May 18, 2008

Her longing eyes fear blinking. They do not want to miss any action Dan makes. We all go about our lives around the two but my heart breaks watching the stagnant mess.

Dan drops her off first then drives me home tonight. We are both blunt people, and our conversation ensues. “Break up with her, confess your love, take her virginity – do something,” I say. He sits. We are like the bees, struggling to sting because we will die in self-defense.

Advertisements

Waking up

May 15, 2008

We wake up. We consume mass amounts of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The box sits next to us, waiting to be poured again. We watch “The Real World” and then change the channel out of embarrassment. We receive a call. The phone sits in our lap. Windows down, we drive to the store, buying ill-fitting dresses, sequined vests and short shorts. We go to the friend’s house whose parents are out of town, putting on lots of eyeliner and drinking lots of Captain Morgan. We stumble to the school dance, shimmying in front of teachers and dancing with younger boys. We leave early and walk to a bonfire, drinking, smoking and peeing behind the garage. We call ex-boyfriends and eat cookies when we get home.

May 7, 2008

Regular posts will start again after May 30th. In the meantime, here is my senior article for my school newspaper:

The question “What do you want to do with your life?” plagues me not because I do not possess an answer; rather, I do not have an answer that others understand.

How do I explain that I want to live a dumpster diving, train hopping, protein-deficient, thrift-store buying, nomadic existence? How can I avoid strange looks when I say possible careers include a bike messenger or crazier, someone who just wants to write?

I dream of the day when I can have tattoos, and my job will not require me to cover them up with a button down, collared shirt. I dream of the day where I can write and not have a second job just to get by. I dream of affording health care.

Looking toward the future, I want to live passionately and take my hobbies seriously. I want to attack everything as an art form, disregarding back ups. I want to remain idealistic even when I have to pay taxes.

So come time for college, I am about to test my ideologies and my idealistic nature, but I am scared that I will crumble when given the task of transforming theory into reality. At least I recognize this fear but head straight toward this prospective risk regardless.

I fear that as most grow up, the real world succeeds in making us realists. It is a silent epidemic. It does not destroy the environment or wipe out the masses but it allows a little bit of the unrealistic child in us to become forgotten.

Aaron Cometbus, an underground author, spends his life in poverty to pursue his craft, saying, “It’s too easy to just let yourself be defeated. To wallow in the comfort of suffering. To let your self-destructive tendencies become your whole life. To retreat and hide from the world you could have taken by storm. To keep the fruits of creativity to yourself and let them rot on the vine. It’s too easy to say you’re a loser and think there’s something noble about failure.”

As Cometbus suggests, most fail because it is too arduous a task to even try. Yet, present day society thrives on self-determination. Even though the capitalist system has flaws, as all do, its major strength is that capitalist theory is in accordance with the DIY ethos I like so much. Whatever you want to do, work hard and do it.

As a senior, I’m now reflecting on the past just as much as I’m romanticizing about the future. The last four years have been an incongruent mix of spending time enveloped in a fictional world and spending reality with my best friends, purposely not taking life seriously; a mix between reflecting on life and experiencing it; a mix between having so much to say and not verbally being able to express myself; a mix between fighting personal demons and refusing to apologize for who I am.

Using the newspaper as forum to express myself for two years, I still do not know how much of my writing is read and how much is looked over by the student body. Regrettably, I know that in past attempts to bring light on certain issues, I have preached when that really has not been my objective. Thus, I hope this piece does not hold the same tone. This senior article is merely my personal statement to look back on when a pile of rejection letters collect on my own desk, an inevitable fate for an inspiring writer.

My only advice is this: Live simply. Brush your teeth. Wander with a purpose.

April 17, 2008

The Teenage Head is young and hip and hot and decisive and hot and cool. They are anti-everything including themselves and if they played guitar at least one of the strings would be broken and the other five (or 11) would certainly be out of tune. The Teenage Head makes movies not films. The Teenage Head writes stories not literature. They are from the second city (which has actually been the third city, statistically, since 1991). They stay up much too late and wake up much too late and arrive much too late to classes with old old kids and old old teachers and old old books and old old ideas. The Teenage Head is young and hip and hot and cool and hot and anti this about literature almost as much as you are.

Check out the Teenage Head for a story of mine: Thank God

Also, if you have time, the short films are worth a look. I particularly like “The People in the Middle”.

March 24, 2008

I waste time being productive.

