Tag Archive: dreaming


It comes on slowly, creeping up like crackling frost fingers blooming in slow motion across a windowpane. Just a few careful skeletal fronds at first, adding a pleasant accent to the view outside. White dancing patterns frame the bare branches of the trees outside, just barely brushing against the depth of the field and woods disappearing over the hill. Moonlight makes those fingers glow, and lures you into believing that they’re an addition, not a mask.

The hours pass. The fingers curl around more and more of the glass, deliberately and unstoppably greedy. They begin to caress the larger branches, crawling up and over the grass stubble at the bottom of the window, a measured crackle that whispers “mine, mine, mine” as it encroaches. The clear glass in the center gets smaller and smaller, all the fringes being nibbled away one “mine” at a time.

As the fingernail sliver of moon rises over the ridgeline, there’s more and more hard silver glitter making the whole outside world look different – ethereal, unreal and hyperreal, and all of it covered in “mine, mine, mine.” After a while, it’s easy to hear the things you can no longer see, because they’re all joining in the whispers of possession. It’s a rising susurration of desire and ownership. It claims as it clutches, and it throttles as it loves.

It’s beautiful, still. It will always be beautiful, even as it strangles. It is a thrilling, fascinating death.

You would never know anything had ever been any other way, coming in when the window is all covered over with greedy beautiful fingers and fronds. The only thing to be seen is the glow of the moon – you would never know there is a field out there, and woods, and a ridge. The only thing left is the glow, refracting off the prisms of clutching frost fingers, making shards and slivers of what used to be a lush, warm landscape.

It’s beautiful. It’s fascinating. It’s death, one “mine” at a time.

It bears no resemblance to what it was, what it could be. In the fallow season, the ice changes everything, even how the land breathes underneath its cold mask. It kills as it hides. It destroys an inch at a time, and it doesn’t understand how to regret the destruction it wreaks.

Eventually, the fronds and fractals will cover even the moon’s glow. Watch long enough, and you can see it move. It’s a beautiful death, fascinating even as it cloaks.

You will never know which was the first inch, where the first “mine” was whispered, hungry in the silver glow. If you’re very, very lucky, you may be able to see which one was the last.

Trigger.

They’re things I haven’t exposed myself to in months, maybe a year or more.  They hurt, every time.  It’s a cleaner wound now than it was, but just because the cut is cleaner doesn’t mean it doesn’t bleed.  But still.  It is, as I heard myself saying “The best art I have ever been ashamed to inspire.”  That’s probably overstating the case, because none of it is really about me.  I’m a bit player, a walk-on, walk-off, walk-on who affected outcomes at the time but was not a first cause of anything really much.

But do I know that?  I don’t know.  I’ll take that humility, that I am only the littlest finger of a muse, over being the muse entire for things that make the air around them cringe and bleed and sway.  Because she cut out my heart, and what if that’s something that only I have the blame for?

Everything is about a lot of other things.  These things are, at least a little bit, about me.  And as any good art does, they bring back sense memories and evoke a shadow-summoned grin at the remembrance of things that would never have happened, if I had been a little smarter, a little faster, a little better prepared to defend the things that mattered.

 

Transgress.

My brain is leaving me, a piece at a time.  I know it is.  I will not miss it as it goes, because I won’t remember what it is I’m missing.  Things just… fade, and don’t come back, until I can find a trigger to bring them to the surface.  The silver thread that ran through my life, birth to present, is gone, and will never be back.  It won’t kill me, but it is making me very different.  I live, not for the memories I will create, but for the experiences I can have in the present, because the memories may not ever be there.  It’s a roll of the dice.  And it’s a transgression to tell you this, because it shows weakness, and fear.  I am weak, and I am afraid, and I wish very much that I could have lost a leg, or an arm, or anything else.  But it will be what it must, and I accommodate.  I will not be frightened of the loss.  I am only frightened of hurting others by not being able to find the memories that mean to much to them.  I am frightened of the mayfly creature I may become.

