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What a better way to start a new month, a first batch, than writing straight out of bed?
Thoughts are slurring together, making room for anything to stick out. But it isnít words that are coming to me. There is music. And a feeling in my mouth Ė last night I bit my tongue. Literally. Hush hush, quiet quiet. What else is here. I look up at my potted plant, Gus the asparagus, whose ends are brushing my forehead, as if he would know.
What is here is the feeling that today will be a good day. And it will.
One hundred metro stops. One hundred smells. Fruit, cologne, sweat, alcohol, you name it, itís all in this subway car. One hundred thoughts floating above the heads of the passengers. ďWhat should I cook for dinner? Will he still be there when I get home? What is she writing?Ē One hundred billboards, one hundred corridors, one hundred phone conversations.
And I choose to participate. Smile at strangers. Give change to the singer whoís trying to get us to communicate. Noble fight.
Iím hungry. Without noticing, I drift back to my own little worries. I have one hundred words to finish.
Creation leads to more creation ; itís like a muscle. Iíve never been good at muscles. I decided to do sit-ups every morning, once ; it lasted about a month.
But I am ready to be persistent with this one.
Itís all about perception. If you think itís hard work, your inner child will say ďI donít want to do this, itís no fun!Ē You need to show her that it is fun indeed. And not just that. Taking time to be creative is the best present you can ever give to yourself. Itís a gift that says ďYou are worthy.Ē
I am inviting abundance into my life. I used to fear that each song I wrote may be the last. I thought that the water in the well wasnít infinite. And that I should treasure each tiny drop that came out of it. I saw artists around me being super prolific, pumping out songs, paintings and ideas like there was no tomorrow. I thought I was just different; I hadnít been blessed with the gift of creative fertility. I even thought I might have been fooling myself into believing that I possessed anything at all. And yet here I am.
I am discovering the mechanisms of doubt. Doubt can be positive, like a painter taking a step back to make sure heís going in the right direction and see if any adjustments are needed. It is a way of bettering yourself through repeated questioning. But there is such a thing as taking too many steps back, to the point where what youíre working on becomes a dot in the distance. So you look around, see what everyone else is doing and question the very path you are on. This kind of doubt overwhelms, clouds and eventually paralyzes. Iím getting out.
Sleep is the answer. Program the washer, then go to bed. Sleep on it. Sleep on this day that brought its share of challenges. Get off the emotional roller coaster. Get comforted by the latex arms of my mattress, where the softness is so extraordinary that it erases all hardness.
I still havenít fully accepted the reality of life. That all days are not good days. I know about impermanence and the necessity of suffering. I know that pain brings growth. And yet, every time something upsetting happens, I get the urge to run away, hide and make myself numb.
I am finally allowing myself to really try things out. Instead of reading articles on what people think is the best way to go, I am finding out for myself.
Waking up early instead of being a night owl, showering before instead of after meditation; I am making some changes. And if they donít work out, I can always go back to the way things were.
This may seem silly and/or obvious; for me, itís huge. This means I am willing to accept the fact that I may be wrong. And that itís OK. This means I am finally living.
I would like to try to create fictional characters from scratch; from the raw fabric of my imagination. A fertile imagination that would know no boundaries. Vivid pictures, bright colors, powerful smells and revealing images. Characters who would take on a life of their own, emancipating themselves to the point where I would have no control over them. They would come to life through me and not from me. They wouldnít need me anymore in order to exist.
I must learn how and train myself to listen better. And respect. Listen, and respect. And do it over and over again.
What is it about a sink that makes you expect a mirror above it? Why does it feel weird to wash your hands without looking at your reflection? So many things are expected, and since the expectation is almost always met, we donít even realize we are clinging to some set and arbitrary ideas of how things should be. Letís hunt them down. In other words, letís be more mindful. Mindful of our environment, but most importantly, mindful of our own instincts and reactions to what we encounter. Thereís a lot to find out; thereís a lot to be lived.
I am always struggling with some issue on the path of self-discovery and personal improvement. While it may be frustrating and discouraging at times, I enjoy that process. I know that I am working towards ultimately leading a better life, if that ďultimatelyĒ ever occurs Ė I am also trying to domesticate the feeling of contentedness.
But I really wish I could get out of my own way sometimes. Lose myself, even. Reach wild places, uncharted territory within the realms of my creative abilities. This shouldnít be too hard, since at the moment I feel like Iím using about 1%.
