I met an old man this evening, well, that’s a half-truth since we never actually met or exchanged names or pleasantries, but as with all those who’ve lived an impressive number of days, he struck me as delightful, delicate, and wise, stealing a seat beside me at a bustling cafe. He ordered hot chocolate and smelled of stale grass, his rusty cologne speckling the coat keeping him warm as he sniffled. It wasn’t a particularly cold night, but the chill has a way of mingling with frailty, wiggling into bones. Though it shouldn’t be special, his avid fingers managing a smartphone seemed, for a moment, somewhat odd; that was until I recalled where I was, resting at the technological future’s neon heartbeat, or at least one of its pulses.
Written by Chelsea Marie Hicks
There’s something so elegant about the typewriter. It’s clicks clacking, paper reeling, disappearing, reappearing with stamps, our words tattooed onto white skin. I miss the pleasure of punching keys; the tragedy of mistakes, the beauty of perfect lettering and alignment. I miss that commotion that typewriters bring to writing, a symphony lacking from my pen. My typewriter remains on its shrine of silk scarves from Bohemia, awaiting the oil of my fingers to beat it back to life. If only my Corona could come with me to whatever seas my diver directs me to.
Written by Chelsea Marie Hicks
I sought the taste of neon in the morning, its glow an apparent absence only present in the irises of night crawlers dripping pale, waiting for the sun.
I searched my skin for treasure troves and salt quarries, only ever finding pieces of paper torn and folded into creases and scars.
I hunted through dreams to days too cold for the scent of tangerines to wet my fingers, or apricots to taint my tongue with sweetness.
There’s no luck for senses seeking fruits in the winter.
When the ice cracked and dripped through drainpipes, I came to find the circus, folding origami flowers out of a field’s colors, somewhere, not here.
The bearded woman grabbed my hand, she said I was an acrobat and not to bend to break. She taught me how to do both.
Whatever rope line led to reality was neither real nor rope nor strands of thickly braided hair, though it resembled all three.
And then, somehow, came the sun.
I spend a lot of time alone. As a foreigner in a gigantic city, I’m constantly surrounded by sounds and signs of life and though I interact with it wildly, lovingly and often, I have a tendency to hole up in corners and spaces that keep me isolated in observance. I love to watch the world and the day go by around me–to see the sky change, the children laugh, and watch the lights dim in buildings as the neon signs glow ever brighter. Korea has grown to be a part of me and has impacted and marked me in ways that are perhaps to be expected, but still surprise me. It’s become a place I call home and even though so much of it and so many aspects of the country, the city I reside in and the culture itself are still unknown to me, I feel a sense of ease and comfort within it.
The topic of home enters my mind frequently, almost on a daily basis, and is something I somehow struggle to grasp because home for me seems to be constantly fluid and indefinite, which goes against the stability and foundation that “home” is obviously associated with. My homes are many already and are certain to continue to grow more numerous as I set out to conquer the map that my mind fills with an insatiable need to discover and understand lands and seas and people unfamiliar. It always appeared to be expressed as a joke, this declaration between my father and I that I have gypsy blood, but with the pace at which I ache to unsettle myself, to seek change and simply to move, the joke seems to be far too accurate. Perhaps it’s silly to spend time thinking on such matters, but as a romantic I do harbor these nerves and an anxiety that the way I have shaped my life and this very apparent itch that I have to stay in motion and to remain forever unsettled will result in a heart always in wanting of that mighty, euphoric love that, maybe foolishly, I do so believe exists somewhere. Sometimes it even seems that that is precisely what I’m on an endless quest for, to either find that person or place that consumes me with what I know and envision love to be.
Last night I dreamt that I went swimming in the ocean and ended up trapped in an aquarium somewhere. I tried to get out, but then I decided that it didn’t matter that I couldn’t escape because I liked it there. It’s a slightly humorous image, but also a rather beautiful one, especially when I think about how it mirrors my own life. I wouldn’t say that I necessarily feel trapped, but I can relate to the image of floating in a sea of others as the world goes by because, well, that’s what I do nearly everyday. I can’t decide if this sounds sad or pathetic or something else. I guess what I’m getting at in a very lengthy way is that I’ve grown just a little more content with what I’m doing and how I’m living my life, which is worthy of being called an accomplishment as I am too often crippled by concerns that I am not living up to my potential or that I haven’t achieved enough yet or that I have no idea what I’m doing. I still think these things are true, but I guess I’m becoming more comfortable and accepting that I will likely always feel these anxieties, so why fret?
Anyhow, I guess that’s my journal entry for the day. To every foreigner, anxious girl, romantic, or gypsy blooded soul, I know what you’re feeling too. We’re not alone, even when surrounded by a sea of fishes.