So I tell stories, now more than ever before.  Story after story, to entertain and to leave behind a memory of me when my memory of my own life fades.  I tell them to anyone who will listen, who wants to hear, who will have a moment’s joy and beauty out of the things I have done with my life.  I do not want the things I have been, the things I have done, to die with my memory of them.

There was a woman, married to a man.  “Everyone involved deserved better out of me than they got.”  It’s the thing I say about that time, and it is still true.  Triggers fire bullets, and bullets ricochet.  Trigger a strong enough emotion, a strong enough physiological response, and you’ll remember the story.  If you can remember the story, you can tell it, at least as much as you can remember.

“It’s about falling asleep on someone’s breast when you’re too paranoid to sleep with anyone, and not knowing you’re asleep.  It’s about mourning armor that has spikes on the inside and on the outside.  It’s about her cutting my heart out of my chest, and sewing the space together with barbed wire.  It’s about having some piece of your heard sawed out and sewn over, so it won’t get burnt up with the rest of you.”

 

Transcribe.

These things are painful to remember, and beautiful, and irreplaceable.  I would not trade them for anything.  I gather them, frame by frame, and make a sparkling mirror mobile to help me remember the good, and how not to cut myself on the bad.  I would not wish forgetting on anyone.

And I will find out what happens in Split City before it becomes a memory lost in dust and dark places on the scans.

I will never forget love.  Even in the myriad forms it takes, as much as it stretches and deforms and makes a place inside you that begs to be filled and strikes out with venom and blades at the slightest touch, I will never forget love.  It is never quite what it seems, and it always seems both a little better and a little worse than it really is.

Walking with a bowl

Once upon a time, O Best Beloved, there was a woman with a bowl.  It was a wide, round stone bowl, and it was her dearest possession.  This was a very once upon a time indeed, and she lived in a hard and rocky part of the land, where nothing would grow but gnarled little weeds and hard and twisted trees that gave no fruit.

There was, though, a small and lively stream beside the little shady building where she lived.  It had the clearest water you could dream of, and she carried that water out to the road every day in her beautiful, wide bowl.  It was a long walk to the road, but once she got there, she could trade the water for food and news and clothes.  The road always had traders, headed to the larger city, and she could trade her water to them, without having to go into the loud and dangerous city herself.

But of course, walking with a beautiful, wide stone bowl is difficult, day after day, many times a day.  The path was neither smooth nor flat.  And of course, you know what is going to happen, O Best Beloved, because it is such a beautiful bowl, and because her whole life depends upon it.

One day she falls, and the bowl breaks.  Her foot turns on a stone she cannot see, past the bowl full of clear water in her arms.  She and the bowl both go tumbling into the path.  She fares better than the bowl does, and is only scraped up a little.  The bowl, the beautiful stone bowl, is shattered beyond all hope of repair.

She has walked this path every day, many times a day, her whole life.  She has worked hard, her whole life.  She will not give up easily.  So she returns to her little house, and gathers up everything she has that might be worth something to a trader.  Then she goes and sits by the side of the road, and waits.

It takes two days, but eventually she meets a man who has what she wants to trade.  He has a waterskin.  He has never needed her bowl, but he has traded for a drink from it anyway, and always been kind.  He trades her for a waterskin, so that he can still stop for a conversation with her (for he thinks her pleasing) and a drink (for the water is cool, and always a blessing).

The skin doesn’t work.  She doesn’t understand why, until she drinks from it, and then she has a fight with the man who traded it to her, and he beats her badly for the words she screams at him.  She believes he has traded her a rotten skin, something poisonous and foul.

The skin is fine.  The water is different.  It doesn’t feel the sun on its skin for hours walking to the road.  It doesn’t hear her voice singing as she walks.  It doesn’t lap against the sides of a beautiful stone bowl in the breeze and taste the air of a thousand miles around as it makes the journey from spring to road to throat.

