I need to buy paper to print out job position descriptions and rough drafts. To get by I use up old pages from repeat trainings, meeting agendas with no notes to remember and revised resumes. I can get by, for a while. I did get by for quite a while, living small in an attempt to use less. That works until using less asks you to be less. Something changed. Ideal and dream are almost synonyms, barely capable of coming true. That doesn’t stop the sanding down of possibility with words.
The difference between life and death is the ability to change.
Ragged folders become thinner. I still don’t buy a new ream of paper. Instead, I purchase clothes, in binges. They are covers in uncharacteristic colors, designs and cuts. I buy them online or without trying them on. I avoid the old argument with myself about need and practicality. Instead, I don’t even like them at first. Their use is the space the smaller sizes leave for uncertainty to figure out how to wear them, to combine them. The empty growing dollar amounts in my virtual shopping cart symbolize choice and how to unify what I see when I look in the mirror and what I want others to see in me.
Life beyond death is history.
At work, I am assigned to select an “ideal bookshelf”. The instructions request titles I “cannot live without”. More than one coworker takes this literally, writing titles of favorites so deeply embedded in their foundation that those books are stones never too be moved. I write down every title that pops suddenly or burrows slowly from memory. The list grows. Some are old. Some are new. Many are there because someone else gave them to me. Many stay for the same reasons. This piece of paper may very well become the other pieces with a blank side waiting to be used.
Life beyond history is this story I write about myself.
I write book titles without thinking. Lists upon lists rip apart memories, but the titles I choose piece together ideas. The books I cannot live without, are in reality, the ones not yet mine, not yet mine, because they are not yet bound to me. Pages sometimes flipping loose. Words swirling upward as fingertips give chase. I slip a piece of chocolate from its foil and between my lips. Advice uncovered reads, “Don’t stop until you’re proud.” I cross out names. I erase and blow baby pink dust to the floor. The empty rectangles symbolize choice and how to unify what I know and what I want others to know about me.
My ideal bookshelf will not be read, but written.
For more wonderful videos related to teacher training or literacy program development in rural Guatemala, please visit www.child-aid.org. I have no v...