I Won’t Swim in Every Ocean

CheneyOn Life, On Writing1 Comment

In case you weren’t aware, or haven’t clicked the link up there at the top of the page, I have a Tumblr blog.  I’m pretty much addicted to the internet and most of the things can be found here in the webosphere, so it works out well for me. I go through phases with my Tumblr though – sometimes I will go weeks without posting or reblogging a single thing, and sometimes I will post the crap out of everything I come across for days at a time. It’s also QUITE obvious when I’ve been Tumbling under the influence, because that is when you will find x-amount of David Duchovny and/or Britney Spears posts in a row. You know, like this:


(He was drugged.) But I digress.

Every once in a while I come across something so beautifully brilliant and stunning, I have to keep sharing it – on my Facebook, to my coworkers, to my mom.. I just feel like everyone should get to see or read or experience it, and the other day I reblogged a poem that I haven’t been able to get out of my head. I have read it and re-read it so many times I’m sure I will have it memorized sooner or later, and maybe you will get something out of it as well – I hope you do:

Catherine Pierce, “Because I’ll Never Swim in Every Ocean”

Want is ten thousand blue feathers falling
all around me, and me unable to stomach
that I might catch five but never ten thousand.
So I drop my hands to my sides and wait
to be buried. I open a book and the words
spring and taunt. Flashes—motel, lapidary, 
piranha—of every story, every poem I’ll never
know well enough to conjure in sleep.
What’s the point of words if I can’t
own them all? I toss book after book
into my imaginary trashcan fire.
Or I think I’ll learn piano. At the first lesson,
we’re clapping whole and half notes
and this is childish, I’m better than this.
I’d like to leave playing Ravel. I’d like
to give a concerto on Saturday. So I quit.
I have standards. Then on Saturday,
I have a beer, watch a telethon. Or
we watch a documentary on Antarctica.
The interviewees are from Belarus, Lima, Berlin.
Everyone speaks English. Everyone names
a philosopher, an ethos. One man carries a raft
on his back at all times. I went to Nebraska once
and swore it was a great adventure. It was.
I think of how I’ll never go to Antarctica,
mainly because I don’t much want to. But
I should want to. I should be the girl
with a raft on her back. When I think
of all the mountains and monuments
and skyscapes I haven’t seen, all the trains
I should take, all the camels and mopeds
and ferries I should ride, all the scorching
hikes I should nearly die on, I press
my body down, down into the vast green
couch. If I step out the door, the infinity
of what I’ve missed will zorro me across
the face with a big L for Lazy. Sometimes
I watch finches at the feeder, their wings small
suns, and have to grab the sill to steady myself.
Metaphorically, of course. I’m no loon.
Look—even my awestruck is half-assed.
But I’m so tired of the small steps—
the pentatonic scale, the frequent flyer
hoarding, the one exquisite sentence
in a forest of exquisite sentences.
There is a globe welling up inside of me.
Mountain ranges ridging my skin,
oceans filling my mouth. If I stay still
long enough, I could become my own world.

This. This poem was written for me, you know. Because fear of failure has always held me back from writing what I really want to write. Fear of exposure and rejection has always held me back from saying what I want to say and being who I want to be. But then, you have to remind yourself that there are only so many chances you are going to be allowed to take in life, before time steals away all the rest. You have to be brave while you are young and strong and still filled with hope. You have to be that person that you want to be, no matter what the consequences are.

And this is why I keep writing, in spite of the fact that even I reject myself on occasion.. It’s because I have to. Because what is the point of words if I can’t own them all? I mean OWN THEM – as mine, whether they are beautiful or ugly or flawed or misinformed.

And let’s face it: I won’t swim in every ocean. So I have to do this.


Since I’ll be posting every day this month, I figure I’ll end (or start) every post by giving you my NaNoWriMo progress.

I started at midnight yesterday – anxiously twiddling my fingers above the keyboard waiting for the clock to strike 12 so I could get going on it – and then I wrote furiously for 51 minutes and was left with 2212 words. I went to bed before one o’clock in the morning feeling rather accomplished, and when I got home from another rally and debate for Daryl last night, I wrote more, bringing the grand total for Nov. 1 to 4,022 words. I am on a roll.

Unlike in previous years of participating in NaNoWriMo, this year I outlined beforehand, which already is proving to be a great help already. I’ll tell you, the satisfaction of crossing things off of lists is getting to be somewhat like an addiction.

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