My current project (and yes, I’m going to deem it a project) is to finally make my way through Infinite Jest to the very end. The feat itself I have paid barely enough attention to to be able to count myself as a participant, but, this being my third attempt to devour the epic text, I refuse to be beaten by the weight of Infinite’s pages. Though this task is probably plenty to occupy my time, I’ve found myself very seriously considering taking on two other projects that would require a certain amount of attention from me that I can certainly give if I actually force myself to focus on something (anything!). NaNoWriMo is less than a month away and I already have a chunk of pages and ideas to craft what could possibly be an impressive piece of writing. Granted, whatever I concoct in forcing myself to purge thousands of words each day will likely be a bit shoddy at times, I suppose the following month’s of editing and re-writing could keep me fit in the craft I claim defines me. I completed NaNoWriMo back in 2008 and it was, I must say, quite gratifying, however the body of writing that was written was less than stellar. Some bits and pieces though, turned out to be something I’ve grown fond of.
The second project on my mind (or, I guess, technically third when counting the Wallace reading fest) is partaking in a 365 photo jaunt. This is something that would be quite new to me and likely quite a challenge. I’ve only had my T1i for a few months and I think this project would be a wonderful way to learn more about different methods of shooting and ways to create beautiful images as well as an excellent record of the experiences of my year. Also, both of these projects would give me ample material for my lackluster blogs– they’re definitely in need of something shiny. Anyhow, I’ll probably end up going after both projects and temporarily losing my mind, but at least I’ll feel productive. Expect some more writing and some more photos of my Korean adventures very, very soon.
I’ve always held a fondness for lists and perhaps because it’s been raining or perhaps because I’ve had ample time for self reflection or perhaps, perhaps, I’ve found myself carving a mighty list of what essentially boils down to my desires. If you don’t know me, or even if you do, you might not know that I’m a fairly anxious soul–constantly unsettled, thriving off of an insatiable need for change of scenery of pace of everything.
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that I’ve never really felt at home anywhere (the only possible exception to this is the great state of Iowa, Des Moines in particular). I’ve spent almost my entire life lusting after somewhere else, always taking the “wishing you were here” part far too seriously. Though my passions in life are numerous, traveling is above all else what thrills me, soothes me and makes me feel most alive. More than anything else, I want to see and experience the world (emphasis on experience) and it is my personal goal to have experienced every continent before I’m 30 (minus Antarctica).
Anyway, I’m getting off topic now. The point in bringing all of this up is that I legitimately fear that I will never settle down anywhere or select a place to finally call home, and thinking on thinking about this more than I already do led me all too naturally to making a list of wants. So, here’s what I want, what I really, really want (according to the last time I seriously spoke with myself):
I want to create beautiful artifacts out of words, images, cloth, ink and paper
I want to never stop learning, to speak many foreign tongues, to read and read and read and read
I want to be all right with staying put and find a somewhere to call home
I want to die before I’m old, my organs donated and my bones to be burned
I want my chalk scattered in the Vltava
I want to work with coffee again, possibly forever
I want to be in love again
I want to figure out what I want my life’s work to be
I want a hint as to what path to take, sometimes
I want to be leaner and to run without injury
I want to wear high heels more often
I want to be better at forgiveness, writing thank you cards and letting people in
I just read this interview with Don DeLillo, the man behind works of phenomena such as White Noise, Underworld and Americana, and came across this quote that is so wonderful and true. For today, this is all I’m gonna give you, but I will warn you that in the dangerously near future I will have the interwebs streaming through the vessel I call home and then, well, you’ll likely tire of me with my non-stop photo updates, tales of adventure, confusion and pure foreign-ness.
Anyhow, as I was saying, DeLillo and I are birds of a similar thought feather when it comes to writing.
“I’m just translating the world around me in what seems to be straightforward terms. For my readers, this is sometimes a vision that’s not familiar. But I’m not trying to manipulate reality. This is just what I see and hear.”
With gay marriage being legal in Iowa and all (yeah, we Midwesterners are more progressive than ye Californians), I figured I would get this off my chest…Natasha Khan, I will switch teams for you, anytime, any day, anywhere.
To commemorate my (insert any synonym of the adjective “idiotic” here) decision to drop my marketing major, here is some poetry*!!!!!
Yes, someday I might kick myself, but just promise that if you see me living in a paper structure built out of my loan statements that you will at the very least say hello.
*ummm, scroll up. If I post said poetry here you’re bound to be significantly more critical than if I force you to move your lazy eyes up just a tid-bit.
“Going to Georgia” by The Mountain Goats started playing and my heart clamped down on me hard. Today, more than most days, I really miss my friends.