Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Explosions vs Tyvek
I couldn't sleep last night. Rain usually helps me sleep, but the sound of raindrops on my roof kept getting interrupted by periodic bursts of noise that sounded somewhat like short claps of thunder; it rattled my bedroom windows and kept me on edge most of the night.
On Twitter, people in #Tacoma were posting about something going on at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. War games, or something. The base is ten miles from my house, but my house was shaking from the explosions anyway.
Anyway, at one point last night I started thinking about this crappy apartment I lived in in Bellingham that was missing most of its siding while it was getting remodeled (for about two and a half years), and when it got windy, the Tyvek stapled to the exterior walls would flap and flutter and be incredibly loud and obnoxious—and it inspired some pretty weird dreams.
The apartment that Andrew Banks moves into in my novel, Paradise Squandered, was also inspired by that apartment. There is a part in my book that is based on that very (very obnoxious) feature. This is the part in the book I'm referring to:
My notebook is tucked firmly under my arm as I drag my comforter behind me through my bedroom door and trudge down the dark hallway toward the living room. As I stretch out on the all-too-familiar, microfiber couch—a hand-me-down from David's parents—my mind flashes back to weeks of restless nights spent sprawled out with my feet propped up on one armrest, my head pressed against the other. I remember waking up from rare moments of sleep drenched in sweat, gasping for breath after so many guilt-induced nightmares and then feeling even worse, more remorseful, upon realizing what I had done to the couch. It used to be so much more sanitary than it is now. It definitely smelled better before. David kept telling me not to worry about it. He said his mom had been looking for an excuse to upgrade the furniture in the rec room anyway.
I'm lying on my side with my comforter haphazardly spread over most of my body. Summer has been cool so far—even for this part of the country, way up north near the Canadian border—and this old apartment is poorly insulated and drafty; it doesn't smell all that great, either. I'm looking down at my open notebook on the cushion beside me, staring down at my to-do list, my mouth agape:
2.Find a glass studio
3.Learn how to cook
4.Get a job
5.Apply to WWU
As I ponder how I've failed to cross anything off—not even the first item on the list—I sketch an airplane crashing into a mountain in the margin and exhale sharply, feeling ridiculous for feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of even trying to accomplish anything. Then I flip through pages until I find what I started writing earlier:
The wall outside my bedroom window has no siding. I've been lying in bed for well over an hour trying to fall asleep, but the sound of Tyvek rustling in the breeze outside my window is driving me insane. I was already in a terrible mood after I got back from Scarlet's place. I'm pretty sure I hate her friends. All of them. I'm not even sure why I went over there in the first place. To finally meet Steven, I guess. David keeps telling me I should talk to him, that we have a lot in common. Apparently, Steven is “an artist of sorts,” whatever that means. David also said that he would be there, at the party, or gathering, or asshole convention or whatever took place earlier, but he wasn't.
I close my pen in my notebook and toss it on the floor, disgusted by the frivolity of my writing, and at the fact that I expend so much time and energy documenting the trifling ways in which I choose to occupy my time, like it will somehow be worthwhile in the future to read and reflect on exactly how I wasted my past.
I sigh and roll onto my back and stare up at the ceiling, at the abstract patterns of light and shadows cast by unknown sources somewhere on the other side of the living room windows, and try to convince myself to do something worthwhile in the morning.
at 10:54 PM