She showed me the study he used to write his poetry. Her small phone screen was bright, illuminating the excitement in her facial features. She had been in his study. A man who was thought to be brilliant. And I thought this moment to be fate. She spoke about him loudly. Proudly. I understood. It is the way I talk about the people I write about. I think it is a common trait in writers. In artists. I dare to say, in everybody. We find people to be fascinating, exhilarating teachers. And then those who succeed in what we want to succeed in are particularly awe inspiring.
He lived in between the two extremes. Those who worship the ocean and the majesty of the pelican and those who don’t fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the sand or wake up to the smell of life within the sea. They find other venues for their faith that is part of being human.
I once saw a man near the freeway entrance that has an overpass welcoming us to the city, that is near the ocean, in big bold red letters. He was painting the wall of the shop. He stood back to admire his work. He had painted three words and a box surrounding them. Containing them. Without that box they would float from the wall into the heads of those who are willing to welcome them. It read “Jesus Loves You.” After a moment of admiration he decided the letters needed another coat. More confidence. Sweat dripped from his hair line. He was at an age that should have tugged the line backward, similar to the moon and the tide. However his hair resisted and remained in the spot it grew years ago. He painted deliberately. It made me wonder whether money or faith was motivating his brush strokes.
And so this woman and I got a glimpse of this man’s study, which was in his house in between the extremes. The computer was like the one I learned how to type on 15 years ago. Gray, clunky, purely functional. His, though, had magic in it. It is the computer he used and therefore sparks of virtuosity flew from it when the archaic “ON” button was pressed. She had stood next to it. As well as the orange walls and the books he read sitting on his wooden bookshelf. Her excitement was contagious and I began thinking that some of the power she stole from his study would surely rub off on me.
I wondered how long it would take for the spell of being in the presence of famed studies to take effect. How long before the space I am able to call my own, a room with plenty of sunlight and space, in a craftsman style home two blocks from the beach and two blocks from a street that eventually turns into the CA 22. How long before I have the ability to transfer vibrancy into the white keyboard of my white laptop? Or the deep purple and light green walls of the room I call mine. The prospect of this brilliance is thrilling, but unrealistic.
And so I will move into this space of mine in April, the month I will turn 25. I will lead a quiet existence, working and writing, until that day that the magic that comes with observation will spill from my pores, and infuse the cushions on my maroon couch, and the little specks on my wall, and the minute holes of the screen in my windows, that are small enough to keep bugs out but large enough to let the air of outside, inside.
Her face was still illuminated by her phone. Her eyes were still enthused. I wondered if she was having similar thoughts about magic escaping us and entering others.