Mixed Emotions

Posted on April 17th, 2014 by Sammy

Last update before California deserts whisk me away.

Reasons why I’m excited for Coachella:
1. There are about twenty
2. The twenty include Neutral Milk and I’ve wanted to see them in concert forever now
3. Camping
4. Hopefully I will find somewhere to look at stars

Reasons why I’m bummed:
1. Record Store Day, 4/19. I have to miss one of my favorites, and I haven’t missed this since going to college! Lots of record stores have little concerts and good sales
2. Easter, 4/20. How many times do we get to experience 4/20 Easter at church?! 4/20 Coachella isn’t more exciting than normal Coachella
3. Four more days I can’t kick it with you


Errands

Posted on April 16th, 2014 by Sammy

So many errands this week
- Taxes (okay these were easy)
- Coachella prep (this has turned out to be a lot more work than I imagined)
- Lease signing / related stuff (renter’s insurance is a thing? cashier’s checks are a thing? am I really a grownup?)
- Cabo booking (I still need to get a passport!)

I can’t wait to be driving down to socal tomorrow afternoon! Writing will be on hiatus in the meantime, which is healthy in some way, I suppose.

Worked pretty late the past two days and still haven’t finished what I wanted to finish. Blargh today’s probably going to be long, too.


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Posted on April 15th, 2014 by Sammy

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A Bedtime Story

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by Sammy

Regarding The Man Who Lived By Post

Once upon a time in a faraway land there lived an old man high in the mountains. It is unclear as to how long he had been living there or how he came to have so many far-flung friends, but being ancient, he no longer ventured away from home. Instead he spent his days scribbling poetry and short fiction for any number of his distant pals.

He had little company save his two birds. These would fly in periodically, messengers carrying news in the form of rolled parchment on their backs. They were also the bearers of his many beautiful works to the outside world — as you can imagine, these were not small birds, though they were not exactly birds of prey either. Were the old man anything like Goldilocks, he’d have tried a few others and found these middling creatures last. These birds were just right for their jobs.

The birds were given names: Monet and Flaubert. They were adopted by the old man in adolescence and loved him as a father.

Now, Monet was a lithe, all-purpose bird. Her nature was to flutter between many towns and in her travels she made numerous friends. The old man trusted her to locate even the most remote, most difficult-to-find people. She was flexible, reliable, and endlessly resourceful. Her being pulsed with life and warmth not unlike the climates of her origins.

Flaubert on the other hand was afraid of many things and useful only in that he was a cold-weather bird. The old man only ever sent him to one faraway location: a freezing windblown outpost town where lived an old woman named Martha. The old man took special care to send only his best writings to dear Martha who, also being obscenely old, was unable to afford the physical costs of travel. Furthermore, the joints of her hands were no good — unable to hold a pen, all Martha could do was to read the scrolls as they came and to give Flaubert a hearty meal before his long flight home.

This was the case for years until one day when the old man fell very sick. Worried that his life was near its end, he extracted a final stanza for his true love. Flaubert had not yet returned from an earlier excursion and time was of the essence, so it fell upon Monet to carry the man’s last act of sweetness. As the greybeard watched his devoted creature fade into the distance, he passed on into the next life.

Monet flew swift and true! She thought of how much the old man had done for her and how much it would mean for Martha to have this final gesture. She was determined to carry his love.

However she quickly found that she was ill-suited for the weather along this flight path. Blizzards sprung up without notice and the winds were treacherous. At some point her wings froze and it became impossible for her to proceed. Shivering in the abandoned nest of some other bird, she contemplated giving up.

As fortune would have it, with mellowing skies she spotted none other than slow-flying Flaubert passing overhead, his shadow long beneath him. She gave a wail, and, knowing her cry, Flaubert descended hurriedly toward his friend.

She relayed passing events and together in this foreign nest they mourned. When the tears were done, they resolved to reach Martha. With his warmth Flaubert defrosted Monet’s frozen wings and soon they were on their way.

They leaned on one another during this journey: Flaubert’s heat proved vital for Monet’s cold-weather survival. He also taught her to make pine nests during snowstorms — these offered as much home as travelers could hope for. For her part, Monet taught her timid companion to maneuver more deftly, to fly upside down, and to dare the swifter thermals. (He was never the most efficient traveler.) She taught him to face his many un-birdlike fears, and in the same way he warmed her wings she set ablaze his weathered heart.

It was in the joy of this newfound companionship that they reached the old woman. The trip was taxing and as soon as the two made it past Martha’s window they piled on the floor in exhaustion. Realizing just what had transpired, kind Martha unharnessed and fed these spent bearers of love. With sweet tears she sang to them, ringing her soft human voice. Then, after giving them good rest, she set them free to adventure in the wild.

Unburdened and feeling stronger than ever, that’s what they did. From that day forth they adventured in the way only birds can: high above the troubles of the ground, over fields of flowers and shifting sands, crossing every ocean and every horizon. In this way they soared, together, happily ever after.

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Eclipse

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by Sammy

The house went out for a while to watch the lunar eclipse. They lost patience after a bit and went inside, but I took a chair and found a nice dark spot — the elementary school basketball court.

Read under the red moon.

Praying for dreams to be kind tonight. It’s been a long day.


