I forgive him for the little lies. The little fibs that slip away and the broken promises that go unkept. He always tells the same lies, and sometimes I believe him, because the story paints itself like a vivid oil portrait; first the figures are painted, then the background, then the corners, edges, contours, and finally it becomes as if it were a real scene on the canvas of life, but only the immensity of human imagination has made believable what could never be real. It tells me what I most desire, and so I reach for it with all my heart, stretching out the arms of my soul to preserve all that its lips say, and to hold it within me for eternity. I love him with all my heart, but when my reality is keen-eyed, it sometimes smells like the scratch of jagged-edged infidelities in the dawning dawn or the wistful night. The cold realisation slips into bed beside me, or touches me as I walk.
I’ve concluded that bittersweetness is not, as we tend to think, just a momentary feeling or event. It’s also a quiet force, a way of being, a storied tradition—as dramatically overlooked as it is brimming with human potential. It’s an authentic and elevating response to the problem of being alive in a deeply flawed yet stubbornly beautiful world. Most of all, bittersweetness shows us how to respond to pain: by acknowledging it, and attempting to turn it into art, the way the musicians do, or healing, or innovation, or anything else that nourishes the soul.
– Susan Cain, Bittersweet: How Sorrow and Longing Make Us Whole
For the first prompt of 2023, we’re starting easy.
How do you picture a day well spent? A day when things feel just right and you’re accompanied by this feeling of being right where you belong? Who do you spend it with? What are you doing? What sounds, tastes and scenes are there that will make you remember it forever? What are you most proud of or grateful for at the end of a day? What was your perfect day when you were a child and how has it changed since? What kind of days do you wish for today?
Tell us everything about the good, the sweet and the ordinary days of your lives and those you still plan to create, or just something the phrase itself might inspire for you. (Yes, we might even accept your interpretation of the Lou Reed’s song with all its bitter-sweetness…)
“It’s easy to do sex, but it’s not easy to do love in whatever form. And if you can’t love, you can’t live, no matter how smart you are: things end up being jangly, hollow, and ultimately worthless. The idea that you just go through life, leaving behind wives and mistresses and abandoned children, and doing great art – for me, that can’t be a way to live. Social responsibility starts with the people who are around you, and you can’t endlessly be discarding things. […] The male push is to actually just discard the planet: all the boys are going off into space. But you know, love is also about cleaning up your mess, staying where you are, working through the issues; it’s not simply romantic love at all.”
– Jeanette Wintersonin an interview for the Guardian (Claire Armitstead, 25.07.2021)
Lavender never dies just remember The frozen black coffee still lies on the table for I was waiting for you to say first forever.
by Jasna Dimitrijević (translated from Serbian by John K. Cox)
The rain woke me up. It intervened in my dream, and at first I didn’t know where in the world I was. Then I was swimming in the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. I know it was the Pacific, because I recognized it from shows on TV. I swam through turquoise and crystal. That’s what they say in the travel pieces, turquoise and crystal. From my hips hang decorative beads attached to my bathing suit. I remember it from photographs. My first bathing suit, a kid’s one. The clouds burst as I fix the knot in my hair. Heavy drops plop onto my scalp and my outstretched hands. They grow thicker and heavier until water covers the entire world. It envelops me like an endless hug, an impenetrable womb. I kick my legs around so that I can swim vertically, and at that point I wake up. That was a shame. I would like to learn how to swim. But I was certain, at least, that the ocean wasn’t the answer.