A Dreamcatcher's Manifesto
Some of us are dreamers.
Living in many spaces; the past, the future, in parallel worlds, on imaginary planets, all at once.
Some of you tell us that we need to put our feet on the ground.
That life is about being present (you sometimes use this as a pun ).
About seizing the moment, living in the now.
But what if nostalgia is not about living in the past.
What if it's simply marvel at our memory.
At our capability to perfectly reconstruct a single moment in time.
And if we weren't present, how could we possibly remember nows, even years after the present became past?
We carry them all with us because we scooped them up, saved them
bottled them up for a rainy day that keeps on coming.
And what if imagining another world is not escapism, but creation.
What if it's an exercise in what-if? instead of merely reacting to the one scenario offered by your Reality.
How does anything, anybody, evolve without rejecting what is?
Without choosing what we dream over what we see, nothing ever changes.
We think new worlds because that is how the limits of life expand and become elastic.
You should try it.
So, indulge in your nostalgia.
Immerse yourself in the bliss of recalling the tiniest, unimportant details of a mundane memory.
Make other worlds, create images that others cannot see, build a treehouse out of nothing but imagination.
Maybe once in a while you'll catch yourself not being fully present in the now.
And maybe you will smile to yourself, not remembering what all the fuss was about.
On the verge of something amazing
It was half a lifetime ago.
We were young, so young.
And we did not know that good things come to those who wait and those who don't alike.
Anyways, we weren't going to wait.
Promises had not yet been broken, life was still new.
Writing our hearts out, pouring our hopes onto paper, telling our lives in love songs.
We sent letters across countries and we felt less alone, less confused. More alive.
Your life in another world- a different language- was the source of all my daydreams.
I grew up learning to love your foreign words; pazza, scema, strana...
I wore them like charms on a bracelet, letting them embrace me and define me.
Our letters read like the interactive diaries of two hopeless romantics on the verge of something amazing.
"Diaries are our lives, aren't they?", you wrote me in august 2001.
For a 16 year-old, you were pretty clever.
On the compartmentalization of dating
In the light of the fashionable mensplaining,
- anecdotes of condescending men explaining "complex" things to supposedly less capable women- ,
I am trying to come up with a word for its not-so-distant cousin.
Men who patronizingly try to explain, analyze or criticize the behavior of the women they are dating.
- for the women's own good, of course.
Obviously, in any relationship there must be space for constructive criticism.
My fascination lies in the kind of things that men feel they should and must, point out as flaws with women.
Have you ever been called too independent, too clever, too ambitious?
Too deep, too complicated, over-thinking?
Did he call you a coward because you did not give up everything for him?
It means stop challenging my authority. It means stay in your place.
It means don't forget what you are, what you are supposed to be.
And we- women- are all accomplices in this.
One friend told me to just pretend a little. To be a little more like a woman.
What does that mean?
Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie talks about the Nigerian expression "bottom power",
the treacherous and false sense of power women wield when we use our sexuality to persuade men.
False because we are just making a small dent in his authority, buying into the idea that the power is indeed his.
"it is easy", my friend said. Works every time.
I am torn between a profound sadness at the cynicism
of a world in which a woman knowingly cuts off her edges,
as to not hurt the fragile ego of a man who supposedly loves her,
And the anger at knowing that women cope with these ridiculous demands by inventing an insane logic
that diminishes men and women alike.
We expect nothing more than what we get,
in this world where everything is pardoned in advance
and therefore everything cynically permitted.
Unscorched by the blaze
I want to write meaningfully, with purpose.
About the destruction and desolation too expansive to be comprehended.
Deconstruct the clichéd imagery of occupation and terrorism,
decode the language of division; of invasion,
I want to carve away the ideology, dig behind history,
Write the story.
A taste of blood in my mouth.
Is it fear?
Fear for them or fear for me?
Fear of never being able to do anything I promised myself?
People are dying and I am shaking under newly washed sheets.
My sheets smell of Marseille soap and the people are hiding, screaming, exploding, giving up.
People are fasting, for faith, for hope, for love.
I am hungry, I think.
I am angry.
Emotional analytics is bad for business.
too much knowledge can wreck any imaginary happiness.
Proving yourself right is not the only way forward
And not all dark places need light.
There is no binary truth.
No grand narrative.
No alchemic formula.
There is only embracing uncertainty,
the courage to let go of all premonitions, predictions, calculations.
