Earthquake Weather


This implies that I smoke cigarettes. I don’t. I value my lungs. I used to smoke cigarettes, and I was excellent at it.

Here’s the thing, I am a thinking person. I am also a feeling one. Shallow waters, I ain’t. I can create beautifully themed web layouts for myself all day long but if it doesn’t feel right after a few days, it has to go. I’ll think to myself, “But that looks so great…” But then realize it feels, to me, dysfunctional to the point of distraction. Like wearing an outfit that isn’t “you.” This brings me to the seemingly glaringly obvious realization that we can’t be who we aren’t, at least, not for very long, at least, a person with any kind of serious internal compass can’t. If you’re comfortable wearing a “mask” all day, perhaps that mask is you.ย  So, there are all the things we want to be, hope to be, try to be, there are the perceptions of others, and finally what we know to be true of who we are. I am not tangled vines or stranded in some castle tower. I can write those things, but I am not those things. So here’s where I’d like to say that you can be whoever, whatever, you want to be, and I believe that, but perhaps it is also true, at least at some juncture, that we are who we are. But, in that, we are also as yet, works in progress, I hope. Imperfect, changing, growing, ever-evolving, humans. There’s a line in the series “Deadwood”, paraphrasing, where Seth and Sol are having a conversation and one says to the other that there’s a lot of people who are perfectly happy living “borrowed lives”. I’ve always known I could never be such a person.

This implies that I eat a lot of sandwiches, when generally speaking these days, I forgo the bread carbs.

I could expand upon that subject, being who we are, wearing “masks”, and I may at some point, but I’ve not slept well for the last couple of weeks. I’m wondering now if it’s because of the earthquakes. Last week we were commenting on it, that it was earthquake weather. Unseasonable cool for this time of year, last week, the end of June, there was a day that was overcast, and entirely too quiet and still. Native Californians know what earthquake weather is, we can feel it. I would guess if you’ve lived here enough years, been through a few of them, earthquakes, you might recognize the quiet that is too quiet, the still that is too still. It is the sound of Mother Nature holding her breath for a beat, or two, in the time before the earth shifts. The squirrels in the parks have all been sketchy, confused, unable to get themselves out of the way. The squirrels in the parks here are quite used to people being around but for the last couple of weeks, they haven’t been able to figure out which direction to run. Yesterday, the air was incredibly still, not a cloud in the sky, it wasn’t that hot outside but it was hotter than it has been, and it was incredibly bright. It was the kind of bright that makes you think your sunglasses need sunglasses. Yesterday the air felt charged. So I’ll tell you that metaphorically, everything still feels slightly off center, askew, out of place, even though we didn’t feel they actual earthquake here. (Though some folks here did.)

I was thinking about a piece I wrote about how women writers are too often presumed, assumed, to be whatever it is that they’ve written, whereas male writers are simply assumed to be writers. ( You can read that here, Latitude.) But, I was reminded of something I wrote to myself, as a note to myself, when I was writing some really dark poetry some years ago, and getting into that headspace of imagining, was freaking me out at times, and it’s this, “I is not always I, she is not always me.” It was included in the first draft to be published and I may add it back in. Meaning that when writing something in the first person, or in the so-called confessional style, the “I” is not always I, and the “she” of a poem or story or whatever, is not necessarily “me.” Female writers, women writers, sometimes we create characters and write completely from our imaginations. I am not tangled vines, but I can write those things.

Now, I’ve got to go get it together because sleep or no sleep, the world keeps turning.

TS