Lose Control

During writing practice for today, I lost control. My prompt was “I smell…”

>>I smell potato soup and antiseptic. The soup was in the now-empty bowl on my table, and is now inside my stomach. I smell its remnants as I belch.>>

Simple enough. Just getting started. Not really invested, or passionate. Nothing to write home about, really. 

>> I smell friendship, in the form of multiple people at multiple tables, sitting and sipping coffee, as they pass a few more inconsequential moments of their lives. Once again they have nothing meaningful to occupy their time, so they while away their hours in this deli, bitching about missed opportunities,a bout poor decisions their children and grandchildren are making, about how their soup is a little too spicy today – “>>

I critique the tables of older patrons near me. I criticize their simplicity, their familiarity, their unwillingness to take risks, and I realize I am projecting those fears I currently hold onto them.

And then I start to let go. To lose control. To feel like I’m not writing about them any longer, but I’m writing about myself. I’ve stopped thinking, I’ve stopped being logical. 

>> I smell jealousy and condemnation and judgment rising from my breast as I impute my own failed life goals onto them, twenty years on. Failed – projecting – that’s what I’m doing. If I am still here in that time, will I consider it failure? How could I not?”

After another page of self-pity, I stop concentrating on staying on the lines or in the margins. 

>> What do I lose by staying? Me.

What do I lose by moving on? Moving forward? Stretching myself? Nothing. Nothing. I lose NOTHING.

AND I GAIN.>>

Here something snaps. Something breaks free, and I loose the bounds controlling my mind, my pen, my heart. And it flows.

>> AND I GAIN
AND I GAIN OPPORTUNITY.


Reading back, I cannot tell what was written there. And that is a good thing. That is losing control. That is going for the jugular. That is intensity. That is passion. That is how the best experiences, the most satisfying writing sessions, develop and complete. This is what continues to bring me back time and again, searching for this release, this high, this uncontrollable flow.


In the end, I was completely powerless over what happened. I wrote, but it was not conscious. I was aware of a drawing force, something inside that I had released. A base, animal instinct to pursue, to hunt down this feeling and capture it, that I tapped into. It drew my hand faster and faster across the page, to the bottom and back to the top, three or four or ten times, I don’t remember.

But when I reached the end, I felt a release, an emission, an eruption of energy from from my body, like a sexual climax, like a void-filling expansion, an explosion of power and quarks and nuclear energy, and I dropped my pen, the electricity resonating through my shoulders, my fingers, inside the cavern of my mind, and I gasped, filling my lungs for the first time in what felt like an hour, recovering in just a moment that control I had so willingly given up, consciousness returning, awareness of my surroundings slowly oozing back into my senses.

I stared at my creation, incomprehensible, unfathomable even to myself, and I thought, That, right there, is why I write.

Prove That Dreams Are Not Real

Writing practice 9/29/2017

Postulate – Dreams are not real. Prove it.

Suppose that dreams were real. Then wouldn’t there be an inherent contradiction between dreams and reality? We would have never needed to come up with a new term to describe them if they were real. They would simply be “I lived last night,” instead of “I dreamed we were climbing a mountain wearing orange bicycle shorts, and jaguars carried our packs on their backs, their long, lean tails swish-swishing against the new-fallen snow. We trudged up miles of the mountain, and one time you stopped to take a picture. But what you were holding was a coffee cup, not a camera, so instead of taking a picture you ate the cup.

Then we continued on and the jaguars had become my Aunt Debbie and Uncle Steve, and they didn’t want to carry it any longer, so we had them put down the packs. And when we turned around the mountain was no longer a mountain, but it had transformed into a train station – huge, with soaring ceiling inlaid with stained-glass windows, and at least a dozen platforms and all kinds of people rushing about – people from Victorian England, and feudal Japan, and sub-Saharan Africa in the 5th century AD, and even Julius Caesar was there. He was addressing the crowd – gratefully, thankfully, luckily, I don’t know, he was speaking French. You translated.

You said that he was happy to be there on a momentous occasion. You said he said he was a teapot. Then you said he felt yellow, and that’s when I knew it was time to wake up, so I blinked my eyes twice and I was awake!”

You see? All of that is nonsense. There is no way that could have ever happened. There is no way that “reality”, that “irreality”, that dream theater could ever play out in real life.

So what is real life? Why is it not a dream? Maybe the world in which jaguars transform into relatives is real, and then when those people sleep they dream this world.

Why would they? Escapism – the same reason we dream of them. They must, somehow, find an order, a semblance, a pattern in their lives. Can you imagine, every moment is a contradiction? Every instant you know not whether the thing you are holding at the moment will remain that thing, that object, even that idea, or will transubstantiate into something different – something other – not anything better or worse – but just not what it was before. Can you imagine the toil that would take on a person – on a psyche – living through such experiences?