It is the cities and the mountains that I love. Either a concrete playground illuminating overpopulation or the natural areas so empty one cannot even escape themselves. However, I wake up every morning to see suburban bliss, the in-between that ignites in me no inspiration or muse. I find myself frequently visiting the city or running away in the summer to the mountains; however, in the times where I cannot escape suburbia, I seek solace in the land that literature creates. For, at my very core is my love for art.

In the last four years of my life, art was not only my retreat and my passion but also my education. In the hours of the night that were too late to even check the time, I found myself in a room filled with words. Meanwhile, I was also searching for new sentences to fall in love with. There was Bukowski and Brautigan taped to my walls. Books covered the shelves and the floor simultaneously. Articles filled binders. With every word, I had discovered something new. At the very best, I had not only learned but changed.

Although I spent nine years at a Catholic grade school, I never understood Catholiscm until reading C.S. Lewis. Even in the country’s current mess regarding immigration, it was Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath that shaped my stance on the issue. And for many years I succumbed to innate shyness but only after watching Cool Hand Luke did I really learn how to speak my mind. I confess that it is as though I need a fabricated world to help me understand and change reality.

While rummaging through an issue of Adbusters one day, I came upon a quote from Lee Henderson, in which he says, “Art is the only god you can prove exists”. Immediately, this quotation got written down and lingered in me for years since. He articulated the role that art plays for me. It is not for sheer entertainment but illumination. It is immortal. It gives me direction and meaning, a role similar to that of religion. Thus, when losing myself in a piece of music, I have found myself gaining a sense of existence.

If anything, I am a passionate person who does not wish to stop learning once the school bell rings. So give me trains, give me buses, give me a sidewalk, and I will wear out my Chuck Taylors until the rubber sole is all that is left. Give me words, give me passion, give me beauty, and I will ignite all that is inside of me. Give me life and I will try as hard as I can to live it.

March 9, 2008

age: 29

location: apartment

I completely depend on electricity, a digital screen and phone lines. My attempt to regress back into a natural habitat fails as I am surrounded by everything artificial and everything clean. I am neither. I can’t remember the last time I shaved, anywhere. I do not feel more primitive or more rooted into the animalistic self that a human truly is. I just feel like my belt will stay in its loop, and the buttons on my pants will not come undone. No one likes animals.

March 4, 2008

He makes a lot of noise, stomping and swearing, to solidify his anger. Emotion. Noise. Emotion. Noise. Not music, but a representation of words he cannot speak. His drink spills. He is unhappy. He gives up. Is it shameful that I only like him when he cries?

February 29, 2008


“I can’t relate to this world. I’m not bored enough.” – Of Montreal


February 29, 2008

And when did you meet him?
I met him when I was 16.

How old was he?
20.
How old is he now?
21.
Does he buy you alcohol?
Yes.
Do you love him?
Yes.

She latched onto life, taking the train to shed mediocrity. The train takes her to Kyle, whom she met years ago when she was wonderfully innocent. Even now, having seen and experienced much, she clings on to naivety naturally.

She walks to him in the rain and knocks on the door, a body at perfect ease. He walks out into the early spring downfall to greet her. It is not romantic. It is wet. But they stay out as the thunder continues to sound.

“Come on in,” he says.

He leads her into his space shared by four junkies. Recycled paper fills tables, floors. People come in an out of the apartment all day long. Coffee is forever being made.

They sip on their own cup of freshly brewed coffee, listen to electronica in the background, and melt into one another.

“How is school?” he asks.

She says it is getting less stressful. She has been making time to read for pleasure and is overall much happier.

“Makes sense,” he replies. He then tells her of his distaste for spring.

“Have you thought about what you are doing for summer?” she asks. The scene seems black and white. The rain rhythmically descends, the light is dim, and ink overwhelms the room.

The summer is a continuation of the year for Kyle. His friends will be hopping trains while he stays in Chicago getting acquainted with the city he already knows quite well. Above all, he is a man of details.

Outwardly, his dirty blonde hair is forever tousled, unbrushed. He has glasses and walks hunched over. His appearance is one of humility while Bailey, humble in tone and shy in manner, has a boldness in her beauty. Her natural splendor sits untouched. Her grey eyes beam.

In the late afternoon, they dance, giggle, relax. There is a sense of comfort present found only when one rejects the need for constant excitement. They find it glorious.

