Robin de Voh
there's never enough stories

Nanoprep 2021 Day 8: Memories III

By Robin de Voh on 2021-10-13

It's been 4 years since I sat down to write one of these, and it's been an interesting time to say the least. Normally this is where I'd turn down the lights and light the incense, but I looked for it but couldn't find any incense. I guess I didn't bring those along in the move. Oh well, time to order some new ones, I guess.

Cedar wood and jasmin, burnt at the same time, their smells mingling together. I described it last Memories as something that had once started as a romantic thing -- cedar wood was my smell, jasmin was hers. I also said then that it had by that point in time stopped having that romantic meaning.

We're in for a ride on that topic, actually.

In the meantime, the pretentious candles are lit and I feel a bit more classy, though I also realize fully that I am, in fact, rather classless.

4 years ago I said that even though it's no longer a romantic gesture but more of an ingrown habit, I still did think of her and was hoping she she was doing fine.

By now I know that she was, indeed, doing fine. We reconnected, and then as quickly as we found one another again, we disconnected again. When it happened, it was unexpected for me, but it seems to me some meanings got mixed up somehow, somewhere, and there you have it. It's been over a year since we spoke, since she was over at my place and we went through all the memories we had and how we held on to some of them and moved past others. Then talked about the now, how we've changed, and even how previously things had gone off the rails. We were going to meet up again, we were both sure of it. But life got in the way, first for me, then for her, then for both of us.

And soon after it went off the rails yet again -- perhaps for the last time this time.

Old crushes coming back into my life in some form somehow managed to become a theme since.

"I miss talking to you," the chat message started innocently enough. It came together with apologies for contacting me, but something in the back of my mind immediately started screaming 'don't you dare' to myself. I'm pretty sure that was a response to the last time we'd spoken, when she walked away from it, and I'll admit it didn't feel great at the time. But, ever the polite weakling, I responded that it was fine. I didn't want the conversation to go personal and I said so very clearly. After all, there's a reason we hadn't talked in months -- a reason for her to have been in a situation to miss talking to me. I didn't want her to get close enough that somehow we'd end up in the same shit again.

So of course that's exactly what happened over the weeks after.

Thankfully the voice that had screamed at me to just not, was soon joined by other thoughts, and it became clear to me that I needed to put a line in the sand. And then put her on one side of it. And then walk away in the opposite direction. Without looking back. To fucking leave it. Her.

So that's how it ended for the final time.

And exactly now, having regaled you with that story, is when I really wish I'd realized I was out of incense and gotten it before this moment. Somehow the smell works with emotional moments, I guess. Not that I'm overly emotional right now, but I'd say I'm in a nostalgic mood? Writing about emotional things can put me in an interesting place where I can kinda feel the things I'm writing about, but at a distance. Like a professional distance, almost.

Well, maybe there's no incense, but I can put on music that I have a nostalgic emotional connection to -- Veruca Salt's Eight Arms To Hold You, released in 1997. Some years after that, a friend of mine -- also bass player in my band at ... fuck it, all times -- lent it out to me, and after the first listen I immediately made a copy of it for myself.

There's one song on it in specific that I have some kind of special connection to, and it's based on a faulty connection my brain made when I listened to it for the first time. I was reading Frank Herbert's Dune at the time, I don't know which of the 6 books it was, but there's a line in Venus Man Trap that goes:

Water me, I am not the desert plant, there was life before you
When I close - will I have my green eyes?

I misheard 'green eyes' as blue eyes, because, obviously, I was reading Dune, and blue eyes are a major part of that story. In combination with 'desert plant', this was now a song tied to Dune. It would take me an embarrassingly long time to figure out that it was green eyes instead, but the connection had already been made.

So when I hear it now -- and obviously I just now started the album by playing Venus Man Trap -- I want to read Dune again. Which I think I'll do after this anyway.

Funny thing is that so far, in all parts of Memories, I've made a connection between music and situations, books, people. And this time, it came from a feeling -- nostalgia -- and not having incense, so music would have to do. Last time, it was because incense made me think of a person, which took me to System of a Down making me think of The Master of the Day of Judgment.

I think by now I can say that senses being tied to memories is something I'm very familiar with.

But seeing that pattern, it also makes me afraid that I'm writing in circles. Like I'm repeating myself. I have it with other stories I do for nanoprep, and also for this specific one. Am I adding anything original? Is my voice at all adding anything worthwhile to the world? Does my writing need to exist?

I wrote about that last year, in Derivative, and I haven't shaken the feeling yet.

But this year I did something to go against that fear. At my work, they held a charity auction for a children's hospital, and though I really wanted to auction off some hand-made copies of some of my stories, I ended up being sick that week.

I was bummed out that I missed out on it, because it would've been fun to get my writing out there a little, but after feeling bad about it for a week or so, I decided to just do my own auction thing. I announced at work, to everyone who'd listen, that a special edition of a bundled version of my Coffee stories was available for a minimum of 10 euro, and all proceeds above production costs would go to the same children's hospital that the official auction had donated to.

Within a week, I had enough orders in that I could donate 1000 euro to a good cause.

And the feedback on those stories has been very positive, too. It was really the first time I've gone out there and shared my stories with people who had no reason to want to read it. I know some of them only joined in so they could donate, but honestly, I'm completely fine with that. Some of those also seemed to enjoy the stories.

It made me feel good for two reasons: I did something objectively positive, and I got over my fear of the public at large reading my stories.

Also, a third reason: they actually seemed to like it.

And now I'm sitting here at 10pm again, the 8th day in a row (excluding weekends, hey, even I need rest sometimes), and I'm only at 20% of this entire extended nanoprep thing.

I hope I can keep it up.

I hope I keep having ideas.

I hope my writing brings someone something.

And hopefully the mailman brings me my incense tomorrow.

The "Coffee Saga" books, bundling parts 1-7, printed and nicely stacked: