Saturday, August 06, 2011
stones in my stomach
Lately my blogging has been cryptic and not entirely honest. There are things I haven't been saying. Things I am still stunned to find myself living through. I've been wanting to hang on to some semblance of normality, so I've continued to write small stones (or tried to), but I've been finding it hard to notice things, to really see them. It’s because I’ve been finding it hard to stop and be. There is upheaval, turbulence. There are stones in my stomach.
The last few stones I’ve written haven’t felt quite like small stones. They’ve felt like I’ve been viewing the world through a filter, one I’ve deliberately placed over my eyes, to keep me from the force of the way things are. Maybe it’s because it’s necessary. But it makes the writing of small stones…wrenching. Because it makes me aware of this filter, this deliberate keeping of the world at bay, and yet, I don’t want to not try. The same could be said of my blog posts here.
If you've been reading my small stones blog, you may have noticed that I didn’t write a stone for Thursday night. I told myself it was because it had been a busy day (it had), because I’d been out all day and then in the evening (I had), because so much had happened (it had) and it was hard to put it into words (it is) and that I was still too stunned to articulate everything that had happened (perhaps I still am).
I did notice something though, after coming out of the theatre on Thursday night. After my very first Chekhov experience (The Cherry Orchard), against the night sky, a tree with vivid red-orange berries, so bright against evening green leaves they seemed to throb. And yet, I didn’t write it as a stone. I still don’t know the name of those berries, I thought. And isn't the image a little cliched?
Then, on the tube home, I watched a boy with brown skin ask a girl with brown curls who was rolling a cigarette if she’d ever used a rolling machine. She smiled, lit up, a spark in her eyes. Her fingers rolling effortlessly on the rocking train, she said, “Here’s a tip. Don’t use so much baccy.” Then licked the edge, smoothed it down and tucked it under a curl behind her ear, the boy with the brown skin smiling, shaking his head in admiration. Then they both stood and left the train through different doors. But I didn’t write it as a stone.
I had a squished California Hand Roll from Wasabi in my handbag. I was worried it was going to stain my programme of The Cherry Orchard. I was wondering whether I should eat the roll first then wash my hair when I got home. And I remembered I still had to do my embroidery. Maybe that’s why I didn’t write a stone. Then I remembered I'm going into hospital on Monday to have a wisdom tooth out and that I haven't yet checked what they mean by "nil by mouth" from Sunday night. Can I still drink water? Maybe that's why I didn't write a stone. And yet, I went to bed at 1am with Chekhov’s stories. (And I can’t even begin to articulate the effect his writing is having on me.) And then, the next morning, I got up, lived another day as if stepping on tremors, then wrote that ”stone” about Abney Park Cemetary, the one that was trying to be picturesque and ”poetic” but left so much unsaid.
So I tried again, even though I can't even begin to say it all. I've been dreading putting it into words, but life moves on regardless of how we feel.
I've written this on my small stones blog, but I need to say it here too. ~
Last night was Jake’s first night at “Daddy’s house”. Paul picked him up, we waved goodbye through the open window, blew kisses at each other, pulled funny faces. I watched his back, astride Paul’s shoulders, in his Thomas blue t-shirt, twist round for one last wave. Then I closed the window, ate noodle soup, went to the theatre.
This morning was my first for picking my son up from his Dad’s. I woke up alone, drank half a cup of tea, didn’t check train times, but arrived, stepping over rubble, trying to find the right door. How ordinary things can be, how quiet the whirr of our failures, how invisible the rips and tears, how relentless the workings of the physical world. We still have to eat, sleep, get up in the morning, get trains on time, wait for buses, cross busy roads, knock on unfamiliar doors, deal with our bowels and walk on, occasionally remembering to unfurl the fist in our stomachs, to keep the palms soft, to breathe, stay awake, alive, open.