To Write or Not to Write…

I think sometimes writing is especially hard because you want to say things that you’re not sure anyone else wants to hear.  And I don’t mean wondering things like, “maybe people don’t care about my dead cat…” or “maybe people aren’t interested in hearing me complain about how horrible my life is right now…” (shocker there).  No, what I’m talking about are small, snapshot instances, the fleeting, nitty-gritty details that somehow manage to make our lives profound.

It’s that moment when you realize your mother really did know what she was talking about when she told you growing up is hard.

Or that instant you finally understand something somebody said to you when you were eight.

Or that amazing epiphany when you get the “perfect” idea for something.

Or the lovely moment when you realize someone is going to become a new close friend.

Feeding readers the stories behind each of these situations feels wrong somehow… like we’re pulling the screen of privacy a little too far aside.  Or like we’ve finally crossed the line between putting ourselves into our writing, and becoming the writing.

Because in some ways, it’s good to “become” your writing – at least, in the sense that you put some of yourself into every piece that you write.  But here’s the question: how far do you go?  How far can you go?  Where is that line?

It’s so irresistible – that urge to tell someone every detail of an experience you’re passionate about.  It’s an urge that stems from a desire to share a special moment with someone who is also willing to share those moments with you.  But can we ever successfully project those desires onto our readers?  I mean, can we ever write that kind of piece successfully, without regrets?

I think I’m going to argue (for the most part, anyway) no.  Because no matter how many of our readers might know us personally, no matter how much our readers may enjoy our writing, and no matter how comfortable we may feel exposing our private lives to complete strangers, the fact still remains: some moments are all the sweeter savored in silence.

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My Creative Writing: I Need Your Help!

Hello again followers!  I have something different this time around, and I hope you’ll help me out!  The University I am attending is putting together a small book of student artwork at the end of the year, and they are looking for literature artists as well as traditional artists to fill it up with art.  I would like to make my own contribution, but, as most writers probably know, you can only know your own work to a certain extent – in other words, one work I may think is good might not be my best piece.  That’s why I need your help!

For this week’s “My Creative Writing,” I’m going to post several pieces of writing (not just one) and I’d really, really appreciate it if you would be so kind as to read some of them and tell me which were your favorite!  Of course, I’ll make the final decision in which three I’m going to submit, but your opinion will help me decide which ones are truly worth submitting.

So!   Here is the list of works I’m considering submitting (some of these I’ve posted here, but most of them you’ll be seeing for the first time): “Untitled,” “Feathered Ice,” “I Will Love You,” “Memories,” “Stages,” “Patient – Part 1,” “Ink,” “Poison,” and “Moors and Melancholy.”  I’ve already shown you all “I will Love You,” “Stages” and “Memories,” but the other ones will be new to you.

Now I know this post will be long, but I’d immensely appreciate it if you could lend me your words and tell me which ones you liked more than others.  Oh, and one note: I do intend to especially edit the three I choose to submit, so don’t hesitate to point out mistakes or typos or things you think could use improvement!  Thank you so much for reading!

 

 

Untitled

1.
inexplicable things
that we sense
like wings fluttering
in the shadows

or chest rising with the effort
of feeling

crystal chandeliers
so fragile in the wind

shards of memory
piercing the stillness
and screams silenced
with agony

the lashes to our eyes
hurt and bleed

come again
and wound me

so close to breaking
I can see the cracks.
they widen
and begin to disintegrate

the holes patched
the pain “forgotten”
(as if things
like that can just go away)

I see light
cold and clear through dry eyelashes
whispers in the ink
and music that sings

2.
inexplicable things
darling and sweet
unmistakable
…and there

I see the light in your eyes
I hear your warm heart

I know your thoughts
…I feel you here

there it is
on the raven’s wings:
happiness…
on the feathers of pain

I can see the black
far away

but always close
as a dream (nightmare)

I am not lost
I can see beauty
light is fun to watch…
dancing in the eddies

hands are warm
inviting and open
new for me and my still heart
who are you?

a new word is mine
never mine before
glass – fragile with color prisms:
happy.

