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Under streetlights

Under streetlights

by Stephanie on November 14, 2008

There’s a buzz in my head—a cloudy, impatient fuzz. It gets like this if I don’t write for a couple of weeks. It usually begins with minor restlessness, often presenting itself as wanting to go out and party, wanting to have sex, wanting to imbibe substances or drive a little bit too fast. Pretty soon I’m spending whole weeks without proper respite or space in my own head: meeting friends for coffee in the morning, having dinner out, spending late nights with loud music and loud people, oh, and working.

The fact is that I drink (or have sex, or party) to shut my head up, because the other option is to create art: to confront the fuzz—the slowly building tension and existential angst—head-on and work through it. I avoid it for a day, a week, even a couple of months. But if you run away too fast, you catch up to yourself from the other direction. And then suddenly I’m standing still in an empty room with only the sound of the far away traffic, or walking down the street at twilight and my hand brushes a lavender bush—and I give in. The stories rise up out of the gutters and spread over the city, calling, crying, clamouring, and threatening to swallow me until I can’t make sense of them any more. I can’t make sense of myself any more. I am a soldier, silver, sulphur, sugar. Energy, electricity, air, dirt. Cracked lips, a spatter of rain on the cold window pane of a cold world, a drowned world, of rosé and merlot and pinot and rainwater in my hair and other smooth-coloured liquid lovers that I push out of the way so there’s space for the fragments. And then I write, and quell the disquiet.

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