Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It Could Have Been a Brilliant Career

My fiction workshop is drawing to a close, this autumn moving past me, my world, with a celerity that was shocking, leaving me cold and alone in its wake. Though I have not quite completed my work and entered an appropriate phase to reflect, overall, my course has been a success. It was a fresh perspective, it was a plunging into something familiar yet still unknown, like diving into a new pool of water, a lake; I know how to swim, the maneuvers, the strokes, I know the feel of water rushing past my body as I break the surface with my hands, head, torso, but each body of water has its own mysteries beneath. Having studied fiction as an undergraduate, the workshop format was familiar, but the dynamics of the group, the instructor, as changing as an organic creature.

Ever the pessimist, ever my own critic, while I am pleased that this experience has been inspiring, I have been and continue to be a bit disappointed in my own performance. My own lack of discipline. While the spark, the desire, to write has been ignited, actual pen to paper, capturing the words that drift feverishly through my cortical corners, snippets, circumstances, has been substantially little. Still, despite this class, despite a welcome and encouraging community, I do not write, at least, not as much as one should. Should. Ever an amorphous concept, fluid, changeling, subject to my harsh biases. Afraid, or more accurately, lazy, I let the words, the stories, flounder listlessly in my mind. Working full time at a demanding career, while trying to pursue something more, something I feel I must, at least for my sanity, is beyond challenging, and I know, rationally, that I should be kinder to myself, be more forgiving.

While still a student, in middle school, in high school, in university, I received much praise, encouragement, pushing: this is what you should do. This is what you must do. When I was younger, this thrilled me, and convinced me. As I grew older, approached that age of metaphoric umbilical cord snapping, this burdened me. It seemed impossible, or perhaps to be lies, told for convenience, to placate. Doubting, I began to instead believe that, like for so many, there existed a palpable artistic sentiment, without the intuition, the genius, the dedication.

Refused to accept a notion of calling, refused to place a bet on talent. Instead, I stumbled forward, into accidental industry, found comfort, some challenges of a different ilk, found struggle.

Earlier in the semester, I read the first portion of a story in draft to my class; mulling over it these few weeks, I have mapped out the second portion, a sort of one-two punch of a structure. Now, to just write it.

(image taken from Vintage Everyday)

Friday, November 7, 2014

Homecoming Wedding

Drawn to my home town by a wedding, a friend from high school. Tender years of adolescence, of potential, that seemed so insufferable and tough at the time. From similar familial environments, more or less, we all studied diligently, discovered a love for vintage jewels, stole bouts of liquor from our parents to create some tame trouble for ourselves. Scattered to various geographies for university, unique coordinates, we kept in loose touch, more or less, reverting to old ways, old patterns, during holidays, summer vacation. Friendships not quite founded on tedium, but a sort of easy comfort, and familiarity.

I took the train south. I no longer own a car, able to commute, transmute, glide with ease from neighborhood to neighborhood, rattling with strangers underground. My parents retrieve me from the station, drive me to their new home, their retirement home, a handful of physical miles from, and great atmospheric distances from, the coddled suburban development of my youth. 

The night of the wedding, my mother drives us to the venue, a stiff country club. Polished, in sleek dresses, sparkling earrings, fancy. I forget that it has been more than a decade. Whisked back.

We would get ready for dances collectively, a gaggle of giggling girls, girls giggling from glugging clandestine vodka, drunk from cheap perfume. Piling into the back seat, squirming unnaturally to look natural. We wear brightly colored dresses, taunting polyester plumage.

 I forget that it has been more than a decade. What has happened in this time? Circling in some other city, occasionally called back, returning obediently like a falcon.

(image taken from Humble Pie Vintage)