Copyright © 2017 by Faustina Anciute
I started collecting dead insect carcasses last summer. One immensely hot and humid day I was walking around my apartment in bare feet, pastel green shorts and a sweaty top. It was in the corner of my kitchen that I noticed the remains of a dead mosquito. Naturally, I picked it up and placed it in a small wooden blue box I had painted.
‘A box filled with colorful insect carcasses doesn’t sound like a bad idea.’
The idea came out of my nutty head and it’s interesting to consider that they always come up in
a zoomorphic forms.
‘I wish I had a pet spider.’ I fell back on my couch with a drawing pad. ‘A creative pet spider who’d help me come up with new sketching ideas for an abstract colorful book for artsy children I’ve been meaning to write/draw. The ideas seem to be like members of the opposite sex. They’re never interested in you when you need them and they come in herds whenever you’re busy as fuck or sleeping. My most creative ponderings always come up to me at night whenever I’m trying to sleep at 2am or dreaming only to be lost in the abyss of morning sleepiness.
‘Have you ever tried nutmeg powder?’ I heard my brain talking to itself as I watched a spider crawling up my leg. Its long legs flexed and mounted my naked hairy leg as I wondered whether the poor creature felt the same way
the humans do when they climb rocky mountains.
‘No I have not,’ I answered myself, like a complete nut job.
The spider kept moving and minding its own business as if there were nothing else in the world but my unshaved leg, the drawing pad and my barely moving fingers. It, or he, as I decided it was a male by its long and determined steps, seemed to agree that I should stop talking to myself like a weirdo and advance with the drawing I should have finished a while ago.
‘Why would I?’ I insisted nonetheless, as if there were more information to be obtained.
‘Just a few teaspoons and it might make you think I’m really talking to you.’ The spider seemed to develop it further.
‘Why would I lie to you? I’m just a fucking spider.’ He shrugged.
‘Oh don’t mind me. I’ll just go and get some of it.’ I softly picked the spider from my leg and placed him on the coffee table in front of me. I also left the drawing pad with barely a few scribbles on it on the couch.
I have to acknowledge that the nutmeg tastes quite interesting. It has a soft notes of spice and a nutty flavor. I didn’t feel anything but a tremendous headache and a lack of concentration, but that’s already a big part of my life. Is that the only thing that’s supposed to happen?
‘Inspiration is a complicated process. You shouldn’t be taking it for granted or expect do it yourself substances to speed things up,’ the spider added wisely.
‘Yes, thank you. I’m very well aware of it, and you
, pointing out the obvious doesn’t exactly add anything useful to the situation.’
‘Sigh. I’m just trying to help. There’s no need to overthink it.’ The spider moved back on my lap.
‘Let me show you something
,’ I muttered, grabbing the pad. I drew triangles, rectangles and other polygons. ‘That’s the only thing that comes to my mind. I had a data analysis test last week and the statistics have stuck with me in the form of complex shapes and graphs.’ I developed further. ‘Here, I can even expand that in a graph.’ I grabbed my cherished multicolor pen, chose the purple and moved it smoothly against the paper. ‘Here are my creativity levels and here’s my proficiency in math s. As you can see, the statistics have a grossly damaging effect on my right brain hemisphere.’
‘You are using the Gaussian curve. Thus your graph states that your creativity levels increase a little in the beginning. Hence your argument is invalid. On top of that, I’m disappointed that you are still using that left-right hemisphere fallacy as if we were using only half of our brains for some mystical reason.’
The damn spider was smart. I sighed once more, laid the useless pad to rest and grabbed an empty glass of water for a refill. It was past midday and the sun was shining even stronger.
I have not the faintest idea why the heck I have struggled so hard for that meager afternoon scribble. It’s as if I want to achieve that idea I have incubating in my mind now or never. As if a day or two would make a difference. This obsession with my creative process usually just keeps repeating itself over and over again until I try to execute that primitive idea, fail, forget and go on with something else.
‘Well, I’m not going to achieve anything just sitting and moaning here,’ I told myself harshly.
I took my five year old bicycle for a spin. I hadn’t used it for so long, the tires were almost flat. I should stop procrastinating so much. If you start forcing yourself to exercise now, your belly and heart will thank you in five years.
I have never jogged in my entire life. Except the times when the bus is about to leave from the stop and I’m still a hundred meters away. No matter how nice, sunny and perfect it’d be outside, I’d always struggle to force myself to go out to and do some sports, like everyone around me seems to be up to these days. It’s strange how trends and fads change exponentially since the rapid increase of Internet use. I mean, ten or fifteen years ago there were a lot of weird people, but everyone seemed to be more into their own idiosyncratic things. Now there seem
s to surface these fads. The dietary trends, fashion trends, lifestyle trends. I may be talking out of my ass, but is this , numb madness just a side effect of a globalized world in which we’re becoming more identical?
I climbed onto the bicycle and wished these complex thoughts would cross my mind when I’m actually trying to socialize and be interesting instead of tormenting my mind by its own. The creative vacuum seems to be a hot spot for all sorts of random thoughts floating back and forth.
As much as I hate exercise, the newly found smartphone applications and everything to do with it, I can’t deny it actually helps me feel more energetic and clears up my mind. My mind focuses on more important things, like pondering the chemical differences of fine table and rock salt, that somehow seem to taste so different.
