黄鶯睍睆

Kōō kenkan su
Bush warblers start singing in the mountains

About a decade ago, when my kids were fewer and much shorter, I realized that my best friends were strangers, writers I bonded with because of their command of prose, their wild imaginations, their unfettered energy. My actual friends, the ones who know me in return, they have mostly disappeared, one by one, either because their life is hectic and full of things that I know nothing about or because I am too much for them. I am a lot to handle. I have a persistent, often boring, brain that houses my rabid imagination, my ridiculous memory. And because there is just so much swirling around in there, I often contradict myself, usually within the same conversation. I am an unreliable narrator of my existence.

I wish, for others mainly, that I could be solid and consistent but being flexible and open-minded means that I can accept many different realities, without committing myself to a single, possibly wrong one (on its own). I live as a contradiction, a Westerner in the East, a married single mother. I am both. I am either/and/or.

I started thinking about contradictions when I wrote to my friend who originally pointed out my roller coaster nature. I felt so self-conscious from this insight he has that I read over the short email several times, just checking to make sure there were no hairpin turns or spiraling dips. And then I thought, you know what, fuck it. Maybe I am a roller coaster but you know, some people line up for hours to ride roller coasters, travel miles and miles and kilometers to do so. So yeah, I am a mess of contradictions, yes, I will say I am 100% doing one thing then turn around and 100% do something opposite. That is a-okay because I mean each declaration: I am sincere about every attempt to settle on one side of myself (if only to be dragged back to the other side, over and over again).

It is a three-day weekend and I am glad of it. I need the time to come to terms with my recent decision to basically say fuck it to formal Japanese study (besides for my weekly lesson) and just sink into the literary world. Good books, my literary magazine, and my own writing remind me that this is where I belong. I listened to a great interview with Marlon James and as with any writer that I have an affinity for, I felt the great burden of loneliness slip away as he spoke.

I have been isolated for long enough to be candid about this truth: I am a lonely person. I live in a situation that offers very little opportunity for making friends and even those who I could grow close to, either because they are also immigrants or because they lived abroad before or because their kids go to the same school, well, let’s just say, I have yet to meet one of my peers amongst those good people and I have come to accept that I probably never will. It is okay though as long as I have my notebook and pen.

I did write yesterday and am about put more ink to the page. It is strange to go back to the beginning and set down those memories into words. Strange and good. I also finished up a podcast for my literary magazine, that I am restarting from tomorrow. And tomorrow I will also begin the layout for the print issue, which is pretty exciting. I really missed working on the project and look forward to returning to that work.

I do want to study Japanese, one day. But first, I must write. Please remind me of this if I swing back to the other side tomorrow. Write then study. Sounds fair, I think. And I can always do the opposite, knowing that eventually, I will go back the other way.

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