United States

"the audience is only safe when the story isn't about them."

they/them - probably listening to sufjan stevens

Message from Writer

an important piece by outoftheblue- https://bit.ly/3dBxv5r

black lives matter & pride is over but the fight for lgbt+ rights is year round.

bio quote is from the magnus archives

the book i'll never write- one

February 24, 2019


   it didn't start in june but i can't say it didn't not start there either: there were twenty-three bloody fingerprints stapled to my white t-shirt that morning as the wooden bench weaved splinters into my bare knees. it would go like this: i pinched the thread between my left forefinger and thumb, and held the needle as steady as i could in the other hand (which for me, was only less shaky than usual). the silver flashed in the sun. like a dog showing off its fangs, i thought, and my hand would shake more, but if i thought about it, it would never happen, so i yanked the thread and missed the loop. my forefinger slipped and pushed the point of the needle into my thumb, and there was a sharp sting and a tiny circle embedded into the pad of my flesh. this happened six times before blood dribbled out, warm on my skin. i glanced around--- alone on that goddamn bench--- thank god. i leaned down and licked the driblet off of my skin, like i did when i was little and pretended i was a vampire.
    it was like hot iron. like the time we had to taste pennies as part of our science fair project, and you were skittish, so i shoved one into my mouth to make you gasp and laugh. like you.
    and every time, the needle landed in the same place. my poor cells, they worked as fast as they could to repair the tiny wound, but i was foolish and clumsy and the needle came down like a knife slicing away their efforts. as soon as the bleeding stopped, my forefinger slipped and out came crimson drops. every time, there was a brief moment of panic--- the thought of you turning your gift over to find dark stains upset my stomach. so i pressed my thumb into the bare white fabric of my shirt as though it was a crying widow seeking consolation, and when i peeled it away, there was a bright red print left. fingerprints were funny things, all indents and curves and paths like the mazes i used to do as a kid. my dad used to rip them out of the newspaper for me on sundays. 
    as i sewed, pulling and twisting and forever fucking up and starting over, i wondered. the sun flirted in the cloudless sky, invisible beams cupping my face and carding through my hair and flashing breathless smiles. a single ant wandered over the wooden picnic bench, antennae searching for signs of life. lost. i contemplated flicking it away, and didn't.
    i wondered at where everyone else had gone--- off to do camp activities, i supposed. the sewing station was always left bare, not even a counselor watching it. not that i needed supervision, but--- i winced as the needle point split open my thumb again--- maybe a bandage would be nice.
    nothing ever went according to plan at this place. no rules enforced, no schedule laid out for us; one of the most poorly orchestrated summer sleepaway camps in the state, if not the nation. you had found it when we were eleven on the ugliest website i'd ever seen, tiny orange font against hideous blue background, and no organization to speak of. you scrolled through, taking in each lazy word, each careless typo, and we smiled at each other and knew. it would be our escape.
    if there's beauty in controlled chaos, i must tell you that there's an equal, if disparate, beauty in the opposite. 
    that was this place for us: like a terrarium. the sky an endless patch of nothing, the trees singing lullabies over our heads. the same people year after year, changed but never different. the counselors played on their phones and shrugged when we asked if we could swim in the creek, or have sleepover's in each other's cabins, or stay out in the meadow until midnight to catch the ghost we thought lived in the old shed. 
    i smiled, and it was one of those smiles that came from only yourself, with no obligations or favors to anyone. the needle wriggled through the fabric like a fish in the sea. i forced my eyes to focus on the letters in front of me, and they whispered the lyrics to your favorite song.
    you didn't know yet. i could imagine what your face would be when i gave it to you (eyes squinted, teeth glinting, hair tied up but coming loose), and it hurt something awful.
    i knew then that i wouldn't be forgiven. i wouldn't be forgiven by the pile of cloth scraps and failures next to me. i wouldn't be forgiven by the ant braving the grooves in the wood. i definitely wouldn't be forgiven by the needle, stitching the fabric and unstitching my thumb, again and again and again. twenty bloody prints now. the shirt was getting too small for me anyway, and it was oddly comforting, the one thing shrinking while my world grew too large. if you knew about my plan, we could've laughed about it. i could've hung it up on the door of our cabin like a war trophy. instead i would go back and change, tossing it away later that night while no one was watching me.
    yes, there was swimming and sleepovers and staying up to hunt ghosts, and there was so much more than that: we could do anything in the two weeks we had and we chose to let the world devour us. but my favorite thing about camp was the blue hour, which lasted two or three hours out here in the middle of nowhere. we sat out in the meadow. you and i lay in the onion grass, and everyone else draped themselves around trees and over branches and boulders. it changed every time. sometimes there would be silence, sometimes quiet chattering, sometimes playful teasing and giggles. sometimes ellie strummed her ukelele and sometimes the stars came out early and sang along.
    my favorite part was always when it was just us; when everyone else had gone back to the cabin to watch a movie or talk or, every once in a while, just sleep. the grass pushed against my back, growing in spite of everything, and your dark eyes caught the moonlight. we smiled. you put your earbuds in and i put my earbuds in, and you closed your eyes and hummed along and swayed your head to the music. i pretended that i was listening to something, too, when really i was just soaking in the scene and watching the silhouette of your eyelashes against the rising moon. when you found a good song, you would silently hand me one of the earbuds, and i would oblige.
    god, i thought. i had pricked myself for the twenty-first time. the procedure all over again: press my thumb into my shirt and stare at the spiral of the print it left and feel my cells multiply to heal the wound. i already missed you.
So earlier this week it was one of those nights where you're not really trying to sleep and by the time you realize it's midnight, you've missed your window, so I was lying there fretting over how i had school tomorrow and lines started to slip into my head. I wrote it by the light of my digital alarm clock, and this is a highly edited transcription of it. Part one to a new series.
And yes, I do realize that I still need to edit My Mother's Smoke Shapes and revise that, but everything I've read says it's good to take a break from a project before coming back to it and revising/editing it, so here I am. Hope you enjoyed this part, and if so please leave a like and comment! More coming soon, hopefully.


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  • February 24, 2019 - 3:23pm (Now Viewing)

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  • rainandsonder

    @Paperbird Thanks so much, seriously.
    @LittleWolf Thanks! Lowercase is purposeful, though, for the aesthetic and stuff.

    almost 2 years ago
  • LittleWolf

    I agree with Paperbird, but also just look over it grammatically, like capitals and stuff, but I really love your writing!

    almost 2 years ago
  • paperbird

    this is the best thing you've written. ever. the ending part––about the eyelash silhouettes and the twenty-first prick and the rising moon... it's just perfect. your descriptions are on point. your metaphors are beautiful. the narrative is vaguely confusing but in a lovely and artistic sense. please notify me when part two comes out. i'd review but... i don't think there's much i could fix. (and i still have to finish mmss 1, 2, and 3)

    almost 2 years ago