Instead, it is trapped in the waxed hide of a dead animal, bound up in the dark, blind and deaf and dumb.  It is neither the living spirit of the spring nor the soothing medicine of the bowl, and it tastes of darkness and binding.  It is no wonder the traders will pay nothing for it.

With nothing to trade, the woman is starving.  She is alone, she has nothing left to bargain with, no trade left to ply.  So she begins to walk to the city, hoping to find an answer from the king there.  They say he is very wise.

She goes into the very center of the city, and asks an audience to see the king in his temple.  She is told that he is not seeing anyone today, and that she must go away and wait.  But she is starving, and she cannot wait, so she does a thing that is not good at: she lies.

She tells the guards that she had a dream.  She was a water-seller, and that she had a dream that her bowl broke, but that the king could fix it, and the next day her bowl broke.  She tells them she has walked to the city to see the king, to tell him this dream, because she is afraid.  She tells herself that it is mostly true, and that she is only trying to survive.

It is very, very frightening when the guards grab her by both arms and drag her inside, straight into the center of the temple to see the king and his priests.  Except there are no priests.  There is only the king, a man standing in front of his throne, staring at nothing.

The guards push her to her knees before the king, and walk from the room without looking back.  It is not quite a run, but the difference is very fine.

“Are you a dreamer?  I told them I needed another dreamer.”  His voice is a cracked drum, a whispering echo.

“No, lord.  I am not a dreamer.  I only told them I had a dream.  What happened?”

“I killed them.  They dreamed terrible things, and I killed them all, because I could not bear the madness of what is coming.  And now there are no dreams at all.  I do not know if that is better.”  He drops, boneless, to the beautiful stone floor.  It sounds like a bowl breaking.  He begins to sob, ragged and rhythmic, as if it is something he has done so much that it has worn a rut into him.

“I broke my bowl, lord, and now I am starving.”  The sound of him falling has reminded her.

“Good.  Starving is better than what is coming.  Go home.  Stay away from here.  Starve.  It is better than what is coming.”

The guards beat her, partly because she lied, but mostly because they were afraid of what was happening to their king and their world.  She did not make it home before she died.  Many of the people who lived to see what happened to their lands in the years to come wished they had not.

Once upon a time, a woman was walking with a bowl, and broke it.  A king could not bear the voice of his dreamers, and had them silenced.  But remember, O Best Beloved, that stories are music.

In the same land, where there was so much madness and pain that a king ordered a woman to go home and starve rather than see a dream come to pass, there was a voice from a hillside.  It waited, that voice.  It waited for a man named Diego, and it waited almost 500 years, but the blood of every dreamer in the land could not wash it away.

“Have you forgotten?  I am your mother.  You are under my protection.”

 

And now let me remind you, O Best Beloved, that all storytellers are liars.  No voice waits.  All voices want to be heard.  When the altars are broken, when the dreamers are killed, we do not gather at altars, and we do not speak our dreams to kings.  We drink from unlabeled bottles around fires in the wilderness, and we do not wait for the altars to be rebuilt.

We cannot follow the steps of your dance, Lady.  Our hearts tremble at the pattern of your making and unmaking.

Burning Mother, hear our prayer.

We trust in the shadows of your song, knowing its melody is beyond us.  Our days are metered by the clack and hiss of your loom.

Burning Mother, hear our prayer.

Be gentle with us, your children.  Hold us warmly in your hands.  We beg you for light, for shelter, for understanding.

Burning Mother, hear our prayer.

Be kind with us, your acolytes.  Teach us when we err, guide us when we stumble, show us how to follow your world-shaking steps writ small.

Burning Mother, hear our prayer.

Be fierce with us, your disciples.  Bring us order in chaos in order, demand that we burn with you in the dark places, expect no less of us than we expect of ourselves.  Grant us discipline.

Burning Mother, hear our prayer.

To each of us, your children, grant the blessed, burning love we plead for.  We are yours.  We see you, and we ask only to be seen by you.

Burning Mother, hear our prayer.

