I Just Sat Down With No Intentions
At school I was taught the ‘I’ in simile referred to the ‘I’ in ‘like’, whereas a metaphor was a block of wood, the patterns of which were literally the rolling tides or a lover’s undulating sighs.
In New Zealand everything is the rolling tides. Or the tips of trees in a forest. Or an uncurling fern frond. I went to all girls’ school so it all eventually turned to undulating sighs.
People ask why I left school early.
It’s 6:41am and I should raise both my arms up in self-gratitude that I have a body-clock that doesn’t always insist on 2pm starts. In all honesty the only reason I got up was because of nightmares, I have nightmares every night. Everyone on SSRIs raise your hand, smile sheepishly. I would rather sleep talk till next summer than be stuck in the hole I was in this time last year. I keep talking about this. I’m sorry.
My sister moved to Melbourne recently (I should clarify Melbourne is in Australia, which is a separate country to New Zealand. Holy hell.) and broke up with her boyfriend of two years within a week. There’s something ironic about that.. Oh, here it is: You make great plans to start a life with the one you love and when that life begins it all falls to shit. I don’t think that’s irony, really. What the fuck do I know, you don’t see me walking around with, like, patent leather shoes. Or, like, a diet-coke shirt. Irony is a poor-man’s humour, I think. I’m not wealthy but I will be.
Wishing you well, always.
"That there are such devices as firearms, as easy to operate as cigarette lighters and as cheap as toasters, capable at anybody’s whim of killing Father or Fats or Abraham Lincoln or John Lennon or Martin Luther King, Jr, or a woman pushing a baby carriage, should be proof enough for anybody that, to quote the old science fiction writer Kilgore Trout, “being alive is a crock of shit.”"
Writing Prompt: Bubbles
There’s a line from a comedy I saw in my teens, at the theatre even, something like
'I wish I loved anything as much as kids love bubbles.'
As a teen, blossoming, all breasts and hips and swollen lower lip, I didn’t known the mundanity of adulthood where every small accomplishment is exactly that: Small.
All of my old friends are accountants. They’re in Spain right now, or Munich. You should see their Facebook photographs. They’re in love, they’re sitting on a yacht somewhere in bikinis. They’ve finished their studies and they must rest on that, they must sleep on that, the corners of their framed degrees and doctorates not even pinching their waists like my nothing does. The edges of half-compliments, like an animal’s bite, they get me in the throat when I lie down. There’s my Dad, here he is, you see him? From a poor family of eleven children, turned multi-millionaire, five kids, nice house.
'You have so much potential.'
I was published in a magazine recently, something about my ex-boyfriend. It was a list of things I hadn’t brought up in conversation. Like, I was going to throw a brick through his window. We fought in a cafe once and I said I’d wished I’d never met him and he walked away and I cried. Shit like that. You see I’m trying to formulate palpable accomplishments out of awful things. But I can’t write about late-night-early-morning-walk-homes forever. Even Bukowski wrote about more things than getting drunk and fucking women. The central library where I live keeps his books behind the desk though I’m not sure why. The librarian rolled her eyes when I asked to see some of them.
Bubbles, you get it? Her bubbles must have all flown to the surface early. Like a glass of wine.
Sometimes I blow bubbles in the kitchen while I’m washing dishes, with the tip of the detergent bottle. Nobody’s ever around to see them, though. I’m not sure why that’s important but it is.
Like those pictures on Facebook, if you’re on a beach somewhere with a perfect 10 body and a bottle of cider but nobody’s around to see it, did it really happen?
That’s the crux of it, I’m ashamed of my bubbles, of my little met goals. Because I can’t show my Dad the stories about getting finger-fucked so hard I had to go to hospital. He doesn’t want to know the pain of a young girl with her heart all torn up and bleeding, either.
My little brothers run around outside with new toys and I get it, I see the potential there too. But they haven’t failed someone so extreme that they warrant such a comment.
On: Future Employment
I have been looking for a part-time job recently because working from home means I can go for days without having any sort of meaningful or even mundane conversation. Bland conversations with my flatmates can’t be my saving grace, not for much longer.
