Tuesday, August 11, 2015


I decided that I am simply not writing enough, and that is why I am not succeeding at writing. (These sorts of brilliant deductions are my specialty.) So, I decided to resuscitate this little corner of the Land of Blog and use it to publish my ramblings. My hope is that you lovely people pictured in the sidebar, known as "followers", will read the writings and enjoy them, or criticize them, or both, but more importantly will help to hold me accountable for actually fulfilling this promise to myself. It's another school year, another day, another destiny, another set of Les Mis lyrics, and so I shall make of myself a new sort of writer, one who doesn't ensure that everything she writes is perfect before letting anyone else see it, because that sort of writer isn't a real writer at all. To love others is to know even their flaws, and to be humble is to let others love you. So be it. Fiat secundum verbum meum, et fiunt verba!*

To get down to bald facts, as opposed to facts which grow hair, what I publish here might be anything: a poem, a single stanza of a poem, a description of a person or thing, a vehement denunciation of untruth, a tiny beginning bit of a story... Anything, as long as I'm writing. Now, there are times when people put words on a page (or a screen) and the words form complete sentences that communicate some sort of meaning to the reader, without actually writing in the way that I mean it--I don't consider what I'm doing right now to be "writing" for the purposes of this mission. This is an explanatory note. So, if you catch me going, "I'm thinking about writing a such-and-such but I don't really know, what do you think?" and not actually writing even a line or two of the such-and-such, chew me out in a comment because that doesn't count. But a tidbit of dialogue, a miniature fanfiction, a haiku, a parody of a song, a humorous account of my own awkwardness at a grocery store... all of this counts. Of course, I'd appreciate feedback on whether something is funny, awful, interesting, worth continuing, etc, if anyone would enjoy giving it.

Now, without further ado, here is my first day's creative writing tidbit:

Thoughts on Places

So much depends on location. The same plant is a weed in one place and a wildflower in another. A lion is a treasure inside an urban zoo, but a terror the moment it's outside. A child is considered, well, not really much of a child before he or she comes out of the womb.

In the same way, we are all different people in different places, a little bit. At least, I know I am. At school, I flit from friend to friend, activity to activity, class to class, almost never still and quiet except when I'm in the chapel alone. I am passionate about almost everything, distracted from everything by something else. I'm full of energy, usually happy, ending my days with my head full of thoughts that won't let my mind sleep. To relax the mental tension that stays with me day after day, I have to transform it into physical tension, balancing my body with my mind by manual, monotonous motion.

At home, I curl into a ball in an armchair and read or stare at a screen for hours and hours on end, only stopping when the vulgar needs of the body distract me. I find myself content, but sluggish and unwilling to talk to my fellow humans or even to pray. I suddenly start to worry about money, and yet be more than usually reluctant to work, and simultaneously want to go buy shiny new things that cost more than they should. After a while, my brain feels like quagmire, and I crave the stimulation of like-minded comrades, and their friendly, implicit challenge to academic greatness.

Places are backgrounds that make different parts of us stand out more or less. Places are also springboards or destinations, giving us a reason to move and a way of moving. I can't separate who I am from where I've been. My home town, where my parents met and married and decided to give me life, is one of the threads that weaves me. Every time I visit a new place, it's like reading a new book; it adds another thread. When I talk to people who have traveled a lot, I think I can hear all their threads, and see that their cloth is more finished than mine, no matter their age.

And when I leave a place behind, I am always sad and afraid, because I feel that a part of me will always be there. Maybe we are to places what places are to us. We give places a reason to be, and so some part of us must stay in each one. I think I'm always afraid I'll never see the place again, that I'll forget what it's like, and its thread will start to fade or unravel.

Once, when I was very young, my family lived in an apartment in Maryville, Tennessee. Nearly all my earliest memories are connected with that place, and I value those memories (of trivial events--spilling water, crying and kicking my feet, sliding flashcards into a slightly open drawer) in a quiet, respectful way, the way people view small everyday objects of times past preserved in glass cases at a museum. Growing up, although we moved to several other houses in several places, and the photographic aspect of the memories faded, and my body and mind grew and changed, "the apartment" was a definite place in the timeline of memory, fitting together with other puzzle pieces and helping them to fit. And then one day, on a trip to Maryville, my mother and sister and I stopped by the site of the apartment, and the building that once housed it was gone. Only grass remained, and the asphalt that once was a parking lot but now had a purposeless existence. And I realized then, that without knowing it, I had thought of that apartment I could barely remember, as a place that, because it was in my past, remained unchanging. I never knew that as the memories faded, the place itself could also disappear.

Now I think, how many other people had that apartment building, and indeed those same rooms my family once rented, in their own pasts? How many of them know that the place is gone now? Does it matter to anyone else? Or is it just another manmade structure, doomed eventually to pass away, leaving no trace, although it did its job well?

*I haven't taken Latin in about a year, so I'm pretty rusty. This is meant to say, "Let it be according to my word, and let the words be!" It's a rather bad, punnish reference to the words of Mary to the Archangel Gabriel, upon hearing that she would be the mother of God: "Let it be unto me according to your word" ("Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum").

1 comment:

  1. STAPLES!!!! You've started doing the bloggerish thing again! Good for you! I admire your fortitude in this matter. Even though I'm not sure if fortitude is the right virtue for the scenario or not.
    It is fascinating how things can change in reality, but the memory is still unchanged (or is it? but that's another topic). It's weird to think that all these things that are so bright and vivid now will fade into distant memory.


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