tsubame: (aqua)
Saturday, February 25th, 2012 05:15 pm
A random person on Facebook wrote some sort of happy update about her joy in arranging her wedding. I read it and shrugged. How strange, I thought to myself. I didn't understand.

I didn't understand.

I . . . can think of no time when I have loved and it has brought me pure and absolute joy. Every time I have thought, I love you, it has always been tinged with a knowledge of loss, of the ephemeral. I love you, and we will part. I love you, and this moment will pass. I love you, and soon you will go, soon I will go.

Love may last, but happiness does not.
tsubame: (wings)
Saturday, November 26th, 2011 06:43 pm
I woke up to a blue sky this morning, and sat for a while in a short-lived pool of golden light. The night before I had wondered, briefly, just what it was that I was going to get up for, today. The hours stretched before me without plan or design.

You knew, once, I reminded myself. How to be lonely. How to be alone.

About time you learned again.

I had a lovely spicy paella for lunch, and then a square of mingled dark and light chocolate, and then a cup of Earl Grey, and the flavors blended one into the next with utter perfection. I listened to 'Here and Heaven' on repeat.

Joy in small pleasures, in things done solely to please yourself.

I contemplated whether or not to go to the gym-- the gym to which I've been ten thousand times, always the same route (however pleasant), always the same boring gym. Then thought of the nature trail I'd passed so many times, but never explored.

Late November, I thought, it won't exactly be at its best.

But surely every season has its own charms-- I knew that, too, once. My exercise clothes are getting worn, but these days everything I own is becoming endowed with private significance. The jogging trousers I bought in Japan for sports day. The socks from Uniqlo, too expensive for me these days but worth it. The t-shirt that my father brought back for me from his trip to Memphis. The sneakers, a second-hand gift from a friend. The black hoodie bought at a charity shop that somehow kept me warm through last year's biting Scottish autumn. The over-long scarf my friend knitted me from Japanese wool, in its wonderful muted fall colors.

I jogged out past the school fields. There was some sort of sporting event on, and I envied the schoolkids their colors and their easy smiles. Their tendency to take up the entire sidewalk was less endearing. Before I had fully passed them it was starting to rain, and the wind had gotten stronger-- there's Scotland for you, and the perversity of the weather gods; it's a lovely day until I make it out the door.

The nature trail was all over with mud, but not so much as to divert me. The trees were bare, and what leaves still clung stubbornly to the branches were bright yellow against the grey bark. But the holly throughout the wood was green and lush, as were the climbing vines, not yet stripped of color.

I walked through the woods, and began to climb. A feathered pine reminded me of Japan. A stone wall meandered through the woods, another path branching through the gap. Abruptly the sheltering woods fell away into gorse bushes, their darkness leavened by yellow flowers. They seemed low, but still their branches topped my own height. In between, close green grass. I climbed carefully to the crown of the hill, scoured bald by the relentless wind-- the very same trying to push me off the top in abrupt gusts. My scarf flying, my hair whipping and twisting into elf-locks, I watched the clouds rush across the sky, the curtains of pale rain that drew and then parted once more, so rapidly. Birds rose from the abrupt hills around me, dark and rapid and fluttering like leaves as they battled the wind. The long hardy grasses lay flat; small rodent holes and rabbit fewmets scattered amongst the moss. Far away and below, the Firth of Forth was whipped to whitecaps. Between us, the spires of many churches-- I identified the lopsided crook of St. Michael's, the three tall cones of St. Mary's, the strange domes of the abandoned hospital.

I passed a tree strangled by mistletoe on the way back down, and in it perched seven magpies.
tsubame: (aqua)
Sunday, October 30th, 2011 09:30 pm
Staring at my phone, which persists in not ringing. At my calendar, with its neat grid of empty squares. Skype is open on my computer, with a row of empty contacts. Gmail is open, and with it Gchat, but no one has sent me a message that way in . . . well. A while.

I did honestly believe I was a good friend, once. Now, I wonder. Because if I were a good friend-- if people wanted to talk to me, wanted me around-- they would call, every once in a while. Invite me . . . somewhere, anywhere. To do . . . something, anything.

