catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 6, Num 7 :: 2007.04.06 — 2007.04.20


Thoughts on things

Every morning I stand in front of the mirror and see a reflection of what I know, framed by strips of photographs and keepsakes wedged into the wood of the mirror, dusty. My current odds and ends are spread over the white surface, something like my subconscious, and all the drawers are broken and lolling open with shirts and socks hanging out of them like loose tongues. The hairbrush that I never use is a faithful occupant, lying beside the jewelry box that never moves. A small gang of hair pins are loitering for months, two or three straying from the group, but otherwise barely ever touched. I shun the china dolls perched on top of the bookshelf, the ones I never trusted for fear their glass eyes would one day move—they make me nervous. For the most part, I choose to curl up on my bed, close my eyes and imagine; imagine, the dresser dusted, drawers calm and shut. Perhaps the dolls change to pictures of sunny afternoons with friends. Maybe I find a use for the hairbrush, or take an interest in the jewelry box. And finally I can wake up to pure sunlight pouring through my windowpanes, streaming over my sleep-drenched face—eyes open. But not one of the hair pins have moved; not one. I was just imagining… as if I wanted them to.

by Lara Saliba

An idea came to me today. Do I thirst for experience because I am a sensuous creature that likes to dip her hands in hot water and feel the tingle of pleasure up her arms, likes to suck chocolate until it dissolves in her mouth? Is that why I get house fever if I stay inside too long even though I'm too lazy to go outside? I like to touch the fabric in clothing stores and hear what it is saying. Faces attract me, the mystery, push and pull between features.

Inside I argue with God because I want to know why He has given me a corporeal world to dabble in without His being here, right here next to me, right here physically in person. He tells me to look around, look at the people walking past and 'the neighbourhood on its knees.' The curtain has been torn.

Fine, that's fine God. But it's not enough! The blood that pumps through my heart may stop at any moment, life hanging in the balance, dusty as death. Come and touch my hands until their bones crack and break, until I fall into a coma and leave this place to be with You. Then glue together the gaps so heaven and earth merge together in filled up fullness. Yes, please.

by Tala Azar Strauss

I like things.  I like them when they're old or soft or have big buttons.  I like holding things in my hands, looking at them and touching them.  I put things in piles; my desk is full of piles of everything, it always is. Last week I lay down in the middle of a cornfield beside a creek that wasn't moving and I thought about the sky.  Sometimes when I think about looking at 
the sky, I think it's corny and overdone and I wish people would stop painting pictures of clouds.  This time it wasn't, and I just lay there for a while and looked up at it.  It was one of those rare moments when you realize 
maybe just a little bit about how big the universe is, and just how big you would need to be in order to hold it in your hand.  I started to wonder why I think so much about piles of objects on my desk.  Sometimes when you stop
to think, many things do seem less important than clouds.

by Brittni Joy Vandenhaak

My sister tells me she wants flow-of-consciousness, like watching light on a wall, or a fruit bowl, or a hand. A still life. But this careful observation escapes me right now, so instead I looked up the word 'object' in the dictionary. What contemplation can I give to you of an object that I have known—through time and familiarity and ease? In the dictionary you get words like courtesy, intimacy, boldness, and homeliness. Is there a civility that develops between humans and objects, both inhabiting and inhibiting the same space? What is the quality of an object that it so easily becomes a thing to be used or ignored by us, or else of superiority and almost mystical transcendence?

But my almost-earliest memories are of moving, and the only object that has that kind of continuity for me is the African elephant cloth that I was born under and now hangs in our front hall. I've thought about it before, the strangeness of constancy within movement. Perhaps this explains my obsession with transience. To be enthralled with change is also to be constantly engaging with the un-changeable. There isn't one without the other.

These first memories are images of immigration—sitting on a pile of suitcases at the airport, Inuit sculptures for strangers to pose next to, a small students' apartment in Vancouver which housed my sister and me as horses, duchesses, and dragons, which creaturely ruckus roused the anger of some somber and sensible man living underneath us.

Dear sister, I'm not sure how to finish this neatly. I leave the questions, like a path or track "roughly blazed through wild or hilly country"—they define “trail” as "evidence pointing to a possible solution." I suggest it as perhaps a sort of ramshackle search for coherence and mindful awareness of where we stand, live and adventure.  

by Hannah Azar Strauss

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