Sunday, July 29, 2012

She Sometimes Took Reminding


Yesterday morning I went to my boxing class and this morning I woke up with pain on the side of my right hand, something that felt tender or swollen. It hurt even to hold a pen and write. When I touched it I felt the bone and tendons underneath. I had never realized how delicate a hand was, like the skeleton of a bird, something that seemed so easily broken. And yet, mummified in layers of hand wrap, tucked into the padding of a boxing glove, it became something that seemed invincible, powerful. You forget things like this, little things, when you're not paying attention.

In New York, you never run out of things to pay attention to. Today I walked around Washington Square Park, the same streets I strolled countless times before, rushing in and out of classes. It was raining, and when I looked up, the lit windows of an apartment building seemed entirely foreign, full of untold stories and possibilities. Earlier I sat in the park and watched a girl with brown curls stand next to the man with the patches of odd colored skin, the park's resident pigeon feeder. They perched on his arm and on his head and surrounded the bench around him. Occasionally, seemingly without provocation, they soared together, gray and white and brown wings flapping in formation, a synchronized dance overhead. The girl fed some of the pigeons. Maybe she was making a documentary, or simply curious, the pigeon feeder a marvelous discovery, one of those wonders of New York. Once, he had been a marvel to me too. He would always be new to someone.

*

I stopped blogging not only because of lack of motivation and this and that but I think something else. In the beginning I was always trying to write a narrative of my life as an ideal. A fantasy. My prose was soaked in sunset tones and shades of whimsy. Constructing an identity, a glamour that I tired of. What was left?

Non-fiction is frightening, in that you're constrained to yourself, your life, and sometimes if you're not living the things worth writing about it feels like you're failing, and most of all disappointing yourself. 

Sometimes the things that I think the most powerful are the things I'm too scared to write, even though I do write it, over and over, masked or not so masked in short stories and tones. 

Someone asked me once, after I read him a short story about torture, whether it was autobiographical. I laughed and said no. And then I thought about it, and told him, yes, it was, in the way that everything I wrote was autobiographical, in the way that almost all writing was. 

If I ever get a tattoo, it would be a small one, in script, like in one of my favorites Lucksmiths songs. On my inner wrist or maybe imprinted across a hipbone, subtle enough to maybe even miss. Fiction, the song is called. When I asked her its significance, she said she sometimes took reminding, what she wanted to be doing, whether reading it or writing. Why would I lie to you?

*

I spent the weekend reading. I'm reading Flapper, a non-fiction book about the 1920s. It is pure escapism, better than some novels. And I'm reading 2666, which is a different kind of escapism, a dark, dream like one, one of a landscape I don't know, one of language itself, never ending, sad, and fragmented.