32 tagged with #family

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there's a shoebox full of letters in a language i can hardly read. years ago, when my mother was packing up her things so she could sell her house and move to a small island, she created piles and piles of objects she didn't want to take with her.

i took this box when she wasn't looking.

i don't think i have the right to read any of these letters, even if i could piece together the glyphs into sentences, thoughts, ideas. but i didn't think she had the right to throw them away.

all objects are just objects, i tell myself. but some objects seem more precious than others.

they will all be dust someday.

04 December 2018 00:02


i'd go to the office with my father when i was in grade school, and he'd park me in the copy room where i was allowed to take a few sheets each from the cubby holes of rainbow paper, and i was allowed to draw on the whiteboard around his flow charts.

sometimes, i'd look over his shoulder and watch lines and lines of code inch down the screen as he stepped through the debugger. 'did you write all of that?' i asked him; earlier, he'd taught me how to write a prompt that would record your name and give you simple arithmetic questions and grade your responses, and the effort it took me to produce a few dozen lines of code seemed monumental. i couldn't imagine how long it would take to produce files and files and files with hundreds and thousands of lines.

i didn't yet know what it meant to spend forty hours a week at the office, writing and testing and fixing programs. now i look at projects that i've pecked on for a few inches every few days, weaving together structures that grow into worlds, and perhaps i am starting to understand.

there's this life lived, and there's the recorded efforts that we hope justify it.

09 July 2018 22:59


fireflies press against the screens, blinking blearily like how i feel when i had to set an alarm several hours before i'd have been ready to wake up. they drift around, seemingly getting sucked back against the plastic grid, flashing like they're trying to send a signal to my glowing phone light inside.

in the smokies, the park closed for weeks around firefly season, citing light pollution from cars as confusing their native firefly population. you could buy a ticket on one of a small number of shuttles that would bring visitors, once or twice a night, to a designated spot, where you would then get out and walk over a hillside and settle in to watch the show. last year, poorly-scheduled demolition projects ran kleeg lights all night long, and people reported poor firefly turnout.

when we lived in iowa, my mother caught fireflies, waited for them to flash, then pinched off the sac of luciferen so she could paint images on my arms; i cried, realizing she was killing things to decorate my body.

in a recent phone call to my mother, i admitted to feeling on edge, riding the crest of stress and near-burnout, and that my response was to find everything calamitous, all words spoken to me as personal attacks. she laughed a little, telling me that she's known since i was a child that i tend towards oversensitivity, that i am quick to find things earth-shattering and disturbing.

23 June 2018 21:54

wet season

i left a plastic cup next to the green onions; over 24 hours, it almost overflowed with rain. the shoots stretch fanatically towards the sky, their cells turgid with fluid as they race to outgrow their cousins. the ones that fall, i pinch off in a quick twist so i can dice it and freeze it before it rots in the dirt. i want to have green onions late into the winter seasons when nothing grows. i will not let any of these go to seed, or become snail food.

all the potatoes i buried have rotted, and i threw them back into the compost in disappointment. ironically, the potatoes my housemate threw into the compost months ago have sprouted, so i extracted those and replaced my failed sprouts.

i never understand what plants want. sometimes, i squat in the grass, staring at them as if they will mutter their desires to me if only i paid enough attention to them. when i was a child, i'd see my father doing the same, while my mother rolled her eyes at him. at least i understand that.

10 June 2018 17:24


after thirteen years of living here, i've lived in at least nine different places; maybe eleven or thirteen if i count temporary rooms, or times i've stayed with others. i've had three mailing addresses outside of my residences, maybe four if you count the times i have mailed things to my employer on my behalf.

but i never know what to call a home.

'if you don't understand,' my mother told me over a decade ago, 'i'll tell you. home is where your parents live.' i was unwilling to call her house home because i didn't like the house, didn't like the town, didn't want to live there forever. before moving away for college, we'd lived in six different places, three different states.

but i never know what to call a home.

i get a tangle in my gut if i think about leaving this city forever. i get a different tangle if i think about staying here until i die.

06 June 2018 23:58

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