Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm missing some of my fiction materials and that is rather disappointing. My fiction notebook from last fall is MIA. It had several story seeds in it, and now they're lost to the gods of misplaced items while moving.

I'm also missing several (as in 15 or so) pages of a story I wrote last summer. I had originally typed it on my handy dandy typewriter, but had not finished retyping it on the computer. So now it's back to basically the beginning. I do have the start of the story, which I'm converting from the basis for a novel into a short story. However, I'm having difficulty tapping into the motivation for writing the story.

Well, it's getting a bit late, and I'm getting a bit tired. More to come another day.
I'm missing some of my fiction materials and that is rather disappointing. My fiction notebook from last fall is MIA. It had several story seeds in it, and now they're lost to the gods of misplaced items while moving.

I'm also missing several (as in 15 or so) pages of a story I wrote last summer. I had originally typed it on my handy dandy typewriter, but had not finished retyping it on the computer. So now it's back to basically the beginning. I do have the start of the story, which I'm converting from the basis for a novel into a short story. However, I'm having difficulty tapping into the motivation for writing the story.

Well, it's getting a bit late, and I'm getting a bit tired. More to come another day.

Monday, September 25, 2006

In an effort to feel creative but being wholly unable to create anything new, I felt an urge to post this musing from the nonfiction class I took this spring. It's a meditation on a one-sentence Xanga post I made last summer.

Green

There was absolute silence as I stared into the mirror. Even the roar of the air conditioner was absent. No movement in the world, no sound at all. At first my ears strained to hear anything, but then I accepted the quiet. I was all alone in a different world. I was not me in this moment. Staring into the eyes before me, I saw green with just a fleck of grey around my pupils. I had changed into something new. The planets in my personal universe had aligned while I slept in the evening, and some thief had stolen the old me away, leaving a new me in my stead. They left me alone in the world, and I knew it because my eyes were green.

I thought a lot about death that mild summer evening, the shocking verdigris that stared back at me in the mirror reminded me of my mother’s eyes, a sight unseen for almost eight years until that June evening.

All of my life my eyes have changed color, shifting from blue to slate to blue-green, but they had never been completely green. Science shows that we receive our eye color based on genetics. My father has blue eyes; my mother had green. All of their children have blue eyes. Mine shift color frequently, an event unexplicable by scientists or genetics.

I had been dwelling on the idea of death and the grief that accompanies a loss even after eight years. It’s a criticism I often receive—I’m morbid. I’m also caught up on this idea of green, a color that reminds me of life and, apparently, death. Why did the color of my mother’s eyes become my own temporarily and what could it mean?

It’s that green, the green that I saw in her eyes that brought me back to her on that clear June evening. I’m reminded of a similar June evening in Colorado, 1995, my eleventh birthday. I was upset about something, and my mother took me on a walk down the gravel road as the dark night enveloped the campground. The surrounding woods buzzed with the sounds of nature, night birds calling, crickets chirping, and the hum of life. It was chilly, and my mom wrapped her arm around my shoulders as we walked.

I don’t remember what she said, but I remember that she was there for me. I couldn’t see her face, but I could feel her soft gaze upon me. When I looked into her eyes back then, I couldn’t see the death that waited behind her right eye. Sure, I understood that cancer had taken up residence on her retina, but the idea of a tumor killing her was foreign. Moms don’t die, they can’t.

Perhaps it’s the fact that my mother always commented on my shifting eye color that makes me so aware of them. I remember wanting my eyes to turn green, deep green. Once in awhile they were flecked with emerald shards, but they still held the clarity of blue. Blue is beautiful, green is a magical color.

I think I was visited by her spirit, her memory in my dreams that evening. My wife has dreams about my mother. She has had conversations with a woman she has never met, and everything she says rings true. They meet at a cafĂ© and drink tea. They chat about me, and my mom offers my wife advice. Maybe my dreams brought me back to my mother as the daylight faded this summer. Maybe her spirit lingered with me. Maybe I connected with something beyond this plane of existence. I don’t remember dreaming about her, but something prompted me to wake and go directly to the mirror.

When I awoke, I came into silence. The profound weight of life was made known to me as I stared in the mirror at a new me, a different me, a new living form sharing my eyes with death.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

So, I celebrated my first day off work by getting incredibly sick. High fever, migraine, nausea. It was great. Then I celebrated my second day off by going in to work. Pro: Overtime. Con: It sucks to work 6 days per week.