The soft summer breeze ran through my messy hair, the sound of cicadas and the fields of green disappearing into the horizon in the background, and I felt more alive than in that closed apartment, sizzling between four walls. Some of my old acquaintances would say I shouldn’t be procrastinating as much – one only achieves important stuff by hard and constant work and nothing less. I guess they’re right and sometimes I feel like a failure. Then I get out, breathe in a mouthful of that scent of voluptuous summer sunsets and pick up another insect carcass. Such a trite pleasure I happen to wholeheartedly enjoy.
I took a different route back home. At least I thought I was cycling back home, but I ended up in the city center. The sun was still high and I was drenched in sweat and dehydrated, so I decided to take a break instead of going straight back home. Even though I’m not optimistic that my cheap bicycle could be an object of burglary, I locked it up anyway and sat by the table of a coffee shop just across the brick road. I thought I’d be back home sooner than I originally planned, so now I was forced to sit there and enjoy the sunshine, drowning in my labyrinthine mental objects instead of gaming on my phone. I rarely exteriorize these volatile reflections as I’m pretty sure I’d be fitted for a straitjacket. I just sit back, sip from a can of ice cold soda and watch people walk by, even though my crazy thoughts are usually more connected to the reactions of those people rather than their appearance by itself. Let me exemplify my disturbing random thoughts. I would choose the busiest individual from the crowd and hypothetically ask him which part of his own body would he choose to eat if he was starving and absolutely had to do it. Then I’d further develop the conversation in my head, with the individual in question answering angrily that he doesn’t have time for such childish questions. I’d ask him what’s so childish about his dietary preferences. He’d stare at me for a minute or two, offer to get me some help and hurry back to his steel and concrete prison.
We humans think we’re important, desire attention from the rest of the universe and demand priority from nature. How egocentric is that? I watch my subjects like a scientist, passing with their crying kids, their perfect jobs and houses in the suburbs. Their overall unimportant lives. What’s your meaningless job as a bank teller compared to the rest of the universe? It’s downright absurd. Ridiculous. Thinking you can change your useless life is absurd. Moreover, thinking you deserve the change for your own measly needs is absurd. That’s why I think that knowing you’re just a number, one more bag of flesh of no particular importance, must be liberating.
The sun was about to set and the air betrayed that soft scent of warm dusk. It wasn’t unbearably hot anymore, nor was it chilly just yet. The streets filled with people leaving their day jobs and ready for an after office drink with their buddies.
It was already dark when I arrived home. I locked my crappy bicycle in the storage room and opened the windows of the still overheating apartment for some of that cool nightly wind.
‘How was that walk?’ a familiar deep and rusty voice asked. ‘Did you have a drink or two, meet some friends and crash an after office party?’
‘My procrastination moments, my friend, might happen to be as important as a cold beer.’ I smiled. ‘My head only needed a break in the society and without. Ripening cherry trees, golden fields of wheat and the thriving green grass – the lively colors really do wonders on the state of my mind. I feel no obligation to be sorry for my supposed weakness to feel compelled to get out, immerse and enjoy the hell out of it.
‘Maybe you’re right,’ the arachnid acknowledged, moving back to observe me like a strange mythical animal as I observed him back in silence.
‘Will I form a part of your cabinet of curiosities?’ my eight legged comrade continued.
‘Probably. Although it depends on whether I’ll find you curious at the time,’ I conjectured. ‘Why do you want to know? The most beautiful happenings occur unexpectedly,” I concluded, feeling so proud of my almost millennial philosophical babble.
‘I’m not judging. Don’t you worry.’ he sighed.
‘You shouldn’t. I don’t know any other way of existing besides this surreal falling down the rabbit hole.’
‘Does it really feel like it?’ The arachnid continued picking my brain.
‘Sometimes. Other times it feels like a hot bowl of alphabet soup or playing scrabble – senseless words just come and go. Sometimes they actually mean something, but hardly every time.’
Even though I didn’t resist the psychoanalysis, my mind was elsewhere. I was in the kitchen, preparing myself a quick bite. The longer I held myself from going back to my business, the more one or two sentence long thoughts my brain accumulated. By the time I shoved the pizza into the oven, I was ready to go back to writing, or drawing that is.
‘Why do you ask so many questions anyway?’ I inquired this time.
‘Hey, don’t mind me. I’m just the fruit of your imagination. You don’t really have to answer me if you don’t want to.’
‘I know, but it feels reassuring to have such a tiny alter ego the next time I can’t find that pen tip. Now off you go to the blue box.’
My cabinet of curiosities held a handful of unusual items along with that black spider carcass. It had miscellaneous pieces of stone, a note from an old newspaper, random plant leaves, and some fish food. Random details of no particular connection that seemed to fascinate me or at least used to.
I try to carry my notebook with me at all times. These passing thoughts need to be recorded in order not to be forgotten, or maybe they should be recorded in order to be forgotten, who knows. The only thing I happen to be sure of is that the idea I’m waiting for dawns on me like a bratty child when I’m not even waiting for it, just scribbling and drawing without much ado on top of the formulas.
‘How high are you?’ my inner spider voice inquired once more, watching me move the same orange crayon back and forth for a while.
‘Above and beyond those tomato cans I keep up there on the fridge.’ I pointed towards the kitchen and upwards. ‘I can never reach them without using a chair,’ I uttered and went back to an act still so mindless, yet no longer a struggle.
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