If there’s one thing you absolutely need to know about me, it is that my muse pulls me every which way at any time of day, and to have a task loom over my head that I can’t ignore or finish and get out of my hair is a death sentence to my motivation and creativity.

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I have a parchment brain and bones of flint: anything can set my mind on fire. I am a sort of phoenix when it comes to following my muse: I have to burn to ashes before I can move on. I’ve always been flammable, and it is indeed fun sometimes when I can feed the flames and get a roaring creative fire going, but it is precarious around other humans who are made of so much water. I can’t squelch my own fire – I haven’t learned how yet – but others can with the flick of a finger, and it ruins me. I become half-charred, unused and unusable. It is better for me to have burnt all the way out than to have been stopped in the middle. It leaves that looming, unfinishable task.

In middle school, I remember being handily smothered and left half-burnt and hurt. Learning fed my fire – school was easy for me – and for that, my flame was doused without a second thought. If you can believe it, I was ridiculed for being “smart” – as if I didn’t matter because I was “farther along” than the other students. To burn passionately as was natural for me felt like arson: a destructive crime that no one benefited from. They couldn’t see my fire for its glorious heat, energy and radiance – they only saw that it was different from their murky water, and extinguished it.

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Since then, I haven’t been able to truly dry out and get a fire going unless it was one of self-ridicule. That one burns in another part of me, the part that’s always stale and dry. That one can become a wildfire, oxidized by a number of factors in everyday life: there’s air all around us, so it’s not hard.

I try to keep paper lists, hoping they could kindle a spark into something greater. If you can believe it, I have to keep a list of the things I love and want to pursue because it’s entirely possible for me to forget them. They feel like trying to burn green wood. They are too young. I need to wait longer and longer until I find older wood, but it’s springtime and everything is green. Everything seems to be blooming except for me.

I want to burn.

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all photos by Linus Lohoff in Form Colour Material Light (link to his website)


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