Saturday, September 25, 2010

There You Go, You're Gone For Good

Mood:  blah.
Hating:  insane amounts of reading for school.
Loving:  frozen blueberries (no seriously, try putting your blueberries in the freezer for a few hours before you eat them; you will not regret it).
Lip-syncing:  Brooke Fraser -- Scarlet
Quote of the day:  "If actions speak louder than words, than why is the pen mightier than the sword?"


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So I've been in back school for just going on three weeks. And I've been struggling with writer's block for just going on three months.

I wish I could blame it on work, on school, on finances, but I can't. In part, those are causing huge amounts of stress for me -- I still have no idea how I'm paying tuition -- yet it's not as though those things are anything new. My life has always been delicate balancing act between working, paying bills, education, friends, and what not. Everyone undergoes similar, if not the same, distractions, disappointments and sacrifices. This time around though, I'm not sure where my inspiration has gone.

Lost:  One muse. Looks like thousands of random story, poem, song, theatre, and/or photography ideas that may or may not be linked with a jumble of words, actions and insomnia. Offering handsome reward.

The worst part is, my lose of creativity is seeping into the rest of my life. I find myself unamused and bored, uninterested in things that should be intriguing and entertaining. My perspective has been lackluster lately, and it's all I can do to simply roll out of bed to go to school, then trudge myself to work.

Wallowing in desolation, I stared at my ceiling for an immeasurable amount of time before I flicked my laptop back on. The screen illuminates little in my dark room, only revealing my cotton sheets, some unread books and articles on my nightstand -- I like to pretend I'll eventually become a good university student and do my readings before class -- a water bottle, my cellphone and my USB key. Ah, my precious flash drive, the incredible piece of technology that seems to hold almost all the contents of my life.

Scrolling through unfinished songs, half-crafted plays, unedited photos, story plans, and other random tidbits, I hoped to find that flash of something that will spark my imagination and artistry. I stumbled across an incomplete one shot.

For those not familiar with the term, a one shot is simply a short story, cutely named 'one shot' in the reflection that (most) short stories tend to only have one chapter.

Back to what I'm about to present. Started not too long before this frigid tundra settled over my talents, it's something that most writers are probably familiar with:  the weaving together of personal experience with a few extras. I think I'm going to finish it someday. But it's only right that I share what I have now, in case it never does see the light of day again, which would be a disappointment to him. It seems like just yesterday, but I realized today it's been years. Hard to wrap my head around. But with the recent passing of Lawrence Stern as well, perhaps it's his way of gently nudging me in the right direction.

Feel free to let me know what you think. Keep in mind, it is an unfinished piece. Yet maybe by putting this out there, it will not only explain the ink etched into my skin, but offer me an outlet through which I may be able to find my muse once again.

Note:  It is named after 'Scarlet' by Brooke Fraser. One of my personal favourites, and I like to think this does reflect the musicality and emotion in the song. However, it's a personal choice whether you want to listen while reading or not...

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Scarlet

Step. Step. Stop.

Step. Step. Stop.

I turn to glance behind me again. The road is still barren, the dull evening light casting odd shadows. I could barely make out my car parked beside that bush. But that was the point.

Step. Step. Step.

Step. Step. Crunch.

The paved pathway gives way to loose rocks and gravel as I continue on my way. The salty tang of the ocean breeze reaches my senses as the wind caresses my face, gently brushing against the tears trailing down my cheeks.

It's okay to cry here. It's okay to scream, to let it all out. Tension, stress, pain; they all disappear here, at least for a little while. There's nothing around for miles.

It was here that we always came to find peace.

Moving in and between the overgrown bushes and weeds, I try to find the pathway that hadn't been used in months. It was much more difficult than I remember. But then again, it wasn't often that I trekked through on my own.

Step, step, step.

My pace quickens as the foliage lightens, allowing me glimpses of the twilight sky. The trembling of my hands as they push aside leaves and branches betray how little time I had left. I couldn't keep myself together for much longer.

Step, step, step.

Stop.

