19 February 2015

and all my heart-stuff

I am (mostly) a computer writer. 

This feels funnily antithetical to my letter-writing, record-listening, paperback-reading self. 

(Mostly, I said. There is, to be sure, a bounty of messily (disastrously) kept journals. Drawer-fulls! And these are toppling with misplaced lines, sensations, part-stories. An occasional list of words, or hybrid words, a cringe-worthy sketch of dumbly profound things like my shoes and blades of grass. Profound only in their ambiguity -- I am a terrible artist.) 

But, being conscious of these notebooks, of my pen-pal-ness, the records, film photos, books in print-- the mounting evidence of my elderly soul -- most confidants of my writing trade find my laptop-slinging side of self...surprising. 


Really? -- is what they say. 

And I reply,

Because I can't write fast enough. 

And I can't. 

I am, simply, too capricious for paper. A harefooted spirit! A wild, rampant editor. I, slave to transposing, to culling, to shimmying atoms of stories around, up and down -- all the Wonka elevator ways -- a very feelings-driven sort of writer who can't plot stuff out and fill it it...I, prone more in my writing compulsions to verbs like digging, and tunneling, tossing, to wrestling, rustling, rolling, to swimming...

(Up from the deep, dark matter of me, and back down into the sea of it.)

Omnidirectional is a word I've been called. Sending and receiving in all directions. 

The particular organs I most employ -- the heart, the head -- move lightyears swifter than the rest. In these moments, I feel rather unattached from myself. Which is a funny paradox to feel when you are shuffling about in the attic of your own memory. Hovering over my own corporeal matter, seeing it flounder by comparison: see the jaw draws slacken, the feet still, the fingers can't keep up.

And so, I've developed unruly affection for my laptop over the years. This svelte metal box. You, my veritable silver steed. It doesn't feel excessive (or misplaced) in the least for me to say: it is another body that carries my heart and all my heart-stuff. 

Gaze, for example, upon its current offerings -- eight separate essays in draft-mode, a dozen research tabs -- entropy, and saxifrage, my own grandmother, Degas, California railroads -- open at once.

But, most telling of the documents you'll find, are two: 

First, An antiquated photo of a small girl -- black and white -- on an old cruise liner. A girl who isn't me -- but feels like me. I can't get away from the uncanniness of knowing something is not possibly you, and yet, impossibly, is. 

And, one of Sylvia at her typewriter. There she is, in her black and white backyard, a self-conscious smile. A woman, a girl, inevitably both -- with another body that carries her heart, and, somehow, impossibly, all her heart-stuff. 


  1. No matter how romantic or vintage writing on paper seems. No matter how much pens and paper make you feel like an old soul, typing will always be so much more convenient! We can backspace and just fly our fingers across the keyboard. We can press what we would normally need to spend time swirling with our pens, and rubbing out again when what we think changes. Words are essentially thoughts, and thoughts come out faster than any hand can write.

    The Life of Little Me

  2. I relate so much to this post. I find beauty, romance, and genuine pleasure in analog - I prefer to read a paperback than a Kindle (although, I have a Kindle because it makes life easier, and I am indecisive and I like being able to bring 10 books with me on a trip, even if I know that I will never get to them all) and keep journals and daily planners - but I have slowly made the switch to digital even for keeping track of my schedule and tend to type my feelings rather than write them out (although I too have many hand-written journals scattered around, most always started, never finished) because my hand just cannot keep up with my thoughts when it's penning them down. You write beautifully, thanks for this lovely post. Brightened my morning :) and Omnidirectional is actually a wonderful thing to be I think.

    Rae | love from berlin

  3. Ah! Here's one. I meant to comment on your ig photo, but I think you've deleted it.

    // What makes the cut to blogland? Or, what do you feel inclined to share as opposed to keep written in a journal or tucked away in the heart-stuff of your computer?


    1. Great question. I'll talk about that!

      And, yes, I'm sorry -- I did delete it! It looked inconsistent with my feed. I'm CRAZY that way.