I used to stay inside on purpose, I remember that, other people don’t remember it quite the same. You’d think white lies wouldn’t stain but they do. My past employers should all get together and muse over my apparently poor immune system. They should get as drunk as I used to.
But saying you’re sick is easier than saying something inside of you has died and is poisoning the rest. I don’t know how many times I have worked into posts something along the lines of
'This Bed Is A Cage.'
But I’ll say it again. There were bars and there were sheets and there was me, trying desperately to stay clean.
I used to wish I was an alcoholic because that’s an infinitely more respected affliction than depression.
One year on I am different, yes. We all are, that was a stupid thing to say. But I feel the need to underline this sentence in every conversation I have, by way of apologising without actually apologising. This is where I find all my former employers sitting around empty glasses.
I’M DOING WELL I DIDN’T CALL IN SICK ONCE AT MY LAST JOB I AM STUDYING I WENT FOR A RUN TODAY I’M IN LOVE I’M HAPPY.
(I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.)
It’s my reputation that is the sorriest.
It’s a bridge between now and the future that I can’t seem to find the means to rebuild. The grass is greener in a way it never has been before.
Thinking Of Cut-Down Trees
I can’t seem to get over this idea that to be a writer I have to be beautiful.
I think it was Vonnegut that said all writer’s wives are beautiful without exception. It might be pretty gross of me to be quoting Vonnegut but two years ago it would have seemed pretty gross to me to still be alive at 23. 23 was an age I never did think of in terms of the future, 23 years is more than enough for a city to rebuild from an earthquake. Do you get what I mean? Stability. Stability and good economy and a feeling of safety.
Thank God I don’t have to be a writer’s wife, at least. As it happens I may be an artist’s wife in the future. Marriage wasn’t something that I ever really dwelled on, either, it was just an occurrence that may or may not happen in my lifetime. Like an earthquake. Like a World War. My thoughts about my future were largely unsupervised, that is: I was opposed to anyone having an opinion on what I should be and who I should be and how I was to go about doing what I was going to do.
So at fifteen I had been writing for eleven years or whatever and I got a sense of belonging from it, three years later I chose Toughnight as a stage name underneath whom I might give an unending monologue. I think of Hamlet whenever I think of monologues. I am no Hamlet. I don’t do enough to be considered as a main role in my own life. Either way I figured I would be a writer because I was already writing. And after Toughnight came other pseudonyms you can find in literary journals and mixed-media glossy magazines etc etc.
But writing words doesn’t make you a writer. I am not a writer, I just write sometimes. I am also not beautiful. The latter of these things irks me more when it comes down to the idea of writing a novel. I fear my face on the inside of a slip cover. Artists are mysterious. My face gives away no mystery.
I may or may not be an artist’s wife, if marriage is something I want to do. If marriage is something that we want to do. My boyfriend used the word ‘partner’ in a sentence referring to me not three days ago. Imagining his grinning face as I walk down an aisle is more than I can bear, sometimes, when I’m trying to be bitter in order to write lists of guys I’ve fucked. If you’ve been around for a while you’ll know what I mean: I was sad for ages and I was self-destructive and that was easy and appealing to write about because of Bukowski, really. Bukowski and the thrum of hormones left over from my teenage years. My teenage years when I thought I would die before I started anything. I did think I might be beautiful later on and then I could be a valid artist, musician, writer.
There’s an intrigue, I can’t be wrong about this. There’s an intrigue, a shallow appeal, that is needed when admiring a creative person’s work. Especially if it is dark in nature. And that appeal is sexual, at least to me. Because attraction is valued above all else.
You fall in love with writers and musicians and artists. And when you find out they are normal, they are goofy and sarcastic and have said uncool things when under the influence, you feel like a jilted lover. Like some internet-dater who has been catfished.
But then my partner hasn’t read anything of mine. And my partner calls me his partner and he kisses the corner of my mouth when he sees me.
I think my slip cover will be a picture of a blank desk, which everyone can find beautiful, because it’s a beginning of something. Like a teenager, like the rebuild after an earthquake. Like a person who thought they would be dead by now but isn’t.
Fuck you Vonnegut, I may never be as great as you but at least my husband will be attractive, like all those writer’s wives.