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What would it be like to chronicle one’s life in the third person? I’ve read countless blogs, and overwhelmingly they speak from the ‘I’, with a few presuming toward a semi-objective commentary.

Siona wanted to write about last night’s trip to the emergency room, and what it was like to sit by a loved one—first scared and struggling, and then later, asleep—watching through exhausted eyes the punctuated arrival of strangers. And more than that, she wanted to write about each unhappy visitor, to tell the story of the man who’d been found quietly dying on the side of the road, the teenager in a torn sequinned dress who’d been turned into a child by tears and fear, the twenty-something anxiously holding his angrily-angled left arm. She wanted to chronicle their briefly entangled stories, weaving the night into a tale of interconnection and meaning, capturing these sudden inadvertent worshippers of life.

She wanted to, but felt uncomfortable even confessing this. She felt uncomfortable because she knew as well as anyone the intimacy of tragedy. She felt uncomfortable because she knew her attempts to connect these strangers would be dishonest. For all the closeness of space and circumstance, those she shared the hall with spent their nights alone, each trapped in their own invisible world of surprise and confusion and pain. Still, they were beautiful, she thought. Still, she had to write something.

So she tried, though it all felt more like a dream, and though it didn’t really feel like hers.


I wanted to put this more poetically, but I’m not sure how.

Sometimes, when a ram or a goat is dehorned, the bud is not entirely cauterized. When this occurs, the horn, instead of disappearing, returns as a scur–growing back in a malformation that penetrates the animal’s skull. Of course it takes time for the slow inexorable pressure to kill the creature, and typically the beast goes mad with pain before it dies.

Of course this reminded me what often happens when we try to truncate our own greatness.


On my way to work this morning I passed a runner in a bright red shirt. He had paused on the meridian to catch his breath, and was posed, legs wide and arms akimbo, like some capeless and hopeful superhero.

Although there was nothing to rescue, although the traffic streamed blindly by, for a brief second he froze the world, and for a brief moment, saved my life.

It didn’t last–such moments never do–but it was a brilliant act regardless.

à un moment.

When I was younger, I used to become enchanted solely with those I chose to see as perfect. I’d gaze through a careful filter at their beauty and strength and intelligence, and value, with breathless reverence, this unfair imagined ideal. It never worked, and it never last.

Today, I’m more inclined to melt as a result of a slipped mask, or a fatal flaw, or the revelation of some tragically human foible. I fall for people more easily now, and my heart is broken less.

I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, or when I’ll awaken to the danger of this second form of enamored adoration. Is there anything better about falling for the hopelessly damaged than there is for the hopelessly idealized? Is there a path between, or some transcendent embrace of both? I would love to live long enough to find out.


I spent today in a museum.

I love museums, though I am not a collector. I could never be; I feel ensnared enough by the terrible beauty of even mundane things. Whereas some shop when stressed, or eat, I frantically unburden myself of all I’ve been tending, abandoning books and furniture and clothing and friends. I do not feel quite worthy of tending to the grandeur of the the material. I feel most comfortable when alone, against empty fields of white possibility, without the weight of the real.

Still, despite or because of this, I have a certain deep adoration of museums. Of course I love the glorious particularity of the wrought matter they contain, but more than this, I love the rightness of the institutions themselves. I love the way they honor the dumb adoring stuff surrounding us with the reverence due; I love how each pedestal invites awareness, how each frame forces a question of worth—a question that has, in the end, only one answer.

I spent today in a museum, and I loved how safe I felt, in a place in which those terrible objects in them were kept securely behind glass.

j’aimerais bien.

I would like nothing more than to be forever engaged in dialog with the universe.

on epistles.

There are days I wish this entire site could be composed of letters, and days I wish I could spend my life in correspondence. These days are becoming more and more frequent. I’m not sure why.

If I lived one hundred years ago, I would be one of those who would travel not to travel, and not to see the world, but because travel would involve writing letters home. If I lived one hundred years from now, I would miss the written word. But this speculation is silly. I live now.

I do love correspondence, though. I don’t know why. I could come up with myriad theories; the grave playfulness of that cat’s cradle of meaning; the kaleidoscopic mirroring of self and world and creation; the pleasure of conception–no matter how abstract–with a single and single-minded other; the luscious basking in the distant attention of another; I could go on, endlessly, and at the end it would not matter. In the end it’s just an excuse to write, and to feel, in doing so, that someone more than just myself feels less alone. 

As I typed that last line the whole house shook with a crack of thunder, and on cue, the rain began. The world smells of lemongrass and vetiver, and my eyes, if not myself, are tired.

Sometimes I wish I could trade this passion in for something more obvious, more real, more valuable, more dear. I am not a pianist, for all the grace of my fingers on the keyboard; I am not a dancer, for all the raw enactment of my being. I cannot paint. I cannot draw. I cannot sing. My love is limited to non-universal symbols. I am beholden to this.

I can no longer say it’s raining; pouring is not strong enough a word. The door is open–it was so hot this afternoon!–and the sky is open, too. Tonight I’m being treated to a symphony of water and light, and instead of soaking–literally–I’m writing. How sweet this desire to share. How beautiful it is to be alone, and not.


I so rarely feel safe. I used to think I did, and then tasted, once, and fleetingly, what it was really like to feel utterly secure and at home and relaxed.

I remember nearly crying at how foreign the sensation was, how alien and strange, and at how foolish I’d been to blithely preach my imagined belief in the basic trustworthiness of the world. I realized my regular state is more akin to a child, just given to hold the most delicately ethereal bubble, worried that a forceful breath or unskilled jolt would burst it. This is what the world feels like to me–so beautiful, and so transient, and so gently and briefly entrusted to us, or rather to our briefly-lived experiences. And even though the lack of safety I feel is not some deep insecurity, even though it’s more a breathless anticipatory tension about a certain inevitable loss, it’s still hard. 

There are moments, though. I feel safe when I’m held; I have an almost troublesome need for physical human contact, and an equally troublesome inability to relax into embrace. I feel safe when I’m writing; I have an inescapable need to put into words the beauty I see around me, and a parallel worry about my attempts to share being rejected or just misunderstood. I feel safe when I’m present, but this, sometimes, is the hardest thing in this world to be.