Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Beauty in Blackness

I have an affinity for black ink pens. The outer barrel doesn’t matter, just so long as the thin well inside is full of that dark, thick, and opaque paint. No other color feels as comfortable. If I’m forced to use a quill with blue ink, I automatically doubt the words that eek out. I don’t trust them. There’s too much mystery within a shade that often waivers between degrees of navy and cobalt. Red ink has the potential to add poignancy to language, should it be robust like a blood-red but instead it often comes across light, infantile and nonsensical. Far from earnest, as compatible as an ill-fitting shoe.

I like how finite the color black is. I always find a beautiful permanence radiating around the lines and twists of my faltering cursive. How silly, to get so much reassurance from something as simple as a pen. But it’s not really just a pen, is it? It’s a tool, a well-crafted tool that takes a different shape all the time, sometimes many different shapes in a single day. Some days, it’s an architect. Creating tender homesteads and utopian cities far beyond our wildest dreams. Others, it’s a slow-moving dagger cutting into a still beating heart.

Sadly, the pen is not used much anymore. It has been put down, brushed to the side of a desk – its primary use being adornment and taking the occasional note on a neon Post-It. The black ink, which I so wholly adore, lays contained and sheathed, slowly drying out with lack of productivity. Nowadays, we avoid the black pen and write letters without any real writing. That’s the strangest bit too, isn’t it? We use technology to convey our thoughts now and we seldom send letters at all. Letters have become antiquated. But why? Why have we put down the pen and shelved the letters?

Writing, pen marrying paper writing, is one of the most honest things a human can do. It’s pure emotion. Raw, unadulterated thought. It’s allowed to be messy like a piece of art, comprised of scratch-outs, skewed grammar, misspelled words for lack of spell-check. Before every home had a television set, Internet access, or even a single telephone, whole lives were conducted through letters. There were correspondences documenting tales of love, tales of surrender, tales of life. Those papers held the promise that someone the recipient valued, trusted, or even loved had touched them first.  Maybe that promise was in the form of a tear, a wrinkle, or a faint trace of perfume. Or maybe that promise wasn’t tangible at all. Maybe that promise had a palpable energy, pulsing from beneath the envelope in black scrawled writing.

I love black ink pens. I revel in their persistent ability to make the muscles in my hands, my tendons, and my digits ache as my body tries with all its might to keep up with my rampant thoughts. I can put my faith in the depth of the color black. I know this because the color remains perpetually stagnant. I know that it lets the words it splays out tell the story. I know this because black signifies the unknown and that, dear friends, makes all the difference.

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Notable Quotables

“We exist because of suburbia. Suburbia is a freak’s dreamworld, a world of extra rooms upstairs and long, lazy afternoons with no interference. A place where you can listen to your LPs for hours on end. You can live in your room, your own rent-free corner of the universe, and create a world of pleasure and interest entirely centered on yourself and your interior aesthetic and logic.”

—Dana Spiotta, Eat the Document

“Stop torturing yourself, her friends said. Stop living in the past. He was gone. Capital G—Gone. He wasn’t coming back. She should focus not on the pain, but on the possibility. Something good would come from all this heartache, something always did. Everything, her friends told her, happened for a reason. She should start looking for a silver lining. She thought she might start looking for new friends.”

—Aryn Kyle, Boys and Girls Like You and Me

“Women fall in love when they get to know you. Men are just the opposite. When they finally know you they’re ready to leave.”

— James Salter, Dusk and Other Stories

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(500) Days of Summertime Sadness

The haunting melodic chimes of each piano key pierce through my heart like shards of glass, falling slowly and beautifully from a window frame.  I cannot feel the twinge of each individual stab. Instead, I feel their rhythm as they collaborate to wound me so superbly. They sometimes overlap just so, causing the minute sanguine feelings I have left to pour out onto the floor with each swift movement of your boney fingers. Your digits glide across the face of ivories like they used to glide across the small of my back. Softly, they move to form shapes, and beautiful music, but the impression your prints leave is palpable enough to make my heart burst, filling the room with the echoes of my cries.

Control Yourself

Control is an intriguing concept to grasp. It’s a facet of human nature that lends directly to the innate desire to get everything you want. Not to be excluded, I am one of those that must know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, and how I’m going to do it before I begin anything. I can be spontaneous but not without having the ability to change the situation should it go awry at a moment’s notice. But then again, when it comes to yourself, these trivial things are the easiest to control. It’s when matters pertain to other individuals that I’ve learned control becomes a fickle mistress. She toys with your emotions – making your loved ones ill and leaving you powerless to help, unable to change any circumstance. I’ve only half come to terms with the fact that all my loved ones will eventually die and I won’t be able to stop it. I say half because how could you ever wholly come to terms with that until it actually happens? What I have wholly come to terms with is that I have control over what happens to me before I, and my loved ones, die. I get to choose my path and how I live my life and that, in and of itself, is integral knowledge to have. The problem with this knowledge is finding the bounds and the limits are these: there is so much that I want to do and I fear that I don’t have enough time. How ludicrous a statement, not having enough time, and I’m saying this at twenty-one.

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The Idyllic Dreams of A Child

I was infatuated with the idea of you. The idea that you could be the person I’d call to grab lunch with, the person I’d cuddle up to on lonely nights, the person I’d talk to when no one else seemed enough. You had the potential to fulfill that idea and bring it to life but we killed it long before it even had a chance to take a breath. I’m just not sure if it was more my fault than yours.

I spent so much time letting my mind run wild with the beautiful impossibilities of days spent together, nights turned to mornings, meaningful kisses; I never stopped to think of the alternative, that this could remain as stagnant as it is. This interaction – we can’t even call it a relationship – is stale. It’s like a wind up car you give to a child. It spends brief increments of its life being constantly used and abused until it reaches that point where it becomes uninteresting and no longer does the job it was made to do. The toy is put away, unwound and forgotten, until someone decides to turn the knob one more time just to see if it will still tick.

Had this been someone else, I’d have told them they were crazy. That they should walk away. Cut ties and find someone they can actually love. But I am not. I am that wind-up car. I am always waiting there, for you to turn me and see that I still tick. Tick, tick, ticking always just for you.