Dividing lines

I am working very hard this week. I don’t really have time to write this. Yesterday, I sent two very important pieces of mail: one was professional, and one was a first edition copy of my grandfather’s memoir that I didn’t realize I’d had for many, many years (I sent it back to my dad).

Half the sky, today, is covered with milky, smooth, white clouds, and half is bright blue. At the moment, the exact dividing line is right above my head. By next week, we will be on vacation, and since we’re halfway through this week, that dividing line is right above my head as well.

I have, ready to go with me, a stack of books, a list of TV shows, a list of restaurants, a new rash guard shirt with UPF protection so I can snorkel without killing coral. I want to be as far as possible from as many things as possible and float in the ocean so that my body loses the sensation of weight, or at least some of that sensation; I want buoyancy, in every sense.

This morning there was, as there often is, crappy news, and for a minute I thought it could no longer reach me. The tightening in my chest, the panic I’m accustomed to was not there. But then I realized my back and shoulders are tight as a drum, that I was hunching forwards towards the news as if to smother it with my own body. What does it mean to just live through the rainforest burning down? What effect does that have on the possibility of human morality? That’s not even the news I was talking about.

Sometimes I think about how the things I write here are very immediate: I don’t pre-plan them, so they don’t have a lot of scope. They are a transcription of my mind and experience in a given moment, and I’m not always sure what the function of that is. It’s not a personal essay in the way that the internet has taught us to anticipate personal essays, with a clear direction and a sense of catharsis. That’s not an indictment of personal essays. But this, for me, is more like automatic writing, the desire to spill something out of or through me. Ghost speech, ectoplasm. But it doesn’t make me lighter. These thoughts come through and out of me and I simply vibrate like a series of strings, strummed.

It’s time to go back to work. The clouds are shifting south. My coffee’s almost gone. Till next time.