(Droplet) making life, or not quite that.

Ubud, by Nikki Lake

I tend to write too much. Recently, I’ve perscrutated some of my older documents, hundreds of pages of unfinished poems and texts, unnamed corpses with maggots glowing with auroral colours, some contained beautiful ideas done poorly, others were armed with beautiful constructions enveloping poor ideas, and I only gained a real sense of how much I write when I saw at them, all those fragile creatures and growing things. I seem to write nearly out of habit, like everything spoke to me with some unbearable silence that I’m encumbered with deciphering.
Poetry was never forefront in my productions, and I started composing for the bounds and restrictions; the parsimonious quality words attain, that bug of shortening and condensing, it helps me quiet down. What I want, still, is to write a novel, but I find it to be a tortuous exercise at times: I write walls, I water every minute aspect of my realms, and I can’t truly shake the sensation that I write too extensively, too strenuously, almost too delicately, thus, I never truly started a novel, despite my monumental amount of inklings here and there, small blossoms of lemon thyme. I’ve never given up on training, though, if I might someday take hand at a task I’m likely to fail at, I must at least take solace in my trials, in my tiny evolutions. I’ve been looming three separate documents for a while: Echolocations, so I can train on shortening and sharpening my descriptions of places, mostly exteriors (interiors are rather easy to pen, since personal items carry symbols, they are purposeful, they can be calculated); Melisma, where I practice my precision on collective events or passages with movement and vibrancy, mostly describing isolated scenes that require further aid; and Restoration of a River, a small narrative development where I further my creation of characters.

This latter one, however, proves to be the most arduous, for a great dichotomy plagues it like a pestilential locust: human beings are beautifully woven, fluid and frail things, and one can’t help painting them with as much brushes as it lays possible; we, as their creators, see them so sharply and care for them so limpidly, it feels criminal to let them go misunderstood, but, being misunderstood is one of the humanest things we all experience, and we rob them of their humanity if we rob them of that. A conundrum indeed, and in ambiguous instances like these, where I must weigh the exact measure of my control, are the ones where I often lose it entirely.

Grant, which had not ignored the look completely, found it too fatuous to warrant intervention, but that sensation of idleness circled his thoughts and held them captive. «Maybe I should have said something,», he thought, both infuriated that he didn’t and regretful that the chance had escaped his grip, «but surely, if I paint him correctly as someone who does and says for score, another opportunity shall arise for me to muzzle him» and with this thought, he entombed that haunting sensation. Grant was more of a yew than a human; incredibly tall and wide, if one was to stand as close as a metre, he would nearly fill horizon to horizon; this physical attribute, coupled with a pointed sense of his surroundings and those who occupied them, coadunated into a form of distant sentinel, and one couldn’t help but feel as immensely aware of him as he was of everything. His eye, for how incisive it tended to be, often led him into the wildest hunts of imagination, and after leaving with Louisa and Payne in search of his stick, his thoughts slithered into the knots of every trunk, the silky lips of the rivulet whispering the spirit of mint, an odd cawing here and there of a bird he couldn’t quite identify but that reminded him of his sylvan childhood, how green things seemed back then; and then his mother, her pallid skin so similar to the birch bark, and a smile which, much like him, seemed to fill horizon to horizon whenever he arrived home, and so he kept busy with details, never idle and never restless, but a median of dream he came to master.

Restoration of a River

Harder still than ebbing between the voice we allow them and the voice we take from them is perhaps the osmosis of interaction. In our quotidian, it is rather easy to spot how often we abnegate shards of our expression so others can express, how often we judge how much to abnegate in order to enrich our relationships, enrich our own expressions and projections of selves; how much of us exists in this world tends to consist mostly of what of ourselves is contained in others, and applying those mechanisms and dynamics into the parsonages, crafting individual devices of abnegation and judgement for each of them in a way that they fit one another almost inextricably, proves to be more than a bit demanding. I don’t want to merely generate a lazy narrative force that drives characters forward in a particular path, but instead, people that are driven beneath and beyond that force, characters that are able to be moved without the magnitude of villains and mysteries and tragedies and dalliances, because very few of us are driven by those things. We are driven by what we are into what we become. And that element of being proves hardest to replicate, although certainly not impossible, as many did it in the past.