3.
inexplicable things
so incomprehensible
and wrong
opposite and backwards

impossible to understand
I don’t…

a paradox
brows furrowed

flashes and color
exploding
rampant, run wild
and be beautiful

yes or no?
stutter in silence

numb and trapped
words with no explanation

behind the scenes
a fairy (or elf?)
pulls the strings
marionette or voodoo doll?

highs and lows
intense beyond measure
tears and smiles
either or, or even together

what is this creature?
the piano plays on
rising notes
in question

 

 

Feathered Ice

Snowflakes begin to fall as I walk, appearing as if they were summoned for the night’s lack of silent light and need for feathery fantasy.  I look up to watch them come to earth, making myself dizzy trying to find the cloud that gave them life.  A smile turns up the corners of my mouth as I imagine their shimmering dances through the night’s breezy wind and frost-covered gusts.  I imagine them dancing around me, alighting upon me for just a moment before fading to dust as the wind eddies around me.  It pulls me into the dance with them, and tosses me from partner to partner as I laugh and revel in the beauty of the winter scene.

But the cold tonight is also biting.  The few fingers that still peak out the ends of my coat sleeves feel as if icicles with needled teeth are gnawing on them with a voracious hunger.  As I walk through the freezing night, I watch the steam rise and writhe from every exhalation, imagining that, if the temperature dropped, the air would freeze in my lungs and turn me to stone from the inside out.  I shiver and hug myself tighter, clenching my muscles in a vain effort to hold in more heat, but I realize that the night is indeed getting colder, even as I hurry my feet along the path before me.  The snow abates, ceasing its merry dance, and ice crystals take their place.  They sting my cheek instead of kissing it.

It’s as if I can see a thermometer in my head, watching as the red liquid slowly falls, and my skin feels the cold creeping closer and closer to my stuttering heart.  The trees around me glisten with ice, and I can hear it crunching and squeaking beneath my feet.  I look down and see that the grass has frozen so hard that it sounds like glass shattering with every step.  The sound has a shriek to it, and I imagine I can hear the grass crying out in agony with every tread of my heavy feet.

Now I wish I wore my heavy snow coat, for I feel as though every single molecule of water in the air has frozen solid.  Every breath hurts now as the needles of ice stab at my lungs with their ever-present hunger.  I can feel them inside me, jabbing with such force that I stumble, gasping for oxygen, yet I cannot breathe normally for the pain that every wheeze causes.  My feet drag now, still slowly carrying me towards my goal, but their shuffling steps drag through even more ice grass than before, and the sound begins to deafen me with its intensity.  The shrieks pierce my skull with shards of sound, and I shriek my own scream of agony.

I can no longer feel my legs, and the world spins in whirls of blue and black as the cold takes me captive.  I can’t feel it when the blades of grass stab me.  My entire body is numb.  I can’t feel the hot blood flowing from my wounds; I can’t feel my life draining away.

But I don’t mind.  I realize that I am no longer cold.  My core is warm; my heart revels in the heat.  No more does it stutter and stumble and stammer.  Now it waltzes with the warmth, happy to be free of its restrictive beat.   My fingers tremble with a last tingle before they too succumb to the comforting heat.  It’s making me sleepy, the heat;  warmth is so comforting, so gentle, so beautiful.  It calls to me in a voice as soothing as a mother’s coo.

The smile that glows on my blued lips and shines in my darkened eyes is but a shadow of the joy that fills my heart at the approach of warm death.  Did you know?  He wears shining white; not tattered ink.  He carries a staff, not a sickle.  When He calls your name, He does so with a smile on his lips.  And His touch is a carress, not a blow to those who answer His call with obedience.  So what wrong is there in following a being such as He?  Death; what a cruel name to bestow on one so beautiful.  Light fills me as I feel the weight of my body being lifted, and suddenly

I am free.

 

 

Poison

There’s ice in my blood, in the blue veins,
and Pain whips its scorching-hot reigns,
yanking and tightening its cruel hold
until my whole body goes very cold…

Licking crimson fire and creeping cobalt ice –
they clasp my limp body in an iron vice
so steel-strong and diamond-hard
that the black cords leave me scarred…

The fire drags me into the deep black.
The ice shows me memories of way back.
Colors dance before my feverish eyes
and images roam with deafening cries…

Voices softly whisper and gently plead,
but I can’t hear that they and their words bleed.
They don’t realize that this mortal disease
isn’t visible, nor recognized with ease…

Painful? Certainly. Serious? Yes. Deadly? Aye.
But completely hidden from the human eye.
Outside I’m calm, composed, but fake,
the true illness lying buried but awake…

