Getting Ready to Meet the Devil

Towns at rest, people going home, intermittent patches of glitter and dark everywhere – life, dear life was happening all around her, dancing restlessly through her lashes. Head leaning against the car window, Kara felt wide awake with fear and curiosity. Houses rolled past her like a tracking shot in a film, blurring and disappearing from view the very next moment, as if reminding her not to bother because everything was difficult, and everything was also fleeting. The houses didn’t hold her interest for long. The passenger seat – the safe haven, and speed – a delicious break from the reality of the moment, were half-assing their jobs too. On the other side of the car Tomás kept giving sighs of helpless irritation, distracting her from her attempt to stay distracted. "Damn you," she mouthed silently to herself, and buried her face in her coat. [...]

How to Be Your Own Story

When you fictionalise your life you have to make up some of the words yourself – the way they taste, the way they sound in the air – and twist them until no one can tell what hell you dragged them out of, but see them for the engineering marvel they are. When they ask, you tell them you read a lot as a kid, then you let them poke at your surface thoughts to give them better clarity and fill in their doubts about the meaning. They don’t need to know how you encouraged yourself to leave the mind and step onto paper, with all your words held tightly in your arms, careful not to drop them and break the memories they were inspired from. How long you spent rearranging them, until they looked nothing like the story underneath the story. No. They don’t need to know the words are you. You must tell them you were inspired by books and talks and general knowledge, and carry on with your life as if art was merely an insignificant slice of it, and the first time you tried it you ate it whole. No big deal. [...]

The Storm Before the Calm

I feel everything, everywhere. My intensity is both a blessing and a curse. Not for the faint of heart. I love with both my hands and all of my fingers. When I hurt, I hurt in every colour, from every angle, in any lighting. Other feelings are bland, beige, tasteless. Mine grow into a thick, coarse darkness I have to keep kicking until it bleeds daylight all over again. Fiery, roaring, breath-snatching, red hot soul. Bubbles deep in your stomach and your head spinning and your heart pounding kind of soul. I feel and I feel and I feel, like I am banging at the insides of a cage. There is too much me in me, and all I can do is wait it out until a rage spread thin, like apathy, takes over. I lay down, exhausted at best, empty at worst. I still feel, but at a lower volume. I find comfort in knowing that the opposite of coherent is interesting – just enough to get back on my feet again. [...]

Writer Girl, Interrupted

From the height of my balcony the world seems smaller, easier to tame. Easier to love. Sunlight lay across my knees like soft magic. I feel like an episode of my life, one that can only end if I am strong enough to fight the need to hear myself typing it alive over & over. "This past doesn’t need to be reused in the future," I repeat like a mantra, biting my lips and my fingers and most intrusive thoughts. No blood comes out, only hurt. I am not even brave enough to bite hard. I sit there quietly, late into the night. I'm feeling everything everywhere. My intensity is both a blessing and a curse. It comes with great responsibility, and a greater need for transparency. Not for the faint of heart. I love with both my hands and all of my fingers. When I hurt, I hurt in every colour, from every angle, in any lighting. Other feelings are bland, beige, tasteless. Mine grow into a thick, coarse darkness I have to keep kicking until it bleeds daylight all over again. [...]

In Praise of Blood and Noise

He smiled; she didn’t. He fell for it, hard. How she seemed to believe her own fantasies eliminated all noise and blocked all escape routes. He knew he’d hold the image in his head for a long time after the moment had passed, like an object you already know that you love dearly and grow too fond of it to ever put it away again. "I like your stories," he said, flickering through it. She weaved words like a vivid tapestry in her stories, the kind one thinks of when it’s breakfast and they’re standing in the shower for over an hour, bar of soap in their hand, soaking in the light, wishing they could crawl inside a second skin and relive them reborn, wild-eyes, free. "Good, you’ll likely be in one," she replied, struggling up, smiling strangely. She looked like the edge of a map, the place where things are uncertain and dangerous and make little sense. Here be dragons her face read, and he wanted to be in her every town, on her every street. Alive. Alive was what she was, with her running, gushing, swirling blood, and amongst all the noises of the world. [...]

On Fire, But Not Burning

Most of the time Melanie’s expression said I am still here but I am already gone. Some found her mysterious and provocative and learned to like that stare, like a dark hint. Others found her gentle-souled but didn’t take her stare for a hint; there was nothing behind it. No inner force of the mind shaking the thunder from the skies, no creative courage of the young heart, no play in her eyes, no fire; just dry logs. Poetic as it might seem in retrospect, in the moment it was just ugly and exhausting to be Melanie. The tiredness only made room for more of the same. She wanted to detach herself from her body often, fast and loud, like a car crash. Run out of her skin and bones and muscles and fat and nerves and let it all fall out on the floor like a piece of clothing she’d been waiting to take off, fold up and never put on again, so rough it felt and so badly she wanted to scratch it off. Most people looked comfortable with how they’d turned out, but Melanie’s body felt like a strange thing she seemed to have picked up in a hurry on her way to becoming, in the wrong size and dullest colour. [...]

To the Lucky Ones

This letter comes to tell you a few things I know to be true, in the naive hope that you won’t mind me not always leading by example. You see, I believe that love, even the love radiating from a stranger’s writings, is better than no love at all, and this is my way of passing it on. Love, as you know, is the only mechanism there is that can put both your warmth and your strength into motion, make you both gentler and more self-assured, sing you to sleep and ready you for war in the same voice. I will spare you the kind of love that social networks, extended families and old lovers are for – that yes, you are beautiful, unique, cared for and always welcomed home (wherever, whomever or whatever your home is) and no, not everybody can love you the same despite this. Instead I’ve got others, wrapped in just as much love, I promise you that. Take a deep breath. Read on. [...]