I felt it was important to provide her with a first class ticket. She’d been with me for years, putting up with all manner of nonsense and prejudice. People didn’t understand the need for a personal alchemist, and I wasn’t very good at explaining it. Her life had been challenging enough, a first class ticket was the least I could do. I booked us an outside suite with a view of the sunset, which seemed fitting, considering. It wasn’t a goodbye cruise, but it might as well have been. There’s only so much alchemy can do for a lost soul.
Something new I’m trying. Playing with paint.
Paint 1, tempera on paper
Bodine, freelance astronaut extraordinaire, posed in the open door of the shiny space capsule. The launch was only minutes away and he dazzled the assembled press corps with his casual élan. In the shadows behind him, Carmine, his simian copilot, was already strapped into her padded seat and running through her preflight checklist. “One more for the ladies,” a photographer called as Bodine flashed his best toothy grin for posterity. He was anxious to duck into the dark capsule before anyone noticed the flop-sweat running down his cheek. Blasting off into the inky void of space couldn’t come soon enough.
The way I remember it, we all kept our underwear on, although recently a photograph has surfaced, and is making the rounds, that would seem to prove otherwise. There were four of us – Tony, Toni, Mark, and me. The water was cold, sure, and I don’t think any of us thought that our undies would keep us warm. But still, when Tony suggested we strip all the way to the buff, he was roundly outvoted, except, of course,Toni. She’d strip down anywhere any time, which made it rather interesting going out in public with her. You just never knew.
One word at a time.
One step at a time.
One day at a time.
One thing at a time.
I am reduced to a life of ones.
One hour, one minute.
This one life
And I search for meaning
At a time.
I used to write poetry, back when I had aspirations to be Alan Ginsberg. There was someone else doing a very good job at being Alan Ginsberg at the time, so I had do my poetic dabbling under my own name (occasionally as Harry Stevens, or Harvin Stephis). Like much of my other writing, I discover these things, and read them, and I’m not sure I understand them. But then, maybe that’s not the point.
I seem to begin writing a new post every other day. An idea – something I want to share, a discovery, something I want to bitch about, some profound revelation – comes into my head, and begins to write itself. I marvel at the human brain’s capacity to remember words, to string them together in comprehensible sentences, and eventually to express ideas. The fact that other human brains can translate those strings of letters into concepts and ideas is further remarkable.
What happens all to often – as it just did with this post – is that I get part way into what I want to say, and my train of thought goes off the rails. Or gets shunted onto a different track and I have no idea where it is going. And sometimes no real idea of where it came from. I glance up and look out the window, and get stuck there for 15 minutes.
I have a list on my desk of topics and ideas to write about, a list that grows every day. There is a growing collection of drafts, a paragraph or two in length, on my hard drive, essays and commentary that I started off on going great guns. In every case, I have paused during the writing to read over what I’ve written, only to find that the destination I was aiming for seemed to slip further away the more I wrote. It’s all in my head; it gets lost in the translation into words.
Thankfully, I still seem to be able to write fiction. I’ve been doing writing practice, writing for a set amount of time every day , with no concern for the result, for many years. The idea is practice, the way one practices any skill – the more you do it, the better you get at it. So it is good to find that I can still write completely invented stories, stories and scenes that can flow in any direction they want. They don’t have to make sense even to me. I don’t feel the need, in most cases, to go back and edit or even re-read.
But here I am, wandering again. I occasionally post short fiction here on Two Buddhas, but not often. (Recently, I’ve been posting #100WordStories a few times a week.) Of all the things MS has taken from me, I miss my mind the most.
Originally posted 10/2/15. Thanks for dredging this one up, Jadi!