Monday, January 31, 2011

As a young girl, my grandma became an army nurse during WWII. This is a picture of my grandma (right) with her brother, John, and her best friend, Eileen (left), in 1944. She and (Aunt) Eileen traveled to Europe and Africa during the war, and they were part of the group that liberated the concentration camp Dachau. There's even a book dedicated to my grandma by a Holocaust survivor, called In the Mouth of the Wolf. She doesn't talk about the bad times; she physically can't bring herself to.
I don't think I could ever describe how much respect I have for her.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My mouth tasted of metal all day today. It was a strange day. I want to say complacent, but that doesn't explain it at all. It was a dry day, the kind that sticks in the pit of your stomach.

Monday, January 24, 2011

I keep dreaming of Rocky. He was my cat that I found when I was eight and when he was a tiny black fur ball, hardly four weeks old. Someone had thrown him out a car window, and abandoned him in the summer heat. I heard a tiny cry, and found him in a green patch of leaves behind a bush. I don't know what it was, but somehow, on that day in Rockford Park, Delaware, hiding him from the park rangers, that little kitten--Rockford Soda-Pop Oreo-Cookie McCormick--moved something inside of me.
Because he was so young he hadn't learned a lot of vital things yet. I had to give him formula and teach him to walk up and down the stairs. In all reality, he was like my baby (much better than any doll I had ever had). He used to do the strangest things too. Whenever I came home from somewhere, I found that he had dragged all the clothes in my room down the stairs, leaving a trail of shirts and underwear from my bedroom across the house to the garage door. He would also cry the entire time I was in the shower. Sometimes he'd even stick his head in and look at me, crying until I came over to pet him. One time he even bit my finger and began to walk backwards, as if he was trying to pull me out of the shower. But I guess all this nostalgia doesn't mean much to many other people. I can't explain how he was, or why a cat could be as important to me as a person. And I guess it doesn't make much sense trying to explain it. But he was.
He ran away last winter right before a big snowstorm. He had never run away before; he went outside all the time, and he knew his way home. But it was different this time. He had been getting progressively sicker in the past two or so years. I think he knew he was going to die, so he ran off to make a nest somewhere where he could be alone. I guess the hardest part for me is that I never found him. There's a strange unrest within me not knowing what really happened. Maybe it seems stupid that it upsets me as much as it does, but there's no other way for me to feel. He was my little Rocky, poking his head out from the shoebox that was too big for him to sleep in, waiting by the door for me to come home from school, running down the stairs after being away from me for two weeks, crying somewhere in the house listening for my echo.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I woke up this morning (well, afternoon really) with the feeling like something happened last night that I could vaguely remember--that feeling where everything's quiet, and when you start remembering things you start regretting them, but you're not sure if they actually happened or if you just dreamed it. It's strange because nothing like that happened last night. So, I guess it was all the weird dreams that I had.

Also, some lyrics to a song that's been in my head today:

"...Take a number, the apple seeds rained upon each slumber
A hundred thousand freaks on parade for the village hunter
My every when acted upon has gone loopy...

Tummy full of sand running man impossible
There's a wing in my gut and I'm all dust
Surfing the earth and I dine-rise certainly flushed
Now one in the hand is worth two atop the tallest cedar
But what lies inside my heart is off the mother fucking meter...

...I don't play in the man race cycle
Hope floater
Gloating inside carnal indifference till doom cops are slight
and potent quotas
I'm 20 something pumping acrylic tomorrow side ways
Blazing passage with a map tattooed on the back of the classless
Now tip toe across a lost cause
Because a lost cause found
Don't mean you found a cause
That means you found a lost cause...

See the Water ain't safe no more
'I'm just trying to build my self to act as a truly better man'
'See the water ain't safe no more'
'Nah nah'

'The water ain't safe no more'
I'm just trying to be a solid oak tree for every child to carve
its name across
'The water ain't safe no more'
I'm just trying to be the dream of every peasant the hurricane
can offer
'I'm just trying to be some body I can talk to in the morning
with a smile'
The Water ain't safe no more..."

