I have so many stories to tell.
I could tell you about midsummer—the way that time ran different, and how the ghosts of the old gods watched from behind the trees as we wove flower crowns and broke up the saltsea moonpath with swimming and singing, and still as we danced naked (but still crowned) around the fire, midnight sun lapping at the horizon, and how when we finally wrapped ourselves and each other in blankets and tumbled onto the grass, it was bright as midday.
I could tell you how I climbed on and off tram after tram, learning the network of routes by trial and error (mostly error), and then how I walked on in the rain, past the edges of the tramtracks, through a forest and up a hill and on and on to get the key to my temporary home, and about the cat yowling silently under an awning's edge. I could describe how hard she shoved her tiny raindappled head into my hand when I stooped down, and how fast she trotted after me when I started away but then how she turned and scampered back to the relative shelter. And then, once the key was got and I was headed back across the web of all possible paths to the other side of town, how she welcomed another brief pet but didn't run after me this time, just watched me walk away with her little pink mouth opening and closing voicelessly.
Or the gargoyles guarding the cathedral in Prague, and when I walked inside and saw the waterfall of rainbows pouring through the rose window I knew why.
Or the oldest tree in Holland.
Or the long walk through Brussels, feeling more lost and lonely than I could remember, barely glancing at the layers of history all around me but hit so hard by a handful of daisies, plucked and then scattered to wilt on a bench, that my face ached from the struggle to stay stony as I kept marching on, although the tears came anyways.
Or the British border guard, mouth and brows so furrowed they made an X on his face, shooting rapidfire questions about my trip, where and with whom and why and how long and what dates and that's really more like a month then isn't it, although I'd said three-and-a-half weeks and it WAS three-and-a-half weeks, so that although I stammered and said "sorry" as much as a local all I really wanted to do was grab his dumb tie and say in my best spaghetti Western drawl, "look buddy, I'm fucking sick of your whole damn continent and I'm only headed to your stupid country because I can't go home yet and because there's a Muse there and we're going to make some bomb-ass music, so just give me the god damn stamp already."
Or the time I climbed a mountain a few miles from Mr. McGregor's garden and found myself in a rainforest, and then in a cloud.
Or the fever that the cloud gave me, so high that I lay in my bunk in the hostel for a solid week, drifting between long, vivid dreams and a halfwaking haze characterized by the constant thought that I was going to die. I didn't, but I did get to play a lot of chess.
I could tell you any of these stories, and so many more. But I don't, despite all the best intentions and discretized to-do lists and big Mason jars of hot lemon water sitting snugly next to the charged-up laptop and paper notebooks and . You wanna know why? Because my default—the action that flows through my body like a memorized wave—is to grab my phone. Double-tap. Swipe. Click, scroll, swipe. Click, scroll, swipe. It's a physical rut: a habit ingrained in my hands more than my conscious thought. My thumb knows the locations of the apps on my screen, and the proper order in which they are to be checked. So, wth very little conscious input from me, it does just that, at every spare moment. When I wake up. When I have the first spark of an idea for a story to tell. When I am starting to Feel Something, and it's uncomfortable, and my body and mind shy away from discomfort, so my hands flinch toward my grown-up flashy expensive pacifier. Every. Damn. Time.
I'm entertaining drastic measures, like getting a dumbphone for work, when constant contact is a necessity, or having Biff hide it in the morning and not tell me the whereabouts until a certain time or until I've emailed him a piece of new writing. I'm slightly horrified by the fact that I'm considering being without this piece of equipment "drastic" enough that I have to trick myself into it.
And yet with every passing day that I don't go the drastic route, the stories in my head shrivel and dim a little more.
So something must be done.