i realize that i've meant to write here a lot, and that somehow, in all this heat and humidity, i haven't done it. so. here are some cut/pasted words from my journal, with (mostly) all the existential crisis ramblings conveniently edited out:
So. I’d written about three paragraphs before my computer froze. Sigh. I don’t know if there is much to recapture. I wrote of sitting out here with the pets, watching an unexpected grey sky. There are storms around this evening, the kind that rumble in the distance and tousle the trees. In the midst of the hush of green and grey, I saw the brilliance of a red cardinal hopping between treetops. I was surprised by his color, by the way he caught my eye and wouldn’t let go, luminary like the orange flowers across the lot.
I think I wrote it all better this time too.
And I wrote about the routine of days around here. I have mornings with Helen and coffee and cigarettes. And then I’m on my own in the afternoons, wandering the coffeeshops with my computer. Evenings are spent here, on the patio, sitting with Helen's dog and cats, Lucy, Jesse, and Claira. I write my emails, download my songs, and the neighbors come and go. I call Lucy back on the porch in an authoritative tone. This is what I do. My routine is only disrupted by Starbucks now, 32 hours a week.
I should be writing, I said in my first attempt at today’s journal entry. I should be writing because this downtime is a gift, and I don’t want to abuse or miss it.
Where is God in Austin? “Here I am” Emmylou sings.
I am standing by the river
I will be standing here forever
Tho you're on the other side
My face you still can see
Why won't you look at me
Here l am
I am searching thru the canyon
It is your name that I am calling
Tho you're so far away
I know you hear my plea
Why won't you answer me
Here I am
I am in the blood of your heart
The breath of your lung
Why do you run for cover
You are from the dirt of the earth
And the kiss of my mouth
I have always been your lover
Here I am
I am the promise never broken
And my arms are ever open
In this harbor calm and still
I will wait until
Until you come to me
Here I am
Do I believe these words? Dare to believe, Jude just said. I’m finding it hard to believe, presently, and I’m using wine as prayer, I replied. Which is true. It’s all true. I guess that I’m just a groggy believer, believing because I’ve always believed, and I’m afraid of not believing.
And now it’s dar williams' "mercy of the fallen". So much short history here. Of when everything began to change. This is my real life. This is it. This is it. I’m so afraid of it all. I’m afraid of this town stealing me away from a safe little haven. But what else is there, really?
I’m a big fucking cry for help today.
But there are still things to write. About Austin: the city of alms. About the man in our complex who was beaten senseless for being gay. How close violence comes to home. How close the plea for mercy comes to home. We're all standing on street corners, holding up signs: I am just trying to get home. Anything will help.
Someone needs to say these things. I can’t just lie here in bed without putting out the words. You know?
a 29th of july prayer:
Help me believe. I’m wrestling so hard against the fear that you do not hear. That you do not see. My life does not seem to matter if you are blind and deaf to me. I can’t live without knowing you are with me and loving me. Where are you? Are you sitting poolside with me? Are you familiar with each sweat bead slipping down my back? Do you still count the hairs on heads? Are these selfish questions? Because I don’t want to live a life about me me me. I want to know that you’re holding the tears of every Iraqi in your bottle as much as my own. I want to know that you are carrying Helen through each struggle of a day in her soulless job. If you care about these things, I can go on. I can make decisions and have hope. I do not want to abandon all hope at any gate of my life. I remember my adolescent confidence in your inability to forsake. Please don’t abandon the grownups. We’re children too.
I learned something today, even before I trudged off to work, so reluctantly: productivity is an antidote. It truly is. Today, for whatever reason, I did not procrastinate my tiny assignment to once again revise the latest bio. I just did it. And now it’s done. Furthermore, I did not skip out on lunch only to starve at Starbucks till a Chik-fil-a dinner; I prepared a lunch of tuna for the next few days. Certainly, these are the tiniest of accomplishments, but I call them all ‘victory’, because I felt like I’d lived a bit of my own life before I went to work today. And tonight, I’ve been busy cleaning up the kitchen, scrubbing and washing and putting things away. I’m keeping my body moving, after two days of wanting to lie down and check out. I will write this all down. Because it feels important. It feels like life. Thank God.
Maybe today is a sign. Maybe the fact that there is nothing paralyzing about one foot in front of the other in all the quotidian things is the answer. Maybe divine revelation comes in the washing up of dishes. Who am I to ask for a sign and then dictate its origin and its message? I will simply do what I am required to do, and wait. And hope. This is all I can do.
[post journal-pasting: alright. so maybe my words are heavier than i remembered them being. but struggle and doubt are universal languages. and hope is equally spoken. so here it all is. read it all with a grain of salt: it's been 100 degrees here for days.]