A toxic poison slowly spreading to its goal,
eating, chipping away at my blackening soul,
and my weak, fluttering excuse for a heart,
malady oh so stubborn, refusing to depart…

Thoughts and dreams of just one image:
a face – dragged from the past’s muddy dredge –
once sweet and dear, now loathed and despised,
a face which hid a black heart well-disguised…

He fills my head, my heart and my soul.
For my ignorance, my innocence he stole,
Leaving me empty, alone and searching…
Seeking, questing, looking, but never finding…

I fear my heart will remain vacant and closed
until the One, my doctor, calm and composed,
can come to drive the poison away fore’er,
replacing deadly disease with loving care.

 

 

Moors and Melancholy  (NOTE: this poem is about Emily Bronte)

Heart aching,
Bit chaffing,
She rails at her foreign prison walls.

For,

Tortured longing,
Work calling,
He sacrificed his all to protect her.

But anger clouds her mind,
For only confusion can she find
In his words, undefined.
He’d told her to stay away
But her heart lurched in dismay,
Leaping to one word: betray.

Oh, but she doesn’t know
That he’s suffering so
From a sickness incurable… no.
The letter comes at last,
Tidings of grief oh so vast:
He’s dead, of an illness unsurpassed.

Heart wailing,
Soul quailing,
She is numb at his absence.

For,

Chest heaving,
Life leaving,
He finally wrote her, confessing his love.

All that time spent restrained,
Loving, but nevertheless chained,
A love only thought-entertained.
For she was as an untamable bird,
And he a preacher of the Word:
A match ill-suited and absurd.

So he died and she endured,
Her grief and anguish uncured,
Her love unfulfilled and unsecured.
But from her sorrow came art,
And a fictional story got its start,
Touching many a readers’ heart.

 

 

Ink

I wish I could inhale ink,
infusing my fragile body
with the ichor of inspiration
I wish it would mark me as its own
a beautiful child of the Muse
born to wield ink and pen
like a jagged ebony sword
I would be born with the ability
to sing truth and spin epics
I would be the quintessence
of a writing-imbued soul.

I wish the ebony liquid
of the poets and great storytellers of old
would seep its way into my veins
cloak my blood in thick shadow
color my hair in dark secrets
so that every glimpse of me
would echo with the whispers
of spider-webbed story
and tattooed poetry
every reflection of me would shriek
with the screams of unuttered truth.

My eyes would shine with dreams
full of wonder and glorious chaos
whirling with the ideas of humanity
and the conundrum of eternity
the beauty of nature
and the simplicity of children
the epics of ancient time
and the words of the new
the complexity of emotion
and the raw surge of knowing
what life really is.

What can control me but
the black splashes of feathery ink
on the pristine white of death?
I live for the moments of
licking fire and leaping flame
power infusing my words
as they reach out their hands
calling their siren songs
to those who have wistful souls
and beautiful minds
easily ensnared by eloquence.

I dance in the black pools
my heart melting in the shivery warmth
it is comforting, it is home
I sink into its depths
letting its art coat me with beauty
tattooing me in verse and story
with writhing patterns
and screaming words
my lungs inhale the poetic air
and I gasp as it sears me
with eternal heat

With every shuddering breath
I would breathe life into the bloody ink
I would be the embodiment of writing
I would be words incarnate
rumbling thunder would echo
in memory of my words
as they were etched into eternal stone
starspun threads of silver,
shining veins of life woven
amongst the ebony ink
I would live forever.

 

 

Patient – Part 1

The locker banged closed and she winced, taking a shallow breath.  Her head hurt worse today, a dull throbbing that reverberated in her skull like the ring of a pick striking stone in a vast cave.  The roar of conversation in the hall around her didn’t help matters either.

She turned and made her way toward her next class as fast as she could to escape the deafening noise, holding her notebooks and textbooks clutched to her chest.  Breathing a sigh of relief once the door closed behind her, she chose a seat in the far back, where she could listen but not be distracted and – more importantly – not have to speak.

Not that speaking wasn’t a good thing in terms of grades… it was just that speaking meant eyes on her – it meant more stress and more effort.  And she just didn’t have the energy for it today.

