Hokey Pokey (What this blog's all about)

A writing challenge I've given myself to write every day for six months. After some posts, I'll put in a comment with a brief explanation of the inspiration for the piece. Some posts will be practice for bigger projects: character sketches or settings. I don't really know what all will happen which is why I'm doing it.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Day 52

Sometimes at night, I lie in bed and think of all the energy I put into my room.  I avoid going to bed angry.  I pace or sleep elsewhere instead of tucking those feelings in between the golden sheets and the off-white duvet of my sanctuary.  I try to protect that space with hospital-corner efficiency.  I lie there sometimes though and realize it's not just my energy determining the tempo of that place.  There are people who lived here before us.

In the mornings, my son climbs up the bed.  A truly superhuman feat.  The bed is extra tall and with a pillow top mattress, and his head no where near crests the top.  Undeterred but the technical nature of his task, though, he says "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?" and gets himself on up there.  Where we read books a minimum of three times in row, clucking and mooing our greetings to a day that has not yet begun at 6:20.  And I think of the morning I had him in this same room.  And wonder at whether he was conceived here or there.  And I wonder whether the people who lived here first got on their knees next to the bed where I'm pondering away, and prayed for their own miracle's safety.

I have strong feelings about places. I store my feelings in places.  And I leave feelings behind in places where I visit them later or don't.  Chile is trusted with a piece of my heart purer than fresh squeezed orange juice in a field.  I left a lot of resentment in the streets of Saint Louis.  I had an apartment there where the walls and floors never met at ninety degrees and you always felt that slight clownshoes on backward mist in your eye.  There was a shooting in front of the apartment and dozens were taken away in a patty wagon.  I wasn't home at the time and since I missed it, could easily pretend that the occurrence had not soaked into my home.  I just focused on the next door neighbor, Pearl, who told me about stealing her father's chew out of a trunk when she was five and drove me to school when my car broke down.  She made the halls smell like fried chicken you only hear about in movies and can smell the lard in the theater even over all that butter and wasting.

I'm a consumer of places.  I like to feel what's there and possibility and history, store it in my senses, drop off a thought or a feeling or two, and move on to the next place.  I like stopping at old mining shacks while hiking, kicking off my shoes and climbing into an old bunkbed, and thinking about the warmth they fell asleep to with a fire blazing while lying on the springs with no roof that were left behind.  Sometimes a place feels too yucky and I'll pass right on through as quickly as possible.  Las Vegas Los Angeles, Lost souls, Loused dreams.  My room is more complicated though.  I want to reinforce the space between my walls and the rest of the house, the rest of the world, so that I can clean up the energy my own way.  Open windows or close doors or cry or read or fart in safety.  I can't simply move on to the next space if someone gets shot there or the neighbors keep banging away their anger and it gets through the walls to me.  I have to mentally build up textures of my own experience, light a candle in an effort to defend my homeland.

Still, how can I not wonder if a Chilean has been in my room?  Or what fights got made up there before I ever gave birth on plastic just above the carpet?  And what energies are mine and which are thirty year old housewarming gifts?

My room is a space I am tied to emotionally and logistically.  I can't walk away in a week to find a new place to infest with my books and dust.  I can't pack up that many photographic memories that must be saved come hellfire or tide water.  Neither can I hold off the emotions across the hall at all hours of toddlers crying and slamming doors.

Maybe I'll unwrap a housewarming gift this evening.  It will have answers in broken bows and recipes for protection and hopes for good cheer.  Then maybe even I'll drop to my knees to thank the universe for kindly continuing to look favorably enough on me and mine.  Surely that is enough, today.

1 comment:

  1. I read an essay for school about a shooting that took place in the author's old home and how he felt about it afterwards. I briefly tried some of his technique of mixing places in the same paragraph and think it would have worked better if I'd chosen somewhere I used to live instead of where I currently live. Good exercise though.