The sky is grey and yellow and thunder moves about like a restless god above us. Rain falls then stops, and the gutters drip. In the yellow dark after the storm the birds sing twilight songs. The trees become silhouettes. The sky turns to taupe, then lavender, then black. Curled inside with my feet tucked under me like a cat, I can feel the way my breath catches in my ribs. The way I have to consciously remember to breath out. The way this week I’m always close to tears.
This summer I feel like I’ve landed on the moon: my third semester in graduate school, full time, in an immersive program that is, by it’s very definition a moving target: emergent media.
And so I am learning to moon walk, which is a lot like learning to fly except for the inevitable part when gravity always catches up in the end.
It’s work that requires leaping again and again toward the very center of what I love: telling stories with words, with images, with media that moves through time, with interaction. And inevitably: coming down hard again and again, as I fall short, underestimating what I think that I can do, imagining a project too big and wide for the scope of my limitations. Most of the time my limitations are about time. Ironic, isn’t it? Because of course, I’ve dared to write about this thing called the present tense. Of course I’ve leaped into the very thick of this glorious mess. Wanting all of it, hungrily, the way the humming birds come again and again for simple syrup we fill the feeders with. I keep coming back, even when every the nanoparticles of every minute are filled to the brim.
Some days being a mama and a partner while doing school and writing a book in a genre that blurs (personal essay + mixed media illustrations) makes my breath catch in my ribs like I’ve swallowed the pit of some magical tree that will burst forth from my ribs in full bloom.
Other days it feels more like standing in front of a fire hose. To move at the speed of emergent media means to be endlessly and simultaneously processing, considering, noticing, reading, questioning, answering, creating, making asking, and doing, all day, every day. But to write a book, means to dwell, linger, revise, consider.
It’s a brutal, brilliant, overwhelming combination. And time dissolves like sugar.
Maybe it's no wonder I've been feeling exceptionally thin skinned lately: as though the barrier between me and the world is as slight now as the screen that separates me from the night that arrives softly, filled with the trilling of tree frogs and bull frogs and the sounds of moths fluttering with their incessant, fragile wings.
I’m so grateful for your comments in my last post. You have no idea how much courage and joy they gave me.