Missouri Shows Me
I recently moved again. This time, I have found myself in Missouri, so Missouri has officially become my sixth state, my fourth in the Midwest, my second for my twenties, and my first for states that begin with the letter ‘M’.
Every time I move, I find myself wondering if that much is really that different. In the overall picture – yes – culture varies across regions of the United States, but – at the same time – people are people. We all have a story to tell. We all have loved ones, and enemies, and moments that have scarred us, and dreams that have inspired us. I find a level of comfort in familiarity, but I also count the ways my life has changed.
In Missouri, for instance, I am noticing the trees. And the hills. And the curved roads and the way the wind changes from the bottom of a hill to the top of it. In my previous state of Kansas, the wind was a constant force – never changing from one corner of the street to the next – and I could see for miles. Now, when I find myself in a car, I find it quite unsettling to go up a hill without knowing what could appear on the other side. Perhaps, this is also a reaction from my car anxiety, but for now, let’s focus on Missouri and what the movement has shifted in me.
I have a brand-new desk. As a writer, my desk is extremely important to me. In fact, I feel more like I have moved desks than homes. So far, I’m quite found of this little, black workstation. So is my cat.
Every morning, we sit at my unfolded desk, which is situated left of a window – facing even more trees – and at night, I can watch the sunset without moving away from the computer. Sometimes, I wish beauty demanded one to move away from the computer in order to see the beauty outside. Although it’s easy to move myself, I think it would be an even more interesting world if – in order to view something like the sunset – we had to be outside and right beneath it to see it. If we were inside, it would be like the very blinds that do, in fact, blind us on most days. So, I suppose, in some ways, we already live in this world I am dreaming about on a night long after the sun has fallen. I cannot even remember seeing it happen. I definitely did not feel it. And I wonder how something so big – like the ending of another day – can pass by without stealing a moment of recognition.
I try not to dwell in the guilt these thoughts cause, but I mostly try not to lie to myself by saying I will, surely, see the sunset tomorrow. I will (most likely) miss that one, too.
This is much like moving to me. Here I am, contemplating what moving to Missouri feels like to me, and even though I asked myself, “How does Missouri feel?” my only emotions reside in what I decided to bring with me.
Two copies of the first-edition of November Snow sit on the top left shelf of my desk. My new, leather-bound journal is next to them, followed by a marble, cat statue my brother bought me during his honeymoon in Mexico. I have strawberry candies, and pens, and two maneki-nekos – both from Japan via my aunt who works there – and a photo of my late mother, who happens to be that same aunt’s older sister. Those objects, along with my top-ten poetry books (including but not limited to Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, Billy Collins, and Erin Moure), have ventured with me.
As I flip through my poetry collection and stare at the trinkets I have as companions, I find it difficult to believe I’ve ever missed a sunset at all. A sunset is not a “thing” – it is a time – and it is constantly moving…much like how I feel moving around the country has always been my way of living.
Moving to Missouri is a living sunset to me, a consistent change on the horizon, right outside my window, always there. And even if I do not see or feel it, it still shows itself to me. I only have to acknowledge the existence of it all – a moment in time, brought on by another ending to another day so a new one can begin.
I was a guest writer on Lit World Interviews recently. Check out my blog post, How I Found a New Publisher after Losing One, by clicking the link. Here is a small preview: “Previously in my career, I allowed seven years to pass between my first novel and my second novel. This was because I have made that “I am going to stop for a while” decision before, and while I think it was a necessary lesson for me, I knew I couldn’t do that this time around. Not again. But that was all I knew for certain. Everything else was a looming cloud of ‘What now?'”