“Success is someone else’s failure. Success is the American Dream we can keep dreaming because most people in most places, including thirty million of ourselves, live wide awake in the terrible reality of poverty. No, I do not wish you success. I don’t even want to talk about it. I want to talk about failure.” — Ursula K. Le Guin, excerpt from her 1983 Mills College commencement address “A Left-Handed Commencement Address”
Mental maps are flash backs of intertwined stories not to be confused with flash-forward dreams like visible clouds in the night sky backlit by 24-7 traffic lights or knowing you’re looking directly at an invisible full moon. I am sorry if this specificity of darkness is dense and complicated. I’ve historically avoided anchors of place in my writing because it feels safer to drift unmoored. It’s also entirely possible I don’t want you to find me.
My past has too many inconsistent waypoints to accurately map—my mother is an unreliable narrator and my father’s sense of direction was absorbed as gospel, narrow and aggressive. Gathered, these scattered memories take shape as isolation. The truth is, wrapping myself in distance feels like home.
This dark and expansive landscape that I pull from is as familiar as counting landmarks, de facto mile markers such as wind-sculpted trees, mirage plateaus, and the occasional 4-way stop sign scarred with casual bullet holes. My expertise in understanding subtle changes was earned honestly.
As an identical twin, separation is a practice of abundance. Do you recognize that gift in yourself?
Stars are born when clouds of gas called nebulae infinitely collapse. It is the center of this collapse, a result of carefully balanced external gravity forces and internal rising temperatures, that fuses into light brilliant enough to witness from this distance. In this nearly empty darkness, these coordinates are not fixed either. All these simple steps broken into a discovery of self, in excellence and always in evolution.