Artists’ Hands

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Photograph by: Alexandra Pelletier

I love those fingertips. Gleaming, darkened with lead from sketching, from pulling out entire cities, worlds even, from the space between your brain and the tip of your pencil.

I love those fingers that are dexterous and have a strength all their own. Not the strength to punch or to lift heavy objects, necessarily. But the strength to create and care for growing things. I know that we need hands that can use force, that will prevent robbers from getting away, hands that are tough and can break things. But I am so glad that there are hands like yours, too. Hands that know how to be soft even when they are calloused. Hands that will save a life not by their ability to shoot a gun, but through the beautiful things they create that make life worth living.

I am so glad that your strength is softness.

It takes such courage to be soft, naked, in a world where people are always packing on the layers, as though life were an endless winter. But it’s hard to be that person. And I know there was a time when you gave up. When softness hurt too much. When people nicked your skin with the thorns of the flowers you gave them. But you understood, one day, that the world being harsh is no reason for you to be, too. If the world is harsh, then it needs more softness. And if not you, who? If you do not lead by example, then who will follow?

It’s hard to remain soft. But youyou live like that, knowing you could never be any other way.


Note: This one is for all the lovely people out there who remind me time and again that softness is not weakness.

Slumberous Psychedelia

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Photograph by Matt Molloy from the ‘Smeared Sky’ series, each photo a timelapse combination of 100-200 others.

I feel like I’ve sat on a chair and have been spinning around for light-years. And nothing I see is willing to settle. Everything still appears in duplicates and colours that don’t exist. The world now, is a juxtaposition of 10,000 others right before it. The lights of 10,000 dawns and dusks, all painted in one stroke. And I am constantly grabbing at old versions of what it means to be alive. My shaking hand comes back empty but for a mound of dust and dying light.

My head has been spinning on itself, too and has been orbiting the moon, pushed by the gusts of Saturn. I just have to close my eyes and my body floats, weightless, as though it has never known gravity, never wondered what it felt like to be grounded. My body does not feel like my own.  My hands are too weak-willed, too loose, too free to be mine to command. My body is like a kite without a string—going wherever the wind wills. So it’s not mine anymore. Was it ever? Was there ever a moment when that kite was bound, when all these thoughts made sense, when they were arranged in order? Did they ever not orbit around my head like moons in utter chaos? And I am left now to pluck them, in disarray, attempting to string them into not-gibberish. But the sentences don’t make sense. Nothing does.

For a moment there, I feel like I am the sun. With all these thoughts-turned-planets and their moons circling me, each at their own rhythm, each at separate stages of their journey. Too much, too much.

But grabbing at other planets did not work. So I am now peeling back the layers of this world to reach a substantial core, something unmistakably material, but my hands are weak. They, too, are the juxtaposed reflections of 10,000 years of being. So holding onto some form of sanity, because that’s really what this is about, is proving to feel like trying to contain water in a fishing net. Or trying to catch smoke with the spaces between your fingers.

This night has turned into a search for grounding, for anchoring. But the Earth itself is dissolving into cotton balls and I am floating away with its remains.


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Note: How to become high: be in that stage between sleep-deprivation and developing an actual sleep pattern.