I shoved my palm against the open mouth of autumn and pressed down hard enough to feel its teeth cutting into flesh. I leaned in really close, and asked if it worried about too much heat.
Fear not the darkness, only that which lives in it.
Odd lessons learned through conversations with strangers — mostly about myself. Yesterday’s revelation involved a keen sense of personal fatalism that forces me into action, flipping over monopoly tables and the like. At the end of six hours exchanging texts, I arrived at the realization I’m probably better off than I thought I’d be, but I worried for the gentlemen on the receiving end of these confessions. Two days later and we decided we were just trying to outdo each other in collective damages. Took a breath. Tried to find the perspective that usually holes me up and locks down those old vulnerabilities, and couldn’t find it. I’m okay with this. I don’t know how that happened. We switched topics, laughing, but part of the resulting internal dialogue kept me up half the night. Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well. Over and over.
I’ve been sitting on this little piece of forgetting: the part that hints at personal potential. Not aspiration. Not desire. That raw undercurrent that colours the world gets smothered with too little attention and too much distraction.
I was thoroughly convinced that single life was going to suck. Not for the first time, I’ve been very wrong.
Sitting on a park bench with a girl friend and working through my salad while musing that Tinder’s a combination of Russian roulette and online shopping, and OkCupid is bringing out my internal predator — it only became really apparent when she stopped, threw a long look in my direction, and asked me, “What happened to you? You’re a completely different person these days.”
I think I flashed teeth, and continued my appraisal of the slow lope of the two young men who walked into the park.
I am not a sweet summer child. That is confession number one. I am also probably having far too much fun, which is unexpected and delightful given that the company I keep is new, and shining, and bright. Many new friends, while the aspiration to exclusivity isn’t yet an end goal, so the pressure is off and everything is relaxed if hectic as the weather turns cooler and I leave my windows open to the night. (I can’t tell you how much I love the chill.)
At Randolph last night, was asked how the writing is going: the answer is the same as its been all summer — its not, but with workshop season looming I’m about to knuckle down and let the monsters out of their cages. They keep calling me, scrabbling against the floorboards under my bed and clicking against the windowpanes.
First, horror movies. Lots of them. All the horror movies. Now. I’m taking the suggestion of an acquaintance and I will be watching each and every Halloween sequel (maybe in succession) until I burn out on Michael Myers. Give me Camp Crystal Lake. Give me all the Nightmares. I want to rewatch the Wolfman and Frankenstein and American Werewolf in London because the colour of so many of these conversations revolves around horrors. Phantasmagoria. Unexpectedly, I crave Nosferatu presented with a full symphonic orchestra, but it doesn’t look like that opportunity will present itself again. (I went last year by myself. My partner at the time claimed horror was “stupid” and even with the promise of dinner he couldn’t be persuaded. I’ve since reassessed the standards bar and falling short in this will get you kicked swiftly out of bed.)
The invitation for anyone who might like to sit through this little marathon shitshow of teeth and claws is ever open. Bring wine and we’re cool. (If it’s a rich red, we’ll add Dracula to the list because even if he never drinks… wine, we sure can.)
I really do sympathize with the gentleman I went on a date with who said he never read books. I stood up mid-conversation and picked up my bag, saying thanks for the drink. The look of shock and dismay was actually a little heart-wrenching, so I sat back down and gave him a pat on the arm to console him. We later arrived at the agreement that in the event that Wake is ever published, while he might not read it himself, he’ll have a friend read it to him. (Which subsequently redeemed him. Good show, dude. Well played.) Which brought be around to contemplating the last time I read to someone out loud. I don’t remember. Have I become so hardened that I’ve forgotten the romance of these pages? I don’t know, I don’t know, but what a world.
Something charmed and strange came out of this, and if someone makes it happen, I really don’t know what I’ll do with myself, but it’s worth the contemplation: Mulled wine and cemetery picnics and a blanket and a book that might be read aloud to someone who doesn’t mind listening. Be still my morbid little heart, there’s hope for me yet.
Like I said — unexpected fragile things everywhere. I go back to that comment from that girl friend and I wonder a little bit — what’s changed?
I spent the day on my couch, home sick, with Netflix on and churning through five projects. Five. That number is sacred when you hit that sort of flow and you find yourself buzzing in an alpha state doing something you genuinely love. Uninterrupted, pulling around vectors as if I were drawing circles to summon a demon, the work was good. The work hasn’t been good in a long time, but distraction free I found my rhythm again. Silence save for the television. Just good creative process.
There’s talk of a lake house in autumn because camping never happened this season. Board games and beer and hot chocolate instead of marshmallows.
That’s later. Weeks from now. For the moment, I have an engagement with Yates and Stoker and Wilde. My apartment is strewn with laundry and I’m airing out the backpack. It’s time. A matter of days. I will wake up as my plane touches down in Dublin on Saturday, and again, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. And I don’t really mind.
There are things, man. You think the world has changed, but really it’s you that shifts and adapts and slides past those broken beams that fall through half-split curtains.
Whatever is is that’s out there — I can’t even tell you — but it isn’t half as scary as I thought it’d be.