Oct 18, 2018


A vagueness takes over in the evenings. I know it, and yet I keep expecting, believing that I will prepare somehow to be better at this tomorrow than I was today. 

Waking, I am direct from some vision of unwilled vulnerability: naked; with thinning gums and loose front teeth (the right one, especially); wandering an expensive hotel looking for my lost cell phone, constantly being pressured to leave a tip; showing up at Kristen Barr’s New York door unexpected, jobless.

The alarm pulls me out to a dark world and I taste scarcity and the vast expanse at once. Nothing I do with this time will be enough – my only time of smooth brain function, my only time alone, my only time to plan, to sit, to write, to drink coffee, to shit, to shower, to do whatever magic thing will serve best, make me the woman I believe I need to be … my only time to begin.

To my left: a folder of ideas. To my right, a cup of tea. Around me, the humming isolation tank of the room where I have spent most of these last ten years. The fridge, the stove, the dishwasher. The windows reflect the room back to itself, and I seem as I move to be haunting my own home: a blur of movement, perceived from the corner of my eye, that makes me feel watched. 

Holly said, as we hugged goodbye last night: “You stayed long enough to look like yourself.” Hesitated. I asked, “How did I look before that?” She said, with weight, acceptance, confession: “Guarded.”

I keep thinking that the most relaxing thing would be to just listen to them, my scholars. To stop trying to get them to listen to me, and just listen to them, be present with them and their concerns. But I struggle.

Carter, trying to fit page 2 between page 1 and 3: “Don’t tell me I did it wrong cuz then I’ll feel stupid. I’m not sure I’m doin it right, so I can’t do it. I don’t wanna feel stupid.”

Me too, Carter. Me too. 


Published by Devon Riley

lately: youth work, parenting, sorcery, books, walks in the woods

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