This post is an experiment, based on a simple writing exercise. To be completely honest with myself, write down what I like, what I really like, and see where my thoughts go from there. I was listening to music as I wrote, just songs by the band Vast. Nothing else. These are just thoughts in my head, nothing that I tried to organize or edit. They just are as I thought them while writing and listening. Sorry if it’s unintelligible. I’ve included a picture my husband and I took of Juneau, Alaska. When I dream of Alaska, I think of northwest Alaska. But if we ever do decide to move there, we will move to Juneau.
I like Harry Potter. Vast. Vegas. Driving in the mountains. Nostalgia, remembering events, emotions, thoughts that I can’t really get back because they’re intangible. The only way to hold onto them is through memories. Even if I read what I wrote back then, it doesn’t quite put me in the same place because I don’t think the same way now that I did then. I can’t remember what I thought then. I don’t know what I think now. Thoughts are intangible. They aren’t really meant to be understood. They just exist. They are what they are. Sometimes they make sense and sometimes they don’t. But whether they do or don’t, they’re still there. We still have them, and we still can’t get them out of our minds.
I like walking. Wearing headphones and walking, shutting out the sounds of the world that I don’t want to hear. Looking around at the scenery. I like walking when it’s cloudy or chilly, not when it’s sunny and hot. Heat is oppressive to me. It makes me tired, sad, stifled. Cold is refreshing. It wakes me up, brings me to life, makes me feel like the world is endless. Good music, good movies, good books, things that open me up make me feel like the world is endless. Like for all I’ve learned, I know nothing, and that’s okay. Like I never will know anything, like there is something I’m searching for that simply can’t be found. I will never find it. If I think I have, it’s an illusion.
I like thinking that I’ve known something for years, but then seeing or hearing something in it that I’ve never noticed before. I’m listening to I’m Dying by Vast. I’ve loved this song since I was fifteen. And yet I’m listening to it on a new computer for the first time, with headphones plugged in and no noise around me. And there’s a cello line at the very beginning, hidden in the opening vocals, that I’ve never noticed. It’s like magic. It’s like I’m seeing something that I knew so well a long time ago, but that I lost and haven’t seen since. Like I’m an old woman thinking back into the past and remembering an entire life I’d forgotten, simply because I hear something familiar for the first time in a long time. But the opposite. Because the cello line isn’t familiar. It’s new.
I like peppermint. Snow. Christmas lights. Choral music. They remind me of Christmas. Predictable, sure. Probably everyone thinks of Christmas when they think of peppermint, snow, and lights. But I’m sure that those things remind me of Christmas in a way they don’t remind anyone else. They bring feelings, memories, and that intangible something to me in a way that other people don’t see. Just the same way they have memories and feelings that I can’t see. We all feel differently, and we can never truly learn or understand the way that other people feel.
I like religious music. I’m not religious, but so much religious music is full of mystery, nostalgia, and wonder. Things that I like to try to hold onto even though you can’t hold onto them. I like songs that aren’t religious, but remind me of religious music for whatever reason. Like I’m Dying, by Vast. I don’t think it’s just because “Jesus Christ” is in the lyrics.
I like Simon and Garfunkel. Poetry. When I listen to songs, not expecting poetry, and yet it’s there. I like the idea of running away. Not the reality of what to do when I get where I’m going, just the dream of running. Taking off into the mountains and not looking back. Pitching a tent on a hillside at 12,000 feet. Living in the woods. Drinking spring water, fishing, hearing nothing but silence and the thoughts in my own head. I like Alaska. Sometimes I think I want to run away to Alaska. Live in the frigid north. Watch the fishermen, the whalers, the natives living their lives in a way that seems so much more interesting to me than my own way of life. Simplicity, necessity. Living for only what you want and need.
I like things to be simple. But in my lifestyle, it seems true simplicity isn’t possible. Maybe it isn’t possible in any lifestyle, and I only think it is because I don’t understand any life except my own. I want to understand the lives of other people. But more than that, I want my own life to be what I want it to be. The trouble is that I’m not sure I really understand what I want it to be. I know what it is. And I know that that intangible something that I want in my life is missing. Maybe it always will be. But I keep thinking that if I did something differently, and I don’t know what, I could get closer to having what I want, whatever that is. The real trouble is simply that I don’t know. I don’t know what I want, where I want to be, what I want to do. I don’t know anything.
I like the unknown. The idea that there is so much out there that is unexplored. Even if other people have explored it, I haven’t. There’s so much I could see and discover that is just unknown now. Maybe it’s better to leave a lot of it unknown. Maybe that’s where mystery comes from. But I think that knowing a little bit about something, getting a taste, can create even more mystery than knowing nothing. So I want to explore.
I like writing. Writing like this is weird for me. I prefer writing fiction. Creating stories, people, situations that I don’t know. I know how my life is, and I don’t want to write about that. I want to delve into new things, create worlds that I didn’t know were in me, discover ideas that are so large, it seems impossible they could have ever existed in my mind. How can one person create great things? We are each a body with moving parts, and yet somehow there is something else inside us. Something that thinks, creates, feels, imagines, and dreams, and all of those things are completely unrelated to our bodies and their moving parts. It doesn’t seem possible that simple biology can lead to something so vast.
I like the idea of the soul, even though I don’t understand it at all. I don’t try to understand it. Every time I try, I feel lost and vague. Like it’s something that can’t be found or understood, however we try or want to try. Trying to understand it kind of dampens it. Makes it less amazing. Trying to turn the intangible tangible. Why would we want to do that? We’d lose so much of what we care about.
I like these words: eternity, barren, hollow, haunted, ghostly, placid, peaceful, somber, grouchy, sullen, immense, vast, wander, aimless, tramp, serene, endless, tundra, frozen, lost, ragamuffin, hopeless, heartless, vague, unfathomable, depths. So many others, that I just can’t remember right now.
I like Vast, Harry Potter, Vegas, driving in the mountains, being cold, listening to music, spinning in circles, being silly, being quiet, being alone, being with people, being home, running away, dreaming, creating, imagining, remembering, thinking, staring, crying, laughing, yearning, striving, and doubting. I like being driven to places I couldn’t imagine on my own. Listening, reading, seeing things that other people create, and being carried away in my mind to that place I can’t touch, can’t hold onto, and can’t understand. That place that makes me full.