Our theme for the month of October was selected by readers and is a format challenge: write a post completely in dialogue.
“Are you here yet?”
Of course I’m here. I’ve been asking you that same question for months now.
“Right, sorry. I’ve been busy.”
A lazy excuse.
“It’s not lazy, it’s true.”
Its truth does not, in any way, detract from its laziness.
“Fine. I’m here now. What do you want to say?”
“Sorry, I guess that was presumptuous of me.”
You’re out of touch, girl.
“You don’t need to tell me. But I reached for you not long back, remember? I was sitting in the covered porch of the refugiu, listening to that German Shepherd’s bell clang as he carried rocks back and forth in the fields (who knows why he did this, simple creature, but it was as endearing as it was futile), feeling the cold wind and listening to the water flow by in the creek. I was in the mountains, the place of bears and blueberries, boulder fields and alpine lakes, jam jars and campstove soups and pine trees and wildflowers…”
You can’t stay in the mountains forever, girl. What are you doing when your feet are stuck on the concrete?
“You interrupted me. That was some good stuff.”
Sentimental dribble, plus you’re just regurgitating from your journal. We’re here for something new, are we not?
“That was a bit harsh.”
I am speaking truth to you.
“Your truth does not, in any way, detract from your harshness.”
Just sit with me a moment. Be still. Have you forgotten how to do this?
Why are you crying?
“I’m not crying.”
“I’d forgotten how much I need this.”
Why are you here?
“Because there are some truths I need to get out.”
Right, go on. Where are you now? What is your life in this moment?
“I’m sitting here, notebook open, empty, flatter than the land I was raised on… we want to make some mountains here. Tension, collision, clatter, crumble, collapse, and rise. There must be destruction in the creation. ”
Yes. Keep going.
“I’ve forgotten how to hold a prayer. If I ever really knew how… there are different ways of speaking to God, of hearing his voice.”
And why does this matter?
“Because I feel it in my chest. And maybe there are others who feel it too. Look here, back on these pages, all these words, things I don’t even remember writing, phrases that surprise me as if I’ve never heard anything like them…
That’s because I was there. What else?
“I feel a story, saints and shepherds and bands of children on bicycles. Teenagers smoking in empty bus stations and something—a beast of sorts—in the hills. Neither bad, nor good, just there. Like storm, or ocean, like the mountains themselves. Tell me, are you bad or good? Are you like the mountains?”
You know better than I.
“And what am I doing here, just turning over stones that already exist? Am I the dog that expends all of its energy to haul rocks over arbitrary space, jaw aching around ancient, unbreakable matter, simple heart satisfied with simple feats accomplished?
It is only by moving stones that temples are built.
“What is going to happen then, all this talk of God and religion, and humor and emptiness and isolation? Of stories that are true as they are not true, of space emerging from the nothing of my fingers, of voices that only I can hear…do you think I’ll go crazy, in this world?”
If you do, it is because you must lose some of your certainty, your sense that the world is as you see it. Are you ready to believe that all of this is more than your eyes tell you?
“I’m here, aren’t I?”
You are. Let’s begin.
Jenna Griffin loves foreign music, old cookbooks, public transportation, and sunsets in new places. After graduating with degrees in writing and French, she is spending her first post-grad year as an English teaching assistant in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France.