i like saying the word pancakes more than i like to eat them

May 04 2017

My friends and I play this game that we've named the Question Game. There is a rift as to whether it is just structured conversation (totally is) or a game. But adding the word game implies that there are rules and rewards and sometimes enables people to share deeply personal stories that they wouldn't think to otherwise. It's very simple: each person in the room is able to ask a question, and everyone has the opportunity to answer including the person that asked. I've played it in bars with sleepy lighting making strangers feel familiar, with my parents at dinner letting food get cold, with my closest friends on Hollywood St. feeling warm and a little drunk and forever certain that we are the loves of each others' lives.

I thought a lot about what I wanted to write about and how to say it, and I flipped through old journals for poems, read my rejected graduation speech, tried to map out the last 5 years of my life to pull out the most meaningful experiences that I could relay to strangers who would then make new meaning of them. I had a hard time fishing through it all in 24 hours. Then I thought of the question game and the friendships that have sprouted from playing it in Worcester, Windhoek, Lowell, Berkeley, NOLA a collection of the places I love filled with other people's stories. Forever humanizing landscapes. I've collected and hoarded things since I was a kid- rocks, tapes, books, dried flowers, and now stories. So here are some questions I want to ask all of you (particularly because they feel relevant to me now) even if you can only connect with me through the white quiet of the internet:

What do you do when everything in your life scatters?
When you think of traveling in time, what's a moment of your life that you get dragged back to?
How do you repair the world? Especially now?
What have you had to forgive yourself for?
What happened the last time you peed your pants a lil laughing?
If you want to respond you can write to [email protected] and add to my collection.

I always appreciate when these emails include recommendations, so here are a few:
Books (Right Now)
White Teeth: Zadie Smith
Woman on the Edge of Time: Marge Piercy
Drown: Junot Diaz
In general- read books that are unfamiliar! Learn other people's histories!

Songs (Right Now)
Lol- Pwr Bttm
Up in Hudson- Dirty Projectors
Self Control- Frank Ocean

Poems (Always)
A Secret Life: Stephen Dunn
Bury My Clothes: Roger Bonair-Agard
Teaching My Mother to Give Birth- Warsan Shire (the whole damn book)

Lessons Learned (Age 0-24)
-All the painful shit you experience will be used to comfort people you love one day, and that can be reason enough for something happening.
-Cook for the people you care about, make them cake on their birthday.
-Intellectualizing is good, but not when you intellectualize another person's experience or pain.
-My friendships have been some of the most romantic relationships I've ever had, you gotta allow yourself to be close to people.
-If you do fall in love, I hope it is greater than the Atlantic Ocean without Europe.
-Start to grow stuff. It will make you feel better.

I'm in a band with my best friend called sleepovers, if you want more of an insight into all my sensitivities/ basically read my journal- you can find us on Bandcamp.

Be good to each other

Hannah C
Lowell, MA

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