Grindstone

July 19th, 2005. Categories / Chiang Mai, Thailand

Today is part of my “Writer’s” Wroutine.™

I wake up reasonably early, despite going to bed unreasonably late, pack up my notebook computer and go get breakfast at a café around the corner from my house. I am able to focus a nice block of time on the Meatland Project or whatever else I feel needs tackling that day. It is a costly habit in food expense, but it is worth it for the focus. Eventually my room will be clean and with fan and desk. But it will never have as wonderful lighting and austere wood desks and plush seating as the Mong Pearl Café. There is also some good company here, but that’s another issue entirely. This is not an advertisement. They are expensive and their wireless connection is spotty (especially today, when it is down completely). I have always focused better outside my residence and away from people I feel I have to acknowledge.

I’ll be posting some new Meatland developments soon. I am also considering adding an area on my site that is dedicated to writing, since that is almost all I have been doing creatively with the past few months.

I was thinking today about the troubling difficulty of writing about my time in Thailand. For instance, today there were many small but significant moments that would be both impossible or lengthy to describe in detail. So here they are in list: Spending some quiet time at the café daydreaming and writing, exchanging little smiles and eye contact and Thai with the Thai staff, taking a slippery walk back in the drizzle and hearing the drops hit all of the plants lining the lane, breaking out the index cards and coloring the drawings, having T. pop by and point out nouns in the pictures of a magazine and telling me what they are in Thai, me having both Thai and English conversation with T., me sitting and thinking about the amazing brain-remapping and internalizing of the learning process, taking a sultry walk to buy bananas and mangoes and asking for them by name and quantity in Thai and being told the price for all of it in Thai and understanding it, and walking to the next store to buy milk and then having the whole interchange including bag refusal occurring in exclusively Thai, and walking home pondering the personal significance of having gone out into the world and conducting errands in a language that seemed so new, eating the most awesome mango ever (mah muang aloi mah) coming back and transferring my magazine lesson into index card form, T. coming over again and teaching me some more, learning that the world for milk literally translates to “breast water,” me extrapolating this into the translation “DNA water” for semen, making a sweetlicious banana milk shake from ingredients that totaled about $.25 cents, knowing what to call a banana milk shake in Thai, killing the formerly largest cockroach in the known universe, ordering my favorite dish by name and eating it alone while reading about writing fiction, having some little old man thinking I could speak Thai and rambling enthusiasticly to confused ears, watching the sun set from the porch outside me room, etc.

This list is kind of lame, but these little details speak more about the differences in life here than I could describe in any broad strokes. It is the difference between going to an outdoor market and a supermarket, between struggling to talk and taking it for granted, between feeling distressed and relaxed, between feeling like a cog and a source of the entire machine’s internal power. It is the difference between working for money and working for mental enrichment.

I feel on an upward spiral.

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