"Water" by Aesop Rock

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Today was a really nice day. One of those days where you feel everything, and when you walk home everything around you is beautiful. Not the cliched beautiful, but the kind of beautiful that you find in the strangest, smallest things--the way the rain hits the dull, gray sidewalk and the way your heels click on the salt scattered unevenly among the concrete. And you don't really know why you're so happy, you just are. And it all kind of makes sense, and the stuff that doesn't, well, you don't really care about that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Egg
By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident. Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless. You left behind a wife and two children. It was a painless death. The EMTs tried their best to save you, but to no avail. Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.
“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly. No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.
You looked around. There was nothingness. Just you and me. “What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you god?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”
“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What about them?”
“Will they be all right?”
“That’s what I like to see,” I said. “You just died and your main concern is for your family. That’s good stuff right there.”
You looked at me with fascination. To you, I didn’t look like God. I just looked like some man. Or possibly a woman. Some vague authority figure, maybe. More of a grammar school teacher than the almighty.
“Don’t worry,” I said. “They’ll be fine. Your kids will remember you as perfect in every way. They didn’t have time to grow contempt for you. Your wife will cry on the outside, but will be secretly relieved. To be fair, your marriage was falling apart. If it’s any consolation, she’ll feel very guilty for feeling relieved.”
“Oh,” you said. “So what happens now? Do I go to heaven or hell or something?”
“Neither,” I said. “You’ll be reincarnated.”
“Ah,” you said. “So the Hindus were right,”
“All religions are right in their own way,” I said. “Walk with me.”
You followed along as we strode through the void. “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere in particular,” I said. “It’s just nice to walk while we talk.”
“So what’s the point, then?” You asked. “When I get reborn, I’ll just be a blank slate, right? A baby. So all my experiences and everything I did in this life won’t matter.”
“Not so!” I said. “You have within you all the knowledge and experiences of all your past lives. You just don’t remember them right now.”
I stopped walking and took you by the shoulders. “Your soul is more magnificent, beautiful, and gigantic than you can possibly imagine. A human mind can only contain a tiny fraction of what you are. It’s like sticking your finger in a glass of water to see if it’s hot or cold. You put a tiny part of yourself into the vessel, and when you bring it back out, you’ve gained all the experiences it had.
“You’ve been in a human for the last 48 years, so you haven’t stretched out yet and felt the rest of your immense consciousness. If we hung out here for long enough, you’d start remembering everything. But there’s no point to doing that between each life.”
“How many times have I been reincarnated, then?”
“Oh lots. Lots and lots. An in to lots of different lives.” I said. “This time around, you’ll be a Chinese peasant girl in 540 AD.”
“Wait, what?” You stammered. “You’re sending me back in time?”
“Well, I guess technically. Time, as you know it, only exists in your universe. Things are different where I come from.”
“Where you come from?” You said.
“Oh sure,” I explained “I come from somewhere. Somewhere else. And there are others like me. I know you’ll want to know what it’s like there, but honestly you wouldn’t understand.”
“Oh,” you said, a little let down. “But wait. If I get reincarnated to other places in time, I could have interacted with myself at some point.”
“Sure. Happens all the time. And with both lives only aware of their own lifespan you don’t even know it’s happening.”
“So what’s the point of it all?”
“Seriously?” I asked. “Seriously? You’re asking me for the meaning of life? Isn’t that a little stereotypical?”
“Well it’s a reasonable question,” you persisted.
I looked you in the eye. “The meaning of life, the reason I made this whole universe, is for you to mature.”
“You mean mankind? You want us to mature?”
“No, just you. I made this whole universe for you. With each new life you grow and mature and become a larger and greater intellect.”
“Just me? What about everyone else?”
“There is no one else,” I said. “In this universe, there’s just you and me.”
You stared blankly at me. “But all the people on earth…”
“All you. Different incarnations of you.”
“Wait. I’m everyone!?”
“Now you’re getting it,” I said, with a congratulatory slap on the back.
“I’m every human being who ever lived?”
“Or who will ever live, yes.”
“I’m Abraham Lincoln?”
“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.
“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.
“And you’re the millions he killed.”
“I’m Jesus?”
“And you’re everyone who followed him.”
You fell silent.
“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”
You thought for a long time.
“Why?” You asked me. “Why do all this?”
“Because someday, you will become like me. Because that’s what you are. You’re one of my kind. You’re my child.”
“Whoa,” you said, incredulous. “You mean I’m a god?”
“No. Not yet. You’re a fetus. You’re still growing. Once you’ve lived every human life throughout all time, you will have grown enough to be born.”
“So the whole universe,” you said, “it’s just…”
“An egg.” I answered. “Now it’s time for you to move on to your next life.”
And I sent you on your way.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"I got caught in a storm
And carried away
I got turned, turned around

I got caught in a storm
That's what happened to me
So I didn't call
And you didn't see me for a while

I was rising up
Hitting the ground
And breaking and breaking

I was caught in a storm
Things were flying around
And doors were slamming
And windows were breaking
And I couldn't hear what you were saying
I couldn't hear what you were saying
I couldn't hear what you were saying

I was rising up
Hitting the ground
And breaking and breaking

Rising up
Rising up"

-Lhasa de Sela

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's strange being twenty. When I imagined it a few years ago, there were a lot of things I had expected to be a certain way. It's strange seeing things fall apart while others fall into place. But I guess that's just how we make room for the new things and the new people. I don't know if it's necessarily hard, sometimes it actually seems too easy; what's hard is that it's so easy--in the sense that you never imagine something or someone so important to fall away or leave the way they do. And I can't tell if I'm still upset about it. I used to get mad, but I stopped putting the energy into it. Why bother, right? But this wasn't meant to be an emotional post, just a reminiscent one (if that's not the same?).