I Say Mermaid. “The windows were open so I had a kind of windblown quiet in the back seat, perfect for watching the sun set. When it had slid all the way off the horizon the leftover light spun watercolors across the sky. At first it was just shades of salmon, some cherry and periwinkle colors streaking out into vague water lines, but then the mermaid started taking shape. She was winged and arched and swimming, and it looked like she had freed a flock of birds, like they had flown in ripples from her fingers. She kept transforming; more wings, less water, more water, less wings. Less human and then more. Always strong, gliding and reaching. I watched her for a long while from the lulling jounce of the back seat. She spooned light over me like honey, the nectar of truth after all those billboard images forced into my eyes. Cities and towns, gad stations and freeways, the billboards of corporate mythology are inescapable. Their vast monopoly on images becomes the ruling faerie tale of modern times. The mythical story of money, perfection, and power assigns to us our desires, values, and destinies. But the mermaid filled a space the billboards could never claim, the wide open sky from which she spun and the close of the light into which she swam. Even after she disappeared from my dusty window her form stayed, pressed strong against my eyes. When I closed them i could still see her, translucent fingers, periwinkle sternum, flying through streams of cherries and roses. The loss of magic has a lot to do with the loss of imaging. When those billboards are all we see, of course they become our faerie tales. We stop noticing anything else and believe them. If we want a different story, we have to replace the images of money and perfection with new ones. We have to show ourselves pictures of new things to believe in. Sometimes making new images means using our hands creatively and living our life loudly outside the lines. And sometimes it just means learning how to really see the world from your own angle: some would say sunset, but i say mermaid. The new images we make or see create room for characters nobody has written before, faces nobody has captured, destinies free of certainty. We leave a little less room for perfection and a little more room for magic.” -Off The Map.