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the eighty-ninth key

…to a body beauty and to a soul wisdom and to an action virtue and to speech truth, but their opposites are unbefitting.

Monthly Archives: January 2013

When my last serious relationship ended, I found myself unable to listen to music for weeks.

As I graduated from undergrad and drove a car my belongings south to my childhood home, I set down my pen. I packed up my typewriter. It is now gathering dust in a closet 2000 miles away.

Over the summer after  I finished high school, my sketchbooks went from being ravaged daily to forgotten for long, impossible stretches of time.

With leaving middle school, I abandoned a passion for short stories and the romances of characters.

Growth merits change, and in my own bones, it fuels abandonment.

This is a result of remembering.

My ability for memory is poor in many ways. I forget names on a pin drop; I grasp for theories, names of songs, recipe ingredients, and lines from poems like a child stretches for the string of a balloon they accidentally let go of in a room with high ceilings. These things are in my head somewhere, floating. It is their presence that I feel far more than their absence. They are merely, quite often, out of reach.

For the first time in my life, looking back on the remnants of my avoidance to muses and passions, I see the sense it has made in prolonging the pain of leaving- leaving family, leaving friends, leaving lovers, leaving familiar lifestyles, cities, and sceneries.  Art is so intrinsically tied to things that one loves. Some of those arts, for better or for worse, I’ve never been able to pick back up in the same way. I never felt a passion for Slam again after leaving the moment of the people I workshopped with in high school. I felt no passion for acting after leaving my middle school drama club- a group from which I made friends that are still some of the closest humans to me in this world.

In the last year, moving to a new place, starting this chapter, I had so few roots that it has been hard to grow at all. When I couldn’t listen to music, it was because every song reminded me in some way or another of a love that had been changed- painful either in reminding me of a happiness I no longer had access to in the company of someone close to me, or in reminding me of the new loss that had come in, vacant and hungry, to curl up and linger in my empty new apartment. The catharses in my life betrayed me, with the surprising sting of acid in paper cuts. I could not see how much I hurt in tiny ways until I squeezed the fruit of art in my bare hands, and it seeped into each little line of my hands.

I’m calling myself out on this tendency of running from muses, by learning to be forgiving. Not for others. It has always been easy for me to forgive almost anything of others, but not of myself. I am finishing books I previously loathed myself for skimming. I am writing and writing and picking up the metaphorical and literal pen like a bat that only makes strikes, like a bowling ball that rolls straight to the gutter, and telling myself that it is okay sometimes to not produce work at the caliber that I strive to. I am hoping to talk more in classrooms full of theory that move faster than I do. I am playing my ukulele, singing in keys that my voice doesn’t stretch to, and often getting very frustrated. All of these things are insanely frustrating. I miss doing things I was great at, and doing them at levels that were easy.

This is a process. This page is proof. That blog posts and NaNoWriMo projects and songs and poems can be rough drafts– and maybe even sometimes nothing more. They can live as a rough draft and still get airtime.

I have not played a horn in over 7 months, since I left Oregon. And in that simple lack, I ache deeply. There are still parts of me that fear reaching for what I love, to remember what I am missing. I have yet to write a full poem in this state that does not fall to shards. But those things will come with time, because I have always felt them ebb and flow within my life, and the notebooks under my childhood bed have just as many skipped pages as prolific ones. Those muses have never left me, even when I refused to return their correspondence, and averted their eyes in passing.

This January comes not with a hunger for newness and change, but with forgiveness the old acquaintance I have forgot in recoils of nervous sadness. I am growing from childhood, and the strings are within reach more and more times again, to pick up where I left off and openly create. Please bear with me. Inside me, there are stories yet to tell, words to grip my paws around, and songs to exhale– all beyond measure. It takes time, it takes forgiveness, but I am working to be an instrument that can get them from there to you, if you will only listen.

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