She shook her head, trying to clear it of the uncharacteristic thoughts plaguing her mind, and realized she had made a mistake.  With a soft, involuntary moan, she caught her head in her hands, elbows on the desk, as a strong wave of dizziness made her head spin even faster.

The dizziness was finally beginning to pass when the teacher called the class to order.  She looked up with tired eyes and read the words on the whiteboard: “test Friday on chapters 5 through 10.”  The rest of the class was groaning in dismay, but the girl didn’t react.  She knew she was ready.  After all, she was known for having good grades, often getting asked for lessons or tutoring in various subjects.  Surprisingly (at least, to anyone who didn’t know her), her favorite class was choir.  People always assume that just because you’re skilled at something – like school work – it means that you must love it or at least really like it; otherwise, what motivation is there to get better at it?

Very few understood her.  Very few cared enough to try.  And only one had tried and succeeded: her best friend.

“Hey are you ok?” She looked up at the speaker and forced a tight smile.

“Yeah, I’m fine, thanks.”  The boy that had plopped down in the seat next to her was skinny and short – almost as short she.  As far as she knew, she was the shortest girl in the whole tenth grade, and maybe in the whole high school.  She was only five feet, one inch tall, and he only passed her up by two inches.

Still, what he might have lacked in size, he made up in character.  She didn’t know anyone who could make her laugh more than he did.  He was interesting and funny and kind and gentlemanly.

“Yeah, I can tell,” he whispered sarcastically, his voice low so as not to attract the lecturing teacher’s attention.  “You have a headache, don’t you?”

“Yeah,” she admitted reluctantly.  “It’s ok though, I’ll be fine.”

He rolled his eyes.  “You know, that’s what you said last time.  And then you had to leave school early and were home sick for the next two days.  Have you taken anything for it yet?”

She shook her head.  “I haven’t had the chance.”  Even before she had finished speaking, he had begun rummaging through his electric-blue backpack and pulled out a mini bottle of Advil.  He shook out two pills and placed them in her clammy hand, searching her face as he did so.

“Thanks,” she mumbled, dropping the pretense that she wasn’t in a lot of pain.  She pulled out her water bottle and downed the pills in a few gulps.  She was feeling better by the end of the class period, the throbbing having lessened from a pounding roar to an annoying buzz.

Migraines had plagued her for her entire life, ever since the first one she’d had when she was six years old.  She’d never been a strong child, and was rarely able to participate in the play and sports of the other children in elementary school.  When she had gotten to middle and high school, she hadn’t been strong or well enough to do any of the team sports.

Despite lacking the same levels of energy as the other kids, though, she was actually a fun-loving girl, not just the genius she was reputed to be at school and in her classes.  Everyone liked her.

And though the headaches had lessened over the years, both in intensity as well as frequency, they had plagued her four times in the last two weeks.  It was annoying, to say the least.  She felt handicapped and way under her normal performance level when she had one.  She was thoroughly sick of them.  Ironic, she thought, darkly amused.  Sick of being sick.

The bus ride home made the pain worse.  Noise, apparently, was an unavoidable trigger.  She sighed and put in her ear buds, not turning on the music, just letting them plug her ears and drown out some of the volume.

The routine was always the same when she got home: free time to do what she wanted, dinner, homework, bed.  She always went to bed at 10:30 on the days she had a headache.  It was rare that she could recover in only one night though; her next day at school would be hard.

There was a pattern starting.  She could feel when a migraine was coming on, and knew it was building to something, as surely as a covering of clouds makes you feel the heaviness in the air before a storm.  She didn’t know how she knew; in fact, the “knowing” wasn’t even really conscious.  But the thought was just conscious enough that it affected her mood – it had become a bit more subdued, quieter, a little more withdrawn than in the time before those few recent weeks.

As the weeks in the semester progressed, the headaches got worse: worse and more frequent.  She began to fear the day, lying in bed every morning as her alarm rang and rang and rang, having to talk herself into sitting up.  It took her longer and longer to get up the courage and actually commit to go to school.  Every new day brought the possibility of another migraine – more pain, more suffering, more hardship.

Amazingly though, as fast as her condition had deteriorated, she had yet to tell her parents of the growing problem.  Both her mother and father worked long hours, leaving in the morning at the same time she caught her bus, and coming home just in time for dinner.  She only saw them at breakfast and dinner, her time after the evening meal occupied by diligently doing her homework until bed, and theirs spent hypnotized behind their state-of-the-art laptop screens.

