Why Just One?

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by Kira auf der Heide

i was asked if i were to live anywhere in the world, where would it be? and if i were to go somewhere and take my favorite book with me, which book would it be?

and i didn’t have an answer.

silence cast a shadow over my mind. it was both pleasant and bewildering. how could i not know?

and then a voice whispered.

if i were to live anywhere in the world, i would be moving from one place to another. one year here, two years there. and if i were to bring only one of my array of favorite books, its title would change every few months. i can’t just choose one place from a whole earth of breathtaking places and unimaginable opportunities. and i can’t choose one book from this earth’s entire time of trails of consciousness and imagination. i just can’t limit myself.

Mornings in Seefeld

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i’ve been waking up early; opening my eyes to a field of sleek grass, couples playing golf; showering in sweet cold water, putting my nikes on and slipping out the door to the freshest air my lungs have ever breathed; the joy of the present moment makes my feet feel giddy, and so i let them speed up to a jog; cold air, warm air, i can’t decide because i’m too occupied with how pure it feels; i find myself in roads between houses and hotels, the smell of breakfast toast and coffee invades my nose and stimulates my senses; i’m fueled by a craving for bread that sends me running faster, looking forward to breakfast; i go to the supermarket and let my hands pick up what my body craves without any judgment or apprehension — i choose to be a child that’s too alive and careless to think about labels and ingredients; i walk all the way back to the hotel, put my craving on a plate, sit in front of the huge balcony window, and enjoy myself just like i used to when i was seven; too invigorated to stay inside, i grab my novel and notebook and walk to my favorite café, order an americano, and start writing.

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Learning a Language

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Chelsie Kumar

with learning a new language comes the fear of getting into a chat with a local and getting stuck with not knowing how to translate your thoughts into that language. also, when you have a line repeating itself in your mind that you know could end up as a really good poem yet your grammar feels nonexistent and your attempt ends up nonsensical and incomprehensible.

those two things, in addition to reading and finding no sense in most words of a sentence, are surely frustrating. but what i have found to outweigh this frustration is seeing the effect of your constant exposure to this language actually making you more fluent and confident. you find your mind popping up with the right word when you need it, and your familiarity with other words helping you understand new ones.

that’s what i love about the process of learning a language. you discover yourself from a new light, and you see the world through the perspective of the culture whose language your mind can think in now.

Countless Possibilities

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by Jakkaiser

i see fate for myself in so many things.. so many fleeting moments.. in a coffee shop.. a barista.. between the pages of a book.. a writer.. in a road trip vintage van.. a traveler.. in a mountain cabin in the midst of a land of grass.. a soloist.. in a couple kissing on the escalator.. in love.. in a glass house filled with sunlight and plants.. a creative living a simple, inspired life.. in a small bookstore.. living off fleeting strangers in search of depth and meaning through books.. in a camera.. a person chasing beauty and capturing the Earth and its inhabitants at their best and worst..

i see myself in everything and everyone.. it’s difficult to explain.. it’s like a scent of perfume.. a sniff and you’re in love.. this feeling of grasping that possibility of destiny is as brief and profound as that moment..

Shock

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by Greg Ponthus

there’s a strange silence that comes with shock. you’re not thinking, but you’re not not thinking either. you’re not okay with what’s happening, yet this confusion is wordless. the emotions are unnamable, the thoughts are inaudible. it’s like you’re in an ocean, snuggled between the moments of a wave before and after it crashes. you become that wave, unaware of yourself as you crash. you become the voice of the water, not hearing yourself as others can’t help noticing you. you attract their attention, yet you don’t realize it and nor do you care about their eyes. you exist between existence and nonexistence. you are in silence. but not the pleasant kind, because it’s merged with chaos.

Stuck

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by Alex Stoddard

there’s a cloud of sadness sailing in the sky of my heart, obscuring the sun of my soul. i’m lost in a sea of idle desires that mean nothing to me as me, not the me that’s in the world. my mind is infatuated with ideas that are too silly and destructive for the sake of my contentment. it clutched onto a desire and turned it into an obsession. i have completely lost myself in the yearning that i’ve never once allowed myself to actually look at my life and see that i had a good part of what i wanted. until i lost it. or didn’t. i don’t even know anymore. i’m so fucking stuck. it’s like my rationality cannot cooperate with what my eyes are telling me. i feel and think and see that i am both what i want and what i don’t have. it’s not a mixture — more like a co-existence of the two opposites. it’s tiring. you never know what’s real. you look for clues in what people say to you or the way they treat you, but you don’t believe what they think of you, especially their compliments. you doubt it all because you don’t even know your own truth. one day you’re okay, you see that you have a wonderful life, and one day you’re just deflated. it keeps changing up from good days to bad days to good days to bad days as months pass and then years pass and you realize just how much you’ve changed, what you’ve gained and what you’ve lost along the way. and you’re struck with something else now. nostalgia. wishing to be back there because it looks better than right here even though you know it wasn’t really any better at all.

To Miss a Friend

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in my list of things to do before i travel is to see two of my friends so that my heart isn’t choked up with missing them when i leave town.

but you know what the irony is?

my heart is already ridden with longing for my dearest friend studying abroad. i’ve last seen her when she came to town unexpectedly (which was the most pleasant of all surprises), but it only made me realize how terribly i was missing her and how much more intensely i would be missing her now that i’ve seen her for a most wonderful but short while.

writing my two friends’ names on my list clenched my frail heart in wishing that i could write her name too. that i could see her so that i don’t miss her too much for the next two months. it’s true i wish she was here, that i so terribly miss feeling the connection and chemistry when we talk, but i also feel grateful for this time in our lives. i’m grateful that she’s expanding with experience and knowledge. that she’s working hard at taking herself closer to the person she aspires to be. i’m grateful for her friendship because it has showed me how deeply my heart could love. how faithfully it could miss. how it could surrender to these feelings rather than suppress them or associate them with pain. because missing someone is nowhere near pain to me. for pain cannot exist when love does. this missing makes me feel how much i love her, not how much i’m hurting over this impermanent separation. this missing for her is bittersweet because i’m happy she’s thriving and i’m sad i can’t physically witness her doing it.