It seems that my quest of the moment is to fill myself with all the material I can get my hands on. Music, blog articles, podcasts. Maybe Iím running away from something.
Maybe I should just stop making up complicated answers to unasked questions. Stop psychologizing everything. Not everything is a Freudian slip. Not everything means something.
Still I canít help it. This is probably caused by my egoís lack of humility. It canít possibly accept the idea that sometimes, it is what it is and there is nothing more to it. Arrogant bastard. Do you want to be friends?
OK. After 11 days, I am starting to get tired of doing this every single day. Itís becoming an obligation. A ďshouldĒ; maybe even worse, a ďhave toĒ. Which is exactly why I am pushing through. I donít want to give up. I canít think about doing this for the rest of my life, because then I would just stop right here and right now. What I can and will do is focus on right here and right now, because that is all there ever is. And right here and right now, I am writing one hundred words. Thatís all.
ďDon't sleep, the voice summoned. Thereís no time for sleeping. Naps are for wusses. You're not a wuss, are you? Go on, do things, see the world. Otherwise you'll end up like me, all wrinkled and tired from not living.Ē
That's when he understood the wobbly murmur was not the voice of just any old man. The presence in his head was himself, years later. This realization came as an electric shock. He jumped up and went to the bathroom to splash his face with cold water. Then he walked to the kitchen, opened the fridge and grabbed a beer.
OK so Iíll admit it: I missed a day. Today is actually Friday, June 15th. I have always been compelled to tell the truth. Maybe because my conscience is too weak to stand having anything on it. Anyway, I did write a few sentences at a Starbuckís cafť yesterday:
I like soft things. Velvet, silk. I also like squishy things. A pillow, a loverís shoulder. Soft and squishy is the best combination in the world. Itís an invitation to lie down in a pastel pink daze, with a smile on your face and an irrepressible desire to stroke some skin.
On the metro.
Watching a girl whoís blocking her ears.
Maybe sheís trying to hear a melody in her head.
Maybe the surrounding buzz is drowning her thoughts.
Sheís so beautiful, so focused on her inner life.
She squints, as if that would help her go deeper; as if what she was striving to grasp was so fleeting that a huge amount of concentration was needed.
Then she mutters something. It seems like sheís repeating what sheís just heard, like a mantra.
She turns her head towards me.
Her other hand isnít blocking her other ear.
Itís holding a phone.
Something snuck under my skin when I wasnít looking. All I felt was a sudden itch, like a mosquito bite. Except there was no bite. It looked like a cut. So I accepted this new conclusion.
Until I decided to grant my doubts some new attention. Indeed, something had snuck under my skin, but what? A spiderís leg? A pine needle? A hair?
All I knew was that I had to get it out. This foreign body could not be allowed to spend another minute inside mine. I squeezed it out like a pimple.
It looks like itís growing back.
Maybe it is a ritual after all. Fumbling through my purse to find the notebook of the moment. Fingers feeling around until they finally settle on the long hard shape of the faithful pen. Opening the notebook. Writing the date in the upper right corner.
Each of these repeated actions conditions what will come next. Accomplished in this very specific order, they become the stages of a ceremony where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. This provides the means for a dependable outcome: shortly, the pen will start moving and the white pages will start darkening.
I give up. I have started several paragraphs and something about my writing tonight is just too forced. I keep wanting to draw horizontal strokes in an impressionist fashion.
So I will exercise my right to freedom and use what is left in the quota for random words.
silent noise in the key of deaf
fragrant hardwood floor
tedious. habit. discipline.
sticking to meaninglessness.
I canít take 26 more random words. I have tried. I choose sentences. Less fake mystery, more true meaning.
Writing my way through lack of inspiration.
I have just had another mini-epiphany. You know, one of those realizations which seem to open up a whole new understanding when youíre having them and which seem so obnoxiously obvious after youíve had them.
Anyway, here goes:
I used to write to differentiate myself from other human beings, to prove something: that I was smart(er), cool(er), worth paying attention to.
Now, when I look at strangers, I see what makes us alike before what separates us. And when I write Iím not alone anymore. Theyíre all with me. My experience is their experience. Thereís nothing to be afraid of.
I love looking for stuff. Sometimes I look for stuff I donít even need, just for the joy of looking. I can spend 45 minutes comparing the software available to automate a task that in the end would have been accomplished much faster manually. (Actually, I just did.)
Likewise, I will spend hours on end researching every single book and article that has ever been written about a certain subject for which I originally had no particular passion. Only after I feel the inventory is complete will my mind be able to rest. Then I may skim over a couple.