Trusting that copper coil of desire, buried so deep inside you're not sure it's still there.
Kicking off your shoes, walking the tightrope barefoot to something that may or may not become.
- is there nowhere out of the mind?
All I wanted to do was to rest my head on you,
On the idea of you, just for a minute.
The fear of you slipping away is tangible; I don't even know who you are.
The sense of things falling into place is laced with zemblanity.
Serendipity is zemblanity until proven otherwise.
A new frontier; the forensics of love.
A fingerprint of betrayal?
The DNA of neglect?
Everybody's guilty until proven otherwise.
How many fantasies in an infinitesimal space?
Lean on me, stranger.
What are we?
Trying to be islands, scattered across a much too interconnected world.
no (wo)man is an island.
entire of itself.
How to be anything, anyone when everyone is already taken?
So I fight my instincts,
re-interpret the signs whose meaning I never learnt,
recall moves from movies I've seen and ridiculed.
People say fake it til you make it.
Make what, exactly?
You are leaning on my shoulder,
Weaving me a story to snare me.
You're the victim, you're the hero, you're the intricate mystery.
For a layman, your improv-writing is very convincing.
So real, I think to myself, forgetting I'm all about the fiction.
When it's all over we pretend we did not fake it.
We were both there, we could call each others' bluff.
But we won't.
Holding your breath does something to your inner monologue.
The story you tell yourself moves forward even when you stop breathing.
The story you tell yourself doesn't follow the rules of narratology.
It contains no hero, no villain, maybe not even a princess and endings are never ever after.
It's just you and the universe trying to figure each other out.
Cutting off the oxygen rarely improves the story.
The plot goes insane, the protagonist struggles for air.
Returning characters forget to leave, effectively preventing their return.
And there you are, a narrator without a plan or a way of finishing the story.
You could always choose to inhale..
Photographing something is a way to drive it out of our mind.
Writing a story was Kafka's way of shutting his eyes.
Pamuk asks if framing a picture of a moment means immortilization or succumbing to decay.
We invent all those things just so that we can live with these truths unknown,
certainties unconfirmed, myths believed or fabricated and acceptable lies.
Are they the danger or what saves us from danger?
Who knows? Shut your mind, close your brain, open your mouth.
se trata de la certeza que tu amplitud es mi horizonte
Just a few words strung together.
They must have really meant something to somebody,
but I don't mind creatively remixing (hopefully, neither does Andrés Neuman)
It seems silly, I know.
Carrying this phrase around in my imaginary pocket, hoping I'll mean it.
Like the invisible words in the tiny book I wear around my neck.
Sometimes I wonder if life is all preparation and implementation.
And if those fleeting moments that we are all hunting for,
- Camouflage, rifle and an open heart?
if we'll even know it when we find them.
And here I am, hardly remembering what it feels to mean it.
Mumbling imperatives like "use me up!"
Only to see what it would be like.
Just to be true to the search.
And if ever I should forget.
That your borders are the boundaries of my world.
I've got it in writing.
The chicken and the egg, the writer and the word
Language speaks us, wrote Saussure and Foucault agreed.
We do the talking, but it's the boundaries of our narratives that create us.
"There is no outside the text", offered Derrida, failing to distinguish himself from the early (de-) constructionists.
Storytellers are created as their stories unravel.
I specialize in romantic dramas.
Never a conscious decision, I simply ended up discovering the world like this.
Although there was always an emphasis on drama, as romance was always in short supply.
A love story is the work of alchemist magic.
Not the pink, fluffy hollywood kind.
The heavy, moist, yet fleetingly light stories tinged with passion and elusive depth.
Taking mundane moments and turning them into sinister omens.
A brief glance between strangers become a divine intervention or the fulfillment of ones destiny.
I write the word S E R E N D I P I T Y and there it is, insisting on its own being.
I erase and write W E L T S C H M E R Z and I feel it in the pit of my stomach.
This pressing burden of irrevocable sadness for all that will never be.
I think I am writing the world, yet Foucault reminds me that the world is writing me.
A good story takes you by the hand and nudges you along before you second guess your choice.
Choice? No such thing.
You are the story now.
throw me living off the deep end.
We are the most advantageous generation hitherto.
Is this a bedtime story we've told each other long enough to start believing it?
Options are endless. Our lifes are not.
Our choices are violently infinite against the very finity of time.
How free does that really make us?
We tell ourselves all kinds of things to cope
I am independent. I do not care.