I look back at my calendar, and realize . . . just about everything on it, I arranged. Concerts I tracked down, TV shows I wanted to see, gym sessions I lined up, lunches I reserved.

People are busy with their own lives, I have told myself, so many times, so firmly. It doesn't mean they don't care. You need to take responsibility for yourself. You need social interaction to keep yourself mentally healthy, so you need to arrange it. That's the way it is.

And normally I do that. But-- gods, lately it just seems like I can't. And failing at that just leads me down an endless, spiraling slide of . . . of . . .

I know. I'm aware of it. I know that I'm depressed. I know that it's understandable to be depressed. I know that looking for a job is difficult. I know that. I know.

Too much knowing. I understand too much and nothing at all. I just want to pull myself out from under this pall-- I want so desperately to feel again the joy I have found in the world-- but I keep failing, and with every failure I just seem to go under deeper. The times when I'm happy seem briefer, and disappear faster. So fast that I forget they ever were.

I'm desperately afraid that I'll forget how it feels to be happy.

I was-- supposed to be better than this, stronger than this. I was supposed to be able to succeed, no matter what.

Another failure.
tsubame: (wings)
Friday, October 21st, 2011 01:35 am
The train brought me back to the far north in darkness. I emerged from the cave of Waverly Station to see the castle and the old town illuminated starkly white and unreal above, and the streets glittering wetly under the lamps. I nodded to the man begging outside the station. The shadows along George's Street held accumulated grime and cigarette butts. I caught the last bus, bumping people as I tried to navigate the narrow aisles with too many bags. I tried to find inside me some feeling of happiness, of homecoming--

--exhaustion. Emptiness.

A desolate ache, pulling me downwards, questioning: why, why am I always so far from those I love most in the world. Those whom I value and esteem above all others. Who are so wonderful, and to me, even though I am . . . me.

No one makes me go so far from them. Only me.

Only, ever, me.

I know that there are reasons.

An unbalanced scale. A dream-house of empty rooms that will never be filled. A barren moor under a grey sky. An ever-broken heart. My unicorn.

Once I rear-ended a van with a car. The van was fine; the car had a small wrinkle in the hood. Just that, a small wrinkle. It looked fine, really. But for some reason, it couldn't be fixed.

There are reasons. There are things that can't be fixed.

tsubame: (wings)
Sunday, October 16th, 2011 02:14 pm
These days it feels as if people have fled LiveJournal en masse, and I don’t know where they’ve gone. Granted I’ve been missing myself for quite some time-- first because of the endless black hole that was my dissertation, and then it was off to Rome, and then I entered the secondary black hole of job searching. You would think that being unemployed would mean I had a great deal of free time, and you would be right. But it also means that I always feel guilty that I’m not doing enough to find a job, which means that even when I’m procrastinating I don’t write, because writing is Not Looking For a Job.

I also accidentally fell into X-Men: First Class fandom, and seeing as this is the first time I’ve been in an overwhelmingly huge fandom, I always have an endless backlog of stories to catch up on. While this has been helpful in getting me through the trials of the past few months, it has also once again brought to my attention that I am absolutely and completely addicted to reading. I’ve been reading books at what has become my customary pace, but the reading that I do online is vast and near-constant. I read until I can’t bear to focus on the computer screen anymore, and then I pick up the nearest book and I read that for a while. If I have no book I read whatever I can get my hands on-- cereal boxes, junk mail, old newspapers. My friends laugh at my inability to get through this or that TV show, but the truth is that unless it really grabs my attention, I would rather read.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I was talking to my mom on the phone the other day. “I know you’re nostalgic for the Jersey shore as you used to know it,” I said, “bustling, full of people, full of life. But when we went there when I was a kid, everything was run down, boarded up, with grass growing through the cracks and faded graffiti on the walls. And I remember that Dad used to take me by Hoboken on the train, and he would warn me that it wasn’t safe, I had to stay close to him. When I started going myself when I got older it was the same-- a bit run down, a bit seedy, long past the bustling days of the Lakawana rail line bringing vacationers in and out. I would go to the Hoboken Farm Boy and buy this cheap, scented Chinese soap I liked, I would go by the old comic book shop, eat at the Karma Cafe . . . but now Hoboken’s gentrified, and the Hoboken Farmboy is a cell phone shop, and the comic book shop’s long gone, couldn’t afford the rent, and I can’t afford to eat in the Karma Cafe anymore.

