A Whacky Writer's World
As a kid I spent a lot of time looking into the full-length mirror in the hallway, not at myself, but beyond me. In fact, I don't think I liked to look at myself all that much, but what fascinated me was the reflection of the hallway in which I stood, an exact replica of our hallway and the doors that lead to bedrooms and the living room. I wanted to crawl into that mirror, walk down that parallel hallway and enter the rooms. I wondered what I would find inside of them, perhaps another version of me laying in bed staring up at the ceiling pretending to be in a topsy-turvy world where the ceiling was the floor and the floor was the ceiling and I would have to step over the light fixtures in the middle of the floor.
Perhaps that's when I should've known that I would become a writer. I’ve always had an intense desire to enter into a parallel universe. I couldn't even look into a spoon without imagining what it would be like to go into such a warped version of the world in which I lived. I wanted to crawl inside of the spoon.
Before he died, my father told me that it makes sense I travel so much.
It's hard for me to stay in one place, and sometimes I’ll get on a plane and enter into a city I've never seen before, Beijing, Warsaw, Havana, and I love the uncertainty of entering into new cities. What will I see you? How will the city communicate with me? I don't carry guidebooks or tourist maps, I don't Google where such and such is located, I just walk into the city as if entering the rhythm of a poem.
Some people think I'm weird. They think something’s wrong with me. Why would I need to travel so much?
But before my father died he said to me, it makes sense, because when I was a child I would stare out the screen door of our house, and if somebody left it unlocked, I would walk out onto our street down the tree-lined road, and they would have to come and find me. And they would find me happy, wandering and exploring.
I believe we can look at our past and understand who we are by the way we interpret our memories. Why do we remember some things over others? Why can one family member remember one thing when others don't?
Like literature, we look at our past and we analyze it, and give it meaning, even if we don't realize it.
I see that my desire to enter into a parallel universe, to walk into new cities, to experience the world, is that same impulse I have to write fiction and poetry.
Language is a wormhole.
Images are wormholes.
Writing is a portal into other universes, those that I have always known are out there, beyond us, and if the theoretical physicists are correct and there are an infinite number of parallel universes, whatever I can dream up, wherever my imagination leads me, must reflect a world that exists somewhere.
To write is to enter into the beyond.