asking forgiveness of the sea for whatever was fucked up
It fills me with the hope that someday the futures that slip through my fingers like marbles will seem like a mythology.
...the sea is the place where we forgive ourselves for the marbles that slipped through our fingers without our understanding why. —"On the Death of the Author," Álvaro Enrigue
Last week, I went alone to my favorite place. I'd been to San Juan twice before, but I'd never gotten on a plane alone, never stayed in a hotel alone, never surrendered myself to the god-knows-what that could've surfaced in my brain over four days without anyone to really talk to. On the security line at JFK, I got a little teary-eyed, worried about the impending solitude but also because I was realizing for the first time that I had always had the freedom to do something like this. At the gate, early in the a.m. on no sleep, I sat cross-legged with Nada Surf blasting in my ears and calmed down.
There was nothing to worry over. It was four days of indulging myself—reading for hours on the beach or by the pool, taking great yoga classes with David Kyle at Ashtanga Yoga PR, visiting the wonderful bookstores Librería AC and Librería Tertulia, writing. I have no stories to tell anyone when they ask how my vacation was, because it was so simple and so perfect. It went by incredibly fast.
One story, I suppose, is that when I unexpectedly ended up in Old San Juan one afternoon, the writer and musician Rita Indiana walked by me on the street after I'd written about her for the Teenage Guide the week prior, and thus I felt like everything in the universe was in its correct place. And on my last day, I found a marble in the sand; when I woke up in my own bed on Friday, my first thought was that I had to read the above quoted short story, my favorite.
The trip did its job: it gave me a break from the exhausting pace of the life I'm currently living and confirmed for me that I am my own home, wherever I am. The stories and the work and the joy of it were interior, thus the lack of pictures. There are many ideas and drafts in my notebook, though.
I've been slowly making my way through Eileen Myles's essay collection The Importance of Being Iceland for a few weeks now, and when I read this before going away, I knew I had to keep it in mind. I did.
Most likely we travel to exist in an analogue to our life's dilemmas. It's like a spaceship. The work for the traveler is making the effort to understand that the place you are moving through is real and the solution to your increasingly absent problems is forgetting. To see them in a burst as your are vanishing into the world. Travel is not transcendence. It's immanence. It's trying to be here.