To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.
Arne Garborg

 

Come sit by my fire, and I will sing you a song, so that you can sing it with me while we sit together, and sing it without me, when the time for you to sit by this fire with me is done.

I know a woman whose heart sings a beautiful song.  It is a song made of hope, and dreaming, and not a little sadness and pain.  It is a song made of all the things a complex life is made of, and it is a song that you already know the pattern of, because it is a song not very unlike your own.

It is a little more full of sadness now than it was, because her heart forgot how to sing it.  Not for long.  Just for a little while.  Just for long enough for the part of her that is her to decide it wanted to be somewhere else instead.

I will miss the woman I know.  Most days, I will talk about her in the past tense, because it is easier for everyone that way.  But we know better, you and I.  Because we are singers, and storytellers, and we will not stop singing her song.

We know that even if her heart forgot for a little while, the song doesn’t stop.  We know that some songs do not have a true beginning, or a true ending.  They only have changes, and movements, and patterns.  Music repeats.  It never truly stops.  We never stop singing.

My friend and I will never have coffee again.  We will never have that long catch-up conversation that we’ve been saying we would have for so long.  She will never graduate college, as she was so close to doing.  She will never see England.  She will never be married.  She will never do so many things that were songs of hope and joy and dream in her life.

That is a song of pain for me.  But her song is not over, because we are still singing.  I refuse to stop.  And I am grateful for your voice, raised with mine.

La loba

I go out into the dark desert all the time now.  I still keep track of when it should be her time, la loba‘s time, just as the sun begins to fall deeply behind the mountains, taking its rest.  But when there is no sun anymore, what does it matter?  I go, and I go, and I go.

No supplies, no packs, no animals for this traveler.  Stepping from the scrub out into the cutting wind that howls across the desert, seeking invisible prey, I go.  I pray that if I am lost enough, desperate enough, last enough, la loba will hear my cries and take pity on me.  If I am lucky, she will sing me back together, so I can be a whole creature again.  If I am very, very lucky, she will sing flesh onto my bones, so I can be what I once was; so the wind will be forced to keen around me, not through me, and I can go home.

Because, of course, I can never go home unless I am a person again.  Everyone knows this.

 

I have gone out of the safety of the forest and into the desert a thousand times, a million times.  Every time I wake, I gather legs underneath me and walk.  It is the only task I have left.  I must find la loba, or convince her to find me, so that I may be whole again.

Sometimes I find creatures, torn and left naked and fleshless in the sand.  They are sad, pitiful things, and if I do not help them, the sand will eat even their bones, so nothing is left.  So I will hold myself this way and that, making the wind sing through me, and let them come together again, and be something whole, if not quite the same.  They say thank you, la loba.  I tell them, over and over, that I am not la loba, and please will they put in a kind word for me if they see her.  And they put their heads to the side, thinking I am crazy, and say yes, yes, of course.

I have not found anyone to help for a very long time.  It is lonely and alone, in the desert, but I pass the time learning the song the wind is screaming.  Maybe, if I can find la loba, she will give me ears to understand the wind.  Will I warn its prey, or help it hunt?  I do not know.

 

There is a place, on the far side of the keep, where the wind is loudest and nothing grows.  The sand is bold and carefree there, lapping right up to the foot of the sharp mountain stone.  I twist my ribs, my arms, and convince the wind to sing  a little fire onto the sand; just a few flames, to warm me and to tell the dark where I am.

Soon I hear footsteps in the dark sand, and a sliding noise.  Who would be out here, in the barest part of forever?  Who would come here but me?  I only spend time here when I have almost given up, and I am thinking of letting the sand eat my bones where no one will find them.

“Come, child,” rasps a voice like two wooden sticks out of the dark, “let an old woman share your fire.”

Shocked is not the word for it.  There is no word strong enough.  “Of course, lady,” I say politely, bobbing my head.  “What is mine is yours.”

She comes shuffling out of the dark, dragging a canvas sack that is gray with age and almost empty.  She is chuckling, a hollow sound like water in the back of a cave.  “It seems to me that what is mine is yours, also.”

