Friday, January 20, 2012

Stories Like Ghosts Fill the Air

Open your mouth and you will breathe them in.


I have an affinity for buildings. When we drive back home in the quiet hours of night, through suburban areas and downtowns, from a party at which too many people asked my what I want to major in and the rice was never as sweet as the kind my mom makes, ordinary places take on a glow of mystery. The details jump out - an arched window, a twisting iron vine, a flight of stairs.

With sleepy eyes I look out the car window at the places speeding by, filled with hunger for these edifices. What stories could take place there?

And every day I walk home from school, pondering if I dislike that person or not, wishing I had less homework so I could practice more euphonium, my eyes fixed in front of me, closed off - not just in my mind, but in my whole being - from the stories that are crowding for my attention all around me.

That is not the way.


Stories are everywhere.

Your classes: not chemistry, but alchemy. In PE you are not doing exercises for a grade, you are training because someone has kidnapped your friends and you must break into a fortress to rescue them. You do not take tests, you sit exams.

Sometimes it takes new eyes. You invite someone over and their praise - "Wow, this is like checking into a hotel! Your room is so cool - it's like an underwater theme." - makes you think, hm, now that I think about it, I do live in a hotel-esque place.

Pretend you are.

Every morning, you are waking to your first day in a new town to attend a prestigious university. Don't you want to make a good impression on your hosts? Wouldn't it be a shame if you didn't check out the famous library just two doors down? You really should get to know your neighborhood.

And that cat sitting so sedately in the middle of your floor? She is not just a beloved pet, she is your familiar. In either case, pay more attention to her; I dare you to dote on her more than you already do.

At night, tell yourself different stories. You are in a train compartment - an unusually spacious one, to be sure - and you are moving fast through the countryside to you know not where. It's an adventure. Or your bed is a boat and you are swaddling yourself against the cold. Look at the stars. Or you are hibernating. Or...


There is no shortage of ghosts.

There is no shortage of stories.

Close your eyes.



  1. Ah, what truth.

    When you go to parties, you should have a pamphlet prepared that answers all of the questions that get asked far too often. So then when people ask what you want to major in, you can just hand them the pamphlet and move on. ;)

    What, by the way, do you want to major in? If I can scrounge up the money I want to double-major in art AND english, but... that's a lot of money. I'll probably just major in art and minor in English.

  2. Excellent idea, though I don't think it would go over well with my parents.

    I want to major in something to do with/that uses math. Maybe architecture.