The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing


This is an except portion of the book I abandoned, an overview  of time spent in Hawaii of  December, 2013.

I was hazy, beginning to fall into a deep state of dependency with Eileen.

Scared but knowing deep down I would be unable to resist it.  


It was Christmas in a hot place but snowing in my mind long ago. My heart was open, reaching and sensitized—chaotic and confused too; as I walked along the streets in Hawaii, sweet, scented pink flowers on the trees poked at my amnesia, pulling me back towards patterns of fabric in an adult woman’s dress. While in a store renting bikes Christmas glitter on a display sent me back to a place that hurts but that remains unremembered. 

I had begun calling this type of thing “weather” at some point after "S" left town. There were random sites, scents and sounds, actual weather, the way the sun was sitting in the sky, that would cause me to feel suddenly extremely sad, flashing back in time but to nothing at all identifiable; nothing felt very connected. 

I remember writing that poem to Eileen as it rained outside, somehow envious of how a rainstorm felt so coordinated and clear about what it was, all its drops pounding out of the sky in concert, naturally, without effort. I wished I could feel the same about my weather inside. 


A little lost

Or maybe a lot

Rain is falling

Coordinated drops

From the sky

It comes together

No thought or doubt

This is weather

I began to notice my weather all the time. There was no way to escape it.  I felt sensitized, as if I was living my life now turned inside out. I had no idea how long this was going to go on for, nor was I sure I wanted to it to stop. It seemed to be tied to a fluidity I’d never felt before, words pouring out of me onto the page. I did not connect that this flow was all me, it seemed too foreign and all-at-once to be anything I could own. But still, I thought if I were somehow for some reason being given this gift by the Not Gods, for whatever reason, that I would take it. 

I tied the flow to a feeling of mental illness so there began a tension about therapy. If therapy was to cure me then would therapy also cap my flow? I expressed concern about this in Hawaii to Eileen inside the Sandbox and she reassured me that she had literature to support that therapy would in no way kill my creative genie. 

While in Hawaii I thought giddily about the “E” I’d begun making back at home in ceramics class. The horizontal lines of the letter each form a box cantilevered off the vertical piece holding them up. It is a Sandbox for Eileen, shaped into an E.  And on our final day in Hawaii I go down to the beach to get some sand for Eileen’s E-box, gathering it up in a zip lock bag. 

We are nearing the end of the trip and I wonder where the time has gone and I see that I can answer this question in pages—over forty written in the week. This has to be one of the oddest vacations ever. I learn that you cannot leave a roaring meditation back at home or at least I can’t leave mine. It goes with me; it swims with dolphins and it hikes alongside ironwood trees. It never leaves. I wake this morning and realize that while the meditation roars, the page count mounting, I have hidden it all. No one would know the fever pitch inside. Pete says how much he enjoys just being with me and I realize…I’ve not been here at all with him. I have faked most of it. He knows about the Sandbox and I’ve read him a few things but nothing here in Hawaii. I have let at least one of us rest from my fire.

I remember tapping away on the lanai looking up and out into the palm trees toward the ocean. The sun was rising but the moon was still hanging full in the sky. I could see night and day both sleeping together in the same hammock. I found this to be breathtaking if not awkward and I wondered if some day I too would be able to hold everything I was feeling inside of me at once and make some sense and some peace.

I was worried at the time as I could feel my attachment to Eileen deepening, Monkey reaching for her time and time again. 

I knew and wanted deeply to settle in and allow myself this dreamy bed made of pages with her. But I also feared never being able to get out of it. I could not see ever being ready to foist myself up and out, ready and able to survive on my own. 

I remember thinking that I would end up a fish flailing, caught up in a net of dependency and unable to ever escape. I had no faith, no experience, no idea that my despair around dependency harked back to feelings beneath my amnesia of going to sleep versus gradually learning how to separate. 

I also had no idea that my worst fears of being trapped in aching state of dependency would come true.

And that I would have to cut what felt my own limb off to break free of a bond that was killing me.