A conversation with Maya Stoner

 

    We asked Maya Stoner to give us her personal interpretations of twelve concepts or objects. Her answers ranged between Buddhist ceremonies, right triangles, fearing Hell as a child, crushing flowers in her hands and building an invisible shield around herself.

    Please tell me about…

    …sleep paralysis.

    I used to experience sleep paralysis a lot. It was often accompanied by these two things:

    A strange excruciating sound that felt alien and queued me into the fact that it was one of those dreams that I couldn’t wake myself up from, despite my lucidity.

    Visitors. One time, a man crawled through a window in my room and I finally woke up screaming. He was calm about it all and smiling a strange smile. After I woke up, I could still see the man in the window, although the window and man were superimposed over a windowless wall in my room. As I screamed and stared the image slowly began to fade away. I felt relieved by the sound of my own yelp. I had always feared an inability to scream when needed. This is a practical fear for a girl.

    Another time, I was in Okinawa and we welcomed the spirits of my family’s ancestors into our house as part of a ceremony that takes place on the first day of Obon. I had this nightmare where I was an Okinawan civilian right after WWII and was being harassed by a US soldier. I suddenly became aware that I was sleeping in the guest room of my family’s house and was being shaken awake by someone. It was my great grandfather who died in WWII. He was doing me a favor by shaking me from a bad dream but nonetheless when I finally woke up for real I was screaming. I went downstairs because I feared his presence was still in the room. I tried to sleep on the couch, but laid awake staring at the altar where we had burnt incense and left offerings for him.

    …fog.

    Real fog is beautiful, but brain fog gives me incredible anxiety. I have many great memories of driving up to Washington from Portland to play shows and listening to music and staring out the window at the heavy fog. Driving with brain fog, on the other hand, is terrifying. I spent years delivering pizzas, and the mundanity of it all sometimes gave me brain fog. I’m glad I never hit anything. It’s hard to see through that fog.

    …holiness.

    My parents are religious and, when I was young, I used to pray for the Holy Spirit to visit me so that I could have faith too. I was afraid of Hell. Around age 15, I started recording my own music and I made this song I called “Ghosts Alike” that was just guitar and reverb and banging on a glass bottle and some “ooohs” and “ahhhs.” After finishing the recording, I became so overwhelmed I thought that maybe it could be the Holy Spirit visiting me.

    …angles.

    I don’t know much about angles. I like drawing two lines of dots that meet at a 90 degree angle and then connecting each dot in one line with each dot in the other line. I like the thing it makes:

    …cloaks.

    I’d like a silver cloak and to completely cover the walls of a room with iridescent tinsel that is being gently wafted up into the air by fans. I want to layer shimmery guitar sounds with pedals. Just one of those things I’d like to do.

    …minerals.

    Minerals are beautiful and hard.

    …legends.

    In Okinawa, the sand is shaped like stars. Legend has it that the North Star and the Southern Cross once had little star babies; their offspring was killed by a serpent. The grains of star sand are the skeletons of these babies.

    …shields.

    When I was a young girl, I was told that if I was walking alone down the street and I was about to cross paths with someone that felt potentially threatening, to envision an invisible shield protecting me.

    …flowers.

    I’ve thought a lot about crushing flowers in my hands. Squishing them between my fingers. I thought about that when I felt defiled. Wouldn’t it anger someone if they saw me doing this to the flowers? I could say “Look, it happened to me.”

    …your fears.

    Boredom is my greatest fear. When my brain is not actively engaged, I get anxiety. My greatest fear is that when I am old I will be trapped in a boring life because I have to provide for children or something like that. This makes me not want to have kids. I’m afraid my parents led more boring lives than they would’ve without kids. This worry is despite the fact that my dad says having children is the best thing you can experience in life.

    …your childhood.

    Three older siblings and not a lot of structure. I was a quiet daydreamer. I have a distinct memory of sitting on the porch daydreaming of being interviewed on TV and describing that moment in the interview. Describing a daydream about describing a daydream about describing a daydream.

    …death.

    Kyle is always laying awake thinking about death. I did this as a kid but found sweet relief when I stopped believing that anything happened afterwards. When you die, you get to take DMT.

    Thank you.

    Data


    Conversation: 133
    Curated by: Morgan Enos
    Conducted by: Email
    Published: February 19, 2018
    Concepts: 12
    Word count: 852
    Reading time: Three minutes
    Hyperlinks: 1
    Imagery: 3

    Metadata


    Dream: Description
    Flower: Crushed
    Structure: Null
    Wall: Covered
    Fog:

    Relation


    About the subject


    Maya Stoner is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Portland, Oregon. She makes music with her project, Floating Room, and as part of Drowse.

    About the curator


    Morgan Enos is a songwriter and journalist originally from California. His curatorial work for North of the Internet aims to strike a deeper place in his conversation subjects — the dreamy subtext to the linear everyday. Morgan also frequently writes power pop records as Other Houses about joy, outer space, frustration, chess and spiritual light. He resides in New York, where he continues to creatively fire on all cylinders.


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