The Book Inside My Head

The voice of an epic narrator has been following me around since I was born in Philadelphia, back in 1988. My dad says I came catapulting out into the world, “You couldn’t wait another moment,” my mom says.

Even back then that voice had a story to tell. And that voice is still always here — filtering, replaying, and piecing together the many dots that make up my life.

When I’m barefoot, skipping along the stones of a stream, when my hair is blowing wild, when I’m thinking of leaving it all — that’s Dakota.

Dakota relates everything I experience to the 17-year-old me that drove across the country in a solar power, bio-diesel powered school bus, reading Dharma Bums, and The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey. She comforts me by making me uncomfortable, and she loves phrases like “The road is made by walking.” She identifies heavily with that saying, so I really shouldn’t joke about it.

She filters my life into an endless adventure of serendipitous anomalies. As I walk through my day-to-day life, she puts together the story of the bold seeker, sifting my life through this dialogue.

The people I meet each day become characters in her never-ending tale of the daring twenty-something-year-old girl coming of age — moving from New Hampshire, to California, to Denver, to New York, and then back to California. Whew.

She instills excitement in the new and kicks me when I’m not bringing in enough of it. And she can be haughty, but I get it — she’s working on the next grand adventure tale of the century, Huck Finn for women.

“Now, now.”

That’s Olivia. Olivia is the lyricist.

She crafts my days into poetic flows of entangled moments — like assembling a glistening mosaic from little fossils collected along a slow, breezy, contemplative hike. She’s reflective and wise, and her voice is strongest in still moments.

When I’m leaning against a high up balcony looking out at the Golden Gate Bridge, when I’m sitting in a windowsill looking at the twirling grooves of a Redwood — Olivia is hard at work, examining what this all means.

She is two-steps removed, always looking inward, taking snippets from Dakota’s story and weaving it all together —

I walked passed a mid-sized rustic wooden desk the other day, nestled against a bush as if it were trying to claim its corner of the office. To the left was an abandoned parking lot with a bright yellow stripe wrapping around the perimeter — two steps raised.

I sat on the side of the concrete ledge and looked at the historic airship Hangar One light up with the golden sun of a 6pm day in Silicon Valley. It was beautiful. Meaningful (Olivia told me.)

I compared the scene to my old life in Manhattan, filled with a different kind of concrete; Olivia made that connection.

The wind picked up and pulled through my long hair. I felt slightly majestic.

With Olivia dictating, I opened up my special edition Moleskin, which has an etching of Batman on the cover — my boss and I agree, Batman is far superior to Superman. He does good and doesn’t need the spotlight.

I write a stream-of-conscious scene scape. I snap a picture. I contemplate my life. It feels good and it feels complex.

Dakota snaps back into the picture and wants to hurl. She screams, “STAY IN THE MOMENT!” so I come back to reality too, and think, “Fuck, where am I?”

And in that moment I want to leave it all, and simultaneously cling onto it for dear life — because it all feels so damn complicated, and so damn simple.