She hadn’t found “the right moment” to tell them.  It wasn’t as if they ignored her all the time… nor did she feel like they did.  Their busy lives simply didn’t cross much, so when they finally did spend time together every day, she couldn’t bring herself to spoil the cheer.

It got to the point where she was having migraines every two or three days.  The near constant onslaught of pain made her face grow steadily paler, her eyes weary, her step slower, her smile weaker.  Eventually she couldn’t maintain her grades, and they began to fall: slowly, very slowly, but falling nevertheless.

By the time Christmas break came around, the chance to rest came not a moment too soon.  When she got home from the last day of school in December, she fainted in the hallway just outside her room.  Lights flashed before her eyes as vertigo gripped her, and she lost her balance, falling to the floor.  She was out before her head hit the floor.  It was hours before her parents came home, but by that time she had woken up and crawled to her bed.

She didn’t come to dinner, and finally the secret-that-was-not-a-secret came out.  It was a mystery to anyone how her parents hadn’t noticed her deterioration in health before she finally collapsed.

***
Logan’s running footsteps sounded loud in the empty hallway.  He passed several nurses, each of them frowning and shouting “slow down and walk!” after him, but he ignored them.  Room 317, room 317, room 317, he chanted to himself as his eyes flicked from room number to room number as he flashed past them.  He was going so fast that he went right past the right room before his brain could register the fact.  Skidding to a halt and dashing back, he stood before the closed door and tried to catch his breath before entering.

He was unable to contain himself though, and knocked on the door, still panting.  He barely heard the invitation to come in.  The knot of worry in his stomach tightened.  She sounds weak.  Still panting a little, he went in and rushed to the foot of the hospital bed in three huge steps, his eyes on her pale face from the moment he could see it.

Her eyes softened, seeing him, and the corners of her mouth lifted ever so slightly.  He looks so worried, she thought as she took in his wide eyes and still-heaving chest.  He must have been running down the hall.

“How are you, Elisa?” he asked in a rush, his worried eyes still searching her face.  He had spoken in a low, troubled tone, but her reply was even quieter.

“Not as bad as you think,” she said, though a faint smile was all she could manage in her weakened state.

“Are you sure?”  He wasn’t convinced.

“Yes, she’ll be ok.  You’ll be okay, honey.”  For the first time, Logan noticed Elisa’s mother was sitting in the chair next to the bed, holding her daughter’s hand.  She sounded like she wasn’t far from tears, and to Logan, it sounded like she was trying to convince herself with the words she had just spoken to him and Elisa; her voice had been louder than either of the two teens’ too.  Now he noticed the smudged mascara below her eyes and knew she had indeed been crying.

“Oh hello ma’am, sorry I didn’t see you there.”  She only nodded in reply, obviously trying to choke back more tears.

Seeing this, Elisa sighed inwardly and spoke to her mother in a calm, quiet voice.  “Mom, would you mind if Logan and I had a minute alone?”  The older woman let out a huge, shuddering sigh and nodded, glancing between Logan and her daughter’s face a couple of times.  Then, with a parting kiss on the girl’s forehead, she left, sniffling as she closed the door.

In an instant, Logan was in the empty chair and holding Elisa’s hand, just as her mother had been doing only moments before.  “Tell me everything,” he said, his gaze intensifying.

She closed her eyes for a short moment, but knew he’d believe nothing but the truth – the whole truth.  “It’s bad,” she said, opening her eyes.  She saw the sharp intake of breath and felt his hand tighten on hers.  “There’s a cure,” she continued, “but it’s…expensive.  And very risky, with a low chance of success.”  He met her gaze unflinchingly, although she noticed his eyes tightened slightly.

“How low?”  His voice was very controlled.

“The doctor said there was about a 23% chance the treatment would succeed.”

He didn’t flinch, but the color began to drain from his face.  “‘Would’?”

She looked away now, unable to keep her gaze neutral.  “Like I said, it’s expensive.”  Her voice had sunk until it was so low that he could barely hear her.

“So?” he asked, his hand tightening on hers.  He leaned closer and asked, “what does that have to do with it?”

Too expensive, Logan.”  Her voice broke when she got to his name.  “My parents simply can’t afford it, not by a long shot.”