August 3, 2020 Christi

I’m Not Making this Up

What Writing Is

“I’m not making this up. I’ve made it down. That’s what writing is, after all the nonsense, getting down so low the world offers a merciful new angle, a larger vision made of small things. The lint suddenly a huge sheet of fog exactly the size of your eyeball. And you look through it and see the thick steam in the all-night bathhouse . . . .”    –Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Not making it up, but making it down. Writing gathers my actual experience, what I see, taste, and swallow; what I feel under and over my toes. The most mundane and ordinary thing becomes a story, a fascination. I pause to rub the pale bruise on my foot. It bears the story of Friday’s hike through blackened trees and overgrown brush in the Columbia Gorge, where a stick wedged its way into my hiking sandal and jammed against my toe joint. The bruise shines like newt skin, lime green and smooth. This is not good, bad, happy, sad. This is not something to judge a day by. This is a glorious receiving of Earth experience, story, and imagination all at once.

I wish for you a larger vision made of small things. The quiet hush of fascination. The courage to look at what the fire has burned, and where the bruises have softened you.

As the desire draws you, so the story waits like the heartbeat of something yet unborn.  Draw your ear close and shiver with the beating of it: welcome the poem, and the world, and your heart.

Blackened trees in a forest in Columbia Gorge

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