I knew instantly

December 13, 2008

I knew instantly when I saw the SS prompt that I would mingle a personal anecdote with a few witticisms and slog through a paragraph or two telling about some event that grew less interesting the more I wrote about it. Then I would try to re-energize my typing fingers by inserting an interjection of madness into the stream of thought and then scramble about attempting to survey the new landscape while still trying to figure out how to make a complete whole.  I give up that fruitless attempt, bang head against the nearby stone pillar and confusedly stare at the blinking prompt.  Next I look around frantically for something, anything to read so that I do not have to spend even an instant more in this sucking void of creativity.  Must become sponge-like, give me already written story.  Snap back into writing mode, smooth out the creases in the brow and try and remember why this paragraph began in the first place.  Oh yeah, me.  I knew, though it took more than a few moments, that I would be spinning wildly into this writing space with nothing on my mind and attempt to stroke from the threads of this particular consciousness something resembling coherence.  Have I failed?

Life living

September 15, 2008

My dear friend Michael has brought to my attention words that I had written some time back and with the revisit I can feel the bubbles of lifeexpansionfreedom well up inside of me.  I am in my last semester of graduate school and feel the closing of an era that began with a plunge into the standardized test of the GRE and will now finish with the search for that first job at the professional level of librarianship.  I feel unsatisfied.  I have projected a life path that includes the safety of government work and am close to acquiring a degree that will strengthen my ties to career that has moments of satisfaction but still leaves me yearning for more.  I’m sure that I am the first human being to ever be in this predicament (Ha!).

In that first post written a year and a half ago (referenced above) I was struck dumb by the words of a YA author who let go of the known and plunged into the churning rapids of the yet-to-be-determined.  In his story I saw my own life and eventual future of chances not taken, fields left unexplored.  So I mustered up enough gumption to write my blog post to the world and then dutifully returned to the writing of a paper dictated to me by an educational system that encourages well-thought-out passive responses to pre-fab questioning.  And I received an ‘A’ on that paper which made me feel quite good about myself, like I actually accomplished something substantial rather than demonstrating what a nice obedient puppy I truly am.  I’m a smart doggie.

Zoom to this moment and my dogness (no offense to you canines out there, I appreciate a good fetch session) has become even more ingrained as I take the next step of holding up that piece of parchment that proclaims to the world, “Yes I am ready to join the working ranks of those that have chosen security over risk.  Please welcome me with open arms, um, how many years until retirement?”

I admit that I’m allowing drama to infuse this post but I know that there is a ripe kernal of truth at the heart of these frolicking words.  I’m already looking ahead, glazing over the process inherent in the now, trying to find that job description that I can match to my perception of me.  There is a certain thrill there, the chase of that elusive next job that overshadows a deeper longing for a life purpose that will remain unfulfilled if all of my days are restricted to the library field.  I know this to be true.  And yet one must work and financially it makes sense to try and move up the career ladder.  Blah.

The difficulty of my situation is that my dreams are cloudy unformed things that are elusive and cause me to shrink back into other more comfortable arenas.  I consider writing for a bit and then sit down with a book.  Or watch a movie.  I’m fascinated by the creative process and then abandon it personally to become one of the audience.  I read about the lives of authors and calculate their life trajectory with my own.  At time I’m a pathetic silly man surrounded by books yearning to be on the other side of the words.  But to this point the insistence of the dream comes in spurts and I can placidly go about my life for weeks at a time with only a faint recollection of what it is I truly should be doing (At least that’s what I suppose, I am welcome to life injecting an alternative purpose).  The beauty of modern life is that everything is so busy and one can easily be submerged into the flux and forget what it is one ought to be doing.  My yearnings get caught up in this flow and the cloudy dreams easily disperse to reform in a different day’s sky.  I’m conflicted and know it and these words attest to that fact.

A Road to get lost

April 6, 2008

It is easy for the wandering soul to get caught up in the movement of the body as a remedy for stirrings of frustration and anger.  Hit the road and don’t look back on the troubles that can seemingly be left behind.  Get someplace, the body stops moving and the inherent difficulties rise again to the surface.  Must keep moving, thinks the soul, wrong kind of crowd here or I don’t like the looks of this place.  Back into the car or bus, maybe by foot or other means of locomotion the traveling soul starts to realize that no place will ever be quite right.  So–do what you can to generate a little income or better yet stick out the thumb and see what lies around the next bend in the highway.  As long as I can get away from here, as long as I can leave now then I will not have to face what is following me wherever I go.  I travel to lose myself in the hum of the tires on the road hoping that the destination will never arrive.

Prompt from Writer’s Island.


