This Q+A commemorates my manic pleas for attention; Thank you to everyone who participated ♡!

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“if you made a time capsule for yourself to open in 10 years, what are three things you would put in there?”

I have never thought about this before… I suppose the idea of a time capsule implies a sort of temporality to it, as in, trying to represent the time that I made it? It’s difficult to think of physical items to put in a box, because my life has become increasingly interior these past few months. My diary is obviously a gimme answer, but it is so obvious it does not seem worth mentioning.

  1. A copy of Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke: I have mentioned this book countless times since reading it for the first time last month. Truly a life changing experience for me, not in that what it contained was new, but in that it contained affirmations of beliefs already held. It’s like it was written for me.
  2. My sunglasses: In Oregon, well really before my trip to Oregon, I started wearing this pair of sunglasses that I think I just happened to find around the house. I started to wear them so often that they became something of a signature piece of my wardrobe. I wore them throughout that entire trip & they’re something that reminds me of my time there. After coming home, maybe a month or so later, I lost them. I looked everywhere for them, I really did. I tried wearing other sunglasses too, but to no avail: They didn’t fit right, didn’t feel right, the lenses were the wrong color… That’s something that I really love about my glasses, the color of the lenses, that tint they give the world, a gentle purple. I knew how much I loved my glasses when I had them, but their absence was still really saddening. This was compounded by the fact that before losing them, I’d gotten rid of the vast majority of my possessions, swearing off most material things. My glasses were one of the only material things that I was still attached to, & this is coming from someone who shaved their own head as an exercise in non attachment, okay? I love these glasses… Anyways, I found them again, after having given up hope: I was cleaning my closet & there they were, buried under a pile of clothes for who knows how long. It was a miracle that I didn’t step on them. I cannot articulate how happy I was to find them again, particularly because of how much I think they characterize this period of my life. This is hard to explain, but before my glasses, I’d gone through a phase where I characterized a period of my life with the bus, how happy I was to ride the bus… That’s how the glasses felt to me. I felt really connected to this period of my life, as though there was something ceremonious, some synchronicity. I don't have the word for it, but I love my glasses. I really love them, my pair of cheap sunglasses.
  3. A candle: I rarely use scented candles. Rather, I tend to light those tall, tapered candles which I keep on candlesticks. I started praying again somewhat recently, & started thinking deeply about religion & it was all because of one of my candles. It just felt right to pray over the flame. I struggle a lot with shame & the (perceived) humiliation of being perceived. A lot of the time when I do things, it feels like I’m doing something bad, something wrong, that I’m going to be caught in the act, even wholly innocent things, like prayers & phone calls. So in one way, the candle helped me to overcome a piece of my shame & in another way, it reminded me that my religious life is beholden to no one. It doesn’t need to be conventional to be real.

“What is the purpose of prayer to you?”

For a time, most of my prayers were on the behalf of others, so supplication, or they were a way of giving thanks, but now I just do it for the sake of doing it, without thinking. I would say that it’s comparable to my writing, in that it doesn’t have “purpose” anymore, it’s just something that Vashti does. The purpose is in itself.

“what brings you the most joy?”

If we are talking about an entire lifetime of joys, I have two that I can offer you: Travel, which I have not done extensively & rainbows.

I mention travel because it is my singular aspiration to travel as much as possible. It is the reason that I am in school & the reason I’ve chosen this degree and by extension, career. All of my life’s goals fall second to it. I want to travel more than anything, to pursue novelty. “Novelty” seems like such a light word, but it’s so important to me: I do not want my days to be the same. I refuse to let that happen. I’ve watched my parents languish here for twenty years & I will not let that happen to me. I don’t want to be beholden to anything. I would give up love & family in pursuit of this.

I am travelling to Japan for a few weeks this summer & I suppose my eagerness to leave home is so obvious that I’ve been asked separately by each of my family members if I intend to come back. My parents & my sister can tell that all I want is to leave.

I say rainbows because if we are speaking outside of the scope of my life’s goals and aspirations, many of the times that I’ve felt acute & unrelenting joy is when I’ve found a rainbow, I suppose because it so rarely rains here & so rainbows are even rarer. The only time I’ve come close to a true religious experience is when I’d found a rainbow. It’s funny, because I don’t remember the circumstances leading up to it at all. I think I was feeling suicidal, more than usual, & was desperate enough to ask for a sign & there it was: I saw a rainbow. And you know, I still didn’t think it was a sign. I looked at it & thought to myself that isn’t it incredible how in all likelihood, no god heard my wailing & that really I am just hopeful enough to look at a rainbow, something inherently meaningless, and give it life affirming meaning?