While eating cereal for dinner, Kyle’s roommates drift in and out of the space. Jim, the oldest of the roommates, hops in soaked. The bearded man smiles at the sight of two, hugging Bailey.

“Heard anything about tonight?” asks Kyle.

Their old friend is coming home to Chicago. In the city, people are always coming home, and people are always waiting to celebrate their return. Kyle finds himself in a crowd of immobile. He is aware that his need for people, for Bailey especially, is all-inclusive. She, on the other hand, is wrapped up in her desire for experiences, for grandness but unconsciously; she would sacrifice everything for him.

Already jittery from the lack of food and excess of coffee, Kyle and Bailey linger over to the apartment later that night. She laughs, internally, at how magnified her double-life is now. Twenty minutes away, she says things she does not mean for the sake of speaking, plays a role for the sake of being. Here, she is a child, the extrovert she once was, becoming bigger than herself, finding completeness with Kyle, and not taking life seriously enough to remember it.

She eyes the room. Jim flirts with an older woman. Jim is circling the room, proclaiming, “I have ADD!”

A girl turns to Bailey and says, “Shit. All that means is life is that much harder for you” then she walks away.

Kyle goes off to the corner laughing with some old buddies. Bailey walks from group to group, conversing, bumming cigarettes from anyone who offers. People start to crowd around as she begins to dance with Jim and make a fool of herself to Daft Punk’s “Superheroes”.

The city lights shimmer in the distance, illuminating a chaos everyone feels at home in. But Bailey and Kyle leave early, walking hand in hand to catch the 1:40 train. She finds that her life is lived scene by scene. Above all, she wants fluidity. Yet, stumbling onto the train, she rode back home to monotony.

————-

Summer comes with temperatures that are unbearably warm. Kyle decides to take the train, surprising Bailey with a visit. He loves coming to her, always with a desire to walk through the town and witness its pallid liveliness. It is a place of family, tradition, and Sunday mornings where one reads the paper rather than recovers from the night before. With her home, he feels he gets a second chance at childhood.

Entering Oak Park, which rests on the outskirts of Chicago, he recalls the fact that this is also Hemingway’s hometown. When Bailey and him just met, they ventured into their shared passion for the man. “He just felt so much,” they agreed.

Chicago is especially toxic for him now. He is sleeping less, writing more, isolating himself. It is a natural reaction. He has spent the last week denying that on an intoxicated Thursday night, he betrayed Bailey. Her name was Lisa. They had been friends for years.

When he comes to Bailey’s bungalow, he does not have strength enough to take on the stairs that led to her doorway. He sits down instead. His attempt to be honest is but a whimper.

Bailey’s mom finds him there and informs Bailey of the sight.

She comes to the doorway, telling him to come on in. He motions for her to sit next to him, and she walks down to his side. He does not dare to touch her. Instead, he looks into her reflective gray eyes, never having understood loneliness so well.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

He apologizes. He almost weeps. He tells her. And the look in her eyes sting so greatly that he sat jealous of her role as the victim.

“I know you are sorry,” she cries, “that’s not the issue. I know you never wanted to hurt me. I just can’t believe you want to be with me, really.”

Her heart is broken. His own heart, annihilated.

In the months that follow, Bailey retreats, finding thrills right out her door rather than a train rides away. Kyle isolates himself fully. His irregular talks with Bailey are, for a while, his only conversation. He pretends that music, art, and coffee is all he needs but so much more is required for his sanity.

On the other hand, she tells herself she is not addicted to popularity, or booze, or cigarettes and hooking up with boys without remembering the pursuit the next day.

She begins to listen to her best friend when deciding how to act. Usually, it contrasts with what she would really say, how she would really act. Her friend tells Bailey to stay away from Kyle. And so she stays away. Even when she goes down to Chicago for a Halloween party and sees him dressed up as powhitetrash drinking beer and keeping his distance. She wants to say, “I wish we could still talk.” Instead, she fools around with Peewee Hermann in the stairway.

Fall comes and thoughts accumulate within Bailey since her time away from Kyle. She wonders why she had kept her purity. She wonders why she realized early on that she loved Kyle but held back from expressing the notion physically.

And thus, she goes to him. She marches into his apartment so blind sighted by her spontaneity that she doesn’t recognize the sadness Kyle now resides in. She saw nothing in his eyes but boyish hope.

She wakes up the next morning, wounded. She is not an addict, she says. Fuck perfection and therefore, fuck moderation, says the broken soul.