Copywriter Wields A Paintbrush // Forum Board 3.16.18
Art Director: Julia Ball
The World As Seen Through A Pilot's Daughter's iPhones
London, England // Summer 2018
Lisbon & Sintra, Portugal // Summer 2017
Prague, Czech Republic & Amsterdam, The Netherlands // Winter 2016
Marrakech & Fes, Morocco & Barcelona, Spain // Summer 2015
writing For Not Ads
Scientific American: A Bedtime Story
At night, my brain unspools like an unruly ball of yarn, wooly and longing for a pattern to follow. Neurological pathways spill out in loose, pink tendrils. I follow them as they thread through places of unimportance– the convenient store of my childhood, the office of a college professor, the hallway where my aunt removed a scorpion’s stinger from my heel, the street before the street my house was on (a prelude to home)– making them significant.
Will I wear these things forever? The yarn of my experiences woven into a garment, the pattern thick and tight. They say forgetting happens logarithmically, in a curve. Which makes sense– the poems and places and people I used to know snag and catch on things that have long since smoothed and softened: the swing of a sad conversation’s exit door, the corners of forgotten arguments, the barbs of unaccepted apologies.
Here I am, wedged somewhere between moonlight and sunrise, gathering up neurological fibers between my fingers, knotting off their ends, and slipping them through the eye of a needle. With a pickling of gooseflesh on my arms, I start sewing something like sleep. When they come, my dreams are of me diving into my own cortex.
Fish Out of Water
I wasn’t hooked by some knee-deep wader and hoisted high, dripping and speckled, my scales refracting.
An unceremonious flop, really. Sent my eyes lolling in their lidless saucers. Christened my fins on the shores of a nameless bank. If I’d been hooked, I wonder, would I have tossed one eyeball back towards the murkiness– Lot’s wife in fish-flesh?
But there is no sharp, slender neck of a knife pressing in. No glinting sterling against the backdrop of my pearled flank. That is how I imagine it happens, though– being splayed open. Lying on a bed of unremarkable mud, agape and still rainbow, insides getting their first taste of outness.
It was me. I came up for air, knowing full well, I only breathe water. Now the world comes in fractures between my gills. Belly-up and gasping, I observe ironically, that the sky is the river just wrong side up.
Is there a physicist present to present the physics behind a metaphorical knockout? How the kinetic energy of an eloquent sentence grows as it escapes? How it begins deep in the catacomb of some cortex and is then born– delivering a crushing blow of brain blood to the skull?
Here, look my pen is poised to leave scars of ink across the tired, pale faces of trees that used to be. How it dodges insecurity’s padded punches. In the corner, I throw scribbles like a southpaw. Perhaps if I circle ’round the rings of my notebook fast enough, my thoughts will lose their gold bar heaviness. The time for an exchange of clumsily-crafted currency with the blank page has passed.
With fists closed, grip tight, I’m training for powerful lines, for sequences of syllables that crack bones like champagne. Here I am, just one of many boxers; shifting my weight beneath the scalding bath of white spotlight, holding court with the roaring crowd between my ears, words blooming around my sockets like green-yellow shiners. My thoughts itching and hungry in their gloves. I’m up against the ropes, dreaming of a brilliance that leaves bruises.
A kerplunk did rupture the atmosphere, once. Unfurled like a velvet spool and dove its echo into my ears. Its arc was fine and lovely and casted out onto the river’s smooth, cool face. Beneath the whispering oaks, we were three fisherman silhouetted against the sun.
How do I describe the music of morning? Poetry escapes me like catfish from a line. The river breathed husky against the wet sky. Its breath hovered like steam above a mug’s gaping mouth. Do I talk of the wild on just the other side- how it was fevered- always growing, stretching on in a dull, green tangle?
How do I tell you that in that space just after dawn, I was jealous of my sister as she drew her rod back behind her? Everyone always said she had the most whispers of you. She wore your hands and easiness, unstudied charm smeared across her in hasty swoops. The deftness with which she detached a hook from a fish’s lip; even that was admirable.
Girls, we wear our mothers like crowns, precious and jeweled. But fathers are our first and most innocent of loves. We keep them tied tightly to us, schooners forever docked close by a multifarious knot.
By the murky water, sat me, rod and reel-less (books were the only bait I was ever hungry for) with crumbs of sleep charring my eyes. Beneath my feet, tree roots held the bank gently and my bones cracked a little to think of Time, to think of our corner of the river as finite. Which is why, even as a child, I knew that I must snatch, take, grab in handfuls this most precious life in which I found myself made of the same old, new blood as you.
Can we sit and talk a little?
Can we stop and listen much?
Can we fish in quiet for an infinite while?