For the past two days, a singular image keeps popping into my head. Apparently, that's not entirely normal; random images just flitting through one's consciousness. It isn't normal to have a creaky film projector in one's mind that sputters on and off, beaming disjointed scenes onto the sacral walls of imagined spaces. It isn't normal to seek symbolism in every waking moment, nor to visit other worlds in one's sleep. Yet all of these things have always been commonplace for me. Anyway, the image I've fixated on for the past 48 hours is a single eye, a hooded eye, with thin pale skin. The eye blinks, and when it does, there appears a tiny yellow bruise, right in the crease of the lid, unnoticeable unless watched intently.
As I am wont to do, I wrote this afternoon in a hipster coffee shop, indulging myself with buttery pastry, and rich coffee, and repurposed buildings. I began to write about this eye, and the woman I imagined it belonged to. I wrote:
She works very hard to hide it, this bruise, but she simply can't. It's been there for years. It's a lingering bruise. She keeps waiting for it to heal, to go away, but it doesn't. There's nowhere for it to go except her blinking moments. She conjures images of winter holidays and long drives in the country, hoping to build a character that justifies the symbolic value of a weird eyelid bruise. And then there's another image, somebody else's lips descending from above, seeking out the strange eyelid bruise, touching it. And she doesn't understand that either. Everywhere she goes seems like a cross-section of old veins, and needles attempting to draw blood from them. Eventually, the blood just becomes a great big puddle, the remains of the same experiences and wounds over and over. And isn't that what a bruise is? If, as she suspects, this bruise on her eyelid is a repository for every strong feeling she has ever felt, then it will sting a little if someone comes along wanting to kiss it and make it all better. For this bruise, this aberration, has seen her through more drudgery and failures and joy and warmth than anything, really. It's just a bruise, but she knows it means more. So she waits silently, for a reprieve from this Sleeping Beauty bullshit, this tired, mapped and re-mapped wish for the bruise to go away. She embraces the bruise, she becomes it, or it becomes her; some kind of explanation for the reality of her. The image that she has nursed as a reservoir of a lifetime's experiences transforms not before her eyes, but conspicuously above them, invisible to her, and - for everyone else - a fleeting moment they only notice if they happen to catch her blinking.
I really like this chunk of prose, and perhaps I should let it speak for itself, but I'm not going to. I've realized, lately, that when you write, the stories and characters begin to seek you out, to present themselves strongly until you put words to them. I think this story is meant to teach me something that I will not recognize unless it is literary and figurative. I've chosen to write fiction in the past because it allowed me a safe space, something on the fringes, a tiny bruise in the crease of an eyelid, if you will. And safety is comfortable, but it is also the result of fear. Perhaps I fear, deep down, that if I make myself more vulnerable by writing non-fiction from my own perspective, I will develop a full-body bruise, one that I am unable to relegate to the split-seconds spent blinking, one whose pain will outweigh it's inconvenience.
I'm going to start digging deep, and challenging myself to actually live my favorite song lyrics "I have no fear, I have only love." And not only to live them, but to write and create a lasting legacy of their value. It seems to me that writing more fiction at this particular juncture in time is equivalent to puncturing the same veins over and over and expecting them to bleed as prolifically. This is going to be difficult for me, but I believe in the collective goodness of people, of spirit. Have you ever noticed the bruise on my eyelid? Next time you see me, encourage me to bruise all over. Let me know what that means to you. I'll encourage you to do the same.