Monday, July 11, 2011
Green like the moss
under a rotting rock crawling with
insects feeding off
Strong like the
lion, who is too stupid to realize
that without our guns we are powerless
Its white innards remind me
of that orchid,
the one I couldn’t name if my life depended on it,
that is a beautiful weed
heedlessly destroying all in its
You want to make my
But maybe brown was what I was meant to be.
Genetics have been cruel to me
if you’re not white, you’re
But I like my tan
You can not
and will not
take that away from me.
I finish my embrace of the chocolate bar.
This is a piece I wrote for my Intro to Creative Writing class, during my Freshman year of college, entitled "Not So Much A Story, As A Rant" (can you see how lazy I was as a 17 year old? Rubbish title). While the writing itself is meant to be a lament about how the assignment was due the next day and I had nothing to write, it's hilarious to see that I was still as confused as I am now, albeit slightly more eloquent.
INTRODUCTION TO CREATIVE WRITING (L Godfrey)
Assignment: Flash Fiction With Focus On Setting.
DUE: TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2008
NOT SO MUCH A STORY AS A RANT
She sat at her computer and began to write. She came up with about four pages of beginnings, and two pages of middles, but when she went back and read everything, she realized how ridiculously shallow it all sounded. Is this what her writing would evolve into? Wasn’t it supposed to get better as she got older? She sighed as she recalled her greatest piece of writing. It had been written in the tenth grade. Three years ago. She sighed again.
She looked away from the screen, searching for inspiration, but commercial objects screamed out at her. Her bottles of creams and lotions and perfumes and make up and iced tea all screamed “mainstream”. Nothing inspired the will to write something truly great.
“I guess I could write about the aggravating insecurity and crippling self-doubt that plagues my adolescence.” But that seemed too shallow as well. What was the matter with her? It wasn’t Writer’s Block, because she was writing. It seemed to be a sort of Writer’s Filter, which sieved out the significant and left only the meaningless and petty.
Her foot had found its way to the radiator again. She loved the way it gently heated her tired stockinged feet. It reminded her of the warm floors of home, where winter meant fifty degrees.
The word excited less sadness now. It was more of nostalgia for a time that was a part of who she had become. She thought of it as a flawless paradise. She knew she was glazing over the bad parts, and there were many, but she didn’t mind. The more perfect she thought her home was, the happier she would be to get back to it. Its warmth, its people, its sentiment, its character, its essence. Home.
She looked out the window to her right. Her first-floor dorm was the perfect place for people-watching. While, in an effort to avoid being a creeper, she would limit this to about five minutes, she loved to look at the people passing by and guess their stories. Sometimes, if she was really bored, she made up the stories. The girl with the pink jacket walking behind the guy with the white cap was actually in love with him, but he was in love with the boy with the combat boots, carrying the cello case. The twisted love triangle added to the illusion that college meant drama. It managed to heat up the otherwise frigid environment. The people seemed to make up for the climate of this tundra.
The trees were bare, save for the more resilient of the remainder of last night’s snowfall clinging to their white branches. Everything here was white. The people, the ground, the sky (when it wasn’t grey). She longed for the sunshine of her home; sun so hot that it burned her people a permanent brown.
The Strokes belted out a song on her iTunes. “Oo-oh, my feelings are more important than yours..!”
Well said, she thought. At least these men were honest.
The smell of the Chinese food she had ordered that weekend crept into her nose, enticing visions of exotic Shanghai streets and undiscovered lands.
She suddenly realized why her writing was superficial. It was because the world was superficial! The epiphany hit her like a bolt of lightning. People just didn’t have real issues to worry about anymore! What mattered was mainstream. There wasn’t suffering to the extent that there had been fifty years ago. Life was pretty laid back these days. The ease of every day had led to the superfluity of people’s thought processes. There were no “undiscovered lands” or “uncharted territories”. Technology had made sure of that. There was no mystery or romance left in the world. Kafka and Orwell had written about imagined realities, with situations that they felt were better than the current ones, or in an effort to better the situations they saw in reality. Dostoevsky had taken the current situations and added to them. Marx had proposed a better world. Maybe that was it. There was nothing new to be done. As the so called “small-minded” thought, everything that had to be invented has been invented. Maybe that was it. In the words of Sandi Thom, “I was born too late…”.
She sighed again, and looked out her window. Jorge from the dorm next door was on his skateboard again. It was freezing cold outside, with snow everywhere, and he was practicing his skateboard moves. He jumped up into the air, did a few elaborate turns with the skateboard, and fell on his face. He got up, nose bloody and broken, smiled and looked at me. “I invented a new move!” he mouthed.
Face gleeful to an almost alarming degree, he ran towards his other skateboarding buddies to spread the word. Well perhaps innovation wasn’t dead after all. Maybe it was just her. But what of the fact that almost every movie written after 1985 seemed to be based on the storyline of another movie, or a book, or a Shakespearean play, or a German movie?
She decided that this argument with herself was one argument that she could not win, and in an effort to prevent herself from going crazy, she shut off her computer and headed outside for a walk. Perhaps a touch of hypothermia would wake her brain up. This exiled place shut out any motive to gain inspiration, but maybe desperation would lead her to her masterpiece.
An hour later, she came running into her dorm room, the sliver of an idea just beginning to rise in her mind. She was cold and wet and hungry. Like most writers of her time, her desperation had led her to her to misery, which had led her to her masterpiece. With a, ironically, satisfied smile, she began to write.