“How do you mean, lady?  I would take nothing from you that was not given freely.”  I am afraid, now.  This search is all I have left; her mercy all I have to hope for.  What have I taken from her?  “If you think I have taken something of yours, please, have my apologies.  I will give it back, if I can, and do anything in my power to make amends.”

“How does one make amends for the theft of a name, child?  They call you la loba in the wild places, now.  They hope for your mercy in the dark.  You did not take it, but it is yours now, and no argument.  They know me not, hope for me not, but your mercy is their prize.”  She chuckles again, full of merriment.  “You are the only one left who hopes for me, and I came to see you to find out why.”

“Well… well, because, la loba, that is why!  Because, I beg you, sing me to life again, so I can be free and whole!”

“Who teaches the sand to shift?  Who teaches the wind to sing?  Not I, child, not I.  I came to find you, and to seek also your mercy.”

“M-mercy, la loba?  What can something like me do for you?”

“SING, child!  You know the way of it.  You see these bones creaking together, and you know how to build me a new life out of the sand that eats everything.  Sing, so you can have my sack, and we can both be free.”

 

There was nothing to say.  What to do when la loba, keeper of my dreams, comes to me as the keeper of hers?  So I twist my bones, careful, careful, because the wind cuts wild and high in this place.  She sighs like an old tree falling to rot, and collapses flat on the sand.

I am petrified, terrified that I will get it wrong, that she will be trapped and I will have no hope left.  So I keep bending the wind, squeezing it up between my ribs and out my mouth, forcing it up to a wild ululating wail of freedom and pain.

La loba‘s bones shift, and her flesh runs like water over the new shape.  A wolf, black as sand and glinting in the stars, shakes itself all over.  It dips its head to me, and lifts its muzzle to howl along with the screaming descant that the wind and I are creating together.  I feel strange, powerful, raging at the death of the world, for just a second.  Then the wolf’s howl dies away, and it runs off into the dark, invisible and soundless.

 

I do not go back to the scrub anymore.  There is no need to hide to sleep.  The sand covers me well enough when I do not want to be seen.  They still thank me, the creatures I find.  They call me la loba, and praise be to her singing.  I bid them welcome, and tell them that they owe me only one thing for rebirth.

“Tell the mountains,” I tell them.  “When you see the mountains, warn them that the wind is coming for them.”

Seven bears

There was a girl, and she had six bears.  She was a very little, and very odd girl.  Her mother and father never quite knew what to do with her, because she called them “mother” and “father” in the same way she’d address royalty from a foreign country whose titles she didn’t understand very well.  She talked to other children the same way; trying to be friendly, and trying to fit in, but never quite understanding what it was she was supposed to be doing.

Needless to say, she didn’t have many friends.  She had six, to be precise, and they were her bears.  She’d gotten one a year, every year, on her birthday.  She talked to them, and asked them questions about things she didn’t understand, and they talked back (but only to her, when no one else was around) and told her what they thought about what she asked.  So she always had six answers, and she could figure out what she thought was right, and what was silly.

On her seventh birthday, two terrible things happened.  Neither one was supposed to be terrible, but they both were, because they couldn’t have been anything else.  She wanted very badly to blame her mother and father for them, but couldn’t quite manage it.  They hadn’t done either one meaning it to be terrible, only through a great misunderstanding that couldn’t quite be explained.

The first terrible thing started like this: her mother cut the cake, and she ate a piece, neatly.  Her father and mother both sang the birthday song to her (after the cake, but she supposed there was some leeway in how these things should go), and then she opened presents.  There were books, and a calculator, and a wooden pony that rocked back and forth.  Mother and Father could never quite decide what age they thought she was, so presents had a tendency to orbit around her chronological age in a three to five year span.  This suited the girl just fine, because she didn’t put much stock in ages.  They led to people treating her as though she were silly or stupid, which didn’t make any sense.

