Change is afoot. I can feel it in my scattered friends, who are mostly in school. New ideas create new conditions. I keep searching for flights to places I've already been like I haven't quite learned enough from them. Last night, we were pulling random objects out of a brown paper bag and writing about them. Here's what I got: a cracked-open nutfruit from Singapore, rosary beads, and a wooden ball with a lobsided face.
The fruit had a snarled shell, like petrified hair, and inside was a bulbous fig, once soft and white, but caramelized by time. It smelled like my grandma's attic where my cousin and I used to sleep under a mounted rifle and I'd pretend she was my sister since I never had one. One year, we found a dusty case full of old black and white photographs. We spread them on the ground around our anxious little knees and gave exciting names like Aloisius and Beneficent to our revealed prehistory. I keep wondering if kids today can still escape so instantly to their imaginations.
The rosary beads reminded me of my classmates fainting on the shag green carpet in the front of the church when we gathered during Lent to pray all those ten-piece decades and Glory-Be's. Then I was thinking about how we used to have birthday parties at Bead It! First, you took a clear glass tray with indentations and circled through rows of hundred-hued beads. Swirly globes, ones shaped like roses cut by fairies, satin, glass, felt and flat, bone, birch, and shale. Then you strung them together, and it was like a creation of preferences made into a neck-strung world. Wearing a rosary around your neck was a big no-no, but we all secretly put them on each other like necklaces so we could feel that weight, that mysterious, forbidden feeling that we were doing something grave and revolutionary, which is what everyone wants to do at some point, I think. It is a constant struggle to just let the glory be.
The unbalanced faceball made me think of a halibut who carries his eyes on one side of his body and his history on the other. When you pull up a halibut with an abundance of scars on its white belly, you know he's old because all the star-shaped caverns and linear nicks are from his journey on the bottom of the sea. A halibut is not a pretty fish, but a bottom-feeder, literally–fish finders can't even see them they skirt so close to the sea floor. I like them because their skin tells a story.
I'm a little worried about forgetting, and about not ever doing something with gravity. I'm also worried about where all the writers will go if books and newspapers stop being published, and what will happen to the other-worlds of kids if everything is relegated by money, stress, and screens. Luke says a strapped economy will never erase our need for literature. What is rock bottom? What is recession? Does it lessen our cognitive function or increase it? If the economy is in recession, does that mean our brains go into a mode of inflation?
If I told you to stick your hand in an empty bag instead of a full one and then write, would you have more things to say or less?