Colorful Fast-swimming Mollies

Posted on April 13th, 2014 by Sammy

A weekend in review:

On Thursday evening Shannon and I went to see the new Wes Anderson film, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” with Nathan and friends. She spoiled me with a nice cheese selection which we grilled into delicious bay area sourdough. Ooooh and ginger ale. Ahhh.

Friday I couldn’t get any work done after 5pm because they needed to do some maintenance on the servers I was using. Out of things to do, I had dinner at in-n-out with Brett. At night Chaitan came over and we tried to cover Tom Petty’s “Free Falling” which was really fun though undignified because we were buzzed. (Or maybe just me?) Everyone hung out in my room for a while after, chatting and listening to music.

Saturday was spent procrastinating taxes. Got out of bed pretty late despite having been awake since 8am, then had pho for lunch followed by some shopping for bell-bottoms (I picked up one or two 70′s accoutrements along the way to complete the look). Also started preparing for Coachella, as it turns out there are many more things we need to gather. I hadn’t looked at the lineup in a long while and now taking another look I’m suuuuper pumped. Probably most amped for Neutral Milk Hotel and Nas. I heard Outkast’s weekend #1 performance was really lacking in energy and stuff which is disappointing. Maybe with the feedback they’ll try harder?

Wrote something that isn’t very good / will get rewritten a few times before I decide to either throw it out or put it somewhere — fiction isn’t normally my genre and I do unpleasant things with it because it’s just not normally my thing. But I’d like to get better; I think there’s a ton of value in fiction. Plus it’s fun!

Uhgh can’t believe the weekend is so close to over already, I haven’t had enough time to unwind. So many things to plan, forms to fill, things to get done.


From “The Adventures of Queen Mu”

Posted on April 11th, 2014 by Sammy

Chapter __

They decided together to climb the fence into a foreign kingdom. In the stealth of night they crossed this border and masqueraded as Liliputians, marveling at smaller perspectives, trying to remember a slow-shrinking world before it might become too small to live in. There was no invasion to be had, just small trespasses they expected to be noticed and forgiven, as it is with adjacent countries in good standing with one another. If anything this was a cultural expedition, and while they would likely misinterpret a few things along the way, their efforts weren’t being misplaced.

Upon a holy dome they spread, panthers resting on the shoulders of ancient trees. Queen Mu was surprised at the sturdiness of its construction. As they lounged in this illicit paradise her words dripped, the pleasant drops of slow distillation. Her hair, suspended in the still breeze, was a mass of magical wisps. He was sure that if he wished on a few strands any dream might come true, though he didn’t wish for anything more. Just the moment and feeling of those wisps in his fingertips.

(Or, he did wish for more but there are rules as to what wishes can be said aloud.)

They found a bridge and instead of crossing they sat in the middle so as to experience two sides touching. She was so excited to find seating underneath as well, though in the confined space he felt his unwieldiness and uncertainty. And she grew tired.

He was tired too, not physically, just of the clerical aspects of travel. Not that these things are unimportant! No, these are necessities. But the best part of travel is taking in the view and experiencing the night air and learning again to be unafraid of heights. And the guidebooks have a lot to say about how these things matter but some of these books are ancient and suffer the ill effects of time. These were his thoughts, and as they headed back toward their own country he wondered how he could strike a balance so as to find the most liberty, how he could become the spinning dancer and not the car spinning out of control across four lanes of traffic.

Queen Mu, oh beautiful Queen Mu, she said we were once like the people of this foreign land: more dependent on aid and in this more able to receive love.

He thought “she’s right, maybe it would be better if our country forgot its jingoism and came to terms with how hopelessly dependent and needy it is. Maybe then we’d let in every kind help and be all the better for it.” But then he remembered why countries build fences, he remembered Queen Mu’s war-torn home and the catastrophe of his own, and the only thing he could do was to wish upon a stray wisp left behind from that night.


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Posted on April 11th, 2014 by Sammy

I’ve been so exhausted from work and other things of late, just haven’t been feeling like writing.

But nights like these give me so much creative juice and as badly as I want to churn out four or five mediocre things tonight I guess I should wait.

For now I just need to make a list of things I might want to write:
- Goofy poems (many of them)
- A short story or two
- A personal reflection

I started writing at least two of these tonight and gave up because I’m crashing. Kev made me run when I got home, now I’m relaxing before bed with soft beats and happy thoughts in my head.


Calming Strokes

Posted on April 10th, 2014 by Sammy

After dinner, some time to digest, and a 25-minute night run with Kev, I broke out the Chinese calligraphy materials acquired last weekend.

- 100 sheets of rice paper
- Two bamboo calligraphy brushes
- An ink stone
- An ink stick

Wrote a pretty long thing about calligraphy but WordPress’s quickpost was being dumb and erased a good half-hour of writing. Now I’m demoralized and don’t feel like re-writing what I had before. This was the most writing I’ve done in a while, too. I suppose I’ll summarize: nostalgia, patience is hard, ink smells nice, now I feel calm and happy.

Going to bed.


Tuesday

Posted on April 8th, 2014 by Sammy

20 minutes easy through Cuesta Park, perfect temp and humidity.

Kev made potstickers for dinner. I didn’t eat at work because I came home to get some alone time.

Days like these lend themselves to evening walks and early bedtimes.


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