fictions

I think the world is mostly made of fiction. People talk a lot about how they only like REAL things, but what are these real things? Atoms flying around the sun? Leaves green in springtime? These things are all rooted in theories of the world that started as a fiction of sorts.

Pure, fantastical fiction is the solution that the real world of a crystal grows in. On the edge of this growth is where we all live. We conjure and place narrative like legos hidden on identical colored carpet. We wince in pain at our missteps in these fabrications: reorder and reassess. But it’s a play between these supposed real things and fiction that create our story. To believe in one side alone is to isolate oneself from failure, but also hide from a certain truth.

I’ve caught myself thinking a lot about this divide recently. Between Real and Fiction or what could probably be more easily categorized in this day and age as what we argue about and what we discuss. My head has felt so swarmed with what is the supposed Real — the constant influx of news and statements from others — that the wonder of the world has become less visible in the surfaces of the environment around me.

The problem is that at this boundary an unknown is felt as very present. Since moving to LA my car, Nemo, has been the brunt of a lot of violence: catalytic converter stolen, window smashes, both locks broken, antenna ripped off (this was my own fault during a backup involving an unseen tree limb). Nemo was given to me by my father and at times when life isn’t feeling like it’s going the most optimal direction it’s hard not to see the failure of a son in the misgivings that the passed on car has endured. Failures in this context usually mean a sensation of wishing I have achieved more in some way; it’s a moment when I can see myself about 10 years ago and having my dad tell me that he’s worried that I want something very big in the world and what will happen if I don’t achieve it.

This moment with Nemo becomes a weird stick balanced on a word that exists in a story told of something real and something that is fiction.

I’ve tried to be more thoughtful in my approach to the world in order not to let strong flash floods pull these words down dark storm drains. During a period of time when we seem to always be in constant conversation with each other, it feels a bit like we are skimming the cream off our experience before the fat content can really reach a good percentage. I’ve been trying to bask in a moment a bit longer and absorb it before being seen.

I guess I’ve just been trying to get back to seeing more fiction in the world

yellow dots

When I was young, I’d walk home from school some days on the aptly named High School Road, heading straight down the center of the road stepping on all the worn yellow ceramic pavement markers; parts of their circular shape worn away like slot canyons in Utah, feeling my sneakers slip off their contours like the details of so many memories.

I can remember walking with my friend, David, who’d walk the whole way home on his toes to make his calves stronger: he had huge calves. Later on in life he’d end up managing a bar that occupied that unusual ground between a strip club and airport bar: lots of brightly colored shots and too many teeth in everyone’s mouth.

I’ve been feeling a lot recently that my memories have begun to crystalize in a way that I find a bit unsettling. The ability for a memory to mean lots of things has disappeared and I find myself looking back into a field of statutes. Each memory has suddenly become a monument to a single idea of a single moment, but somehow removed a bit from my own experience of it. It maybe feels a bit like that last scene of No Country for Old Men (or last page depending on how you consumed it) where our memories become dreams, and our dreams become strangers to exactly who we are; just dust sprinkled on tracks of a car long past.

Maybe it’s a bit the feeling of the world becoming very factual in a way. I’ve talked with people who believe fiction is not needed as a genre as there is plenty in reality to look at in wonder. I would argue that the parts of reality we take wonder in, are parts that still have an unknown to them and therefore are fictions in our mind. We converse around these ideas of this “real” thing and in fact are telling stories of the same memory of the present in a different way.

One person tells the story of a road dotted in yellow ceramic disks, while another tells the story of a road that rose and fell with waves of emotion for future ex-girlfriends.

forgetting

I’ve been having a funny relationship with forgetting these days; the sensation of being on the cusp of suddenly seeing a past self as an Other instead of Me. Which, I guess, is something that happens throughout life, although we hardly see this progress as it is usually the carving of slot canyons of the soul; long nights and days over desert outlooks.

I catch myself looking at people in my life and wondering “who did I once know you as?” and there’s a lot of trajectories that suddenly become apparent, like fireworks shot out of one of those tubes I can hold on 4th of July.

I’ve been thinking a lot of a friend I had long ago, who I fell out of touch with. Back then, word was that he had just gotten in a car and disappeared and maybe had become a chemist, or a professor, or started a company. 

