The sun went down, so it’s night.
Night is writing hour for me—not work, just the letting-it-go, ooze out between the fingers writing. The kind of writing that comes and calls to you at some point in your life, when you’re kid, maybe, or when you are old, or even, i suppose, after a harrowing accident, a break up, a getting-sober or a getting-sane. I think it is only in these places, when the right brain is winning over left, that the intellectual defenses are driven low enough for the crazy faith to happen: that what you are listening to is both yourself and larger than yourself, a voice worth dictating. These hours of the darkness are what make us writers, whether we succumb and grab for pen or laptop, or hold out and only listen to the stream of vowels and consonants rushing beyond and around us–a river drawing circles around the walls of our dwelling-place.
It seems to me that night cannot be the same night everywhere; rather there is Night and there are particular nights, delineated not only by time by also by their distribution over the surface of their earth, their relationship to the plants and animals living them. So, tonight, in Oaxaca, where I will be for only two weeks more, night is Oaxaca de Jimenez night, threaded through with cool breeze and the sounds of cars motoring down the busy streets of the Centro, lantrened by a handful of stars and a blanket of orange electric lights running up and down the muscular humming hillsides.
My hair is longer now than it has been for over a decade, when a sixteen year old I loved ran a pair of silver shears across my scalp and left shiny black snakes of it scattered through the dirt. We were renegades then, because we were teenagers, me and my friends. L cut my hair in the woods by a lake, while J and B looked on. I should say I thought I loved L, even though I would have hated my older self for saying this, yet while it is true that time has not yet made me an expert on love, I do understand now as I didn’t then, that it is something both realer and more rewarding than the quivering reflection you shoot towards the person who contains and creates that that wish you could be. At seventeen, losing my hair to gain myself—the first in a series of small gains, won like pawing for light switch after light switch in a maze of darkened hallways—I believed desperately that that mysterious substance was something L might deliver up to me. I had been raised secular and did not know the story of Yaakov wrestling the angel, but regardless L was my angel and I was set on wrestling hir, through nights of dreaming, until ze finally admitted defeat, holding up a new name to me like a promise, like g-d’s blessing.