I am having one of those days when my heart is pulled in nine directions and my mind is pulled in fifteen other directions and my body is pulled to the edges of the universe and back again.
I keep circling back to this picture by Arnold Lobel:
I love this picture, I really do. It’s from the book The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight, a book of creepy kids’ poems by Jack Preletusky that haunted my soul when I was a kid, and probably is responsible for the sheer number of dead bodies in my short fiction (I’m like a fictional-character mass murderer at this point. I never created an individual in my imagination that I didn’t eventually attempt to slaughter.). Anyway. This picture.
I feel defined by this picture today.
But what bit? I’m not sure. Am I the ship, about to break apart? Or am I the astonished-looking giant squid? The one who, frankly, looks ambivalent about whether or not it wants to be tearing apart the ship in the first place. The one who looks as though it’s asking itself, “Why ships? And what does it all mean? And do I even like devouring steam ships? I’m not sure that I do.”
Or am I the water?
Or the dark, cold floor?
Or the wide, blue sky?
I also, quite frankly, feel a little like this picture, from Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats (another seminal tome in the mental library of my seven-year-old heart):
Like the old man in the story, I am well meaning. Like the old man in the story, I have the best of intentions. And like the old man in the story, there are too many damn cats. (Or in my case, Things To Do. And Things To Worry About. And so forth.
So who are you today? Insatiable squid? Insufferable cat? Overly-amenable old man? Are you a doomed ship or a hungry mouth or a wide open sea?
Or perhaps you are something else entirely.