’m feeling particularly fucked.
It seems as though that is the case.
All I do all day is dig through memories, try to see if I can remember something new
All I do all day is dig through memories, try to see if I can remember something new.
Remember where I went wrong.
For so long I’ve tried to ignore my origins, or at least pretend like I’m different.
Today I read a story by Sam Pink called Juliana and it all came back to me.
Chicago. That city. It shaped me.
But it’s not just Chicago. It’s also my sleeping conditions during that time of my life.
I slept on the floor, on a twin-size egg crate mattress.
Eventually I found a full-size futon mattress in an alleyway garage sale for $10.
I threw out the egg crate mattress, which gave me nothing, and started sleeping like a king on the floor, in a bedroom that was two steps wide and three steps long.
The thing is, I loved this bedroom. It had a long window, which I situated at the foot of my futon mattress.
I didn’t put any kind of blind over this window. Both sun and moon would not have to fight anything to burn through the thin skin draped over my eyeballs.
Outside this window rasped tree branches.
If I turn off the radio, I can hear their bony scratch.
Inside this bedroom I became something that hasn’t left me yet.
Inside this bedroom I learned myself.
I don’t think I ever cried inside this bedroom, but I may have. Mine is a sad soul, prone to bouts of melancholy.
I think it has something to do with being a mamma’s boy.
What choice did I have?
And if I had a choice, would I have chosen differently?
But getting back to Sam Pink. He lives in Chicago. He writes in Chicago.
Chicago has shaped him in ways that only Chicago can do.
Sam Pink also sleeps on the floor, in either a sleeping bag or some other kind of derelict device.
He writes about the skyline, about how it makes him feel good for no particular reason.
I know what he means.
The Chicago skyline inflates an airless air sac somewhere near my liver.
Tall buildings have a weird effect on certain people, and often these people gravitate to them.
Settle down, Michael, drink your iced espresso, look out the window.
Yes, I talk with myself. I’m a mamma’s boy who talks with himself.
Chicago has shaped me. Sleeping on the floor has shaped me.
There’s nothing quite like sleeping on the same level as dust balls and lint and pubic hairs.
I open my eyes and see how the oak wood floors are actually uneven.
I see the scrapes of past lives. I admire the trim. I stare into the vertical slits of sockets.
“Care to adjourn to the balcony?”
My roommate, Russ, asking if I’m able and willing to step outside of my bedroom and do something.
“I’ll be there in a minute.”
Me, Michael, saying I’m not quite ready to emerge.
The thing is, a lot of people who write have lived in Chicago, and if they haven’t lived in
Chicago they’ve slept somewhere very close to the floor.
It just happens that way, like a calling.
In which I speak like a prophet: If you find yourself sleeping very close to the floor on a regular basis, either by choice or by necessity, and haven’t written a story yet, consider putting in the effort, it may very well change your life.
Case & Point: On twitter, there’s an update from Amelia Gray, a real-life author, in which she says:
Tonight’s fashion goal is for people to look at me & say, “I’m pretty sure that woman does not sleep on a bare mattress on the floor”
The balcony is slanted and doubles as a fire escape. Russ and I live on the third story, in a brownstone in Noble Square.
He wears a red-hooded sweatshirt. He carries a yellow pelican case.
Forgive the sudden ‘tense’ change, from past to present.
The thing is, I like to write in the present tense, I tend to slip into it once I manage to transport myself to another time and place, and I like to digress, too.
Yellow Pelican Case continues...