But every year, she could rely on a bear.  She was looking very forward to this year’s bear – she had Monday Bear, and Bear Tuesday, and Thursbear, and The Friday of Bears, and Significantly Saturday, and Son of Bear.  She was only missing one, and she knew (as the child places in every mind knows, with a certainty that is more sure than gravity itself) that she was missing one.  She only needed one, and now she would have all the bears she ever needed.

So, of course, the first terrible thing was that there was no bear.  She couldn’t even rummage through the wrapping paper to see if she had missed it somewhere.  All the wrapping paper was folded neatly and put in a trash bag as the presents were opened.  There was no bear.

“You’re a bit old for bears, don’t you think, darling?” Mother said, too brightly. “And, well, we know you talk to them when you’re supposed to be in bed.  So it’s for the best that you don’t have any more, you see.  It’s time to move past bears, dear.”

And the girl nodded, and very quietly set about not crying.  This is not at all the same as when she didn’t want to cry.  Now it was work not crying, and trying not to think about crying.  Crying wouldn’t make there be a bear, and even if it did, it would be the wrong bear.  She knew it.

The second terrible thing was an accident, and it wasn’t supposed to happen like it did, or when it did.  It was supposed to happen, just in an entirely different (and, theoretically, much less terrible) way.  Father and mother got into a fight.  They fought pretty often, and it had gotten worse.  They used to be loud fights, with yelling and doors slamming and all sorts of noise.  Now they were quiet fights, and the quiet fights were worse.  The silence could fill up the whole house and make everything quiet, in a dreadful way that was the sound of people waiting for a terrible thing to happen.

There was a quiet fight, after dinner.  The silence poured into all the rooms and pushed out all the air, so everyone felt like they would suffocate, even the bears.  The silence filled up everything, and didn’t leave any space.  Then, when there was no space left for anything, the sound of the front door closing clicked to itself out on the front lawn, where it had space to click in.  The girl heard it, through her window, and saw her father get in his car and leave.

Then the silence was embarrassed by what it had done, and pulled back a very little, as much as it could when it was all stuck in the house and was too big to get out.  It left just enough space for the sound of her mother crying, quietly, in the front room.  It was a very little sound, huddled in the tiny space the embarrassed silence had made for it.

 

Now, let the years roll over the terrible things, and make them fuzzy and less painful.  Let them be memories, with much less power left to them.  Let the silence leak out of the house, and be replaced with voices that are too bright and brittle, trying to talk to each other in the same language that isn’t the same at all, really.

Seven years, all of them full of minutes and seconds and hours and things, with time in them for the girl to grow up, but no less odd.  Years where she learns not to let her mother know she still talks to her bears, and listens to what they tell her.  Years where she still has only the same six friends, but learns to pretend there are more.  Years where every year, the orbit of age that her father and mother think she is gets bigger and bigger.

 

So, now that the years have worn away at the terrible things, there is another birthday.  She knows her father is not invited to this one, after how he was drunk and angry when he showed up to the last one.  She knows her mother is punishing her father, but does not really understand why, or care.  So he has sent presents, by mail.  Each one of them has a card, with a little sentiment in it, trying to show her love at a distance, when she never understood it in person.

There is a bear.  It is the right bear – the one that should have been there years ago, but got lost on its way to her.  It’s had a rough seven years.  It is gray with washing, and missing one eye, and the fur is all worn down until it is smooth and soft like velvet.  But it is here now, and has found its way to her.  It looks like it’s winking at her all the time, and perhaps it is.  The card with it says “I know you love bears, pumpkin.  I hope this one will do; it’s got a lot of history and love in it already.  I hope you’ll love it too.  Love, Dad.”  He’s always called himself dad to her.  “Your dad,” he’d say, or “her dad,” and mean himself.