I will not give up. You cannot hurt me.
We are like teflon; nothing sticks.
Our generation's greatest achievement is our ability to carry on.
We constantly compliment each others' mastery of this treacherous art.
Have we become too good at it?
At the end of time we'll look back on our perfectly flat-lined lifespan and every tombstone will read:
'she kept calm and carried on'
And we'll realize that life is not about keeping calm.
And carrying on is not a noble end.
Reality is not always probable, or likely.
You may have noticed..
I tend to favour fiction over facts,
literature over life,
tales over truth, because what else is there?
Is language more real than reality?
We tend to casually assume that words are just predetermined sounds,
perfectly corresponding to the things we want to refer to.
But, just like Magritte's trecherous images pointed out,
a picture of a pipe is not a pipe.
The word P-I-P-E is certainly not a pipe, nor do the letters in any way resemble one.
So, when we say reality; to which one are we referring?
Isn't our constructed concept of grass more meaningful than the green, moisty mass on the ground?
There is no meaning.
We produce meaning, all the time, because otherwise our world contains nothing.
The trees in the park, the café on the corner, the cobbled street..
They'd all be part of a backdrop of unidentifiable color.
So, if Luis Borges hadn't written about paradise as a kind of library,
Would we have been able to think of one just like it?
He said himself that realidad no es siempre probable ni plausible.
But this is more than written words on a page.
We're all in the meaning-making business.
The world is what we've made so far.
And- fortunately- in this place
No matter how much we print, it never causes inflation.
It is the elephant in the room of any single.
Single what, you ask.
Single me, I say.
Perhaps the greatest irrationality of our time,
that this word- this concept which we have invented-
should have ended up casting its spell on all of us.
Even in the face of melting ices, military interventions and multiple sclerosis
we are helplessly succumbing to the cult of love.
(Am I confusing despite with because?)
We stay up late telling each other stories of happiness, tragedy, desire and infidelity,
We call them love stories, but they are stories of life, of humanity.
Stories of the universe as we know it.
Love is an intervention that we choose without asking the permission of the UN Security Council.
We believe in it, we resent it, we argue about it.
We rip it open, looking for clues.
Is it true (love)?
I don't want to know.
Everybody loves a good story.
perfectly polished praline
I am a skyscraper, I am an acacia
a camouflaged feline about to land on my feet.
I am a perfectly polished praline on display,
a blessing for dieting window shoppers.
In this place where the waiters never wonder
if you want a table for one,
but just blunty look right through you
and ask if you are toute seule.
Like an activist without a cause
Between the most iconoclastic explanations and the least naïve excuses,
beyond cynicism and bitterness,
lies The Question.
It hangs in the air,
so I dress the walls in paintings, postcards, magazine clippings,
until there is no longer any space for it to hang.
Suspended in mid-room, like an activist without a cause,
I put it in a glass jar to keep my dreams safe from wondering.
The question mark is familiar; it's challenged me before.
I am not grounded,
Free-floating like the red hair of a Botticelli Venus.
capricious like a Klimt water-snake.
I am only coming through in waves.
But the question is prying its way past the snakes and the hair.
- How come nobody gets through?
And nothing else matters, the world stops instantly.
Everything I love, the things I've achieved, the dreams I keep chasing- disappear.
As we stare each other down.
And then I reach out and grab his tail, put him back into the jar, closing the lid.
Wondering if I've won the battle but am losing the war.
Expat life is an exponential tabula rasa
everyone is nobody to you- you are nobody to everyone.
Freedom for a night?
Freedom for a life?
We come from nowhere, and in the blink of an eye,
-in the signing of a contract- we are here.
Baggage safely tucked away behind the doors of our sometimes pre-paid apartments.
Our lives compartmentalized, uncluttered and hyper-efficient.
Re-inventing yourself is a healthy process, when it includes examining your preconceptions,
When you look yourself in the eye and deicide to approve or to work harder.
Making sense of the world in a new environment can make you humble.
The sheer magnitude of diversity, all those disparate destinies mashing- meeting- melting, on the street.
Making sense of the world in this place can make you jaded.
On the surface, the multiverse sparkling with promising intensity.
(- you can be anyone! you can do anything!)
Below, the nagging doubt that the essence of things,
the plain truths about yourself,
may never cut through this elastic fog of dreams, hopes and accomplishments.
That you will remain a parenthesis in the bigger scheme of things.
What do you want?
You can change it.
You are the story.