Informational writing

November 10, 2007

I wrote a little over 2500 words yesterday.  Unfortunately they were for a school paper comparing two models of information seeking behavior.  I would have to be extremely creative to find a way to infuse those words into the NaNo project.  “Jim returned home after a tiring day at the office and sat down to write about Zipf’s Principle of Least Effort.  Here’s what he wrote [Copy and Paste]…”  I’m imagining this interlude would prove to be quite boring.  Unless you are a fan of Zipf.  Its quite possible he has a small but cultish following in the information researcher community.

A couple of things I discovered about my writing habits yesterday:

  1. It takes me a long time to process and then compose.  I started the paper around 9:30a.m. and did not submit until close to 11:p.m.
  2. Procrastination is my favorite dancing partner.  Yours too?  I will actively seek out chores that I have been avoiding for weeks when an assignment needs to be completed.  Yesterday I raked half of the backyard, washed clothes and attempted repair of a leaky hose.  I’m sure G would like me to work on another degree after I complete this one.
  3. When I finally manage to squeeze a few words out of my fingers the sentences are almost as good as finished.  I looked over my work after I wrote the last line of the paper and only needed to make a few minor changes.  Some may think this a blessing though the load is heavy to bear when creator, editor and critic all share the same space. 
  4. The internal struggle must be won to get this body and mind into creative work mode.  When the world is so vastly interesting I can always find something new that entertains.  Without a deadline writing becomes a secondary concern.

And yet I return again and again to the written word feeling the need to share and celebrate the vastness of life from my individual perspective.  Does self-expression need to be so hard?  I believe in my case faulty comparisons and perfectionism undermine my creative flow.  And I have been known to lounge excessively. 

I believe its time for a picture.  Last weekend and a few flowers still hanging on.

Committing myself to the task of one million words this month as part of a Novel march has sparked a couple of thoughts into this meager mind. Pushing myself to return again and again to words that I must pull out of the air with the skill of a back-alley magician has left me with the feeling of joyful nausea. Marveling at sentences that write themselves I also ride the roller-coaster down with plot twists that rip away at the academic decency of my analytical mind. Perhaps this is a good thing, I’m not sure.

I do know that I enjoy the moments when the critic falls silent for an instant and I can celebrate playful and silly word flow. Strangely enough I have penned about 95 percent of my NaNo project while on the information desk at the library. (Please don’t tell). Granted this time has only produced a little over two thousand words but in one week that’s not too bad for the downtime at work. Even if I don’t catch up to the billion word goal by the end of this month I could quite possibly get a novel written in the cracks of time that are always present at a public service desk.

You may be wondering about the title of this post and if I have deliberately ignored or typically forgotten my point. I have not. I found this bloom on my porch this last weekend.

To begin NaNoWriMo

November 2, 2007

The first day of National Novel Writing Month is officially over here on the East Coast of the United States. I would link to the site but I do not want to tax their servers any more than necessary. I am 228 words into what will unbelievably balloon into 50,000 words. Seeing will prepare me for belief. The difficulty lies in a perceived lack of time and an inner critic that will not let the words flow strong. And I really need to catch onto the tail of a story that I really want to tell. Starting from a blank slate leads to blank stares at the computer screen.

We shall see…how about a photo to balance out the mood? Inspired by Absolute Vanilla’s play with light.


October 29, 2007


It starts with the movement of my younger brother in the bunk below. My nine-year-old imagination, wide-awake begins to think up reasons why Kevin keeps shifting around creaking the bedsprings and letting out soft moans. It can’t be just his dreams or night terrors, no, there must be an energy, a wraith unseen to my eyes that is torturing his very being. I scan quickly around the dark room, body protected from attack by thick blanket, pillow pressed close to face. A shadow moves across the wall–I watch its progress for clues as it disappears in the closet. Kevin slides to the edge of his bed and his arm flops out into the air above the ground. A pale limb, his fingers caught in a streetlight from the window–I count the fingers–one, two, three, four–where’s the thumb?! He moves again and the arm retreats back out of sight.

I hear mumbling from underneath my mattress, Kevin is saying “No” or “Go”. I lie still and listen. His breathing stops…no wait there it is again…a gasp (or was that me?) and then nothing. I’m all alone, he has surely perished, the spirit too strong and he just a little boy. Guilt creeps in beside my fear, I’m scared and ashamed for doing nothing to protect my little brother. I could have woken him up or crawled beside him–we could have been a team against the darkness. Now its just me to face the night, my senses tired from sensing, my heart broken from failure. I give up to whatever will come and take me, my fight disabled, my breathing choked underneath layers of bedding.

I’m a boy with an imagination that has taken over.

More writings can be found here and more photos here.

P.S. Anyone want to be a buddy for NaNoWriMo?  I’m here.