The bear doesn’t talk during the party, of course.  It doesn’t talk at all until she takes it up to her room, and sets it down by the other bears.  They are all shinier than it is, better cared for and less worn.  They don’t smell, vaguely, of dog.  The other bears don’t say anything about the new bear.  They’re putting off their own sort of quiet.  It’s a waiting, watching, nervous and hand-wringing kind of quiet, as though they’ve afraid they’ve been slacking off and the teacher just walked in and asked to see their work.

“Hello, creature,” said the bear, in a gruff and growly bear voice.  “We’ve been waiting a long time to meet, haven’t we?”

“Yes,” the girl says, quiet and wondering.

“You are called Wednesday by the people who made you, so I will do the same.  It’s a strange sort of name for a creature like you, but it fits.  I am a Wednesday too, as you know – so you may call me Mr. Wednesday, to tell the difference.  Very pleased to make your acquaintance.”  He is smiling, and she can hear it.  It’s a charmer’s smile, a snake’s smile, and one she at once immediately trusts and would not believe for an instant.

“Hello, Mr. Wednesday.  How do you do?”  This seems like a good start, for a new bear who is not new at all.

“I do very well, Wednesday child.  Now, let’s see what we shall do about this fine mess you’re in, hmmm?”  And he seemed to wink at her, still, and she leaned very close to hear his voice, which had gotten very soft and gruff indeed.

Mr. Wednesday bear whispered all sorts of things to her that first night, some of them very silly and some of them seeming very smart.  And the other bears didn’t say a thing, all night long.  A very long night it was, and the sun overslept and left the dawn for what felt like very late indeed.

Mr. Wednesday rode to school in her backpack that day, so she could listen to him whisper.  He did just like he promised, and told her things all day long, even when other people were around, so long as she didn’t say anything back to him.  She learned a very big lot that day, and wasn’t sure if she liked it or not.

Monster Enough.

What is Monster Enough?

That question started out as a rumination on how those of us who dream we are monsters are always afraid of not being Monster Enough.  We are pragmatists.  We know that no matter how good you are at your game, there is someone who is better, or faster, or just luckier today.  We bank not on being the best monster (because there is no best monster, o best beloved, only the monster who wins right now), but on being Monster Enough to win right now and to scare away all the need to win eventually.

When you ask it that way, what is Monster Enough, there is no real answer.  It is a hard question, I think, but not a true question.  It is a question for the place between childhood and realism where you can dream that all your fights will have a winner and a loser, that everything really is that simple.  Certainly, if you pick enough of that kind of fight, it seems like that’s the only thing that’s important.  But that blows away any chance of knowing Monster Enough.

Ask it another way:

Who is Monster Enough?
I am.  You are.  We are.

We are Monster Enough to make the people who love us feel safe in our arms.  We are Monster Enough to make the people who try to chain us tremble when they think of the word “reckoning.”  We are Monster Enough to be soft and good to cuddle, and Monster Enough to roar loudly in pain and fear at the dark.

My Monster Enough is big, and loud, and cuddly if you are nice.  She makes pancakes and knows how to sharpen a knife.  She dries tears on her fur and sings songs while her den falls asleep, and tends the fire and watches the dark outside the cave, just in case.  Monster Enough is not afraid of “going soft,” just because she loves.  Love makes her fiercer, stronger, more desperate.  Monster Enough knows that things which are too hard are brittle, and break easily.  Monster Enough is not afraid of being unready.  She knows that she was ready when children came, all unexpected, and that she was ready when danger came, all unannounced.  She does not have to plan to be ready – she just is.  She is Monster Enough.

My Monster Enough is not afraid to be weak sometimes, because being weak sometimes makes the strength she has stronger, more lasting, more tempered.  She is not afraid to nurture, because nurturing takes more strength than yelling, even if it is not as loud.  She does not need to prove anything, because she is already Monster Enough.

She and I are not the same, and may never be.  But she is someone I would be proud to grow up to be, and I am grateful to have met her.

Who is your Monster Enough?

Because today was a day full of work, and then tonight was a night full of work, and now it is almost today all over again, and I will fuck up today’s work quite thoroughly if I don’t at least pretend I intend to sleep in between.

