LOST IN CANADA

A 3,600-WORD ADVERTISEMENT FOR MY MISSING NOTEBOOK

by Eileen Myles

Lost! 1 Mead Composition Notebook—the really fat kind (four hundred leaves—is it possible) filled, filled to the gills with entries and poems and drawings—in particular a series of childlike drawings of a dog (“Rosie,” now departed) and a list of questions for “Sadie” (Benning, artist and video maker) both bleeding into an essay entitled “Play Paws.” The notebook spanned the period of January 2006 to July 19 of the same year. Was my name in it? I poke through a random sampling of notebooks in a drawer and no clear pattern emerges—so, no, I cannot guarantee that.

I tend to think I lost it on the plane. But I’m not sure. I flew Northwest Airlines from San Diego to Buffalo. I don’t normally take any drugs but I did on that plane. I was going to arrive in Buffalo in the morning and drive across the border. Exhausting.

This method of travel was not so much cheap as it was last-minute. I frequently forget where I am going—I don’t mean I forget that I am going but I do forget to make it happen. I booked the flight late. And the plane made changes in Minneapolis. And I think we even had to deplane (why is that such a beautiful word—English doesn’t normally get to do such beautiful things—announce its own negation proudly) there, which only added to the suds of this fading memory. The story of my lost notebook. I mention drugs because it is a hallmark of me that I don’t even have a beer but I’ve been convinced by horrible suffering and insomnia—by being forced to be awake for days when I only want to be utterly unconscious someplace, snoring away—snoring during some of the most supposedly important moments of my life—the things I’d traveled for—instead I now totally resent being awake. Like it’s an intrusion on my sleep, my life.

We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

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Eileen Myles is a poet with a book of essays coming out from MIT/semiotext(e) next year called The Importance of Being Iceland.

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