Monday, January 14, 2013

All things lost.

This blog used to be another blog before I turned it off. I waited too long to turn it back on, not knowing time was running out. And then it was lost for good.

Now it's back, to defy loss and live another day.

I acquired the notion at some point that all blogging has to be current and forward-looking only. Present and future only, people. The past is all sentiment, sediment. Leave it at the bottom of the sea.

I love the idea of restrictions. Rules. Strange, self-made doctrines and bits of protocol. But, for today, let's begin by looking back because my arbitrary rules can completely sod off.

I used to be a writer. I can rewrite this blog and I can rewrite the rules. Just watch.

This is where I first wrote, at the desk from my childhood. I've had it as long as I can remember. My mom refinished it, painted it that soft pink and covered the inside with the wallpaper from my bedroom. Then, a million years later, she accidentally left it outside in a storm. We don't have it anymore.

The bottom drawers and the tilted front flap (that locked with an old skeleton key) are missing in the pictures. I remember my older brother letting me keep his pet garden snake, Pinkie, in a little box in the desk at night. I remember how that snake affected my dreams: I would grow so fast that my Mom would have to help me peel off my papery, shed skin every morning. 

The desk looks like something pulled from a shipwreck. 

And I realize it's rarely considered valuable to write about little girls and the places where they learned to learn. The places where they learned to write. To become authors. To become their own authority. Because how could a pink, flowered, beloved desk built for one woman by another be a valid institution of important knowledge transfer in a world that demands so much. This desk doesn't look strong enough to compete. This desk is too sentimental and sentiment is the enemy of art. The enemy of innovation. This desk is too traditionally gendered. This desk is too small. This desk cannot endure a storm. 

I've had several other desks now. First a very modern white one. Then an even more modern black one. And now, a desk so modern it's made of steel and glass. I know, what a relief, eh? What if I had gotten stuck back here at the pink flowered desk? What could a little girl with an old-fashioned desk possibly become? 

I was the kind of little girl that loved people deeply. I stood up for anyone being teased or belittled which meant that I beat up my share of kids to protect anyone small, sick, different, or less inclined to pugilism. I made every mistake possible and was stubborn as hell. And I wore a dress every day until I was in third grade.

When everything is lost, we have words. 

Every shipwreck, every desk that sinks to the bottom of the sea, is like another skin shed. You've outgrown your skin and are finally free.