No wonder they would dream of regularity. No wonder they would invent magical, mystical worlds in which people got up every day at the same time, put on the same clothes, drove to the same building, said the same things, ate the same sandwiches, departed and went back to their same houses, slept in their same bed. Same. Safe. Sound – Regular. Predictable.

Comfortable, because of all those things. Not scary, or intimidating at all. Peaceful. Serene, a rest in a world of chaos. A break form the norm, and a way to reset their mind to be able to handle, to compensate for all the turbulence in their regular world.

So – why are dreams unreal? Because –  I can’t tell who it is that’s having them.

What is love? (Postscript)

So, over the past 10 writing practice sessions I have been exploring what love means to me. So what does it mean? What did I learn? Remember – those sessions were not planned. They were spur of the moment; they were following a thread of emotion or thought. They may not represent reality for me always, but they DO represent what I thought right then. In order to figure that out what it all means, I have taken some time to organize my thoughts.

Well – love is messy. Love is fraught with danger. Love has great potential for risk, great opportunity for reward.

Love is also beautiful – endearing – satisfying like a cool stream in the middle of summer. Love is the comfort of a lover’s hand in yours as you walk. Love is sitting quietly reading a book on the couch while your lover does the same, or does something completely different. Love is trust – trust of another, and trust of yourself. trust in the growth you both are experiencing. Trust in the words that were said, in the feelings that remain hidden.

Love is valuable. Love is a treasure, to be searched for and sought out. Love is a purity, a great price. And it should not be given lightly, and should not be valued as a gaudy, plastic bauble. It should be viewed as a gleaming lamp set upon the highest hill, a beacon calling out to all those who hurt, who fear, who hesitate. It says “come to me, and rest here. It might not be easy, no. It will have heartache. It will have disappointment. It will have highs and lows, higher than you dreamed and lower than you believed you could survive. It will be wonderful and terrible. But it will be worth it. It will be precious, and encouraging, and essential to you. It will lead you on, and on, and on. It won’t be easy. It will be worth it.”

So – Love. What is it?

Love is … worth it.

Love is (10 of 10)

Love is…

Love is growing a garden and being able to do it without saying a thing. Love is a partnership in which one supports another through good times and better. Love expands. It is not restrained by rib cage, or heart cavity, or space, or capacity. I may love one, and yet also love another. Love does not limit itself; it is not bound by the conventions of the physical world. Love is truth encompassing a lie. Love separates in order to build up and reintegrate that which it has once separated.

Love believes in the other – it watches the other to see the small changes that even it did not know were present. Love is caring and concern. Love is causing a tear in your lover’s eye, and kissing it away. Love is causing the next one, and still letting it linger, glistening on the edge, waiting for redemption that does not come. Love is the way we whisper into the ear in an embrace. Love is kissing her under her chin when all you want to do is walk away.

Love is walking away when you want to stay. Love is staying when you want to shout in exasperation. Love is shouting when what is needed is the most gentle touch on a shoulder. Love is a gentle touch when really, what you need is a blindfold, candles, and a towel to catch the mess. Love is a blindfold when you ask for it. Love is a safe word. Love is a dangerous word. Love is an intimidating phrase, love is the destruction of pretense; love is the hope of glory and the glory of hope.

Love is a high culmination of feeling, of emotion, of trust. Love is dangerous. Love is treachery. Love is deception. Love is revelation.

Love has no bounds, no rules, no stigma, no “should”. No Shame. No regret. No fear. No wimpiness. No fear, no doubt, no hazard, no morality, no immorality, no loss, no gain, no win, no pain. Love has a core [illegible] center more precious than diamon – love has a covering more valuable than titanium. Love preserves. Love believes. Love win.

Love is (9 of 10)

Love is…

Love is passion, emotion. Love is a kiss, love is holding hands as you walk. Love is a caress on the shoulder when things have not gone well. Love is a gentle squeeze of the arm when it is a perfect night, sitting on a blanket, relaxing under the stars, thinking of nothing, experiencing the peace of time together.

Love is a kiss, soft as the warm summer breeze, lifting the fall of hair from off your temple. Love is the weight of the world’s cares fading into the background of the cicadas, as you stare at your lover’s eyes and wish you could dive into and never return. Love is temporary, but powerful. Love is the way you think about another, not only how you act, and not only how you think but how you talk. How you breathe. How you lie still.

Love is waiting. Love is caution. Love is tentative steps forward, as you wonder just what it is you’ve gotten yourself into. Love is hoping; praying? Demanding, begging. Pleading. Asking, and waiting for an answer.

Love is accepting that answer, even when it is not the one you want to hear. Especially when it is not the one you wanted to hear.

Love is asking again. And hearing the same answer. And asking yet again, and hearing even more of the same. Love is perseverance, faithfulness. Love is patience. As much as it is a virtue, at times it is a burden, too. Move on? Not from love. Forget about her? Never, with love. Pretend you are better off without him? Impossible once love has reared its head between you two.

