When There is No Sense: Breakthrough for the week of 3/25/019

—Matthew Peterson

…Citing the broken narratives she’s been tracing, Joan Didion admits that “writing has not yet helped me to see what it means.”…
I read old journals from forty, thirty, twenty, ten years ago. Again and again, I wrote through not knowing into that which I believed was knowing. From the dubious vantage point of now, I understand that I knew little – or nothing. In fact, I woke, met the day, met intersections both predictable and not, reacted impulsively, thought actions through, made it alive to the end of the day and went – sometimes easily, sometimes reluctantly into sleep.

Who is the person in this photo? What is in their yellow bag? And you? What do you write through? What not? What do you know that you know?


Here is Cin Norris, in response to an earlier Breakthrough post:

Prompt 020419: When you turn the corner / And you run into yourself / Then you know that you have turned / All the corners that are left. -Langston Hughes, poet and novelist (1 Feb 1902-1967) Begin at the raven. Imagine North. Walk in that direction with your eyes taking in everything.
Turn left. Walk West, hearing everything – outside you and inside you.
Turn left. Walk South. Breathe deep. Breathe in scent and no-scent.
Turn left. Walk East. Touch and be touched.
Turn left and left again and yet again. The raven may lie in your path – or may not. You may lie in your path – or not. Write us your message of exploration and discovery.

Cin: Turn and turn again. This life, this universe is a maze of harm, fear, good intentions, and roads to hell. I read somewhere that always turning right solves a maze, but there I stood, staring at my own footprints in the dust.

Go west, they said; so I went west. The ocean is a severe and uncaring beauty, cold and pale, but the siren song of the rushing waves pulled me ever closer. Sand enough to make me bleed for it, barefoot on the glass-to-be. Pain, emptiness, and a likely death by drowning forced a turn.

Turn and turn again.

Go home, they said; so I went east. I climbed a mountain where the thin air carried the scent of rising sap and burning pine. The sky reached down to touch me and I was suffocated by its indifference. Powerlessness, despair, and facing a future in chains; I was forced to make another turn.

Turn and turn again.

North, I thought. There is truth in the north; the compass needle never lies and all magnetic frequencies find their way there and back again. The problem with north is that once you’ve reached it, there’s nowhere left to go. Surrounded by strangers, even the wind and the water were unfamiliar, I was an oddly shaped peg that fit in no board at all. Resigned, I turned.

Turn and turn again.

Somewhere in Texas I met a raven. He perched on the cab of a beat-up blue pickup truck in a grocery store parking lot laughing at passersby. I told him good morning and in reply he asked where I was going. I had no answer. He asked what I was looking for. I shrugged, embarrassed. He ruffled his feathers and cawed, derision in every line of him. Stupid human, he said. If you keep going in circles you will only run into yourself.

I haven’t yet, but perhaps I should try harder.

Turn. And turn again.


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