packing//unpacking

Unpacking. It’s really such a pain. I went on a trip this past weekend from Thursday to Sunday afternoon and I still haven’t taken heels out of the luggage. When you say unpacking you could mean a lot of different things, because there are a lot of things to unpack. You can unpack a luggage, a suitcase, a bag. Or you could unpack a burden, thoughts, or feelings.

In a way writing is kind of like unpacking. You have to untangle everything in your suitcase of a mind, reorganize it, and put it out. You have to clear our a mess of thoughts and put them through the washing machine, dry them and fold them. Sometimes there are things hidden in the deep, hidden corners of your suitcase but you still have to get it out or else you can’t say you’re done unpacking.

This all reminds me of George Orwell reading, in which Orwell wrote that he felt compelled to write stories because there was something he had to wrench out of his mind, something he had to lay out for the world to see.

But writing is also similar to packing in that you need to gather all these things from the distant dregs of your mind and put them together, and it also requires a level of organization. All these thoughts need to fit into an essay or a poem or a book. And you can’t bring everything, even if it’s your favorite dress or your fluffy penguin socks, if you won’t be needing it for your purpose.

I suppose stream of consciousness is more unpacking than packing, though, because we’re not supposed to be organizing things or purposefully looking for facts and details and memories; we’re just taking out some of the mess inside.

This was written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday (prompt here: https://lindaghill.com/2020/02/07/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-feb-8-2020/)

And now I really need to go write my history essay-

things I want to do

It is currently 7:46 p.m. My art class has been canceled, and I have very little homework. Of course, “if I every find myself needing something to do,” I can always check out college websites. That’s what my parents are telling me to do. And it really is in my best interests, but I’m defiant and naive so I’ll write down things I’d rather be doing.

I want to draw. To be fair, I was drawing before dinner. But I want to draw and paint and try again and again. I want to lose the fear that I have for making mistakes when I draw, a fear that has been instilled because there’s so much pressure on the big works and I have little confidence and not enough ideas or practice. I want to draw pages and pages, but not mindless patterns. I want to make art that flowers, that blooms, that reminds people of things they’ve almost forgotten. I want to go outside and look at the stars, I want to go to the library and hang out with my friends, I want to have a nice warm cup of coffee standing under a streetlight as snowflakes grace my eyelashes and gloved fingers. I want to bake a cake, and play with my brother, and read the book on my table, I want to write, which at least I am doing, and I want to play with my quintet. Both of them. Because I love Schubert more than I love myself. And I only like Schubert because of his quintet.

I want to venture out into the mountains anywhere, but somewhere safe, and camp under the stars, I want to hike again to that glacier with my family, I want to count banana slugs in a temperate rainforest, I want to pick up a pencil, I want to run and shower and go shopping. I want to look at the shampoos in target and try almost every one to see which one my hair likes best. I want to live a life where I’m doing something useful that I don’t mind and where I’m appreciated by the people around me, and where I appreciate the people around me. I want to eat chocolate and blueberries. I want to drink ginger tea and eat graham crackers. I want to swim in a pool and in the ocean and in a lake, or go kayaking in the state forest. I want to adopt a cat or a dog (I’m a both sort of people), get a facial, finish all the work I’m supposed to be doing. I want to spatter paint on a large canvas, I want to save earthworms from getting scorched on my driveway in the hot sun after it rains, I want to splash in puddles and ride bikes and climb trees. I want to visit an art museum and take portraits of random people (with consent) and talk to them. I want to watch videos on YouTube and listen to music that I like. I want to sing and dance and do yoga. I also want to do word searches and puzzles and do a beach cleanup with some friends in the summer, I want to see justice served and truth prevail. I want to look into a camera and look from behind it. I want to produce music and go to concerts, have a jam session and learn theory, write and perform slam poetry, have long conversations with friends and reach that point of understanding and easiness between two people, do calligraphy and knit, plant herbs and roast marshmallows by a campfire…

this list has been abridged because I do too have a life and I should probably get back to it.

a vessel filled to the brim yet always empty

Alternative title: romance is dead

I’ve realized the problem with myself. My problem is that I want to be too many things at once, but I have so many things I already need to be, and not enough of myself to do it all. Instead, I am a half formed glob of artiste, yes i did put an e at the end of that, writer (thought dumpster), cellist, scientist, student, teacher (of little kids, at least), daughter, cousin, friend, human

Because, after all, this all brings us back to the age-old question: who am I? This is certainly not the only time I’ve thought about it. My dad is driving me back from school and I’m staring out the window, thinking that a part of these neighborhoods is forever embedded in me and how wonderful yet terrifying that is. That all the experiences I’ve ever had have left an imprint on my being and that everyone carries what is around them. That maybe globalization isn’t so great because then we’d all be so similar, and life would be so dull if all we ever heard were our own thoughts back and back again.

The latest essay I read for my english class was an essay by Brian Doyle called Joyas valoduras. (Not too sure about that spelling or punctuation but that’s how I say it in my head, at least…) That essay was confusing to read. Yes, it was beautiful. I appreciated the sweeping view of all life forms, and upon closer examination the parallel structure between paragraphs and sentences and phrases and words, even. Yet it was hard for me to grasp the crux of Doyle’s purpose in writing the piece; was it to pay tribute to the exquisiteness or fragility or variety of life, or was he simply pouring his own thoughts down on paper, suddenly astounded by constellations in his mind? And how did it all connect to each heart being alone, because we cannot bear the closeness of another person inside?