Collie, now near Sandra, kept his eyes coiled to the ground whenever he felt she might turn to him, locking the air with a breeze of timid silence, shrouding his hands within the side-pockets of his coat. A mist rolled with the softness of a first snowfall, and their breath condensated in a brisk show of glimmer whenever it encountered small rays of the wintry low-hovering sun. Sandra, a bit disheartened with the disruption of her solitude, despised appearing icy, as that resulted in others taking her for a bland character, something she assured herself often that she was not, thus she shattered the ice before it even formed:
— Collie, right? I went to school with your brother, or at least I think he was your brother. What was it? Liam? — she said, manufacturing some sense of doubt not to appear overly cognisant of the lives of others.
— Yes, Liam!, he’s my elder brother. Was he your friend? — Collie replied, exulted that she had taken notice, but somewhat laden in his speech, as if a cold boulder sat on his throat.
— Not friends, no. I merely knew him from sight. How’s he doing? I haven’t seen him in a good count of years, feels like. — Sandra said, raising the weight of her taciturn eyes to a point that her face seemed suffused with the features of a solemn and torpid lake, distantly removed, tightly hidden atop some remote mountain. This was an instrument she made use of, but she wasn’t aware of why nor what purpose it meant to achieve, she simply did it as one simply eats or simply bathes.
— Yeah, I suppose he wasn’t much of a friendly type, it was a silly question. He moved near the coast, to study. He doesn’t visit nor call much. My father insists that Liam feels we can no longer understand his profound and modern forms of communication, but that he will return when he needs to. «They always do», he says, because «when they are in need to be understood, they very rarely don’t find the words», as words only evade us when they detect our insincerity. And when we feel we can bend them to our liking, they tend to bend us instead. — Collie prattled, and then widened his eyes, falling into a chasm of quietude as soon as he realised how much he had just spoken. These meagre embarrassments of youth seem to hold so much gravity to us at the time, but with age, they become fundamental habits of our self-distinction and almost definitive elements of our personalities. Sandra found the splurge of information tenderly effusing; it allowed her greater times of silence, bigger windows of invisibility, and the way she lovingly held each word he uttered (as it represented another word she wouldn’t have to utter) was shown clearly in her expression: the lake began to lower calmly, undetectable, her skin was more visible as her face angled upwards, a tone of olive sheen befell it and she almost appeared to be a feminine bronze statue foregrounding a Mediterranean dawn, still graced with the dew of a humid night, glimmering and exurgent. This shift wasn’t noticed by Collie, who was still submerged in his own infantile discomfiture.

Restoration of a River

Both fragments of the document represent a tiny amount of what I’ve written on it, but they are among the weakest parts of the text; they showcase well the measure of my shortcomings and, in some strange sense, I prefer to exhibit these instead of the stronger ones. Perhaps one day I will feel ready, but being aware of my inadequacies seems the best way to inch closer to that readiness, however long it may take. And thank you, if you’ve made it this far along. I write far too much.


Tokyo, by Nikki Lake.
(Her pictures remind me a lot of my perspective of spaces when I was a child, for some reason)

Published by João-Maria

A tick clinging to the bristles of a purple boar.

19 thoughts on “(Droplet) making life, or not quite that.

  1. I don’t know if you can relate to this but I find the prospect of writing a novel something akin to drawing fractals, something that expands explosively yet must maintain the themes and complexity without falling apart. Delicate, fragile, were the words you used, which I believe are the perfect ones to use in this conundrum. I know the blank page is the object of scorn for writers, especially on this wordpress blogosphere, but man what a blessing it is at times to be able to start anew.

    I enjoyed reading Restoration of a River.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh, absolutely, but it does rather depend on the tone of the entire ordeal!, it can either be a bursting prismatic fractal, brimmed with light and movement, or a tessellation, tiny led-heavy steps, careful and infinitesimally precise. I find the former in narratives like Foster Wallace and Kundera, and the latter in those old literatures, Dead Souls, In Search of Lost Time, The Idiot, things of that sort. Both with immense worth, incomparable, truly, and I’m yet to find in which I fit best, or in which amalgamation.
      I love the blank page, it’s my dearest friend, my most proximate companion, I look at it and the page leers back, and we understand each-other in hyaline capacity; it is the filled page, that demon of a thousand heads, replete with symbols and images and wounds, replete with pain and beauty, that is the one that bothers me most. I find this the case for anyone who likes “writing” more than what is written. Do you know that simple saying: “it is not about the garden, but the gardening”? I often feel in that same way.
      Thank you Conor, you’re awesome for still reading me.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It truly is, and I don’t suppose perfection is what I seek, truly, but rather the sentiment of unlocking the beauty of that mess, which is an exercise of de-cluttering more than anything.
      Thank you, as always! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You, Sir, are magical. I read the first two lines of any of your post and get deluged with a desire to bury myself in blank sheets, a pen in my hand.
    Very frankly, I have to run to dictionary multiple times during the read but almost always feel a current of emotions (often inexplicable) running through me as I traverse your writing maze. Stay well and keep writing.
    Much respect!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah!, such honey-soaked words!, thank you so much.
      I spar with myself constantly because of my usage of language, but words are like baseball cards to me, I collect them merely for the purpose of having them by my side, and then jump hither and tither inside my mind. I often can’t find better words than those I use, and although the impulse to simplify is there, I feel like all words deserve some love, some light to be cast upon them.
      Your compliments warm me dearly, and if reading me creates in you the necessary propulsion to write, that hardened impetus to develop, I’m more than exulted, I’m also deeply honoured.


