There’s a big hole between me and all of the words I want to say. It’s full of water. Dark and deep. I’ve thought about swimming across it, but the water shimmers in a way that seems dangerous. And I’ve thought about flying, but the feathers on my wings haven’t dried. Jumping is absolutely out of the question. I hear that a girl can break her leg that way. I have enough cracks. I don’t need to be worrying about bones, too.
And yet, every day that I decide not to fly or swim or jump, the hole gets a little bigger. Something about erosion. Big rocks becoming sand over time. Crust turning into little crumbs.
You know, I saw a whale the other day. I saw the mist first. One puff of watery air floating over the waves and disappearing into the breeze. I thought I was hallucinating. But I watched the waves until I saw a great grey back, barnacled fins. I heard the whale breathe. One big sigh. I galloped down the beach path after it. Chasing its great gasping breaths.
I feel this great gasping need to create. Like that whale breathing. A big sigh, a puff of air. Do something. Be something. Add something. Instead, I keep subtracting and the earth keeps disappearing and the hole keeps getting bigger and the glue on my wings still hasn’t dried. Maybe I shouldn’t have bought the cheap kind. You know, the one you get at the dollar store that dries up as soon as it hits the air. Sticky white streaks on paper.
Maybe I should’ve invested in something good.
Why did I stop creating? It’s easy to stop, you know. You don’t notice the hole, at first. It’s too small. The science hasn’t set in. The crust is still whole.
And yet, it’s the only thing that keeps me filled. Creating, I mean. It shovels dirt in between my ribs, stops the draft, warms me. Hard packed earth.
I smell like the forest.
Write write write. Once you start, it’s like a hurricane. Staccato beats of rain against the keyboard. Maybe the wind will carry me across the void. Or maybe I’ll get spun into the eye and fall into that dark water. Calmness can do that to you, you know? Make you feel safe and then eat you up.
The only thing I seem to write these days are lists. Lists of little details. This was the one I wrote the other day:
- Clean toenails and the way your skin smells after a bath.
2. Ropey veins on arms and crooked fingers pressed into knees.
Is that art? Listing the details that no one else seems to notice.
I don’t have an ending. I just know that I wanted to write something, here, where the erosion started. I wanted to shout into the hole.
Don’t worry. My wings are almost dry. I’ll be back soon.
(I swear I haven’t gone insane. Although, re-reading this I realized that I sound like a bit of a loon. But this is the first thing I’ve written in a long time… so I figured that I should just post it so you’d all know I haven’t died.)