Vapid chatter floats through air once sweet Meditation disappears with conversation Better fit for pigs Topics worth their weight in dirt Values washed away with filth Insight swept beneath a rug Each syllable a sharp pierce to the ear Silence permeated with senseless words Turns sour
I was going for a run the other day when I came upon a dead bird on the sidewalk; a beautiful black, red, and white. There were no apparent injuries, certainly nothing to suggest an animal had caught it. It was just there, lying in the middle of the cracked cement, as though it had been going about its day one moment, and was simply gone the next. It reminded me of a line I read in a book that said when they die, birds just fall from the sky. “Ridiculous,” I thought. “That can’t be true.” And, of course, it isn’t. And thank goodness too, because a world where a bird could just drop in front of you at any moment seems rather Alfred Hitchcock… And yet, on the other hand, I’ve also decided it’s ridiculous that they DON’T do that. After all, if I had wings, and I knew the end was near, how could I choose anything BUT the air? One last soar; one final flight. A singular weightlessness before succumbing to the light 💕
The liquid pouring down upon a newly sprouted flower Too tiny to rise above the puddle it cannot reach the air Slowly it drowns Murdered by the element that helped it first to grow
Sometimes I feel like I’m standing in the midst of all that was, all that is, and all that will be — all at once. As though the past is right there, just out of reach: a thin veil behind me. I remember the people no longer here. Things that have already happened. And I FEEL it all. Every emotion that accompanied those places. Those people. Those times. The senses tingle as they recall; like the past being the present is just a whisper away. The future that hasn’t happened… and yet, at times I can see it as the now. My heart aches as I can picture a world with certain loved ones no longer in it. I feel like I’m watching a cloudy screen: I can already see my children grown. So quick. SO quick. It’s over there… And yet, it’s already here. Another thin veil, this one in front of me. I can see it. The weight of it all threatens to immobilize. Which am I currently in? ”It’s the now,” I try to remind myself. I squeeze my eyes shut. I open them. I pinch my arm. This is real. This is your life. This is now. …but it will soon be then. And what is yet to come will be now. I take a deep breathe and try to center. To bring myself back to the present. But at times I feel like I’m clawing at a muddy edge, slipping. Everything feels hazy. Surreal. Time playing tricks on me as it sits me in the center. Spinning, spinning… Before, now, then… Before, then, now Now, before, then Now, then, before Then, before, now Then, now, before… When?
Palms on window panes Nose pressed against glass A longing gaze towards shelves of treats All different colors, all different sizes But each of them filled With Delectable Divine Delightful Delicious Words And worlds And adventures And love And life And magic I long for the tiny bell to jingle as I push the door And find it unlocked To run my fingers along spines and creamy paper as I slowly sample pages To listen to friendly chatter and ask for novel praises And then choose which treat — No, let’s be honest — TREATS to take home with me today I am every child who has ever paused in front of a candy shop with salivating mouths, their taste buds anticipating sweetness But my chosen treat has, and always will be, books And it’s my eyes that want to feast on phrases And my mind that wants to devour first one and then another and another and so on… So on this day which celebrates the bookshops that are smaller More Personal Intimate Neighborly Charming Quintessential Here is my ode to you Oh, but I love you so And I’m grateful for websites and phones and alternative ways to gather my books and show you support But I wait impatiently for: Jingling bells And open doors And open arms And comfy chairs And warm drinks And warm hearts And recommendations And you, dear booksellers 🤍 Happy Independent Bookstore Day!
All along you thought it was a bed of roses But you’ve been accepting lies like flowers Drenched in the scent of deceit Well soon they’ll wilt, and then you’ll see As you look upon the faded colors That beauty was nothing A scam The blooms that glow with a colorful hue Are only to blind from the truth They charm you with petals of bright silken tints So wondrous you never look past them But the petals will fall And those thorns will remain Pricking your heart with a sharpness A pain
Writing in — and for— the bright, glittering world of social media has, more often than not, stolen my words from me.
I remember when I started my first blog, back when I traveled to spend a semester abroad in India. It was just me, my words, and whomever happened to stumble upon the pages that were soon laden with beautiful stories of an exotic place halfway around the world.
Stories that now, more than 10 years later, seem surreal.
Had it all been a dream?
But no. It was real. And the words that flowed from my heart to my fingertips as I sat sipping chai in tiny cafes were probably some of the truest I’ve ever written.
They were my focus, and nothing else mattered.
But now… now things are different. Get on Instagram to promote your words. But first you must post photos to promote your Instagram to promote your words. While you’re at it, post on Twitter to promote your Instagram to promote your photos to promote your words.
And now? Well… now those words are hardly written!
After all, the time that used to be spent creating is now spent focusing on numbers and hashtags and SEO, and being active and attentive to everyone else in that bright, glittering world, all in the hopes that if you follow the rules and do everything just so, the numbers will go up and then people will know.
“Ah. She’s a writer to be taken seriously. People follow her. Let’s pause the frenetic pace, the endless click and skim of our daily web browsing to read what she has written.”
But what would they read? The pages are blank.
The quest for readers had instead made me question myself as a writer.
“Am I a writer?” I wonder.
I look at the presented success of others in the online world and feel ashamed at what I feel — it’s not the supportive “good for them!” attitude that a confidant woman is supposed to exude.
Instead it’s, “Why them? Why not me?”
How does the momfluencer who doesn’t even know the difference between they’re, their, and there have so many readers? For them, writing is an afterthought — “Let’s start this blog to make images we can pin on Pinterest to lead everyone back to my Instagram ad infinitim, so I can keep posting filtered photos that show just how authentic I am, and review products shipped to my door for free with a sidebar that notes ‘I got this for free, but I’d nevergive a dishonest review!’ to prove just how authentic I am.”
And then, after all that it’s, “Oh wait. I guess I need to put some words between these photos,” and in goes a hastily written fluff piece filled with grammatical errors about decorating a playroom.
…but the joke’s on me, because everyone gobbles it down.
For me, writing is ripping open my heart; it’s inhaling inspiration and exhaling words.
And so, the thief of joy—comparison—has a field day, and I’m left shaken.
“I’m doing something wrong.”
Maybe I need different photos. Maybe I need to find more interesting topics. Maybe I’m using the wrong hashtags. Maybe everything has already been said. Blog posts are too long. No one has the attention anymore. Maybe you’re just not good enough. The internet is saturated. Why even bother?
My breath catches as the inspiration I inhaled becomes stuck. I’m too exhausteddizzyoverwhelmeduncertainanxiousinsecure to exhale the words, and it leaves me feeling heavy and breathless
Tears spill down my cheeks, not for the first time, at my frustration.
Perhaps I’m not a writer, after all.
This time, the thought arises that perhaps these tears and thoughts have less to do with what others are doing, and more to do with what I’m not doing.
And so, I turn away from the expectations of the bright, glittering, noisy, crowded world of social media.
I sit down at my desk.
For a moment, I close my eyes and think of hot chai and a tiny café.
I take a breath.
I open my eyes and allow my finger to hover over a symbolic light switch.
I press down.
In the next instant, sitting in the darkness, I exhale.