It is quiet now at night, even in the city, roads and voices muted by the mad hush of rain. Rain against pavement is also a sound, but it slips through ears like it does through gutters, spilling over and out and rushing to sea in the way all moments and memories eventually do. But I imagine that tonight even without the rain the world would seem silent, no matter the city or bustle or subway line. Tonight is made for our quiet.
It is a different kind of motherhood to tend a garden, one that is probably more about nurturing yourself than a tiny creature. But as we each stretch further from our childhoods, grow like saplings toward the sun, so it becomes more important, and often more necessary, that we learn to provide ourselves with some parenthood as well.
When I was 18, before I knew anything about publishing or pitching or rejection or acceptance, I tried to get something published that didn’t belong to me, but, rather, belonged to my mother. Years earlier, when I was only 8, she had written a poem that had become famous in my family.
It’s an innately human desire to tug at truth until it’s in full view, excavate and examine it until we are pleased with our well-considered conclusions. It is also instinctual to want to share only the prettiest fragments of our own truths, our most charming ecstasies and none of our agonies.
Loss will make ribbons of you; and while some messes can be twirled and fluffed to look pretty for a time, their usefulness is short-lived. We untangle them only to leave them in piles, to be sent to decompose with the rest of our refuse. Pretty things are not always meant to keep.
I wish the journey were slower, closer to the perception of movement that comes with gazing out into that inky periphery, watching galaxies flow past us like syrup. I wish years did not instead tumble like a series of waterfalls, each gaining a little more speed from the last.
Like all creative projects, the process will take you somewhere new, the result will resemble your imagined compositions but will ultimately turn out to be something else, and that’s exactly why we devote ourselves to such crafts. We want to see where they take us.
It is usually through the tumult of the aftershock, the wayward healing, the throbbing of a phantom limb, that you learn who you are apart from that entity, once more. You unscramble what comes next.
That simple yet purposeful act unearthed a new terrain in my life, one that made me feel like I wasn’t wasting that life, or wasting myself.
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Be your own best editor.
What are you making?