HOW TO WALK WITH CONFIDENCE THROUGH A DARK HOUSE
Fill the house with things and people that deserve to be knocked over, upended, smashed flat, broken, spilled, cracked, punched, kicked in the face and cursed at. Turn off the lights. Walk.
HOW TO STAVE OFF NAUSEA IN A COMBAT SITUATION
Close your eyes. Visualize your gastrointestinal tract as a crowded train station. Imagine a man walking through the corridors. See him stop at a newsstand to buy some bubble gum. Note his surprise when he opens the package and finds an assortment of small hooks and screws. Recognize them as the hooks and screws from the top drawer of your kitchen in Columbus, Ohio. Recall that you were going to use them to hang some pictures. Remind yourself to take care of that when you get home. Open your eyes.
HOW TO STOP THINKING
Fill a shopping cart with TV components and bawdy doggerel written on used coffee filters. Stand naked on a pedestrian overpass and drop the cart into the path of oncoming traffic. When the police ask what you were thinking, tell them.
HOW TO MAKE IT FEEL LIKE IT DID BACK THEN
Subject yourself to persecution and ridicule for it. Lose your job over it. Crash your car into a tree chasing it. Give it your time and your blood. When it disappears without a trace, prowl the streets screaming at strangers. When it comes back rambling about tropical birds and tangerines, greet it coldly. Let it back into your life with reluctance. Have an argument with it and smash things. Conceal your dissatisfaction with laughter. Shower it with sudden and frightening affection. Give and withhold, give and withhold, give and withhold. Push it. Push it again. Push it until it explodes. Say disgusting things to it. Say things to it that make you sick. Go away from it. Come back to it. Wake up late at night thirsty for it. Take a sip.
Charles Ullmann was born in Boulder, Colorado in 1978. He has spent time in
California and Connecticut. He currently lives in Yamagata, Japan.