Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Mili and Chewing Wax

This was really nothing more than a personal exercise in allowing myself to follow a flow of thoughts, connecting one idea, memory, or thing to another and so on. Don't try and make sense of it--I'm quite sure you'd get rather frustrated. The second paragraph is the first page to "Dear MIli", a beautiful, dark children's book by Wilhelm Grimm and Maurice Sendak. This paragraph, well, it's just incredibly important to me. I felt like typing it.

Chewing wax, green cellophane, beats, blue hat and sunglasses, glitter skirt, mustard, spearmint sticky, red lights, white wine, red eyes, blue eyes, brown eyes, what color where his eyes, slow like sighs, fast dancing, the sound waves so loud they vibrated off my lips, elbows, unicorn meat SPAM tin, his necklace, oatmeal sludging, love, goose blue, goose bumps, hurt, pricks, bites, bruises, black carpet and cream tiles, apple trees, apple bags, apple box, click, red hair and north carolina, philadelphia story, white sicks, juniper, brumble, the Caring, I trust only old and warn out bricks, lights, lights that absorb into your body--absorb and affect, moksha, damp wood, lost jacket, cold shoulders, please hold my hand, cold hands, blue hands, plum, bernard, rust, pages, papers, ink, words, things, impermanence, abject, boiled milk, whales, paled trees that we walk on, cube shook, echo. ECHO.

Dear Mili,

I'm sure you have gone walking in the woods or in green meadows, and passed a clear, flowing brook. And you've tossed a flower into the brook, a red one, a blue one, or a snow-white one. It drifted away, and you followed it with your eyes as far as you could. And it went quietly away with the little waves, farther and farther, all day long and all night too, by the light of the moon or the stars. It didn't need much light, for it knew the way and it didn't get lost. When it had traveled for three days without stopping to rest, another flower came along on another brook. A child like you, but far far away from here, had tossed it into a brook at the same time. The two flowers kissed, and went their way together and stayed together until they both sank to the bottom. You have also seen a little bird flying away over the mountain in the evening. Perhaps you thought it was going to bed, not at all, another little bird was flying over other mountains, and when all was dark on the earth, the two of them met in the last rays of sunshine. The sun shone bright on their feathers, and as they flew back and forth in the light they told each other many things that we on the earth below could not hear. You see, the brooks and the flowers and the birds come together, but people do not; great mountains and rivers, forests and meadows, cities and villages lie in between, and they have their set places and cannot be moved, and humans cannot fly. But one human heart goes out to another, undeterred by what lies between. Thus does my hear go out to you, and though my eyes have not seen you yet, it loves you and thinks it is sitting beside you. And you say: "Tell me a story." And it replies: "Yes, dear Mili, just listen."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oatmeal Sludging or Competitive Title Alternative to 'Chicken Noodle Soup For the Soul'.

Oatmeal. I love oatmeal. Now, the way my mother makes oatmeal, I've learned, is quite unique. Slow cooked oats in salted water, then, stir in cream, raisins,brown sugar (cups and cups of brown sugar) and finally, what makes it amazing, a stick of butter. At least one stick. A whole tub, if you're the soft-churned type. Maybe more sugar. Butter and sugar. It practically ran through my veins when I was little. Butter and sugary sweetness. The world was a giant bowl of delicious oatmeal. Once in awhile, I might bite into a raisin--it might be sour, but instantly replaced, even complimented, by buttery, sugary, creamy perfection.

I'm going to now transition into an awkward analogy. Oatmeal. I am swimming in a giant bowl of oatmeal. And not my mother's. Nope. This is unsalted, pasty, watery oatmeal. The kind that sticks to your fingers, dries in crusty patches, and is far from enticing enough to lick off. Hardly napkin worthy oatmeal. Just wash it off, down the sink. It's lame oatmeal. Maybe undercooked, too. No butter, cream, brown sugar, insert favorite oatmeal topping here. This. This is the oatmeal I'm navigating my days through.

I know there are people that can relate out there; oatmeal sludging. That feeling of heaviness, of every movement and intention being weighted by something that glues itself to every exposed piece of you. Many more of you are probably saying "what the hell does oatmeal sludging mean? She feels like she's covered in oatmeal..?" No. I shower. There is no oatmeal on me. What I think I mean ("she... doesn't know? ") is that the older I get, the thicker, stickier, and heavier life, in general, becomes. I think that's common. I really don't know--I only say that to feel a little more sane myself. Maybe not everyone interprets that as Oatmeal Sludging ("oh, she capitalized it. She's serious now") but for me, I needed to identify it. Label it, stamp it, categorize it, define it loosely. "It" being a feeling. See, recently how I interpret things, feel things, process things, has been changing at a chaotic, incomprehensible rate. And I was actually going berserk. Most things I thought I understood I became unsure of. Things I wanted previously, no longer applied. What a hectic mind frenzy, what madness! All sense of self--evaporated before I could even scoop a drop up as proof of my own, grounded, existence. What is going on?! (cough--it's called 'your twenties'--cough). Peanut-gallery-in-my-head aside, what is going on, is the realization of, and experience in, Oatmeal Sludging. Living daily life in that highly viscus, goop that sets in with responsibility and age.

I'm not so okay with that idea. What to do with such an analogy? This, this is where my blogs are handy on a personal level. Because, I can bring it all back around, like a good little writer that is pretending her words are making sense. Bring it to the beginning, tie it all in. Package it all up, stick a bow on top, and left click-it it into to space. Ready?:

I, I love my mother's oatmeal. I love the uniqueness of it. It's like crack for the soul--screw that "Chicken Noodle for the Soul" no, this is Crack-Like Oatmeal for the Soul. ("Wait, how does she know what crack is like--" NO! No. I do NOT, it's another analogy. Go with it. But don't, I mean, just get a bowl of delicious oatmeal, okay?) Ultimately, what makes it so special is not the sugar, or the raisins, or even the amazing butter. It's the love she put into making a delicious bowl of the best oatmeal she knew how to make. She had no 'secret recipe', she simply put in what she thought I'd love. Of course! What if that's the 'secret remedy' to Oatmeal Sludging? Discovering and remembering to add my own ingredients? An appreciation of 'being' and an openness to changing realities--that's the raisins, balance. Butter: acceptance of what is, and what is myself. And sugar, all that sugar! Love! Naturally. SO many cups of love. My mother's oatmeal, flowing through my veins in a rather different way.

Now, Oatmeal Sludging is still there. I think that's life. Life's naturally a bit sticky to get through. But, knowing that maybe all it takes to make that goop a bit tastier, a little sweeter, even wonderful to move through, is remembering a few of those ingredients--well, that's more manageable than the previous chaotic blunder I was swimming through. Don't get me wrong here, life cannot simply be fixed with oatmeal analogies, or brown sugar used as a metaphor for love, with all its complexity. I'm in no way saying that. But I do believe there is something in carrying around little "happiness reminders", silly life analogies, or memories, to just kind of infuse the day with. In this case, I've apparently been really missing oatmeal. But look what I've learned from letting myself explore that!

Oh what a thing, life is so much more than a bowl of cherries. Life's a bowl of the most perfect, unique, oatmeal. I really should inform Quaker Oats. I feel like a new company motto could really help my blog out. I also find the man on the logo oddly handsome. He's got stature. He gets my analogy. He adds butter to his oats, I'm sure....