Now new words have trickled in of sad posts on Facebook about being a single Dad and the heaviness of a certain type of life. Part of me heard this and hoped instead that he was trolling people in a way that he found funny. I remember long ago when I was in high school I had gotten an email from my doctor (or it appeared to be so) that they had found some unusual things in my blood work that had just been done; this had just been that friend spoofing emails, which back then was as easy as cut and pasting sentences from Wikipedia.

If the medium is the message and we are the collection of thoughts and interactions of a world around us — a medium in flux — we become messages for a period of time that we have coalesced around; a jellyfish caught on the mind’s paddle. 

I think at moments it becomes startling to realize this message and to wonder if this is really who we are. 

fishbowl

Today everyone was shouting from cars that were fishbowls on wheels; voices were muffled and eyes wide as the panoramic view of the future extended in front of us all. 

We glanced with cartoon eyes at each other and hoped that we would never see each other again.

stone tabacco

What did we believe in during those sunsets when we stuffed smooth stones between our teeth and lips? I remember you driving wildly into those nights, thinking the roads were extra curved, only to realize later that you had driven through a park playground and up and over an abandoned property overgrown with blackberries. 

It was a place with no roads and I watched your taillights disappear behind a seesaw and I think I saw you spit — out the open driver’s side window — slimy dip spit the color of granite from teeth that were daring the future to break them.

With smooth rocks tucked like so much dinner food in cheeks, it’s hard not to feel like everything is a little dangerous.

You spent the night panicking and then back at the apartment, only to fall asleep draped across the back of an Ikea couch; a bear rug discarded in human form: one nose pad missing from your glasses; you grinned fiercely and a whole river of stones fell from your mouth.

At night sometimes people think the tapping on their metal roofs is seagulls dressed in leather jackets dropping expensive oyster shells on their roofs. It ends up most of the time it’s ghosts of people letting stones fall from their mouths.

Lazy ghosts grinning with novocaine lips.

Pixelated Zoos

I’ve had the sensation as of recent that I’m laying on my head against a newly installed section of drywall. I’m standing and slumped against the wall with my cheek just a few inches from a tape line that has just been mudded and sanded. That new construction taste is in the air, which if you haven’t familiarized yourself with it as of late, is a bit like if the oldest materials on earth had a bit of a drug habit: it’s both earthy and chemical at the same time.

I wonder if one was to spend enough time around cement mixers, if their lungs would eventually become a Rachael Whiteread sculpture; two human chest balloons gray and speckled in concrete; delicate like dove eggs that breathe on their own and think of their future as birds.

This wall my head is against makes it hard to write. It makes it hard to paint. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever make something of purpose again. I guess that’s the dramatic ebb and flow of process. I think part of what has been on my mind is how I don’t have the desire to write about things in the way I once did. I have a different feeling of voice in my head that isn’t concerned with what it once was, and as someone that grabs desperately onto the past this is concerning to me. It makes me wonder about this current me and if they’re a very interesting person.

This is that large expanse of wall that gives no playful hints at closets or bedrooms, but instead only seems concerned with vantage points and long lines that are parallel but can seem to touch if given enough room to roam.

I have been thinking of being in a zoo a lot recently where the displays are windows in aluminum frames, set in concrete walls looking onto various animal exhibits. The aluminum frames have calking oozing out between them and the thick glass, giving the impression that each exhibit could be filled like a fish bowl, shaken and rinsed of its contents. 

Looking at the monkeys they eat fruit in a bored manner, take two bites and throw half eaten fruit bowls to the ground. I think talking to people can be a lot like dressing up as monkeys and eating fruit. People casually discard threads of conversation and pick up others with the interest of clouds discussing precipitation: all is known and nothing is new.

Every once in awhile I lock eyes with someone and watch them carve the contents of a piece of melon perfectly down to the rind with a spoon the color of lightning. They are a surgeon with foods that have high water content. I can hear the spoon like a blade against the onslaught of a five o’clock shadow.

This morning two brown rabbits sat by a freshly dug well in the backyard. One ran by in hi-def and the other seemed a bit pixelated.

I wonder how each of them eats fruit.