Welcome to my Moonbox: a gathering of musings, learnings, and aspirations held (perhaps, sometimes only briefly) by the many expressions of me, Sarita.
From the Desk:
My first thoughts are that I have nothing to really report on, write about or divulge. As if the center of myself is gooey but stiff, old gum or — actually, I just remembered I have a stick of gum in my bag; it’s been there for some time now, months, perhaps. Which isn’t true; I grabbed it at the 5Point Film Festival from the volunteer room (a mere month ago). I mean, an exaggerated sense of time is not uncommon. It is the stupor of constant remembering and forgetting that I wanted to convey more than the factual truth of days in a zippered pocket. Not to say that feelings aren’t factual things…Yes, they are also changelings or gooey voids of stupor and fatigue. But they do happen and they alter our perceptions, our realities. They expand and contract time. They are points of contact in the brain. The world shifts. Much of my writing is probably purely that: the expansion and contraction of feelings in relation to all sorts of stimuli.
And I get to tell you how to chew. Or suggest. Or whisper. Or say nothing at all and let you spin jaw and tongue until…something else happens. The gum is spearmint. It was once speckled with blue dots. Now it is kneaded resin and wax, molar pressed and tongue rolled. Fresh as the rain that fell this morning. Mint-leafed and ghostly. A rubbery amalgam of once-lively things now enlivening tastebuds and cheek walls.
This could even be a metaphor for a photograph. Like the May calendar portrait of a mother Koala and her joey. They sit on a tree limb and the joey has a leaf half-drawn into its mouth. The leaf looks green and bitter. The mother Koala’s gaze takes you away from her joey, she knows you’re there. Her face is half-lit and glowing. Her forearm appears to be caught between steady contemplation and a protective reflex around the joey’s girth. But what I’ve described to you is nothing but feelings, ones that I have produced in response to gum and glossed paper. I’ve already disposed of the gum and it really takes only a few seconds to witness the photo. I’ve expanded time and suggested mothering things. Intimate things. Things that can’t be spoken. Feeling things.
This is all an adequate summary of my month so far. I finished taking a self-guided writing course. I wrote new pieces. I traveled to Reno and Truckee for a week to visit friends. The mountains still have a lot of snow. The culverts and drainages are nearly overflowing. Dandelions raise their white-fractal bulbs. My plantar fasciitis is seemingly coming to a close. It’s been 7 weeks. A span of time that is impossible to convey without some form of exaggeration. It’s been like dreaming. Mountains rise and fall away. The tightness changes into pain into tightness into dull shapes at the heel or arch or up the calf in cables. There are moments I forget everything. Sleep a black sleep. Then there are flashing scenes: tea bag, tent pitch, the slow tug of a climbing shoe around the heel, a spoon on the tongue, hairbrush, riverbank, paintings of indigenous feminism in a museum. I can hear the clicks of keyboards and the whine of a dog. Graduates walk, cheer, cry. There are gulps and sips and cracking cans. Freshly brewed café de olla, cinnamon on the tongue. People affectionately pronounce my name in Spanish.
Feelings. A soupy, sticky core that swells primordial, and from it I arrive every morning dream-lit and half-remembering, yet still knowing that the world is nothing but exaggeration, small points of time that I’ve molar pressed and tongue rolled into strips of days and days.
La Vida Mundial:
Congratulations to the Full Circle Everest Expedition, the world’s first all-Black (and Sherpa) expedition to reach the summit of Everest! Nine members of the team made a successful summit bid earlier this month and REI has just announced that the Co-op and other involved filmmakers will be producing a documentary.
Outside, Inc. hits the news headlines once again, this time for a major streak of layoffs among its media ranks. Magazines such as Trail Runner (which I subscribe to), Backpacker, Climbing, and others will no longer be in print as we currently know. It’s unclear as to whether Trail Runner will now only be publishing its annual DIRT issue, or whether it will solely exist online. Instances of print magazines hitting the chopping block have been ramping up in recent years, which is sad to see, but I also understand the push for digitalization. Nonetheless, it’s difficult to ignore the doom and gloom of sci-fi futures and our reliance on digital representations and realities. From a shallow environmental point of view, this all means less paper use, but it’s no secret that anything digital requires catastrophic mining…What is the solution?!
I can’t believe that summer is almost here. A part of me is sad because of my injury and nearing summer means that there is less time between now and my FKT goals/races. The other part of me is of course ready to spend time in the alpine and just bathe in the mountains. Day by day though, just trying to keep things small and accessible.
And HBD to all May birthdays!
Recent Top Pick Reads:
+ “something will always rise up and fall again,” by Kathryn Hunt (poetry) and Camille Seaman (photography), Orion Magazine, online review excerpts. Beautiful land poetry in collaboration with Seaman’s stormy photography from the plains.
+ “Fuck the Bread. The Bread is Over.” by Sabrina Orah Mark, The Paris Review, May 2020. As one of the readings from my self-guided course, the piece plays with expectation, fairy tale, and reality.
+ “My Mother’s Crown,” by Anne-Marie Oomen, Creative Nonfiction Sunday Short Reads #182, May 15, 2022. A lyrical contemplation of the cost of time.
Books/Mags on the Shelf:
+Creative Nonfiction Magazine, Issue 75, Spring 2021
+Poet Warrior by Joy Harjo
+Craft in the Real World by Matthew Salesses
+Thin Places by Jordan Kisner
+ “Breakout Writers Series: Leila Chatti,” Zoom recording on YouTube of an interview with poet Leila Chatti by Black Mountain Institute. Topics include the intersections of feminism, religion, history, and language.
Writing/Projects: (updates are highlighted)
+ “Sounds of Me, Sounds of Light,” creative nonfiction essay for Alpinist Magazine: Final Draft Stage. Summer 2022.
+I have two general submissions in the ether. A short prose piece for Western Humanity Review and a prose poem for River Teeth.
+The hybrid essay I wrote last year, “Chuckwalla,” still needs some revision before I submit again.
+I’ve revisited my Science Fiction short story, which has been fun, so I hope I can keep up the progress and finish the manuscript this year.
+ “When We Visit,” short creative nonfiction essay for Campfire Stories Volume II anthology: Finished Draft stage. The book is currently due to come out in Spring 2023.
+ Patrick has been training for his marathon at the end of June and recently ran an 18-mile long run. So proud of him!
Thanks for tuning in to Sarita’s Moonbox.