I have loved rainbows since then, as they remind me that I am indomitable. Every time it rains, I go out to look for rainbows, even if it’s almost always to no avail.

“do you have a favourite flower?” & “What are your favorite flowers?”

I like wildflowers, because they are one of the only beautiful things about where I live & because of their resilience. When I graduated high school, my mom gave me a bouquet of wildflowers. I remember it because of how understood I felt.

“what's a recent read you recommend?”

Letters to a Young Poet, definitely. If you wanted to understand me in this stage of my life, I would offer you that book, but I’ve mentioned it so many times on my site, so I will offer you another one: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger. It really appealed to my spiritual sensibilities.

“do you have a favourite book genre?”

I suppose the genre I like could best be described as literary fiction? That’s broad, but I particularly enjoy books that examine the human condition or feature unreliable narrators, because I often suspect myself of being an unreliable narrator. I’ve been thinking of making a “Required Reading” page for my site, & these were some of the titles that I considered adding:

“i was looking through The Things In Your Heart (as described in your sitemap); where/how do you go about looking at/for art?”

Such a practical question undercutting my attempts at appearing esoteric… That being said, two places come to mind: Tumblr, which is essentially just an online art gallery for me at this point & Wikipedia. I love Wikipedia. If I open one page, I will end up with twenty or thirty tabs open an hour later. It is an actual problem for me & I have been trying to limit Wikipedia time LOL. I wish I had better answers for you.

“what's your favourite place in your city/town?”

On the sides of the highway this time of year, the grass is absolutely overcome by wildflowers in every color. Does that count as a place? If not then… I’m not sure actually. Unfortunately, I’ve found myself increasingly disenchanted with my surroundings as of late. I finally have a car to drive & nowhere that I want to go.

“What do you think about "peak experiences"?”

I had not previously heard this term before, so I am not sure if I fully understand it, but if I do understand it, then I believe I experienced one this past December. I saw two rainbows in the span of a few minutes:

“We left & I saw a glimpse of a rainbow. I started shouting that there was a rainbow, a good omen, & it was impossibly close. I felt so happy, ecstatic. A rainbow with no rain in sight. Kept driving & his dog started whining & we pulled over into this field, which his dog likes to run around in. Grandpa calls it [Dog Name]’s Field. In [Dog Name]’s Field, we saw the rainbow again, both ends of it, but not the arc. They must’ve been miles & miles apart. Somehow, I could see them better while I was wearing my sunglasses. The field was muddy & the weather was a bit cold, but it felt good. Just stared at the rainbow(s) while [Dog Name] sprinted around. Just standing in that field was the happiest I’ve felt in a long time. A rainbow the day after the winter solstice must be a good sign. A rainbow to welcome the lengthening of days. Things are going to get better for me. A meteor shower & then a rainbow.

“Got back in the car after a while & took the backroads back up to my grandpa’s mountain home. Pulled over & looked at ducks in a pond with binoculars. Kept driving up. Saw a rainbow again, another rainbow, had to be because it was so far away from the first. Two rainbows in a single day, single hour. No words to describe how I felt other than shining, ecstatic, overflowing. Couldn’t stop smiling & couldn’t think of another word to talk about the rainbow with my grandpa other than “beautiful.” I wonder how many times I said “beautiful” today, in how many inflections? Dozens, at least. As we drove, I caught a glimpse of myself in the passenger mirror & I was smiling without thinking about it. When was the last time that happened? I never do that, but there I was, smiling, a real smile, nothing melancholic or pained or forced about it, just an outward expression of joy intended for nobody. No one told me to do that. It was my smile. Things are getting better, things are beautiful, the days are longer. I can tell. I smiled today & meant it. I didn’t do it as a pose. It was genuine. It wasn’t a performance.


“I’m so happy. A meteor shower, a blue sky, & two rainbows. Exaltation. Smiling without meaning to. Ten of Cups. Something in my chest feels like a bird in flight, the most natural thing in the world.”

While these words remind me of how I felt, they do not articulate how I feel to anyone else reading them, because they can’t. I was so inexpressibly happy. I was overcome with not just the feeling, but the assurance that life was worth living: Absolute elation. The only feelings that I’ve had that were comparable were when the ocean moved me to tears & a rainbow that I mentioned earlier.

“Favorite time of day?”

Sunset, because for most of the year it is the only time of day when the temperature here is tolerable. That’s a rather practical answer, hm? Maybe I mean dusk, actually, more peaceful, though for writing, nighttime is the best because it is only you & your keyboard.