Saturday, February 1, 2014

mermaid lessons

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths
 and a great fear of shallow living.” 
(The Four-Chambered Heart, Anaïs Nin)

Last night, I dreamed I was on a ship with one other person - a ghost or just a hazy figure, I'm not sure which - on a lonely sea. The ghost person turned to some task at the opposite end of the boat and didn't see me when I fell overboard into what can only be described as diluted quicksand. I knew, as I was being swallowed up, I only had a few precious seconds before it would be too late for rescue. And almost instantly I was too far gone to save. 

I sank deeper and deeper into the muck and for awhile just surrendered to the inevitable, willed myself to close my eyes and go to sleep. But then, suddenly, I kicked my feet and thrust upward, could feel my neck muscles straining as I tilted my face towards the sky.

As I broke the surface, I woke up.


I miss my creative outlets.

So much of what matters to me creatively has been polluted. There is so very much to unlearn, and all my usual tricks - the things I've always counted on - are not working.  And it is a lonely process trying to find my way back.  I keep thinking I've turned a corner, and then - smack - right into a wall. The corner was only a trompe l'oeil painting of a corner.

I'm working so hard - unlearning the most damaging things. Unlearning is a hundred - a thousand! - times harder than learning something. 

I'm not afraid of depths. Not afraid of asking hard questions or getting dirty, or poking at the underbellies of things washed up on the shore. I'm just not. Like Nin, I too have a great fear of and even disregard for shallowness, for it's my observation and experience that the shallow ones aren't happier or lighter than everyone else. Willfully denying something, refusing to see something, doesn't make those somethings untrue, and doesn't make those somethings go away. Those somethings will find other ways to haunt you if you are too afraid to confront them.


What is the collective noun for mermaids?

Is there one?

In the sea I've been swimming in, I haven't seen one other.