One of the reasons I keep my bibliography up on my (admittedly, not so fabulous as this blog) website is that it forces me to sit down and list out all of my publications somewhere, instead of just relying on my memory. I mean, your first half-dozen sales are tattooed into your memory more deeply than graduation ceremonies. After that, things start to get a little hazy.
I’m looking at it now on another tab, and I’m certain I’m forgetting something, but I don’t know what. What did I forget to add? All the new stuff, the stuff at the top of my brain churning at the surface, drowns out the rest.
For instance, I’ve got a piece of non-fiction related to all my work on mosaic texts coming in the Interfictions Zero project through the Interstitial Arts Foundation. I’ve heard from a literary magazine about another one of my Arias for Women and Monsters. When I see the contract, I’ll announce it all formal and official and whatnot. Also, I think I’m going to be doing a really cool short story collection, but it’s going to take a few months to work out all the details on it. It’s something old and something new, and it will be as much an experiment in production processes as it will be an adventure in forms.
I just came home from Texas where I was helping my brother settle down into his new house, at least for an afternoon or two. I’m exhausted with blisters all over my hands. Angie drove me home last night and I could barely keep my eyes open. The week before, I mailed my thesis off to the first and second readers. I mailed off the last bit of materials to the University of Southern Maine this morning. I’m in a cafe, near the post office, and I’m still so tired. I’m staring at the bibliography and convinced that I’m forgetting something.
So many of the letters we write to the world are as thin and small as a sugar crystal. We throw it into the grand canyon, and it makes no boulders tumbling down the sides of the cliffs. It just falls into the water and dissolves.
Nothing we do will remain for long in the world. My brother bought an older house, because he’s an awesome contractor/electrician/locksmith/HVAC/construction guy who knows how to coax new growth up from the pipes and electric wires that run under ground. He’s bought the kind of house that drinks a man’s sweat and gives it back to him in equity, and he’s just the guy to do it. When he’s done with this house, it will be a palace. It will stand against the storms for generations and hold the ground.
I write letters to the world, like throwing handfuls of sugar over the edge of the canyon walls. My sweet dreams tumble down the sides of the rocks, and fade into the sand. I can’t even remember all the places I stood to throw the crystals into the big, blue sky above the rivers and walls.