As adults, weíre just like kids. We just pretend we know better because weíre grown-ups. Take going to bed, for instance. You know going to bed late is bad for you. You gotta get up in the morning and you know youíll be tired all day tomorrow. But right now isnít tomorrow. Right now, all you know is youíre having fun. So the kid in you goes ďPlease please please, let me stay a bit longer!Ē Thereís a first category of people, actual grown-ups, who say ďSorry kiddo, youíve had your fun, timeís up!Ē And then thereís the second categoryÖ
I am very tired. I do not want to be doing this. And yet I am. Because tomorrow wonít be June 22nd anymore and I will have to pretend like it is and I donít like that.
The question here is: can I stick to doing something without the watch of an external authority? Of course, no one is forcing me Ė I chose to write 100 words a day for a month. But if it werenít for the website, I probably would have quit before.
What it boils down to is: can I respect myself when no oneís looking?
My thoughts are clogged. My gloves are full of ice. My freezer is deserted. The carrots need cooking. The parrots need teaching. The schoolgirl needs a break and the grown-up is sneezing.
Sinuses are the way to the soul.
The chairs miss the moods that used to sit on them. They face the table, ready. But no oneís coming. Except for the occasional pile of junk mail. Theyíre craving human butts. Even a Chihuahua would do. A creature capable of blinking its eyes.
This lack of living energy is getting to them. They look like theyíre sinking into the floor.
New things are attractive. But you already know youíll soon get tired of them so whatís the point in getting them in the first place. Might as well borrow a new thing, play with it for a little bit and then decide whether or not you want to get it.
Or not. Maybe I will get the new toy after all. Be a little crazy for once. Actually crazy would be getting something you know for sure you will not use. Plus this isnít a toy; itís a tool, a very important creation tool. And itís called: the loop station.
Thoughts are not hard to come by. Theyíre floating around. All you gotta do is pick one and go with it.
Because sometimes, when you try to let them fly around you without getting attached to any of them, it feels like walking through a blizzard. Thoughts hitting you in the face while you struggle to put one foot in front of the other, squinting and lowering your head.
But if you give one thought the attention it demands, it will calm down and let you move forward.
Sometimes, waiting it out just doesnít work. You have to take action.
I have always thought blogging was a pretentious thing to do. Itís an act that says ďI have valuable things to tell the world and I want you all to know how special I am.Ē Itís one thing to keep a journal; to publish it is quite another. I understand if youíre in an extraordinary situation, like living abroad or traveling across the globe. But some people blog for the sake of blogging.
I certainly donít have something valuable to say every day. The effort this is starting to cost me is proof of that. This experience might end soon.
Itís so amazing to realize how our perceptions really are our reality. Itís so incredible to see them evolve, sometimes changing radically because a baby smiled at you on the bus. And everyone can tell. The way you look, the way you move, the way you speak; itís all affected.
So maybe, instead of going with the flow, get into the flow. Instead of letting yourself be rocked by the tumultuous sea inside your fishbowl, learn how to steer the boat.
Find that state, again and again, until you absolutely know how to get there and never lose the way.
I forgot! How could I forget?! Itís not like I spent the day partying or using any substances, legal or not. I just forgot.
I once read that it took 28 days to build a habit. This was the 28th day. And I forgot to write my 100 words!
Does this mean I am truly incapable of establishing discipline? I was so close to the ď28 dayĒ marker, this is genuine self-sabotage!
But Iím not giving up. I havenít decided yet whether I will still do this in July but at least I will keep working on my working capabilities.
I have no shame about writing on the metro.
Some guy once told me he didnít write in public places because he didnít want to look like some hipster artist with words flowing out of his talented fingers, jotting down ideas and crafted prose like his life depended on it.
I have no such feeling. If anything, the presence of other people encourages me. Everyoneís doing their thing. I could be writing a grocery list, for all they know. And yet, under their watch, I am more committed to keeping my hand moving.
The only thing is Iím outta words.
Well, itís all burnt. The pies, three of my fingers. I started out with such good intentions.
If there ever were any doubts about me being an overachiever, theyíre all gone now.
Two weeks ago, I decided to throw my first party in my new apartment, and I got really excited. I invited about 50 people and decided to make 5 pies. It was gonna be great.
Flash forward to now, the afternoon before the big party: I have no idea where everyoneís going to fit, all the food is burnt and I will soon be covered in bandages. Fun!
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