Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The "Phone"

Why do we like the feel of smooth plastic, especially when the edges are rounded and the object slides across your palm like a piece of silk? Something about it feels like skin, but -somewhere in the rational part of your brain -you know that is merely the warmth of your hand. In essence, as you touch the plastic, you touch yourself. Literally, you and the object are as one.

When its warm heart beats, yours beats a little faster too. When it is excited, so suddenly are you. This thing has no smell and no taste, and yet it feels so wondrously alive. Every vibration pumps through your veins and you do not need to imagine the little lives trapped inside, each aching to reach out and touch you.

Much like you, this object is light and heavy, a thing to be both worshipped and reviled --only the greatest and the lowest cultures could ever lay claim to such magnificent importance --and now you both are as gods: mysteriously always available but somehow always too busy for the quotidian vicissitudes of life.

When you hold the object up to your cheek, it is an act of prayer; a true devotion. The weight in your hand feels just right and yet too much. The soft whisper in your ear is really just the air around you, pulsating to the same brief heartbeat. The warmth is really just your warmth, mingled with the unseen world outside. The stars could be falling, but if it’s not happening in your hand, do the stars really fall?

Everybody wants you, but nobody takes the time, until they really need you.

Regarding Object Writing http://www.spencermichaud.com/2012/10/songwriting-101-writing-from-experience.html#.VCLC4RY2Xct

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Blossoms

It’s cold, which seems incongruous with the icy white blossoms and the bright green grass. The sun knifes through the blossoms, almost as blinding as the intensely pale blue-white sky.

This is spring in the city, when everyone wishes it was warmer than it was; when everyone knows it’s about to be too hot to bear and this is the moment.

He asked me to turn my head ever so slightly into the blossoms, because we are taking those photos that everyone takes among the blossoms --head tilted, blossom grazing a cheekbone, sun and sky winking behind, and the blossoms like 10 million jewels in the background.

There’s no smell on the air except the ice cold spring wind, and that’s a relief. The air just smells cold. When you breathe in, you simply breathe in cold air, but it’s just warm enough that you cannot see it when you breathe out. Your nostrils fill and expand, and it feels like a gift.

If only you had a jacket or a sweater, this afternoon in the cold spring sun would be perfect; it will certainly look perfect in the photos.

When you reach up to touch a blossom, it feels insignificant. It’s actually heavy, and you notice more the weight than the silk, because all you care in that moment is to move the branch of blossoms this way or that --for the photo that matters more than this moment.

There was a time, many years ago, before camera phones and Instagram, when you were walking up a hill in summer, and it was unbearably hot and dusty.

Along the side of the road, along with the buzzing of the gnats and flies, resplendent in their pugnacious glory, popped up the large, frilly white heads of Queen Anne’s Lace, and you always wondered what they were and why they felt so raspy in the palm of your hand.

This is what flowers really felt like --slightly unpleasant with an aroma masked by dust.

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Postcard

The postcard sits in my hand, flat and dry. The edges are ever so slightly raspy, but not in a way that will scratch the skin, unless you really try. The image on the front is always glossy and fun, yet somehow just as flat as the medium -usually a place you want to be that you remember, but can’t get back to again.

You can almost imagine the taste -it’s somewhere between paper and cardboard, and you’ve tasted both (for some reason). Because of the high gloss, the paper on the front side seems to emit a kind of light. You know it’s just a reflection in your eyes, but it (the light) seems to be passing through the paper anyway. Something about it is mildly uncomfortable, in the same way that the matte yet silky non-photo side also feels just a little odd against the warm palm flesh of your hand.

It is at this point that the postcard demands turning over, like something or someone baking in the sun, or a secret. or a rock. So you turn it over, a slight whoosh as you do so, your eyes trying to determine where your words should go and where the stamp and the address are to be placed in the hopes that the message makes its way from wherever you are to wherever you are going to be.

That little rectangle of white is just a blank square of hope, already diminished by the real estate required for the stamp and the address. You feel it in your stomach, that little knot that says, “What words can possibly convey ‘wish you were here!’ without sounding like a complete asshole?”

As you put pen to paper, the heft of the utensil feeling strange because to hold a writing utensil is such a foreign thing anymore and your handwriting is terrible “these days” (as you always say), you feel the slight drag of the pen as the ink and nib violate the gentle surface of the matte paper.

Ultimately, you know it doesn’t matter what you say or what you write.


The Coffee Mug

The other day, it was freezing in the office. It is, in fact, always freezing in the office. On the bright side, our office has an automatic French press, and I’d had the presence of mind to bring in a real, ceramic coffee mug.

On this particularly chilly day, on the advice of my VP, I filled the mug with freshly brewed and very hot coffee. The smell of a fresh brew is almost like chocolate, and I always marvel how far the smell of coffee is from its actual, to me not at all pleasant taste. A cup of coffee is really just something to be gotten through, and there’s really only ever been a few cups worth remembering -but perhaps the delight, in the same way that drug users are always chasing that first high, is always chasing that one remembered taste you simply cannot forget.

Something about it reeks of romance, and maybe the bitter taste in the mouth is the reality of what relationships really are -hope dashed against the grinds, wet and earthy, and as close to death as we will get until the day we die.

As I slowly drink this hot cup of coffee, I wrap my chilled hands around the warm porcelain, almost too hot to touch, but a welcome contrast to the frost hanging in the air of the conference room. The warmth in the cup, the kindness of the suggestion from the VP, the bitter taste of the coffee combined with its intoxicating aroma -it’s all a bit too much.

Every moment should be like this, and not laced over with milk and sugar. For some reason, though the weight would be the same, the black coffee I now drink seems lighter in the hands than the mocha I used to always drink instead. I worry what the black liquid is doing to my teeth, my stomach, and my general overall well-being, and try to limit myself to two cups a day.

I used to be wildly addicted to this stuff, needing it in a way that other people need drugs and sugar.