“I still like Hoboken, but I loved it as it was-- the Jersey shore, too. I’m nostalgic for them as I knew them: abandoned, run down, dreaming of lost glories.”

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

Ghazal, by Dilruba Ahmed )
tsubame: (aqua)
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011 02:38 pm
Somewhere, somewhere in the wide world, there must be a person with my name tattooed upon their heart. And that heart beats the triplicate rhythm of my name, a strange staccato, one-two-three one-two-three one-two-three.

The doctor in her white coat, once-upon-a-time, holding her stethoscope to a child’s narrow chest, frowning. “How do you feel?”

That child with shoulders faintly hunched, sitting on the bright impersonal vinyl of the doctor’s bench. Watching the doctor warily with eyes the color of my name. “Fine, I feel fine.”

That child, an adult now, walking this world, the song of my name murmuring through veins and arteries.

We look outwards for the solution to our problems, and it is neither right nor fair-- as if the world was in our debt, somehow, for presuming to exist around us. Such incredible arrogance to think that an unseen hand should have wrought the code of my self upon the person of another.

So, look inside for the answer. Split the skin, the breastbone, the ribs, the flesh, the latticework of blood, the pericardium, and swing the doors wide. Look at my naked heart and tell me what name is written there.

I know what you will find-- a lump of fibrous gristle, unmarked, beating the rhythm of no one’s name.
tsubame: (aqua)
Sunday, June 26th, 2011 10:58 pm
During last week’s game, we got to the stage where we were making plans. Well, Jonathan was making plans as his character, who Lázár has nicknamed “Ponce.” And as he was making plans, he was looking at me for advice and approval.

Which of course Lázár, my current character, is completely unsuited to give: he’s not a planner or a deep thinker. No; it was simply a holdover from last game, when Jonathan played a character named Niccolo and I played Tokugawa-- who was a planner, a rationalist, a strategist.

And who is not entirely gone from my mind, so I felt her surge of satisfaction/triumph. You see, she said to me, you see what I have made.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I took a walk down to the bank. There were some climbing roses and they smelled the way roses are meant to. There were trees-- so many-- whispering endlessly. There were houses for sale, and I populated their empty windows with my doubts.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I learned something, long ago: I cannot ask my family to do anything.

Well, that’s not strictly true. I can ask them for certain things. As long as they’re small, and they cause very little inconvenience, and aren’t too expensive. As long as they don’t require anyone to sacrifice on my behalf.

Nor can I call to complain about anything, and expect to be soothed, comforted, cheered up. Nor can I ever expect to be spoiled or coddled, taken care of. All of these things are my job-- just as it’s my job to be okay, no matter what.

But every once and a while I forget that certain things are not allowed. I make a request, something that ought to be simple.

And then I learn, once again.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I really shouldn’t try my hand at humor when depressed, it makes me far too cynical:

Blankman: ‎KB is sorry she causes cancer.
Me: Only in lab rats, but EVERYTHING causes cancer in lab rats.
KB: Why must I cause such suffering and despair?
Me: Lab rats are born for suffering and despair. Human souls gotta go somewhere on their next round of incarnation. The karmatic burden would be unmanageable otherwise.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

There’s a one-pound coin that I carry around in my wallet, I call it my lucky pound. Because it shares a birth year with me. And because it’s scratched and worn and dirty, kicked around, all its innocent shine worn away. It’s a coin that has traveled far and seen some hard use.

Kind of like me.

And even so, despite all that, it’s a pound. Legal tender. Not worth quite as much as it once was, to be sure, but still worth something.

