Dispatch From The Mundane 007
Oh, the huge manatee.
There’s two recorded episodes of alone in my room that you’ll find on soundcloud now. There’s two episodes and I’ll work on getting the others recorded. If you’d like audio and to hear my voice which scientists have asserted is as close as we’ll get to hearing a velociraptor in real life, click, click the link.
At present I’m listening to “Iris” on repeat and pretending I can talk to angels. I was up late with pigment stained fingers and looking for my skate tool, new grip tape. I gotta get new trucks to set up a skateboard that I cannot ollie over the hurdles of my life without eating shit. I’m not good at any sport but I enjoy the things I can do alone. I’m behind the grocery store riding up and down a small hill and it reminds me of being a kid on snow days with whatever we could make a sled out of.
It takes me forever to edit things whether it’s audio or this newsletter and I found myself having missed meals, sunset, phone calls after spending hours trying to figure out controlling volume in ableton. I have been doing most of the editing in bed so that I can multitask resting on my days off. All of my normal chores get more formal address but this thing I’m not sure about…writing? Yeah, that’s done on my belly with occasionally naps when I’m not editing or writing mid-commute or in a break room.
Still figuring out how to use and take up this space. All I know is my mom told me to take the beef out to let it thaw and by the beef, I mean, my life. I am trying to make things and finish them. Lately I have been on a kick of saying something and seeing it through to the end and I’m shaking. Sometimes it isn’t even good! Lately I am a PSA looking in the mirror, looking into the google doc and whispering “this is your brain on drugs, no, wait, I mean it gets better. This gets better. Wrong commercial.”
I want to encourage you this week to make your own tortillas. When I have a tough time letting go I like to make bread. You have to focus on it, your hands in the mud of it and I can’t always sit and hum enlightenment and so in the bread I find myself. It’s not just for nourishment. It’s a process that tires me when I cannot lace up a pair of trainers and when the delight of music isn’t the same as silence and heavy breathing. Tortillas aren’t too difficult as far as kneading go and it’s just a nice pause. You’ll see many ways on the process and you might even think you need a tortilla press but just a rolling pin or you can use your hands. There’s something about the taste of fresh hot carbohydrates off the skillet. All the smoke, yeast and salt settling on the tongue and the sweet satisfaction of doing it yourself. I love to make flour tortillas and load them with smashed black beans, sweet potato and poblanos with cold slices of avocado and lime juice. Sometimes I’ll make that mixture with a plantain and it's sweet, starchy and simple.
Here is a basic recipe but instead of lard, if you have reservations about that type of fat, substitute olive oil or shortening. Any oil works and you’ll get something with chew but the best ones I’ve had often have shortening or lard. I rarely have either of those ingredients and so often just use olive oil but you should try to make some and let me know how it goes. Sometimes I’ll choping up some garlic and add it to the final product just before throwing it on the griddle. The way the oil and garlic seal into the dough.
In a digital document it feels as if I’m in a luxurious estate where I can hear my canvas shoe touch the tile and echo throughout the house. There’s no one here. This is a sinking 14th century castle and I live in the highest tower. Lake Garda was built in the 13th century but it’s real use began in the 14th century. They say life starts at conception but I didn’t even assert what name I was to be called until two decades had passed so what’s the real use and measurement of life.
I love to walk around this gorgeous estate. I cannot swim and every day I tell myself I’ll learn before the southern wing submerges. Early morning there is tea waiting for me and it smells richly of dandelion, anise and chocolate. I’m served caviar that is nearly vermillion on toast with chrysanthemum greens. My favorite things is that the castle has a moat but it’s really just that it’s sinking. The moat is full of manatees that I come down and sit beside and compliment. Yes, bitch, slay, you’re the queen of everything.
There’s a lot of algae and so every night I have a chilled kelp and cucumber salad full of spicy sauce. There’s a crunch and sweet roasted peanut tossed inside. On the table is a beautiful rice noodle and it’s covered in a sweet mint and perilla oil. The food appears and I want to say it’s from my wildest dreams as I bite into an earl grey panna cotta but in this place I don’t dream and when I do I struggle to remember the boundary between reality and imagination.
Recently I dreamed about a face and it took me ages to realize that it was Sam’s face floating in my bedroom or his bedroom. When we are in college or leaving college. I’m surprised we were still friends in the dream or that’s the feeling I remember. I was surprised to see him at all. I spent weeks trying to remember who and even now I’m not sure. I have convinced myself it was Sam.
These are the things I think of as I feed the manatees. I feed them apples and sweet potatoes and call them beautiful. I think the sound of my feet squick and wet on the stone floors of the castle is kinda beautiful. It reminds me of the gorgeous bellows of trumpet in a big band. There’s water hyacinth in bloom and it’s so nice to be here. The manatees don’t need me as much as I need them to stay in the moat of my sinking castle. I would have nothing without them. There’s nothing keeping them here except the sweet potatoes and apples I grow in my room at the top tower.
One day I’ll sink and fade away and the garden will drown like all those horny sailors once did trying to get a glimpse of supple manatee. If I’m lucky they’ll make me a crown of hyacinth and take my body to its final resting place. Maybe I’ll become kelp and one day I’ll find reincarnation under bubbling hot chili oil.
alone in my room is a once defunct and maybe weekly dispatch from the mundane from a local ficus. kelly is a writer & serial hobbyist. consider donating to the world central kitchen and their mission to feed the people during crisis. you can donate to support a hobby or buy soil here.