The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space. - Ranier Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Letter 20

Dear Josephine,

You are right, stories are never simply stories. Even definition #6: "a narration of the events in the life of a person or the existence of a thing, or such events as a subject for narration."

Walking in this city and perusing my computer I see stories everywhere. In the slogans we display, the articles we read, to the plaques that explain why a building was constructed. In this letter is a story, both fabricated and true. Listen, my skirt is woven by stories. Sometimes I wonder if everyone has a fictional narrative they cling to in times of boredom or duress. I dream of a faceless lover who breaks down all my barriers through both patience and aggressiveness. Those words are not antonyms. And here my fantasy tells you more about me, about this construction of walls and facades that dominate a segment of my subconscious.

Sometimes I quote Anne Sexton in my head, saying "Kind Sir: This is an old game that we played when we were eight and ten" [pause -- for I prefer beginnings and ends], "Still, I search these woods and find nothing worse than myself, caught between the grapes and the thorns." I find that I enjoy this concept of finding one's self, as if it is lost, as if it can be found. Still I prefer the concept of difference, of self-perception, a revelation in Sexton's lines:

"I promise to love more if they come,
because in spite of cruelty
and the stuffed railroad cars for the ovens,
I am not what I expected. Not an Eichmann.
The poison just didn't take.
So I won't hang around in my hospital shift,
repeating The Black Mass and all of it.
I say Live, Live because of the sun,
the dream, the excitable gift."




Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Letter 19

Dear Josephine,

I was unable to decipher your voicemail message from the chatter in the background, or perhaps the disapproval I heard edging into your voice, and voted against returning your call. Please accept this letter as my sincerest apologies in not writing to you for nearly two months.

I've been to Ohio to D.C. and back again, and am happy to finally be home for one week as I've missed my bed and that element of stability (shocking I know). Lately life has been very stressful at work and at home, and I'm trying to go day-by-day, which is proving to be easier than I thought. I pegged myself a planner as I've been writing "to do" lists since the age of 5, but I think I've mellowed in the recent months.

I've stopped my frantic search for rusty terrains and have devoted myself to groundings and morning walks and d.c. humidity. I'm sure the terrains will once again dominate my dreams, but for now I am content to walk this same path. Everything looks better and its only been a year since this journey has begun. How can so much change in 12 months?

I won an award at work and really want to splurge on this cute dress:

(see the july 23 post)

Instead I'm putting it towards my credit card bill, which appears to refuse to remotely topple. It's frustrating.

I like this advice: "Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

I really want to tell you more but I am exhausted and need to sleep. Tomorrow has promises for being a long day.

Love to you,