  3. “I write walls, I water every minute aspect of my realms, and I can’t truly shake the sensation that I write too extensively, too strenuously, almost too delicately, thus, I never truly started a novel, despite my monumental amount of inklings here and there, small blossoms of lemon thyme.” Beautifully said!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Nadine! I’m so glad you found something worth keeping out of this paltry confessional post. It gives me the hope that I can still be read for more than my poems.
      Your presence is immensely valued!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. “… some contained beautiful ideas done poorly, others were armed with beautiful constructions enveloping poor ideas…”
    This is what really hurts when writing, I always look for a chance to fix this.

    I used to write a lot until I found how much I like when simple common words can have a great and complex meaning, through the proper development of… mmm, so many elements. Its kind of the reverse of word construction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, yes, every word is malleable in that sense; high language, low language, any of them, backed by the correct structure, can carry immense amounts of sentiment and gravity. The trick is the balance, the architecture that surrounds what we say, often despite what is truly being said.

      Thanks for stopping by, AuAu. I hope your pigeons are doing super great!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What is your take on leaving space to breathe? Whether garden of trimmed leaves and stem, hedgerows sheered, or tropical forest of dense undergrowth, there’s space for air, for rain, for sunlight to scatter. Most of what makes up the volume of an atom is something other than mass. Would you not leave space for conundrum and mystery in your characters, settings, and circumstance?

    Please forgive my blunt rush to the point, I follow your blog because I enjoy your words in how you share the pain of bleeding yourself onto the page.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You didn’t sound blunt at all, Shawn! It warms me much that you would bestow sufficient worth upon me to solicit my opinion on these matters.

      Space is a bit of a mendacity when we speak of written arts, or, better still, the authorial synallagma extant therein; there is no space between you and your creation, no space between yourself and yourself, and that intimate proximity, which clouds and clears in strangely volatile manners, provides the foregrounding instrument of creating any given thing. The only chance to manipulate that cumbrous unravel of self is, in my view, the weapon of silence; what a prismatic thing, silence, it can be gold and silver and led, it can heal just as rapidly as it can kill. The mensuration of how much to transmit, how much light we allow to shatter and scatter, how much to sheer, how much to hide under atomic emptiness, I do not know, Shawn. I haven’t the slightest clue.
      I tend to fiddle around, and this exercise certainly started rough and shall continue so until I’m able to find an equilibrium between my often coifed, excessive conveyance, and my desire to create veritable complexity in those I choose to create.
      Thank you so much for enjoying my words, it truly means a lot, especially coming from you.


  6. There is something extra special in how you do yourself infatuated with words. I am also infatuated and also delighted with the arrangement of words at rhythm. I agree with you that the process place that is writing is very interesting while it is happening. What I know to be true is that the text, once written, is provided as interesting but not always relating at interest span, so not experiencable continuously. You are discussing something always true.


  7. You don’t write nearly enough for me, my friend.
    And if I read one of your novels, I’d have to lie down for half an hour after each page.
    Get on with it!
    Saying that, I’ve got one on the go but it’s killing me to write it…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It’s about a native Canadian who must make his vision quest, a ritual of passage for adolescents requiring them to live alone in a sacred place until they’re visited by a spirit, after which they return to their tribe. These vision quests can last days or weeks. The vision is then interpreted by the village shaman who renames the adolescent accordingly. In my story, the adolescent is a cynical 28 year old living and working in Toronto who reluctantly agrees to make the quest in order to please his elderly grandparents. The problem is, during his quest he’s visited not by a native spirit but by the Virgin Mary who delivers a prophecy.
    The first chapter is in my blog under Episodes and is entitled: The Abomination (this is only the title of the prologue, not the novel).
    I’ve written about half of it but it’s hard work compared with rhymes about farting.
    Maybe one day I’ll complete it.
    And yourself?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That does sound very compelling. Don’t worry, I won’t snag the idea.
      I’ve been writing about nothing lately. Sometimes it warms me, sometimes it coldens me. I try to not precipitate substance, as I’m fearful of it; it’s literary pusillanimity, I suppose.
      I will get around to it someday, I’m sure of it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve been suffering from writer’s bloc since September. I wait for inspiration then, out of sheer frustration, go looking for it which is worse if you still don’t find it. It’s brutal.
        Hang in there and keep pen in hand.

        Liked by 1 person

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