P.S. regarding the title, I am conflicted. I like the sentiment, but “yet” doesn’t read as effortlessly as it should, and “but” is much too clunky. Which one is preferable to you?

today’s inspiration gallery.

songs to listen to: false confidence by noah kahan; behind the sea (alt ver.) by P!ATD; thinking 2 much by jeremy zucker


i wonder why
i tear myself down
to be built back up again

pending life decisions: should I try to music major/minor in college? should I get bangs? what if I got my ears pierced?

look at me all fucked up over someone i’ll never meet

which colleges do I apply to? what do I write my college essay about? should I practice cello? I really need to go to sleep earlier. Is it worth it to do robotics again next year? should I drop art? should I start a sketchbook? how do I be the person I want to be? why should I even try?

probably should have made holiday cards for my teachers and friends…

don’t take your self so seriously

happy first hours of vacation

on thelovesongofjalfredprufrock

some intense meta here

I just finished annotating TS Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and it was a great joy. There’s no one to whom I can really vent this joy (my friends and classmates would accuse me of arrogance, my teacher would be jaded and unimpressed, my parents require too much explaining, and my brother wouldn’t be interested), so I have come here to capture this great feeling before it fades away.

I can say with confidence that many of my classmates forgo actually annotating a piece and search up texts on schmoop or other literary analysis sites dedicated to thinking for you. I didn’t use any of that (besides Googling the epigraph to find out that it came from Dante’s Inferno).

The poem is a culmination of some dreary and dry reading on existentialism (which I still don’t have a clear understanding of). I used a robin’s egg blue Uni Ball Signo dx 0.38mm to annotate, and the ink flows beautifully- it’s smooth with no skips and pools just a little when the tip lingers on the page.

When I began reading the poem I had no idea where it was going, who it was about, and how the title (“Love Song”) had anything to do with it. I couldn’t figure out why “the women come and go/ Talking of Michelangelo” or the repetition of “‘that is not what I mean at all.'”

The first connections I made were between the “hundred indecisions… visions and revisions,” “I am formulated,” to prepare a face.” After deciphering those references to creating a persona (a concept I’m used to seeing in literature now), I was at a loss. Had he realized his freedom as an individual and is now “afraid” of the isolation of existence? (This was probably inspired by those existentialism readings.)

A few random filler comments later, it came to me: the Love Song, “after tea and cakes and rice,” “Should I… have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?” And that is why he is afraid- because he knows he “is no prophet,” and could very well be rejected should he force the crisis. He is afraid, yet he knows that he cannot back down. And all that stuff about creating a person? He was creating a persona to present to the lady, filtering his words and actions, thinking and overthinking (the bald spot?). And he resigns himself to his true self with “I am not Prince Hamlet.” However I can’t tell if the rest of the stanza refers to what he is or what he is not. Is he a fool or not?

And then, because we are in the middle of reading The Great Gatsby, I thought of Gatsby. Gatsby, who spent five years building an entire world on top of an over-the-top persona to woo Daisy, the not-so-object of his interests.

Obviously, I’m far from a complete understanding. I still don’t know what mermaids have to do with anything. And what explanation is there for the fixation on his bald spot? What does growing old have to do with anything? What about the yellow smoke, and the etherized patient? Lonely men leaning out windows? What does having “known them all already” mean?

The pride I feel is rueful, however. Is it too much, is it deserved? Maybe everyone else in the class was able to get it right away, it wasn’t exactly hard. It was just a really nice feeling. Will I be able to prove to myself later on that I really do have a better understanding of the poem? Will I be able to explain it to other people? Look at me, a hundred indecisions and visions and revisions. I guess people really are the same after all.

split

split ends? i have none (in my hair, at least).

there’s a split in my life. it’s been there all along. the sciences and the arts and the career planning are at odds with each other.

as a result, i’m here writing a blog post that no one will see because i can’t decide how to use my time. i’m here after seeing so many wonderful and inspiring people through the internet, and i’m here trying to imagine myself as one of them, as someone inspiring and worthy of admiration and whole, someone who isn’t splitting apart, atom by atom.

prompt: social. go.

written for stream of consciousness saturday 6/15/19!

humans are social creatures by nature. evolutionarily speaking, we couldn’t have made it this far without working together, without sharing ideas and myths and stories and experiences and feelings that connected us all together. and yet, why does it feel like we’re always so far apart?

charles dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities (i only remember this because i wrote an essay on it a long time ago) that he is saddened by the infinite secrets that every person accumulates throughout their life and takes to their grave; he compares people to a book that can never be finished but is wrenched from your hands nonetheless. and yet, he acknowledges that this is the way it must be- we will never know everything about another person. we don’t even know everything about ourselves.

going back to the word social. the first thought that hit me was, “i am everything the word social is not.” but now i’m rethinking. do i not crave human connection the same way everybody else does? do i not strive to fit in to a community wherever i go? am i not sad that i don’t really have any friends?

the reason the word social really didn’t seem to apply to me is that i’m an introvert. moreover, i don’t really know how to act in social situations. i’m not socially smart or savvy, and i don’t know how to make people like me (even thought i do try). people say i’m too nice. i don’t have swears in my vernacular, and only two people have ever heard me say one.

but yeah, being an introvert and a loner doesn’t change my human nature. and sometimes being social is fun. other times is stresses me out. anyhow, i’m out of things to say haha

prompt from https://lindaghill.com/2019/06/14/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-june-15-19/