“Hey, honey. Can you advise me on this witch problem I have?” I asked.
“Sure,” Ming said.
“Ok, so I was thinking. I should get a tortilla. Then I can write something on it and bury it in the ground, and it wouldn’t be littering.”
My recounting of this conversation is accurate, but the ideas inside the conversation may or may not be accurate. What’s littering? Why does tortilla-ness make something not litter? Not sure what I was really thinking here.
“Ok,” Ming said.
“Or I could get some rice paper. And I could write on it, and bury that, and not be littering.”
Ming was in the kitchen, and I was lying in bed, at the Joshua Tree airbnb. “Or I could write it on toilet paper? But then I would want to bury it deeper. But that would disturb the soil structure. Hmm.”
Ming didn’t say anything.
“Maybe I should make paper out of cornstarch,” I said. “Or maybe I could make paper, out of plants. And then it wouldn’t be littering.” Of course, regular paper is made out of plants. But I’ve wanted to make my own paper for a while.
“I think you should use a tortilla,” Ming said.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I just think it would be best.”
Definitely, I thought about tortillas–I’ve written on them before. They get hard and brittle, in a day. Thinking how the soil feels about that.
“What if I just used a leaf?” I asked. “Yeah, that’s a great idea. A big leaf.” I imagined writing really small.
We went to a thrift store in Needles, California–like a museum, with all the old stuff of dead people. I hadn’t been to a thrift store in more than a year.
We looked at a lot. I considered buying some old-ass cookbooks for a friend who loves that stuff. There were these green glass votive candle holders, and a small green candle in an ugly dish. So I took the candle out of the ugly dish, and put it into one of the small green votive holders.
I looked through the postcards also, and listened to this old white lady tell a middle aged white lady a gruesome story about a crazy person such as myself, getting SWAT teamed and tear gassed out of his own apartment. The story was heartbreaking, but it was hard to step away. I’m super yucked, remembering it.
Witch problem: my memory is way too good. Or maybe that’s autism, or something else entirely.
Ming bought the candle and postcards for me, and an iphone case for himself for 50 cents. The candle is for this ritual.
When Ming told me this plant is called paperbag bush, I was like–you gotta be kidding me. What an ugly name for a gorgeous thing!
Bladdersage isn’t much better. This pic shows cholla, then paperbag bush, then creosote. The paper bags are pink, puffed upness, like on a locoweed before it explodes its seeds.