I hope that’s like me, too. That’s why it’s my lucky pound.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car, by Dan Pagis )
Written in Pencil in the Sealed Railway-Car, by Dan Pagis

here in this carload
i am eve
with abel my son
if you see my other son
cain son of man
tell him that i

~translated from the Hebrew by Stephen Mitchell
tsubame: (sleepy)
Sunday, June 5th, 2011 10:56 pm
Where are you, unicorn?

Some years ago I got tired of waiting. If you wouldn't come to find me, well then: I would go searching, and find you.

Many a pair of shoes I have worn thin, walking over this earth. Many wonders have I seen. I have had joys and sorrows, fears-- so many fears. And still I haven't found you.

I'm still looking.

Still waiting.

Will you never come to me?
tsubame: (demon gold)
Friday, May 20th, 2011 12:59 pm
This is possibly the saddest thing I have ever written for Saiunkoku.

the Death of the Heart )

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx



Somebody better put up something fluffy, STAT.
tsubame: (yue)
Thursday, May 12th, 2011 12:49 am
Osama bin Laden was killed, and across the USA people celebrated. I’m very glad I wasn’t in the USA; the thought of the people cheering in the streets disgusts me. But I thought that I should clarify, somewhere, why.

Some 10 years ago, a man persuaded some other men that they should die, and kill a lot of other people at the same time.

They died, and in the process killed a lot of people.

In the streets, some people celebrated. In the streets, many people mourned.

As a result, two wars began. Many people died. Many people killed other people. And many of those people died.

10 years after 10 years ago, some people killed that man.

In the streets, many people celebrated. In the streets, surely there are many people who mourn. There must be, because thousands upon thousands of people are dead.

Maybe, somewhere, there’s a god who sorts it all out. Maybe all those people will return to the wheel, to make the same mistakes again in another life.

Or maybe they’re all just dead.

And no one has learned anything at all.

Osama bin Laden was killed. How do I feel?

I feel sad.
Thursday, March 24th, 2011 12:15 am

Here's a truly exotic location, at least by the standards of my journal . . . my hometown. Yep, that's just outside the local Greek restaurant in April of 2008. They have an AMAZING lamb kokkinisto, the dish that taught me that adding a pinch of cinnamon to your average tomato-based sauce results in awesome.

Picture taken to prove to a politely doubtful Japanese colleague that yes, there are blossoming cherry trees in the United States, and they are in fact beautiful-- as beautiful as their Japanese counterparts. The difference between cherry trees in Japan and cherry trees in the US is of course their extreme cultural significance in one place, and near total lack of cultural significance in the other. Sure, people in the US think that the cherry blossoms are pretty, but they're no more significant than other flowers, and a great deal less significant than some (the rose, for instance). Whereas I couldn't even begin to convey just how significant sakura are in Japanese culture.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I find myself preoccupied with memories often lately-- I who have always been a child of the present moment. Always with me it has been today's dream, not yesterday's or tomorrow's. But again and again my thoughts drift backwards, and I wonder-- what am I seeking there? And why now?

Memories connect one to another, like beads on a string. I think of my brother, digging in the sand-- the sand at the pool that day we three escaped, trying to pass the painful hours-- the gritty, sticky sand at the Jersey shore, the drumming surf-- summer heat-- walking down from Kiyomizudera under the July sun--

Near my house in Japan, a street corner with a traffic light. I would ride my bike out to begin the day's adventure under a bright blue sky. Fly out across the street, standing on my pedals with the wind in my hair, swoop into the turn that would bring me arrowing down the road through the brilliant green of the rice fields. None happier than I, my heart singing inside of me--

A hundred times surely I did this, and now every time is one time, one moment, a single elation, an eternal singing joy.
tsubame: (yue)
Friday, November 12th, 2010 12:18 pm
First, for anyone who's not aware, [livejournal.com profile] saiunkoku_fic is holding their annual Secret Santa exchange. Everyone should head over and sign up, it's going to be awesome!

Here's an interesting blog post for anyone who reads George R.R. Martin-- basically a critique of his story structure in writing A Song of Ice and Fire, and how it might be linked to the long delay in the writing of A Dance with Dragons.

