Thursday, 28 February 2008


Everytime I read Natalie Goldberg's 'Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within' I am continuously amazed at how spot on she is about the writing self and the living self at the same time. They are these two friends walking together down a summery street, hand in hand, in battered Chuck's in Minnesota. And every word, the more times my finger brushes over them in the pale lamplight, has correlated with my life, in the most tight-knit of ways, too eerie for me to comprehend. Over the last two days, I have been hanging on her every word. I have been particularly working with this one exercise of hers called 'I Remember...' You can guess what you're meant to do. And after I tell you a little bit about me, just to set the scene, I will share with you one of my memories.

You don't know much about me but you've been reading my blog so I thought I would share a little. It's a healthy writing practice to share, Natalie says. So, my name is Kara Richelle Martin. I am now unfavourably 19 years old living in London and studying Creative Writing. I hail from Trinidad and Tobago, and a very comfortable yet unravelling childhood(I am still a child), with uncalculated levels of preteen alcoholism, journal entries, distance, misunderstandings and haziness. In 2006 my parents shipped us out of a criminally escalating homeland and put us to sit in an air-conditioned world of swirling dust, cigarettes, Hummers and hypocritical culture; Abu Dhabi in the Middle East. I live back and forth between there and the UK. I am an aspiring magazine journalist and novelist propped up on nothing but Starbucks and yoga, and in love with someone I cannot reach. I sleep. I write. Period. Ever since I was 14 I have had clinical depression. It has not been easy.

I remember hearing my mother's heavy footfalls up and down the corridor, the crashing of a drawer full of keys as she rifled through it, looking for the spare one to my door. I lay in a ball under a yellow sheet whose fibers I was examining millimetres from my eyeball. I waited for her as she banged and shouldered my little white door with its chain locks, latches and keyholes. I waited for her to burst through it and save me as I slid between my sheets slowly to see the effect of it rising and falling, of the fabric gently caressing the little hairs on my body. It made me shiver throughout. Eventually, she did and I heard the wood and lock snap and fall away and knew of the lime green paint chips that fluttered to the ground where the door handle had smashed against the wall. I told her I was sleeping while I studied her throat; all the swallowing it was doing. She swallowed many things. The new rule was to never close my door again. I nodded, still wrapped in my sheets.
"Did you take your thing?"
"What's my thing?" I forced her to admit it; the truth of me.
"Your pill, Kara!"
"Yes, I took my Prozac; my lovely Lilly" I always wondered why each capsule said Lilly on it.
Helplessly, she left. She really had tried it all.

That is why I kept quiet, for her sake. I was free to ruminate now over my glazed wound; the volcanic spill. I never cleaned them; just watched, for days. I liked the way the curdled, hardened blood pulled my skin when I used my arm muscles, to lift a fork to my mouth, clench my fist, to write this. I liked the way it stuck to some of my clothes' fabrics, and got wisps of cotton tangled in it, that had to be unwound really slowly. They had set in like a maze, and CLUNG!

That movie Gigli taught me how to do it right, make it count, along the thick green cordy vein, where the blue blood swims, from the wrist all the way up. But to me, it wasn't about direction, or technique, poise or design, quantity of strokes, intensity of insanity or level of mental illness, number of vials of tears produced. It was about glorious blood flow. Red. I liked the way the cuts were pathetically never deep enough, but if you gave it a minute or two, the skin would blush madly, and through microscopic perforations, the blood would squeeze forth and bubble like a little chain of shiny beads.

During the scabbing stage they looked like stitches. Sally from the Nightmare Before Christmas, and I, had the same falling apart limbs full of tally marks, like on prison walls. "How many more days of this? Let me count." And oh, how these railroad tracks itched and made me want to scratch them to hell and back and make them burst open all over again. You could be mistaken for a heroin junkie with all that itching and scratching.

My scars usually faded away pretty well, but sometimes it was almost sickly refreshing to see the scars raised on my skin, like fresh plots in a cemetary; buried things, at least buried as far as they could go, still somewhat protruding from the fleshy ground.

1 comment:

Guerreira said...

Wow, that was intense and beautiful. You are definitely getting into the right profession!