Friday, September 13, 2019


"Okay, I'll start my book from this point," I say to myself when I buy ice cream at Trader Joe's on the corner to bring over to D's house. "This will be a good place to start." And the man at the register says "you can place that here. You don't have to freeze your hands." 

I say "Okay, I'll start my book from right here," when I wait at the Wild Oat vegan cafe and wonder if anyone will come to this meeting for action for the Amazon rainforest. (And people come, and we decide to try to put together a procession.) And I say, "I'll start now," at the procession itself, when we walk out into the street as rainforest creatures, and I feel blessed. And I feel how, after all, everything is about us as sentimental and sentient beings. Rainforests burn, but facts are meaningful only because of how we feel with them.

"Okay, I'll start it now then," I say when I walk fearlessly out of my therapist's office and I'm filled with courage

or after she says to me, "I'm astonished how you're not concerned with finances." And I smile because it's true, and it's a true blessing. He used to go crazy at how I didn't care enough about money. I never had much. I had just what I needed and I used what I had for good things. He always had more. And he would worry about it all the time, and I would worry about it never.

I say "I'll start it now," when I think about my belief about money.

I say "I'll start it now," when I have a name for my book - A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies

and "I'll start it now," when I have a name for a certain realization about fear and ethics and how fear can hinder ethics.

And "now," when I think I'm some ethical queen
and "now," when I think I'm ethically mundane, just average, just driven by inertia.

And "now," when something makes me feel really bad and I want to cry myself out, and I know that as a passage in my book it will be beautiful anyway and will no longer be a burden but a fascination.

And the same with the ethical questions. Wow! How fascinating as an analysis and not as an existential threat.

I say "I'll start my book now," when I walk home from Chabad on Friday night and sing all the way home, because I'm feeling like it's in me, the sounds of eternity and love -
She'tolicheinu leshalom, vetatz'ideinu leshalom... Lead us in peace...
I say "I'll start now," when I'm with the precious children I work with.

I say "I'll write now," when I go over to D's house for the first time, and want to document every moment, just to remember, for later, for this book.

I say "okay, let me start it now," when we sit at the co-op and talk about things; I can't even remember what.

I say it when I feel the morning desert of Israel and the dense clean air of this forest city in me both at once!

"Okay, now, words, come forth." I say it when I land back in Israel for a visit. And I say it when I step off the plane back home here and smell the woods again.

I say "I'll write now," when inspiration ripples through me, because it is felt in me is such a vivid and lively way and is worth writing about. And "now," when I feel like I ought to really let myself write about myself in the third person in the way an artist like Cindy Sherman wasn't afraid to praise herself. Because I want to. I want to write about a fairy who comes to town and sings everyone into peace.

I say it when I am enveloped in fear, in sorrow. I say it when I am driven, when I'm being driven, or when I'm drawn, when I'm drawn to him. Or when I long, when I have this strong and beckoning sentiment of longing and yearning... When I feel Israel under my feet and Bellingham over my head.

When I'm feeling the immense beauty and blessing of community, of magic - I say it then. I say "I will start my book from this moment in time. This will be the first sentence."

I say it, but I don't do it. I don't write it. I want the words to be their own entities, to be summoned to my page, but I don't know how to draw them in. I want my hunger for them and my envisioning them to be enough for them to appear. I wait and I wait, as if they will come on their own accord, willingly flutter in like fairies of the greater worlds of lust and color, and curve and quiver, and rest on the page after they orgasm through the richness of Being, and help me express just how it feels to be so exquisitely excited about life, as I ride the bus or as I look out at Mt. Baker in the distance and I have eagerness and passion in me that accompany my every gaze of body into landscape, memory into presence, heart into time. 

But I don't start them. And they don't flutter in. I sit up at night while I'm sick and desperately need to sleep, and wonder where they are, those birthing words, because I'm feeling overwhelmed, and, OH!, how I want this book to be coming along (it's got poetry and images and maybe a blade of grass taped inside, and all sorts of words) while none of it has been written yet; the seed hasn't yet even fertilized this powerful world, there is not yet the sperm for the baby I want to birth; just the magnificent soul of fantasy. Oh, it's all been written in the air. But not on the page. All the arbitrarity, and the raw vulnerability ("a soul without skin"), and the beauty and the bizareness! And the adventures, and all the new things I'm learning about myself, and all the old streets of Jerusalem, and the conversations I've had among them in cafes, feeling like philosophers of the 18th century discussing their ideas... And the love and the longing and the nomadism. It's all there in its depth, in its entirety, in its flickering street-lightness, in its delicate connectivism, but it's really not anywhere yet other than in my beautifully chaotic and undisciplined mind.

So should I start from right here - sitting in bed, in this room in my friend's house, where I'm temporarily living, arching over the screen, hours after I was supposed to fall asleep because of this sore throat and exhaustion I've been feeling the past couple of days, wanting to sleep but being compelled to write? Should I start from here, from the physical pain I feel upon staying awake? It will be felt.    The spine burning.    The eyes stinging.    The stomach churning.    The heart yearning.

The sweet freedom sojourning!

So I get up the next morning, and I take the bus to the co-op, and I say, "I am starting now. I am."

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