I ended up there because I was reading Orbit's post on breaking the rules of writing in NaNoWriMo, which is also well worth the read.

xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx xOx

I got back one of my assessment grades today, and it was . . . not terrible, but also not awesome. I have a feeling that a distinction in this particular course is pretty much impossible. Which leads me to doubt whether a distinction is possible in my other courses.

Which, of course, makes me feel . . . well, terrible. Because somewhere in my brain there's something that demands that I excel at whatever I'm doing, and when I don't . . . it's this sick twisting in my gut again, the understanding that, as always, I'm not good enough.

I became a great deal more confident during my time in Japan, I think. I had work for which I was praised, friends who bolstered my self image, hobbies at which I could succeed. Just the fact that I was living in Japan made me special. After five years, I suppose it's only natural that I acquired a swelled head.

And only natural that, once again, the world will show me just how misplaced my self confidence is. Will demonstrate that I'm not nearly as smart as I think I am. Will illustrate that I'm barely average, barely adequate to the task to which I have set myself.

Oh, I will pass. Of that, at least, I have no doubt. I will do reasonably all right.

But that's all. Because in the end, I'm not special, I'm not amazing. I'm just ordinary, one of the crowd, shuffling along somewhere in the middle line. Unremarked, unremarkable.

tsubame: (yue)
Tuesday, September 21st, 2010 12:38 pm
Hail, bright Lady of the night.

I am seeking something. In all this wide world, always looking, searching. I don't know what it is, only that it is always beyond my reach.

I have called it my unicorn.

What is it that I am seeking in this strange place?

Edinburgh is a city of spires, Of buff and tear-stained stone. Of hidden places, of broad parks. Of hills and scattered clouds. Of small shops, of curved lines.

Of unicorns.

They are everywhere, but it is so easy not to see them. They sit sentinel over the park, on tall mossy plinths, lost among the leaves. They stand rampant and glaring in reliefs, supporting crests and shields. They crouch in the shadowed corners of buildings, watching the unknowing people pass below.

If you are not the last--

My steps led me, footfall upon footfall, down the narrow roads. I meant to go west, but my feet took me south, down the tree-lined road to the Meadows.

They spread wide and flat and green below the twisted medieval closes of the old city. As if the two are different worlds that bleed together at the edges-- the road is the conduit between them, greenery making inroads to the city, a sparse scattering of buildings giving way to the trees. Shady lanes cross the open space, paths of light beneath the stately branches.

I crossed the compass rose, found the distinctive church spire that marked the beginning of Morningside, and let them guide me south and west. Looked south and east, across the Meadows--

Hello, Luna.

A gibbous moon, nearly full, rising. The clouds passing over, pearlescent. The sky, deep navy and bottomless.

I sank down on a bench and watched, and let my head fill with moon-thoughts. So bright, the moon. We only ever see one face of the moon. What is your hidden face, Lady? What do you see when you look away from us? What secrets do you keep?

The leaves rustled. In the distance, a siren, unreal, a sound from a different world.

Silhousetted against the golden light of the path, a bike glided across the short grass, silent as a shadow, only a shadow. Stopped, and the man riding let it fall, let drop his backpack. And spun there, in the moonlight, danced silent in the meadow. Whirled slowly, kicked a leg high, swung down to touch the earth, then up. Silent, musicless. Here lost in the shadows, there again, against the golden light. Danced beneath the moon.

I watched, silent and still. Should I run to him? But I sat, I could not move.

A final turn, and the slim figure stooped, swung up his bag, mounted his bike again. And swiftly, silently, he slipped back into the night, and I lost him into the lanes.

Dancer on the green. Shadow, shade. Free spirit of the night, the dark sky given form. Graceful, turning, gliding. Do you know me? Do you know I'm here?

Who are you?

The moon filled me, and I walked. South and west, towards the spire, carrying the moon inside of me. I could feel it, cool and bright, leaking out my eyes. Could those passing by see it? Did they not know? How could they not? I moved among them, but they could not touch me. Could they not see it, glowing in my eyes?

Traveller. Journey-woman. Seeker. Watcher in the dark-- not the story but only the one who tells it. Touched, but not chosen.

