as it were

In the future, those yellow and white boards will be dark purple. In the past, they were my neighbor’s ceiling. They made an ugly, annoyingly cheerful ceiling, so when he got a job he decided to replace them. As he took them down, I put them right back up. Once something of ours finally lands in the trash, it deserves to be thrown away. Until then ceilings become walls become trim. Bookshelves become flower beds become chicken coops. Sheets become curtains become bridal gowns…

The other two sides (not shown because I’m currently pretending that they don’t exist) are still open, their corner beams mockingly rotten. The upside is, three packs of silicone and one 2 meter-long beam are looking like the last things I’m going to need to buy. The slower I am, the more time I’ve had to find what I need. The more I learn, the better I am at building solutions out of the scavenged materials I’ve dumpstered. I can no longer say I’ve never built anything, that I don’t even know how.

I can imagine being finished now, and the image becomes clearer and clearer every day. Every night before I go to sleep I lay in bed picturing the details–the insulated walls, the siding, the wood stove, the bookshelves, the fold-out table, the wicker chair. The same images, every night, again and again and again. On the nights when motivation is low I force myself to imagine it in even more detail: cutting and fitting Styrofoam into the walls, screwing each individual board onto the frame, filling the bookshelves book by book. I draw pictures, I write lists, again and again and again and again.

The red fold-out table! The windowsill for potted herbs to grow in the summer! The secret box under the floor to store the wood for heating! The bookshelf on wheels beneath the bed! The nightstand and the electrical sockets and the shelf for cassettes! The dark purple siding and the black trim!

Visualization is where I dip my ladle into the well. To people who would understand what I meant I might call it magic, but with the right vocabulary even a no-nonsense person would know what I meant, would know that it works and how it’s gotten me to this spot where I’m standing today. If you know what you want and if you concentrate on it, in every free minute, with every free brain cell, in excruciating detail, again and again, you’ll probably end up getting it. Go ahead, call me a stupid hippy, I don’t mind.

0 Comments on “as it were

  1. Actually I’m reading this book on brain chemistry and it seems that visualization can actually, in a very science-y sense, cause things to happen. When we visualize things over and over, they eventually become hardwired, so to speak, in the back portions of our brains where long term information is stored- where our vision of reality is stored, basically. By this method you can actually imagine away pain (though I still think that’s not the best idea- better to find the cause of the pain first), or imagine yourself into a new personality, and, I would argue, imagine yourself a new wagon. Fascinating stuff.

  2. What I find funny here is that, even though no one is calling you a stupid hippy, what you are doing is pretty antithetical to what I presume is most people’s conception of hippies. When I think of hippies (in the derogatory sense, said with a sneer by the people who wish they weren’t chained to their routine), I imagine slovenly, slothful dopes sitting around doing drugs, not getting anything done. What you have done is just the opposite! Instead of freeloading, you are making your own home and the universe is providing most of what you need. Congratulations on a (huge) half a job well done!

  3. A stupid hippy? Its interesting that the post-hippy generations have negative conotations of this culture. I found that disparaging – so I decided to look up the history of hippy-ism. Here’s what I found….”Along with the New Left and the American Civil Rights Movement, the hippie movement was one of three dissenting groups of the 1960s counterculture. Hippies rejected established institutions, criticized middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War, embraced aspects of Eastern philosophy, championed sexual liberation, were often vegetarian and eco-friendly, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs which they felt expanded one’s consciousness, and created intentional communities or communes. They used alternative arts, street theatre, folk music, and psychedelic rock as a part of their lifestyle and as a way of expressing their feelings, their protests and their vision of the world and life. Hippies opposed political and social orthodoxy, choosing a gentle and nondoctrinaire ideology that favored peace, love and personal freedom…….Hippies perceived the dominant culture as a corrupt, monolithic entity that exercised undue power over their lives, calling this culture “The Establishment”, “Big Brother”, or “The Man”.

    You can give a lifestyle a new name, but its the same ol’wine in a different bottle. And to you – my young hippy friend….I salute you and your visions, your wagon and the fact that you don’t just talk the talk – you walk the walk.

  4. I just learned a great hippy joke.

    How do you know you’ve had a hippy house guest recently?

    He’s still there.

    Hahahaha. I don’t actually have anything against hippies. But we make lots of hippy jokes ’round here. Mostly because we pretty much all qualify as hippies, and like ya said, it’s all the same anyway.

  5. ah, your last words before i rode the battleship home, early march: “you’re not a hippy.” such loving parting vernacular, nar there ever was.

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