Mate and Stories

Last night Susana shared some mate with me. It was my first time drinking mate so it took some time to appreciate the fullness of the taste it holds. I’d been looking forward to having some since she first told me about it (I wrote of this here) almost a month ago when we first started writing to each other. I was not at all disappointed; though I tended to drink a bit faster than would be best, I found it a very enjoyable experience, especially since I was sharing it with someone dear to me.

As I wrote in my last entry, my stories have hunted me down again. Last night, while we were drinking mate, I was explaining to Susana how I find it hard to consciously contrive stories. Most often I have story fragments or entire narrative pieces come to me from my subconscious or, if I give in to some romantic vision, holy muses. Those of you who know me well or who have read my journal faithfully will know that I haven’t remembered more than a handful of dreams in my life. I’ve been reflecting on that and how it might relate to how stories come to me; perhaps my dreams just emerge at odd times during my waking hours.

My delayed writing project, thankfully, is gaining some new life, at least in my head. This afternoon I took a very brief time to meditate; I scavenged just a few minutes to sit in my living room and still my mind from the torrent it’s been caught up in. After gaining that calm, I made a bit of a brainstorm of connections between story fragments and shifted them into something like a discernable structure. It’s a tangle, but one I can navigate.

I’ve been looking through some of Craig Thompson and Terry Moore’s graphic novels over the past few days and find myself overwhelmed by the skill and care both put into their work. I reread a passage from Blankets that never fails to bring tears to my eyes, parts of Good-Bye, Chunky Rice and Carnet de Voyage I find especially moving, and some of the Strangers in Paradise books I have. They and artists like them act like a double edged sword for me: I’m inspired by their beautiful work and know the deep desire to create something of my own that could express as much as well as they. I’m also prone to feelings of inadequacy in light of their creations. There’s no way to turn it off, though; I’m forever on the path toward creating and living beauty, love and truth. How often I stumble or must detour will, I suppose, determine if I ever arrive.

I’ll be going into the compulsion of creating soon. Whether it’s worthy of sharing or not, I have to keep those nagging doubts from my mind if I’m ever to complete anything. Otherwise, I’ll leave myself feeling very much the same, like a book with only the first page filled.
I just reread one short piece I wrote that I’m most attached to emotionally, “Coffee and Cola.” It’s from the central thread of the story I wish to write and may be the story fragment I write properly first. As I’m sitting here eating chocolate covered coffee beans (no, there couldn’t be any link between the narrator and myself having a love for coffee) I’m reflecting on the constant themes and symbolism I’ve used in my sporadic attempts at writing.
I wrote often of people being connected by threads, for instance; in one of my oldest surviving poems, “Moths + Fireflies” (you can also read the prequil, “First Fire Dances“), I began to explore that symbol and have called on it often since. Not long ago Susana mentioned folklore of threads connecting people and I saw my facination with threads in a new light as an inherited motif.
The themes of separation, distance and disunity are ones I’ve explored in nearly everything I’ve written and I’ve found it healing to explore that because so much of the struggle I’ve faced in my life had its root in such feelings. The ephemeral nature of life’s most blissful moments would no doubt leave me crippled without coming to understand that fleeting glimpse of sweetness.

I always return to knowing that life is best lived with “awkward dancing before the end of the world, falling to the grass and laughing at the fullness of life.” (see “Romance“)

8 comments on “Mate and Stories

  1. Andrew never remembers his dreams either. However, he thinks in words. Seems to me you do to. I think in images. I don't narrate to myself very often in my head, I just see and feel things. I think its this that causes me to remember every blasted dream I have, from the beautiful to the most unwanted images. They've been helpful before but if I tried to decipher everything I ever dream I'd spend a lifetime working on it.

    So yeah my theory is that if you think in words more you don't remember dreams as much cause dreams are usually image based so your mind is thinking it'd rather think of words. Meanwhile mine's going Oo pictures! nonstop.

  2. I don't necessarily think in words, but rather a mixture of words and images (my mind is like a graphic novel, I suppose). In dreams you the reading center of your brain isn't active, I believe I read, so that may explain Andrew's lack of dream recall. For me, because I'm also immune to headaches, I just assume I'm missing some important part of my brain.

  3. Andrew never remembers his dreams either. However, he thinks in words. Seems to me you do to. I think in images. I don't narrate to myself very often in my head, I just see and feel things. I think its this that causes me to remember every blasted dream I have, from the beautiful to the most unwanted images. They've been helpful before but if I tried to decipher everything I ever dream I'd spend a lifetime working on it.

    So yeah my theory is that if you think in words more you don't remember dreams as much cause dreams are usually image based so your mind is thinking it'd rather think of words. Meanwhile mine's going Oo pictures! nonstop.

  4. I don't necessarily think in words, but rather a mixture of words and images (my mind is like a graphic novel, I suppose). In dreams you the reading center of your brain isn't active, I believe I read, so that may explain Andrew's lack of dream recall. For me, because I'm also immune to headaches, I just assume I'm missing some important part of my brain.

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