pWdumaNjA-6CEEBhRoD5euxNETs When All This Actual Life Played Out: Wide open eyes

10 May 2016

Wide open eyes

Sixth Street
Austin, Texas
31 October 2015

I received a bill for surgery from an ear, nose and throat surgeon. I have not had surgery. In fact, the last time I actually had surgery was in 2001. And it was on my eyes.

This isn't going to end, is it?


Beware the asterisk.


I am listening to music that makes me cry. I probably need to cry. I don't cry well (or frequently, at all). Music is often the catalyst for tears. Music makes me feel what I don't otherwise allow myself to feel. I wonder if my life would have been different if I didn't internalize everything.



I love to write. I love the physicality of it, the pen or pencil against paper, the loop of handwriting, fingers on keys, thought made real. I love the process, the moment I stop and visualize the picture that I want to turn into words, to show the moment that smelled of grass being mown, with the warm sun beating down, the haze over the mountains, the nod of the gardener as I passed. I want to give you the sound of the moment, the way the wall of music pressed itself insistently, electrically against my chest straight into my heart, the breath of instruments from the speakers brushing my hair away from my cheek. The sensation of toes twirling on a wooden stage, feeling old varnish, the bump of a nail, hoping you don't stick mid-turn. I performed a hundred times, but I never heard the audience. I wrote a story about it.

I've always told stories. I wrote my first story at 5. I used every doll in the house to keep my younger siblings amused during the long, hot Arizona summers. I wrote my first novel at 13 and finished four more before college.

And one summer day, I set everything I'd written on fire.

I wrote papers for college, dozens. "Original thought!" wrote one professor. "You need to publish this," wrote another. I wrote a novella. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Short stories, bits and pieces. I kept a journal for 40 years.

A month ago, facing an uncertain future, I shredded it all.

Ten years ago, I started to write here. With a push of a button, I can make it all disappear. But I don't feel the need. Everything else lived in boxes with my name attached. This has long been in the world, anonymous. And for whatever reason, it gets read. By my friends, by my far away son when he needs to hear my voice, by the daughter, by complete strangers who sometimes write me because of something they read.

I have always been a storyteller, but I've never had faith in my own abilities. I am utterly passionate about the things I love and equally about the things that I don't. But I've never wanted people to know that. There are reasons. We all live with the damage that's been done to us.

I chose to write for a living, but I chose the passionless part of writing. I am published myriad places in many ways: as a writer, as a researcher, as an editor. My words live in court documents, company archives, scientific publications, newspapers, textbooks.

And surprisingly, a movie.

In the last year, I've learned that I have good instincts. I don't know if I will take that anywhere, or if I'll just enjoy the knowledge. Maybe I'll find the courage. Maybe I'll find the energy.

My fingers fly over the keyboard in time to the music, and I want to cry, I want to laugh, I want to reach out and embrace everything around me.



Tech stuff: Taken with my iPhone6. This is one of my favorite photos from Austin. Not only composition, but luck! Playlist included: Ludovico Einaudi ("Divinire," "Primavera," "Eden Roc," "Giorni dispari," and "Time Lapse"), Samuel Sim ("Siren"), among others.
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