This writing came from a "popcorn writing" exercise with Esther. The words that were used in both of our stories as a result of the activity are underlined in this one. For more info on how to do popcorn writing, see our writing section.
Something from nothing, at once everything there is - this is the story of life. Be a tree, firmly rooted, thirsty, arms outstretched. Find the light with eyes accustomed to darkness. Learn to swim, even though the water terrifies you. Sleep enough, but try not to sleep too much. Listen to the raindrops.
Pit-ter-pat-ter, they fall. On what, I can't discern. They are unmelodic, sharp, perhaps mixed with snow from the sound of it. They are relentless. But I am the tree, so I dance with my leaves facing the sky.
The street is sleeping, the shutters drawn. Cars are parked and their parts are cold, unmoving. Lights cast shadows on sidewalks and blades of grass. I can see no one, not even a cat. My watch says it's 11:23 in the night.
Still I can hear a humming in my head. Murmurs, noises, a ticking bomb I can't diffuse. Day and night it's with me, and it's driving me mad.
I used to be a painter, or so I'd say, in the second grade. When yellow and blue made green and all of the colors formed a rainbow. But one day I painted a face that I'd sometimes see in my head, and I was taken out of school. I didn't paint much after that.
Now I am being a tree, hearing raindrops while the street sleeps and my watch ticks onward. I'm alone and still sometimes that scares me. I want to call for backup, but I know no one would come. So I remind myself:
Something from nothing, at once everything there is. This is me. This is the story of life. I am a miracle and everything I do is a work of art. I am strong and stable, like the tree. I am graceful waving branches in the wind. I see in vivid color with eyes that for many months were closed. I was born, so I can breath and be and sleep.
If I add up all the days I've been alive on this Earth, you could say I'm 42. Sun rising, sun setting, 42 times 365 times. I don't think I have done enough in that time, but I know it is a gift to be alive. If I didn't know this, I would deteriorate instantaneously.
Chicago-born citizen of the globe, rich in the things that really matter. Let's get weird.