Who are you?


Who are you?
Monday, December 25th, 2006 04:56 pm
Getting towards 3 AM. I don't want to sleep. Not because I'm not tired (I am tired). Not because I'm jet lagged (my body has given up on time changes and just wants to sleep all the time). Not because it's too much work to get ready to go to sleep. I just don't want to sleep.

I spent a good five or six hours wrapping presents today. By the time I finished my hips were aching from sitting on the cold floor of my room for so long.

I stood in the driveway so late on Christmas Eve that it was Christmas Day and looked up at the stars. The cold air bit at my exposed skin, and the stars were bright behind its clarity. I picked out Orion easily, and the Pleiades. The hot pressure of tears behind my eyes provided convenient contrast.

It's been at least two years since you last cried, I told myself. Do you really want to break that record here and now? You don't. And besides, they need you inside.

In the yard behind, I heard low growling and high-pitched squeals, and the scramble of claw on bark.

And, Peace on Earth. But to animals, it's just another day. Another day's struggle to live. Back to the stars, remote points of light: Be grateful. Nothing is trying to eat you, nothing wants to kill you. Be grateful, and go inside.

I went back inside.

I did not cry. It was easy.
Tuesday, September 5th, 2006 10:41 pm
Endlessly looping on YouTube lately for lack of downloading capability . . . )

There are the dreams we have, and the dreams we are not allowed to have.

The dream that I have is not the dream that other people are allowed to have, I know. It takes me far from everything familiar, it throws me wingless into the void of the world, it tosses me beyond the gravitational pull of familiar stars. It is fullfillment, and also denial-- wandering monk-quester without a quest, prodigal without progress, seeker who has nothing to seek. I step forward without looking over my shoulder, so everyone behind me can see my back. I take this dream and make it my being, because this dream is the one I am allowed to have, and have it I will.

There are dreams that I am not allowed to have. The phone ringing, that is one. I can't even remember what it sounds like anymore. Nor can I remember the voices of my memories, the way the t's were crossed, or what it feels like to touch someone.

But those dreams at least I have the luxury of forgetting. That is part of the dream I am allowed to have. Allowed to have it, I chose it, and in choosing chose those dreams that I would forget.

I chose it, all of it, for the dreams that I am not allowed to have. I stepped forward without looking over my shoulder, so that the dreams I could not have would see only my back. So that they would know, as they rejected me, that I rejected them in turn. I chose pride and refused to reach for the dreams I could not have, so that they would never see me reaching. I chose my dream and the comfort of the knowledge that I had never reached.

All of this, I chose. And part of that choosing was knowing that I would not regret my choice, because I would put myself by my own will apart from the dreams I was not allowed to have. Choosing fate in order to be free.

But none of that can stop the wondering, the forgetting, the choosing. None of that can make me forget those dreams that I've forgotten. None of that can take away the desire for the dreams that I am not allowed to have, have chosen not to have, do not desire.
Thursday, June 29th, 2006 01:42 am
Dammit. Must it hurt this much every freaking time?

People tell me that I should have more confidence in myself, a higher sense of self worth. When all the evidence I get is to the contrary, though, how am I supposed to manage that? I can only go around telling myself that the whole world is wrong for so long before I start to wonder. "Everyone else is wrong/stupid/doesn't understand" doesn't hold up after a while.

Because it's not particularly likely that the entire world is wrong. It's much more likely that the problem is in fact with you, that you are the reason for your own woes.

If I hurt, it's no one's fault but my own. Because I have allowed this world and the people who inhabit it to hurt me.
Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 01:41 am
I sit in my apartment, at the now-unplugged kotatsu. Bach cello concertos, my companion for the past two evenings, fill the air with a timeless beauty not at all at odds with the hodgepodge of papers and eclecticism that is my apartment. I am the only rhyme and reason that exists in this place; logical, since it is mine for however long I stay here and continue paying for it.

