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Caprice , Characters and Voyeurism

I thought the dust mites were dust. I let them stay and build little homes on the keyboard. I thought they looked like characters I could write about. I fancied them fattened on air or flattened by a bludgeoning poke. I realised they were alive when the mount of Venus on my palm blushed; they were biting me slyly. A dust mite knows when it is being used.

I am finicky – even a bit panicky – about characters. What if they hold me guilty? What if they bite? What if they bark and howl and purr and yelp and ask for more? My orphaned thoughts may have nothing to offer. I dread them and yet obsess about those times when they are being formed out of skeletons. I chew the bones and imagine flesh.

The fantasy, and the joke, is on me.

I look under the bed. Every night. It isn’t fear. It is a habit. How did the habit start? Fear? I don’t know. It is interesting that what we exorcise become habits.

Last night, just before I was about to look under the bed, I decided to click a picture of it. The pinkish glow is nice on the grey-white. I can feel it undulating, like a wave.

It is the floor I walk on, but this portion remains hidden, safe from my plodding feet and prodding eyes. Okay, my eyes do look at it at night, but cursorily. Habits are not engineered for curiosity.

I wonder what it thinks of me and the bed. My bed is its roof. Does it feel suffocated? Does it get disturbed when I wake up at night? Does it listen to me when I talk on the phone? Does it wonder when I go silent? Is it afraid of the dark? Or of too much light?

When I look at it am I infringing on its privacy?

Isn’t that what we do to the very things we wish to hide and protect?

There is no voyeurism here. I want to touch that floor, maybe even go and sleep beneath the bed and become one with it.

I wake up and see the sun through a building being constructed...several houses, empty, penetrable, vulnerable. Wonder what will get created in them. Will they house dreams or are they mere placebos? I think about who will live here. Dream there. What will they wear? Cook? Do they like it ripe or raw? I zoom in with the camera and the sun hits me. It bleeds or feels like it is bleeding. Both, the sun and I...

I zoom in some more and see these little figures, stick-like, who are making these homes. They are the creators, silhouetted against the evening sky, surrounded by metal and standing on sawdust and bricks. I know they will not fall. This isn’t their dream, so they carry no burden.

I think about how the sky could fall and a bit of concrete bury them. And only then will a little bit of something be created.

And I think of you. The moment your eyes scan the page and the words burn your eyes and the ashes line the rim, you are blaming me. For killing the dust mites.

6 Comment count
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I've heard...

that the main diet of dust mites is human skin cells. We feed them thoughtlessly, as our skin cells invisibly slough off and form dust bunnies; characters take more deliberation to feed well.

lI Like your blog.

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Thank you, John. So close to

Thank you, John. So close to the skin is dust but I am not sure they feed well necessarily. You are right about characters needing more deliberation. Some characters, though, grow out of sheer serendipity.


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Proximity and Perspective

Few of us take time to scrutinize the minuscule variety of lifeforms with which we live in such amazingly close proximity but doing so clearly opens up a whole new world. The perspective exercised here on the world you discovered and all but moved to is an amazing and brilliant one indeed. I suspect that to dust mites we humans are something like huge-scaled cosmic events that alter their lives and inspire them to pray every time we sneeze.

Characters will indeed "bark and howl and purr". Your response to "chew the bones and imagine flesh" reminded me of Toni Morrison's statement that one sometimes had to break a character's arms in order to make them stick to the assigned theme and plot. Quite incredible how we writers relate to both our interior and exterior worlds :-)

author of The American Poet Who Went Home Again
and Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance (Facts on File)

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Aberjhani, it is always

Aberjhani, it is always movement from one to the other and not finding a middle ground! The inner world dictates the outer or the outer the inner? I think they clash and then mesh...

You are right about how dust mites might view us...it interests me that the larger things are, the smaller they seem from a distance. That is the reason I don't beleive in removing myself from what is around me. It is a metaphysical need, almost a hunger.

Thanks, as always, for the perceptive feedback.


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I loved

the associational leaps, the boldness of trying to slip into the perspective of a dust mite. Thank you!Isn't that it? To slip out of one's skin over and over, and under the skin of another?

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Thanks, Nina. I tend to go

Thanks, Nina. I tend to go off at tangents, and am glad some of it manages to convey what it is meant to be - associations! I think when we 'skin' others we are in fact shedding some of our own. As you can see, I lack objectivity :)