Archive for June, 2011

If my dad worked at the Pentagon…

June 27, 2011

 

I knock on the door, clutching her notebook full of lyrical angst.

“I’m coming,” I hear, and my mind goes there. “Hello?”

“Uh…”

“Yes?”

“Here,” I say, thrusting the notebook at her.

She takes the sweaty mess, reluctantly, but quickly notices the giant CONSPIRACY she’s written on the cover. “What the-?”

“You dropped it, by your locker.”

She eyes me suspiciously.

“I’m not stalking you, or anything, I just think you’re cute.”

“Um… Thanks?”

This is going badly. “Abort, abort,” I say into my wrist watch; instantly, Seal-Team-Seven swoops in, in a chopper, and airlifts me to safety.

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Grace

June 15, 2011

She enters at Canal, well dressed for (what I’m guessing to be her) early twenties. Her perfect waistline screams of self control and an active lifestyle. Her face is pretty, almost too pretty and I’d suspect modeling if she weren’t so short. When she walks past, a hint of lilac lingers in the air.

Gracefully, she sits near the door, and opens a steaming container of street vendor fried rice. It’s probably vegetable, she has that vegan vibe, which is fine. The first bite isn’t quite savored, it’s only fried rice, but her face tells me she hasn’t eaten all day. The second bite is shoveled down, before abandoning the Styrofoam container on the seat adjacent. A hand dives into a bag, designer, either real or a well made knock-off, and she extracts a very worn iPhone. She seems nervous as her thumbs fly across the touch screen. She’s too distracted to notice that the motion of the train is rattling her plastic fork near the edge of her container. With baited breath, I watch waiting for the inevitable. It falls without a sound; it’s disappointingly anticlimactic. She puts her phone away and reaches down for another bite. Her face registers disappointment, and I can finally see a yearning hunger that nearly matches my own. She closes the lid and retrieves her phone. She pops in earbuds and listens to music while starring out the window.

She departs at the next stop; I do as well. I don’t have to follow for long: she gracefully drops the nearly full container of rice into the platform garbage can. I slow my pace and pretend to tie my shoes, while she, and the rest of the passengers, head up the stairs. An old woman in fake fur sees me reach in; she turns her head, making me invisible once again. It is vegetable fried rice, far from my favorite, but you know what they say.

on the state of my blog

June 10, 2011

Somewhere in the near past, my taste in prose, my palate if you will, became more sophisticated. It’s a splendiforous thing, really; I’ve learned to appreciate fine craftsmanship and clever wordplay, wherever I see it. I can be astonished by the elegance of a simple sentence, and floored by a well placed, utterly perfect word.

Unfortunately, my palate now exceeds my ability, and I’m unable to write anything up to my own standards (thank you Janet Reid and Rachelle Gardner for pointing this out). I don’t think I need to explain why this is a problem (or maybe I do). I feel like a young painter back from a tour of Italy, ready to put down my brush for fear that I’ll never measure up to the masters.

I’ve read that this is a common problem; that doesn’t comfort me. Erectile dysfunction is a common problem… I’ve also read that I need to keep writing, to work through it.

I’m trying.

My recent efforts yielded one marginal success (which I’ve saved), a few near misses, and many colossal failures. More often than not, I’ll write a line, stare at it intently for a few seconds/minutes, and delete it. Occasionally, I’ll add some histrionics: I’ll take my glasses off in disgust, curse in any number of languages, and/or rub my temples while staring at the wall.

This is why my blog is undernourished. If blogs were pets, the ASPCA would have broken down my door a while ago. I suppose I could post my efforts, to keep the numbers up, but I lack sufficient narcissism to post crap. Or maybe it’s ego; I don’t want to tarnish my non-existent reputation with sub-par writing. Whatever the case, I think Kurt Vonnegut was right, “Use the time of your reader in such a way that (s)he won’t feel it was wasted.”

To help me through this unbearable slump, I’ve been reading more. I’m probably still not reading as much as I should, but more. I suspect this is helping more than my failed attempts at writing. I figure, if I see enough elegant sentences, enough masterful word choices, I’ll be able to create some of my own. You know, monkey see, monkey sample. I think it will work, as long as I don’t snap my paintbrush… Dear god I hope that doesn’t count as a pun.