I was in Kyoto-proper this evening, arranging my dinner for tomorrow. I am at the age where things only happen for your birthday if you do them yourself; as much as one might wish to remain quiet about the event and be pleasantly but predictably surprised by the thoughtfulness of one's friends, it is much wiser to make one's own arrangements and avoid the potential disappointment that could result from one's friends not actually doing anything. Because they have a plethora of distractions each, after all.

I can on occasion be wise, though the childish pride that still lives within me rails against it. But it's just that stubborn pride that causes us to hurt ourselves, and then rage at a sourceless Other.

If I am ever hurt, I cannot entirely free myself of blame. Of course it's wrong for someone to hurt me, but if they have managed it then I have left myself open to that hurt. I like to think of it as a warrior's mentality: to gaurd yourself.

Having nowhere in particular that I needed to be, I paused on the Sanjo Bridge. Below, on the bank of the Kamo River, fire spun and twirled in swift arcs around the twisting bodies of the dancers, serpents and orbiting comets of orange flame. Drummers pounded out a rhythm that was music all by itself, the familiar boom-tekka-tek an external heartbeat. I took off my shoes and perched on a stone piling to watch-- the dancers, the flames, the drummers, their various friends, the audience, the passers-by. Such a convocation of people, many of them young. Guitar-toting hopefuls waiting for discovery, businessmen sipping at beer cans, tourists staring in wonder, families on their way to or from restaurants. A thousand stories, walking to and fro, as the dancers whirled and leapt, tossing their flaming staffs into the air and catching them again, as artfully self-concious as they could be while handling fire. Well aware of their own allure and reveling in it.

I am a writer, which means that I move in a world of stories. My own life is not a story, it is a thousand stories, none of them mine. I assigned names and identities to the characters who passed me by, memorized faces and roles, and wondered vaguely what they saw when they looked at me. Nothing that invited intimacy of any sort, of course; sometimes I wonder if what I am comes through to the point that other people can sense it, and it keeps them away. Or is the unloveliness of my face sufficent to discourage any attention whatsoever? I have walked unmolested in the dark hours, in the questionable sections of various jagged cities. Lopsided face, a body at least four hundred years out of fashion, skin alternately mottled and spotted, any gold or red in my hair losing out to muddy brown, disproportionate limbs, short and stubbed fingers . . . a thousand beginnings that never came to fruition . . . every piece of me a broken promise . . . and the focal point of my being: a writer's eyes, shifting blue-green-grey, calm yet inconstant. Remote. Always watching, and somehow forbidding both desired and undesired attention. Set apart forever, whether I will it or no.

I can't win if I fight against myself. I can't remake my being, even if I should wish to. I can't move from story-maker to story, cannot become the main character when I am not myself a character at all. I am meant to tell stories, not to be them.

This is not my life, this is a search for stories. I am not a person, I am a thing which exists to find stories, and to tell them.
Friday, March 17th, 2006 02:02 pm
Things that I love: the moon. Full and coin-bright, hanging low over the moutains, pale blue clouds taking a hint of rose from the setting sun. High and silver-beacon shining, serene in the darkness as a mirror, with the clouds sliding past like dark shadows, like grey veils, lit from above. Or perhaps the moon reflects them, mirror in the sky, or perhaps they are mere reflections of the moon's shadowy seas.
Thursday, March 16th, 2006 03:17 pm
A particularly dismal practice session in preparation for tonight's lesson has left me defeated. Really, how long am I supposed to keep this up? I've been playing for nearly three months now, isn't that a little long to be trying and failing to produce consistant sound? When do I cross the line where patient persistance becomes stubborn stupidity? When should I just admit that I'm a hopeless failure? When do my efforts cease to be earnest and start to be pathetic?

Or did they already?

Or were they from the start?
Wednesday, March 8th, 2006 12:53 pm
Oh, the random of the scenes that drop into my head.

He found the other man outside, staring sightlessly into the falling rain. The acrid smell of tobacco overwhelmed that of damp; he took the cigarette from an unresisting hand and stubbed it out. "I thought you had stopped. Those things will kill you, you know."

That earned him a brief smile. "If I live long enough for them to kill me, it'll be nothing short of the God's own miracle." The expression washed from his face. "I've been recalled. This-- all of this-- it's over."