(Slowly) Letting My Hair Down & Some Images of Dhaka

Thursday, February 18, 2016

This week, I was reading a series of Tweets called "Let's Be Messy on the Internet Together" by Creatrix Tiara, and I really resonated with the pressures of 'being an expert' and 'building a brand' influencing what one posts on their blog/social media. It's what has kept me from posting more deeply personal and not-quite-there-yet material on this blog -- I'm not really a blogger, per se, but I like to play with ideas and put them out somewhere. I'm also a recovering perfectionist and putting out lower-grade material freaks me out a little bit. Yet I am drawn to it still. There are several articles that talk about the less professionalized internet (oh Xanga, my first home) and I want to harken back to those days at least every so often, when I'm not sharing my obviously fabulous life stories and pitch perfect advice.

A photo of my bed in disarray -- a.k.a my creative process.

I realize that I haven't been talking a lot about Dhaka in terms of its images. Part of that is because I am still living here and it's hard for me to both experience and reflect at the same time. But another part is that I've been feeling a little bit protective of the experiences I've had living here, for fear that they'll be misinterpreted or that I'll be judged for certain things. People don't have a good understanding of what it's like to live in this city, and sometimes neither do I. The pinhole vision I've got is so based on my class and language access and spaces I inhabit. Yet the things that have now become common to me were not common at all before; the histories that I've been reaching back into just open up new questions about what life looked like in the time period I've chosen to focus on -- the late 80s and early 90s.

I think giving a long view of the city would be too much to do in these types of posts, though I long to do it justice in my fiction. But I have been collecting images here -- for the first several months I would write down 10 images a day (an exercise adapted from the advice of the great Lynda Barry). Here are several I want to share for now:

The crashing sound of a transformer bursting creates a momentary silence, then a sprig of yelling voices after

Punctuating our conversations about social space with the sound of killing moshas (mosquitoes)

 A corner stall selling hardwares -- no wider than one man -- with its shopkeep napping like a little boy on his folded arms

Sitting on a rickshaw caught in traffic, the inexplicable joy of seeing a fruit tree filled with large bats swooping overhead

 Recording the hum of the CNG as it accelerates onto a flyover

Painstakingly sounding out the words to a chapter book with my father over Skype

The moment after the lights cut out, a thunderclap