The trees give way, like they always do, to allow me to walk out into the little clearing overlooking the ocean. Nobody else knew about this place. Most just head straight for the sandy shores just a bit further down the coastline, opting to frolic in the water, tan, eat and drink with friends and family while the sun beat down upon them. Even now, I can hear the distant sounds of laughter from a few stragglers trying to squeeze some last minutes of fun from their beach day. The clouds had already rolled in, blanketing the sky in a somber grey. How appropriate. Even without the threat of rain, the beach's curfew was approaching, and most had already vacated, packing their belongings away and climbing into their cars to drive off; almost like it was a regular day. To them, it was. They'd go home, sleep, and wake up tomorrow to carry on with their lives, this day at the beach just another memory.

Just another memory. I hate that phrase.

I swallow hard as I carefully make my way closer, trying to get to the collection of rocks that appear to be balanced precariously on the edge. They're secure though. We had spent plenty of time rolling around, playing and sitting on these rocks. But they too, were now just memories.

Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath; deeper than I had in awhile. To not taste the sterile air of the hospital is more of a relief than I thought it'd be. Now settled into a comfortable spot, I draw my knees up to my chest to rest my head against them. Staring out across the great expanse of water, I feel like a weight is slowly being lifted.

No need to be strong here. No need to pretend. No need to act like it's all okay.

I squeeze my eyes shut tighter as the tears began to pour. Wrapping my arms around my legs, I clench my fists, digging my nails into my palms. Ragged sobs burst from within as I begin to rock myself back and forth gently.

All just a memory now.

This had sort of become our unofficial spot. I recall the day he'd dragged me here. I'd done nothing but complain the whole way, but as the sky with its brilliant setting sun came into view with the waves crashing against the rocks below, I'd understood. I laughed long and hard when he said it, but it truly was one of those places where the sky, land and water meet. It was beautiful. A sense of calm and unity oozed from the very stones of this place. Nobody knew us here; we could be honest to ourselves, and each other here. Countless day trips, midnight escapes, and random excursions had ended here. So many thoughts, feelings, ideas were formed here, breathed in from the harmony of nature. Confessions and breakdowns, laughter and fun, pain and heartbreak. All just memories.

He's nothing but a memory now.

It was here that I found him that day. Busy with work, I hadn't been able to go with him to the doctor. Neither of us had thought anything of it; it was just a persistent bruise. I told him he needed to stop banging that leg into things so it could have time to actually heal. I hadn't realized how wrong we were until I had to come looking for him. I should have come here first, instead of waiting around his apartment. He shouldn't have had to be alone after the diagnosis. But time had never been an issue for us before.

It hurts.

I gasp now, trying to draw oxygen into my lungs. It hurts so much. The emotional ache I'd been suppressing within begins to fight, bubbling to the surface. My body begins to tremble in distress. I can't lie to myself here. It'd be a betrayal of what it stood for. It needs to come out. I unsteadily rise to my feet as I feel the first few droplets plop onto my skin.

“Why?!”

The strength of my cry increases with each scream of the question, the thunder in the distance the only answer to the agony in my voice. I don't understand. And I don't think I ever will. Is it something he did? Something we'd done? Were we being punished? Am I being punished? What was it? A test? A mistake?

So young. We'd barely started our lives, hardly had a chance to explore the world. We didn't even really know who we were before we were thrust into this nightmare.

It happens to other people, other families, other friends. It's just a statistic; until it comes and destroys your life. Then you begin to understand the charities, the fundraisers, the messages. I didn't. I let out another sob as my head drops to my chest. The foul taste of bile invades my palate as I remember my goddamn selfishness with disgust. He needed to be strong for me, because I didn't get it. He needed to research, to talk and explain to me about what leukemia was, how it worked. He needed to comfort me when his tests and treatment started. And he was the one who reassured me that everything would be fine.

Liar.

1 comment:

JY said...

Gonna take a closer look at the fiction in a day or two.

But on the creative block, I hear you. Sometimes it helps to pinpoint exactly what about those things that stress you in life are. Sometimes it's more dire then you think.

I find the best remedy when you're at a creative loss is to continue to write/read/create. Even if you think it's shitty, maybe it'll inspire something.

keep your chin above water kiddo, rootin' for ya.