Reverse Pandora

For the Text and Image workshop I took with Simone Kearney at Brooklyn Poets, I wrote a poem titled “Reverse Pandora”. The prompt was to bring an interesting object and write about it in different voices and detailing. I enjoyed writing it and you can see a video of me reciting here

Content warning: psychosis, mention of 9/11, suicidal ideation, mental illness, trauma, self-loathing, delusions

I actually shared my poem at the Brooklyn Poets Fall Workshop Showcase this past Monday and it was really wonderful. I loved being there, and everyone is so talented and interesting. And Jason Koo read an introduction that Simone wrote that really threw me off and surprised me. She said my words cause pause & reflection and that my voice is like the horizon line. I should ask Simone the exact verbiage and thank her but I’m a little anxious haha. I had no idea she–or anyone really–thought of me that way. I was so shocked. I also got such sweet compliments from the attendees. Jason actually said my poem floored him and that made me so happy hehe. I actually screenshot them haha, just a reminder that I can move people.

Here’s a link to the poem and images so you can see and read for yourself. I’ve also included the bio I wrote for myself hehe

reverse-pandora-v2-by-eileen-ramos

I might revise it sometime later when I can look at it with fresh eyes. So any feedback you have would be invaluable. Thank you!

I’m also inserting a video of the Reverse Pandora box inspiration. Basically I bought it due to how it says 2012 which was the worst year of my life, but it truly did led to so much. Including realizing that I was a good person and not a piece of shit like I’ve believed for so long. I filled it up with mementos, reminders, and such of the life I get to lead now.

All the things I get to do because I didn’t kill myself eight years ago.

content warning: self-loathing, psychosis, mental illness, suicidal ideation

Here’s all the stuff I referenced and adored:

This is the inspiration behind my Reverse Pandora Poem. I found this for $2 at Tobacco Barn and it’s my most favorite cigar box yet. It’s 2012 by Oscar Valladares. 2012 was the worst year of my life with severe depression, suicidal ideation, and the most horrific psychotic break I ever experienced. Yet through that nadir, I realized I am a good person and I could no longer refute that. Eight years since I’m living a life I love and did so many things I never thought were possible for me. This box will store the reminders and mementos of what I want to do in the near future, what I want to hold onto. I’ve provided captions and I reveal all the contents. I’m hoping to record a quarterly update of what remains and what has been added or strike through.

Kundiman – a literary nonprofit that supports and nurtures Asian American writers

Memento Mori sticker from Free Period Press

Make Your Own Memento Mori: Befriending Death with Art, History, and the Imagination with Morbid Anatomy Founder Joanna Ebenstein

Night Sky Post Its from Flora Stationery

Letters to a Young Brown Girl by Barbara Jane Reyes

The instant photo I took with lomogoraphy’s lomo’instant square

The Ink Pad stationery store

Tell Your Own Story: A Zine About Writing Perzines by Dayna Moth

Keep Writing Project – postcard subscription service by Hope Amico of Gutwrench Press

#wallpaperpostcards by Jeremy Jams

I’ll be honest, I had suicidal ideations again in October after I committed a massive mistake at work. But it went away the next day. Still, I haven’t had those thoughts in years and it threw me off guard. It’s scary how my self-worth is tied to Capitalism when it shouldn’t, or at least not to such a heavy degree. But we are in the belly of the beast so it’s sadly expected. Yet I still hope we can all have a better world, one day soon.

I am writing this while procrastinating major on the final assignment due uhh yesterday lol ugh. I don’t know what to write. We can either write about a subject that’s hidden and unknown to us OR write flash fiction. The former we’d reveal different aspects and contexts coupled with an image per section. The latter we’d write at least four different versions, also pairing with an image each. I love the prompt and I do want to write a story. But I don’t know what of. There’s so many directions I can go which is why I’m freezing up.

Maybe each one can be a letter? The same person to different individuals. Or the same addressee written by a range of folks. Maybe a magical day done by different protagonists? All taken in one location? Or maybe at an indie coffee shop? A wide range of conversations and meetings. Ugh I don’t know.

Denden suggested I read stuff to get inspired and I think I will. I have a bevy of books that demand my eyes and I was thinking of imitating Catherynne M. Valente. I love how otherworldly her words are and it’s so engaging. It’s luscious and filling and stimulating. I’m reading her “Palimpsest” novel which is about four individuals and their journey to a magical city that can only be accessed through an orgasmic night. And all travelers are marked by a tattoo map of the city. It was recommended to me during my bibliotherapy session I did a number of years ago at The Center for Fiction. It was quite wonderful and encouraging and really affirming.

I never did read any of the books, though they did suggest one of my favorites ever that I already read at that point: “The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet” by Reif Larsen. It’s actually one of the first text and image books I ever loved. The protagonist is a precocious child who wins a prestigious award on mapmaking and he runs away from home to receive it, from Montana to Washington D. C. In the margins you see his drawings and diagrams dissecting animals, trains, and such. So scientific and elegant and made me wish I had a notebook just like that. I should reread it.

I just finished rereading Reif Larsen’s essay “The Generosity of a Matchstick: Orhan Pamuk, innocence museums, and the curation of literary space”. Ugh the language is so rich and good and made me miss museums. I think it’d be cool to take a picture of an object and write a small story about it. I don’t have time to create a museum label but that could be a project for another day.

I was thinking of creating a playlist of songs that are playing at that fictional coffee shop and write what happens when those songs play. Meetcutes, missed connections, something something. Though I would like to take photos at a coffeeshop to make it seem authentic. *sigh* another project for another day post-covid.

Oh my God, the class is at 2pm tomorrow and I have nothing. Ugh. I really enjoy the workshop and it’s our final class, but no idea is making me want to be on Scrivener. I think after I post this I’ll start reading and hopefully something will compel me. Shit.

I won’t beat myself up though. I did manage to write this blog and caption those two above videos. At least some sort of writing and creating happened so I’m proud of that at least.

I’m learning to breathe through it and let go all this unwarranted resentment I hold against myself. Sometimes I fail and I have to be gentle with myself, otherwise it’ll end up blocking another prospect.

The stories and images will be made, one way or another. I know I can do it and do it well. Just need an inch of inspiration.

Anyway I hope you enjoy the videos and this post. Wishing you an ever flow of inklings of wonder and the motivation to see them through.

Keep writing,

eileen

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