But there are things that need writing, and will not leave me alone until I acknowledge them.  It’s been a very right-brain-eating-my-face week, and for some very good and very interesting reasons, and some very bad and very interesting ones.  I am sorting through all sorts of flotsam and jetsam, and now here is a list, because that way I can pretend to the things that need writing that I will get to them, at least long enough to sleep.  And maybe, when I wake up again, I will remember what I meant by all this – or, even more interestingly, I will half remember, and make something not-quite-new-but-curiously-rewrought out of the bits.  Upcycled memory.

Words mean things.  It needs writing because it is true.  Because deserve is a blessing and an epithet.  Because need is a plea, a bargain, a comfort, a curse, a coward’s way out, a pretty lie, a naked and trembling truth. Because words mean things, and people mean things by words, and what we mean by things means everything – and when what we mean is not what it means to someone else, things can go very awry, or just very else.

The trouble with torture.  The trouble with torture, O Best Beloved, it’s that it’s predictably and practically pointless to do it to anyone else but one’s very own private, potent, purulently penitent Self.  No one else has the tools to hone the edge of the tool so fine that it cuts precisely where the intent meets the deed, so that the Self is reminded of what it couldn’t be bothered about before any of this silliness began.

Hookers, whores, call girls and storytellers.  We lie.  We all lie.  And the ones of us who are paid the most to lie to other people are paid to do it because our lies sound like something that those people want very, very badly to be true.  Find the truth that your john wants, and feed it out, micron by micron.  Get paid in the coin of your choice for every morsel.  Wrap as much of what you believe or want to be true in it as you can bear – every word that comes out of your cocksucker that you can believe, your john will believe because you believe it, and it will be easier to sell the ones you know are lunacy and pap.  Cut yourself on true words to feed him watered down lies that taste like lifeblood just enough to make him want more.  And while he’s swallowing, pilfer his wallet.  Or tell him why he had the idea to sign the contract.  Where is the line between fantasy and sociopathy?

Brains are tuning forks. Songs are the note to which mine resonates right now.  The shortcut drug is in full effect, and it is digging things up out of trunks long left locked to rust in the dark.  Pieces of Split City are slotting together, and I think I expected that to be a good thing.  It is definitely becoming something very else, though, and I don’t know what I think of that.  I am becoming, slowly, hesitant to think of these things that I am putting words to as part of some linear work.  There are too many parallels, overlaps, whorls.  Plotlines run like fingerprints.  It is confusing, fascinating.  I have told and retold the story of my own life to myself so many times, in so many ways, trying to make sense of it – perhaps I have worn parallel sorts of paths in my brain, so that it creates not single things, but what if bouquets of possibility and potentiality.

We shall see.

Phoebe.

(For the interested, Phoebe is one of the moons of Saturn.)

 

You gave me a flashlight for my birthday.  You said it was so I could go exploring any time I liked.  I know you were lying.  I know you bought it on the way home, because you forgot it was my birthday.  I’m invisible to you.  I don’t know if I care anymore, or if I have given up fighting it.

 

The first night we were together, you ran fascinated fingers and lips over my scars, my textures, the territories of my history.  And the second, and the third.  After a month, you skimmed them, as a book you had read before, and knew all the interesting parts in.  After a year, you don’t notice them anymore.  I could have skin smooth as cream, white as milk, and you wouldn’t care.  I love my skin, and I would not change a thing.  You loved it once, but you aren’t here anymore.

 

I miss you being here.  I miss you most when you’re sitting next to me, so busy you have forgotten I exist.  That happens more and more these days.  I am afraid, because I made up so much of myself and remade the stories about myself so they’d center around you.  I am afraid that when you forget me completely, I will stop being a story at all.

 

So, because I am a survivor first, I will use the flashlight you gave me.  I will use it as you said it was meant, and find new stories in the dark.  When I come home with new scars, maybe you will notice.  I don’t know what I will do if you don’t.

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