Love is a dance. Occasionally you lead – you direct the path of the other. At times you follow – she knows how to navigate the paths surrounding. Most of the time, though, there is a mutual uncertainty, a parallel discovering of what might be – what was – what we wish would never be again. Most of the time, it is this trepidation, this fear, this unknown and unknowable that leads both into the maze of emotion, of feeling, of give and take, of, frankly, heartbreak.

Love is there. It is here. It is invisible and impossible to ignore at the once. It is inviolable and irrefutable and ignorant and naive and bullheaded and wistful and selfish and destructive and violent and soft, gentle, a rain on a daisy. Love is true, and false. Love is patient and impulsive. Love rushes forward, and then hits the brakes hard. Love tears down, builds up, encourages and demeans. Love is in all, and through all, and absent from the void. Love is…

Love is not. It is the great everything and the miniscule nothing. Love is? No. We are. We are. We may love, but love is not. We are. We. Us.

What is love? (8 of 10)

Why do we ask? Why do we put labels, definitions on this emotion? Is it because everyone has such a varied experience of it? Or, rather, instead, maybe it is because everything that we experience label it as is inadequate to describe that emotion? We use language which is not up to the task. How can my words convey, in you, the reader, the same things within my heart I feel? How could it possibly? Even were I to be successful in the first formulation – that of what I experience – into a written description which resonates with my own heart, my own emotion ,my own soul – even if I am able to SOMEHOW find words to express the depth of what I’ve felt – the breadth of how my experience has gone – the width of how far I wish to stretch my arms in order to encompass the feeling – even if I were, against the odds, able to share this, able to transcribe, able to capture (for that must be the right descriptive – capture – as if my feelings are a wild, [illegible] animal dangerous and roaming free on the savannah) even if I were able to capture that word, that desire, that joy, that openness, that lightheadedness, that world beyond sound and experience and smell and taste and touch – even if, If…IF I were able to detail, adequately, the impact of action, I know, know KNOW that without a doubt it would not, can not, should not, must not evoke the same and likely not even similar feelings within you, for my experiences are not yours. My heart is not your heart. My spirit is not your spirit. My past is not your past. And so we cannot read the same thing and interpret, feel, emote, move in the same way. Were I to read back what I wrote, I would be reminded of my experience. If you were to read what I wrote, you would be reminded of the [illegible] experiences in your shared history. Perhaps they are similar to mine. Perhaps they evoke radically different thoughts – memories – reflection. Perhaps it means nothing at all to you, and thus you decide to ignore it altogether. Perhaps it gets you close, but not quite there – Perhaps it is one of those “almost to orgasm” moments in which you have all of the built-up pleasure but none of the final climax. Perhaps it means exactly the opposite to you as it does to me. And thus one can never completely, adequately, fully share in this experience of love, of like, of hate.

So, then. Why do you ask me of love? Shall I disappoint you and tell you what it means to me, so you can misinterpret, fabricate, obfuscate your way out of understanding for yourself? or rather, and I think this is what I shall do – shall I tell you, “I know, but it is for you to discover on your own –“? Yes, I rather like that. That shall do for now. 

Good bye. Good Bye. GOODBYE!!!

What is Love? (7 of 10)

So you see, it’s like this. Sometimes, you like someone. You want good things for them. You want to see them happy. You want to see them healthy. And so you hope for those good things for them. You ask, concerned, when you see them, how things are going, and when they complain, you commiserate. You say, “Oh, that’s terrible. Oh, how can I help? Oh, can I pray for you?” You say nice things, and if that person offers up something for you to do, you do it. You wear a smile. You show up early. You give her a hug afterwards. You follow-up with a phone call a couple of days later. You write a letter encouraging your friend a week later, and ensure that there is extra postage on it so that it’s guaranteed to get there. You care. You do. But you don’t really love.

In the next step, you love. In this, you not only care, you try. You go out of your way. You not only call, you come over and bring soup. You lay her down on the bed and sit with her while she is throwing up. You run a cool bath and give her the time she needs to relax, to cool down, to reset. You wait; you give of Yourself. You let go of you for a little bit. You are more than a friend. You are a lover. You care. You care. You are part of life, and you become integral.

Finally, though, the last step is LOVE. Before was love, which was an emotion – a good feeling. After that – even further – down the line is LOVE. Not just sacrificing – not just giving up a little bit. This LOVE is more than just standing separate and encouraging. This part is integration. This is to take on another’s burden as your own. This is to become part of another – to have another become part of you. To segregate would, instead of bringing a split, would require a rending – a tearing. A dissolution. This is not easy. This does not just happen. This is an act, a practice, a process, which will not go down quickly. This will not be easy. Because it is not a coming near, as is like. It is not a coming alongside, as is Love. It is LOVE, which is a blending and an integration and a connection deeper than a physical one. It is a way to live, not just living. It is goals and dreams, hopes and aspirations, trepidations and fears. It is widespread panic infused with terminal calm. It is a terror of the heart; it is a torture of the soul. So – what is love? Who can tell?