In spite of my recent emotional downturn, I’ve luckily managed to keep up on my tasks at work, continue feeding my darling child (cat), and generally maintain good hygiene (without succumbing to the bullshit of hairbrushes). Luckily, I’ve always been good at finding a way to do the things that need to be done, which, as of late, has probably saved me from ruin. But, really, what good is a step or two ahead of disaster? Barely making it is not for me. It simply isn’t me.

But if I haven’t been myself lately, who am I anymore?

This story has a happy ending, so stick with me. I’ve been reading some cool (and confusing) stuff lately, including critical theory. Within the context of theoretical discussion, knowing who we are is actually pretty complicated. Is identity constant or fluid? Do we maintain our identities throughout our lives, or do we constantly create and adapt our identities as we figure out the world around us?

The last few months have been hard because I couldn’t find Me. I wanted back my happy and peppy self that dances in the morning, even if tired and stressed. I wanted back the ability to make jokes and laugh and to simply not think so much all the time. Basically, I wanted to reclaim an identity that seemed to have slipped between my fingers, but I didn’t know how. How could I get the “old me” back?

Here’s my current answer: Who cares?

“Who cares?” is one of my favorite questions, but until recently, I never pointed the question toward myself. Why should I care who I am or whether or not I’ve changed and whether or not that’s a bad thing? Who cares. I’ll change this question to a statement because I need no answer and I’m not asking anymore. Who cares. I choose to believe that identity is fluid, and we are always changing because the world is always changing, and why would we want to be the same stuffy person everyday when, instead, we can be always adapting to whatever the world presents us? Change is great. Bring on the change and bring on the fluidity and throw something at me that throws me off balance because I will benefit from it.

Right now, I’m airing my dirty laundry in an even dirtier apartment, and there’s a killer song playing on my stereo, and I am so fucking OK.

xo squea

Bedtime Story

“Fragile creatures of a small blue planet, surrounded by light years of silent space. Do the dead find peace beyond the rattle of the world? What peace is there for us whose best love cannot return them even for a day? I raise my head to the door and think I will see you in the frame. I know it is your voice in the corridor but when I run outside the corridor is empty. There is nothing I can do that will make any difference. The last word was yours.

The fluttering in the stomach goes away and the dull waking pain. Sometimes I think of you and I feel giddy. Memory makes me lightheaded, drunk on champagne. All the things we did. And if anyone had said this was the price I would have agreed to pay it. That surprises me; that with the hurt and the mess comes a shaft of recognition. It was worth it. Love is worth it.”

Winterson, Jeanette. Written on the Body.

xo squea

Mistakes

The great Oscar Wilde once said “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes.” His words are brilliant and insightful, yet they seem to fancy up the truth. The truth is that our mistakes are often, if not always, supremely stupid in hindsight. Experience is something to feel grateful for and stronger from having, but when it comes from doing something so blatantly inane, it’s difficult to immediately transition the mentality of embarrassment and utter regret into gratitude. “What the fuck was I thinking?” is my common refrain. And it should be! What the fuck was I thinking?

The thing about mistakes is that they are mistakes.  Mistakes suck. It’s hard to see them as anything other than something regretful and painful, a knife in our sides when remembered. Yes, it’s stronger to see mistakes as experience. Such experience can become a tool to put in our back pockets. “Next time, I’ll be prepared!” we say. But these learning tools are, in fact, quite easy to drop and lose. Instead, we abuse them and forget how to use them.

Perhaps the solace to remember is that life goes on. Every mistake eventually drifts further and further into the past. With distance we heal. With distance we survive, and with survival, we grow.*

*Actual growth not guaranteed.

xo squea