When I read magazines I always open at the back page and read forwards. I can’t eat a bowl of ice cream without first mushing it into a thick, icy paste and pretending that it’s a double-thick milkshake. Sundays are for planning the week ahead and Mondays are for tracking my expenses of the week before. I often forget to feed Possibility, my goldfish; Hope, his companion, died two weeks ago. My plants go unwatered for days and then drown in the love of being watered every hour. I like watching the water drain into the dishes under their pots. In my heavy party days I also liked seeing how dark my urine would be on Monday mornings. Somehow seeing the polluted ochre stream leaving syrupy tannins in the toilet bowl gave me a sense of power and control. Or it just pointed to how fucked up I managed to get that weekend. In those days Sundays weren’t for planning.
Making a cup of coffee is the first thing I have to do every morning—filling my percolator with water, grinding coffee beans, spooning the fine brown powder into the cone, snapping the switch and waiting for the aroma to welcome my senses has become my mandatory morning meditation. I re-read emails just before and immediately after clicking Send. For some reason I only find mistakes on that second read. My work emails are eye-stabbing-ly boring. They all open in the same way: “Hi,” new paragraph, “I trust that everything is well” or “So good to see you the other day” or “Great job with those templates” when I’d rather they dared to break the mold and inject more of non-work-me into the correspondence. Sometimes I just wanted to write “I think the way we do things is pretty screwed up.” Daniel, a kindred spirit, brother and mentor, writes wonderful emails: “Dahling, if you feel energizing little quivers running up and down your spine, just know where they are coming from—with SO much love and fabulousness from Mama Afrika,” or “I have so many email addresses for you dahling, but wherever you are, you are in our thoughts” or “I hate Skyping. You have to do hair and make-up.” No need for a “Hi” or new paragraphs. Just his voice in my ear while I’m reading.
I don’t reply immediately to emails or texts or Facebook messages, even when they’re open, right there on my laptop or phone. Rather, I close them and carry on my day, making a mental note to reply later. Often I forget to. Saying “So nice to see you” and “You look great” is empty and pointless, most of the time. Unless you mean it. I used to make decisions on a point system. Then I moved to Pro and Con columns. Now I make them on a gut feel and in a split second, even though they sometimes take days or months to be acted on. This is a decision: writing and sharing, in a no-holds-barred kinda way. Maybe it’s a literary photograph album of my life. Maybe one of my mind. Maybe neither, just words on a page that you bring your own story to.
I write because it’s the one place I can break the mould and feel like I’ve done a good job doing so. A meme that’s also a musing. Where I don’t have to conjure an online personality, just copy and paste from my notebook. Also, I’m better at putting words into deliberate sentences on a blank page than making them mean exactly what I want them to, right in a moment; delayed release where things can make sense (after much editing, snipping, trimming, replacing). Then I feel said. And that feels oftentimes better than feeling heard.
I share these sentences because they don’t know how not to be. At least not yet. Maybe one day I’ll wonder why I posted paragraphs with such abandon. For now I’ll just ponder why I prefer to read magazines from the back forwards.