Steinbeck used pencils while they were long and slender, when they felt to him to provide the correct balance—a shape that could propel him forward, like good running shoes; a size to help him pick and prod the right forms, like chopsticks.
I used to have a scar on my left hand that reminded me of my first Thanksgiving without my mother. I wonder now if I can even call it a scar, seeing as how it’s since faded past the point of detection—then again, we all know the most unassailable wounds are often those invisible to the eye. In any case, it was there and now it’s gone. Isn’t that the entire point?
We imagined the day the meteor struck what was now my backyard, how the shrapnel must have blown through the air like dandelion seeds, how that day had been buried by time and dirt, only to be sifted back to the surface by a biblical flood.
I don’t know how old I was the first time I had an obsessive-compulsive thought. I’m not even sure of my age in the earliest memory I have of such an event, although I’ve always assumed it was 6, the number we tend to attribute to all early childhood recollections.
I chose to believe the story for as long as I did because it was the kind of story children want to believe, and, if we’re being honest, the kind of story grownups tell in the first place because some part of them wants to believe it, too.
Today I thought about you. And you. And you as well. I wonder what you think about me, when your memories are likewise unpacked and hooked about your head like a series of collected ornaments, out of season and shaking loose too much glitter and dust.
The thing about the act of burning is it destroys only a shape, impermanent to begin with. It disassembles. Not unlike a caterpillar in a cocoon, dissolved to paste only to be remolded. Not unlike a star, flung into disparate corners of the universe to make a planet, a foot, a piece of cake—stardust, all.
Pain is like a wave, she told me, although she almost certainly wouldn’t have used that word. “Pain” has no place in the universe that is childbirth, even though it is so often affixed to it. What is pain when it’s only currency for something miraculous? Pain as the gateway to life. Pain as mother.
Starting a business requires something usually reserved for religion and relationships (both of which often suffer in the throes of entrepreneurship): faith. A truckload of it. A truckload with a tendency to back over and flatten too many other things that matter.
Desert lights buzz like cicadas, the fluttery rumble of all those wings and photons shuffling against each other and stretching into an air so thin you wonder if it is even there. When all else is quiet, there is still that soft, eternal flickering. The night was hot. And quiet, for a time.
There is something haunting about a rip in your skin. It reminds you that the whole thing could fall apart, turn to ribbons and dust. It reminds you, in fact, that one day it will. And then you are left with that to think about.
Journalists are a lot like scientists, really, seeking an objective truth, trying to put pieces together. No one does it for the money. It’s a longstanding joke in the industry that most of us make very little. Some might do it for the power, or a hopeful slice of fame, although both are unlikely. I do it because information matters, because while there are some relative truths in life, often the answer is strictly “true” or “false.”
A letter isn’t a book. A letter is simple. A letter is something you can write throughout the week or in one great, long breath. And if a few people expected it at a certain time on a certain day—well, that I could do. And I have loved it.
The first time a boy pinched my ass I was in the fifth grade. His name was Spencer. He probably did it on a dare. I slapped him across the cheek as hard as a 10-year-old girl can slap. I stomped away, red-faced, to find a corner where I could cry.
The day we found Rokan, the sky was blue, that sort of crisp, surreal cerulean that might only exist in New Mexico and other arid, sweeping landscapes that offer nearly nothing in the airways between you and the vastness of the beyond.
Take a look around.
Be your own best editor.
What are you making?