I started feeling really crummy right when I started to study the GRE math review, so I blame that. Seriously, this test is going to suck eggs, but it will all be okay.

In other news, this headache needs to end soon or I'll have to go to the doctor. It could be worse, but it definitely could be better.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

A seed

So, I've been carrying around this idea for awhile, and as poets Robert Haas and Brenda Hillman say, "I haven't heard a line." It all stems back to my nonfiction class and an exercise we did.

The task was simple: see what happened the year you were born. That's 1984 for me. It was intriguing to see all the things that happened that year, but I began to dwell on what I have not experienced in this lifetime.

The idea that has stuck with me the longest is this: famed photographer Ansel Adams died two months before I was born. I have been to many of the locations Adams photographed, but I still can't grasp that the world he knew and the world he captured never existed while I was alive. True, those locations are still there, but nothing is as it was in those photos.

I don't know why this is so disturbing to me, but I just can't come to terms with it. The passage of time is more real to me in this one fact that in so many other ideas. And so, I've been carrying around this message throughout the spring and summer, but it won't come out the way I want it to. There's a poem or an essay here, something with the potential to stir, but I can't figure it out.

The only thing I ask is, please don't take this for yourself. I'm too connected to this idea to see someone else produce something from it. Perhaps it's just a strange sadness I'll carry around the rest of my life, but maybe, just maybe, I'll find something great to write about it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota

by James Wright

Over my head, I see the bronze butterfly
Asleep on the black trunk,
Blowing like a leaf in green shadow.
Down the ravine behind the empty house,
The cowbells follow one another
Into the distances of the afternoon.
To my right,
In a field of sunlight between two pines,
The droppings of last year's horses
Blaze up into golden stones.
I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on.
A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home.
I have wasted my life.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Book Survey

Now, most surveys you find on the internet are just plain stupid, but I really liked this one because it's something I'm passionate about.

A book that changed my life: What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. Now I'll admit that I saw the film adaptation before I read this book, but the ideas in this book changed my entire outlook on life and the afterlife. It's what broke me loose from the constraints of traditional Christian thought regarding the afterlife. I may be wrong, but I feel much more alive and purposeful since beginning to understand an alternative theory on death.

A book I've read more than once: I've made it a point to read Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien every year since the first time I read it. It's a classic piece of children's literature, and a quick and refreshing read.

A book I'd take to a deserted island: Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. I chose this book mainly because I'm still learning about all of its intricacies, but every time I think of the passage "Imagine a Carthage sown with salt..." I get goosebumps.

A book that made me laugh: The Hundred Secret Senses by Amy Tan. This book is wonderful, and Kwan cracked me up on more than one occasion. Of course, it has some sad parts too.

A book that made me (want to) cry: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. This book is a perfect companion to teenage angst, but it has a deeper level of dwelling on relationships and our unrealistic ideas of what those should be. That sadness, the discontent, flows throughout the whole book.

A book I wish I'd written: The da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Not the most well-written piece of prose out there, but I love the public reaction to it. It's a cultural phenomenon, and people seem to completely forget that it's a fictional story. Some folks are just way too sensitive.

A book that should never have been written: The Haunting of Hip Hop by Bertice Berry. Dreadful. I'm glad I only paid a few dollars for it.

A book I'm currently reading: Hunger by Lan Samantha Chang. It's her early work: a novella and some short stories. I've only read the novella, but it's pretty interesting so far.

A book I'm planning to read: The Opposite of Fate by Amy Tan.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

My job makes me feel like this:



However, instead of trying to sell you a car that was just owned by a little old lady who drove it back and forth to church every week, I'm trying to sell you a TV while the store managers are breathing down my neck pressuring for the sale.

Add in mystery shoppers and it's no wonder I haven't written anything creative lately. I can't seem to get away from this job. I even dream about it.

I had a nice talk with Nick D. today about why job satisfaction is so low in retail. Simply put, we don't produce anything. We can bust our butts working the sales floor, but in the end, we have nothing to hold in our hands to show that we worked hard and did a good job. True, the store has profits, but it's all too abstract.

Anyway, that's just my thought on the matter. Now can I interest you in this Pinto?