I haven’t been writing. In my anger and my stupor, I’ve resorted to making lists. Lists of observations, fleeting thoughts, bubbling feelings that heat, boil, rise, and fall. Dormant for another day. “That is the nature of things. You get tired.”

What are you building within

I’ve been thinking mostly of movement, of motion, of paths. Trying to sort out…

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” –Alice in Wonderland

But I do not agree. The way I’ve gone has determined where I’ve ended up. And I wish to keep moving that way.

My sister came to visit, and in her I saw everything I could have been: the reason I won’t move home. I was 3 years old when we moved from Arizona to Illinois. 4 when I watched my father pack the moving truck to return to the desert. 7 when we moved from my mother’s family farmhouse to her new husband’s. 7 when my father drove us to San Antonio for the summer. 9 when we moved onto the land my mother bought from my great aunt. 16 when my sister finally packed for that yard with the pool up in the Catalinas. 17 when my sister left her husband, and we painted all the rooms in her new house. Rooms for a family of 2. 18 when my father moved from the northwest apartment to the east. 19 when he packed up and moved right back. 20 when I left home for a dingy college apartment. 22 when I left college for graduate school. 23 when I left graduate school for Indiana. 24 when I needed education to set me free again. 26 when I spread my wings and flew flew to the frozen tundra. I plant my feet, duly, in the Wisconsin snow, yet I push my students out. Usually, only to watch them fall and spiral back, missing the point of leaving, missing the point of moving. Movement. There is a story, there is a soul in the movement.

“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

With every action you create a space for subsequent actions. Some will be in support–actions you like, and some will be in opposition–actions you dislike. I think of the spaces I’m creating and I’m not sure…I carve out the roads to take us to the mines, then I blast the walls for the mines. I build and I gut. I try and I quit. Not sure if I can see anyone else making spaces for support, for community, for opportunity. Listen. Listen. Listen. But you are only repeating yourself now, saying what you have always said, how you have always said it. How can I break away from that? How can I give my voice new light, new air, new pitch? I want to write a song you want to sing along with. I don’t know where to start.

That’s not true. I want to write a song so good, you will forget the words to all the songs you’ve ever known. Because I’m tired of the silence.


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