Good writing is always about things that are important to you, things that are scary to you, things that eat you up.
—John Edgar Wideman
—John Edgar Wideman
A Hard Day’s Night. 1964.
—Rebecca Woolf, from her wonderful blog Girl’s Gone Child
It rained all day today, and by the time I reached the Viennese city center, it was coming down hard. Huge, thick raindrops and puddles everywhere. The sky was the darkest grey while thunder rumbled and shook the city’s historic buildings. I felt cozy in my preparedness: Beatle boots, hooded London rain jacket and Van Gogh umbrella. At one point, as I was waiting at a crosswalk, two boys came running by, seeking shelter from the angry storm. They were in shorts and tennis shoes, sans umbrella, their hair drenched and eyes barely open as they struggled to see through the rain falling on their faces.
All of a sudden, they stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, in a “fuck it, we’re already soaking wet” kind of way. They stood next to each other, stretched their arms out and threw their heads back, looking up at the sky. Their smiles stretched from ear to ear as they stuck their tongues out to catch every raindrop that fell on them.
Instantly, I remembered childhood. I recalled that freeing feeling of being a kid, completely careless and in the moment. I felt a twitch of jealousy - I too wished I could throw down my umbrella and run through the rain, feeling the heavy weight of drenched hair on my shoulders and the water dripping down my face.
The light turned green and stole my attention; I hurried across the busy intersection. But now, instead of feeling safe as I hid from the rain in my gear, I wanted to embrace it. I stomped through every puddle I came across; my Beatle boots could more than take it. By the time I reached the art museum, my leggings were soaked and my socks damp from the water that seeped through. It was the most of my inner child that I could let out in this adult world.
May 29, 2014.
—Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse