Chris J. Rice

The world is full of stories, and from time to time they permit themselves to be told.
Old Cherokee Saying

I don’t like this expression “First World problems.” It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.

In the wake of the modern decoupling of monstrosity from appearance, the monster can be anyone and anywhere, and we only know it when it springs upon us or emerges from within us.

—Jeffrey Andrew Weinstock, “Invisible Monsters: Vision, Horror, and Contemporary Culture” (via outpastthemoat)

(Source: themonsterisyou, via othernotebooksareavailable)

She’s used to making friends wherever she goes, then moving on, never seeing them again.

—Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland (via distantheartbeats)

Because no voice can hold out over the brutalities of life without breaking, he turned to quill and paper, for so he could arrange, in the necessary silence, the abundant inadequacies of life, as a laying-out of jewels—jewels with a will to decay.

—Djuna Barnes, writing about James Joyce (via mttbll)

(via othernotebooksareavailable)

While fishing with Grandma Conway, I found an old stony blade, pointy shaped, hard as glass, sharp as a knife, and dense as metal. Waiting on Grandma I entertained myself by striking it against the handle of the tackle box. Watched it spark when dashed against the metal edge. Saw its uses and thought to take it home with me. But Grandma put a stop to that. Took out her notepad and wrote this warning: What you carry out in your pocket is never yours to own. It belongs to the forest, to The Little People. First you must say, Little People I would like to take this. You must ask, if only in your heart. If they do not give permission, do not take as your own what you think you have found, or they will put a hex on you. Though I had yet to discover a familiar and guiding spirit, whenever I spent time in nature with Grandma Conway, I believed in them. In the woods the light deceives, dead trees crack underfoot, the wind disturbs the surface of the trail, and later you realize what you thought you saw was only what you dreamed.

While fishing with Grandma Conway, I found an old stony blade, pointy shaped, hard as glass, sharp as a knife, and dense as metal. Waiting on Grandma I entertained myself by striking it against the handle of the tackle box. Watched it spark when dashed against the metal edge. Saw its uses and thought to take it home with me. But Grandma put a stop to that. Took out her notepad and wrote this warning: What you carry out in your pocket is never yours to own. It belongs to the forest, to The Little People. First you must say, Little People I would like to take this. You must ask, if only in your heart. If they do not give permission, do not take as your own what you think you have found, or they will put a hex on you. Though I had yet to discover a familiar and guiding spirit, whenever I spent time in nature with Grandma Conway, I believed in them. In the woods the light deceives, dead trees crack underfoot, the wind disturbs the surface of the trail, and later you realize what you thought you saw was only what you dreamed.

Maybe if I knew enough, understood enough, I’d find a way to go back to the beginning, back to the place where everything went awry. Find the nutmeat of me, the part of me that mattered, start my life anew, and grow the correct way. Live the life I was meant to live.

In English class we studied “The Raven” by Poe, lingering over a word in the refrain, “nevermore.” Discussed the meaning of repetition.

“It puts pressure on you,” the teacher said. “Do you get it?” he asked, over and over.

It had something to do with loss and death and the weight of all you couldn’t see, might never overcome, or ever fully understand.

—RAMBLER a work in progress