Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reflecting with my Evil Reflection

Billy: Vituperative. Soporific. Salubrious. Abstemious. Desultory. Specious. Equanimity.

Evil Reflection: Excuse me.

Billy: Inchoate. Innocuous. Opprobium. Tractable--

Evil Reflection: Excuse me!!

Billy: Oh. Hello, Evil Reflection.

ER: Um, Billy... What are you doing?

Billy: I'm studying for my GRE exam. I sit for the exam tomorrow. Didn't I tell you about that already?

ER: I think not. But, if it's all the same to you, please go in the other room to practice. Your voice is rather annoying.

Billy: Uh... Excuse me?

ER: You heard me. I don't mumble, unlike you, you dithering idiot. Can't you see I'm trying to sleep?

Billy: What? You? Sleep? Evil Reflection, you are my reflection, for God's sake. You don't need sleep. That's crazy.

ER: Crazy? You're the one talking to his reflection.

Billy: Oh that's clever.

ER: Yes, and close the door on your way out so I don't hear you sqawking to yourself in the other roo--Hey! What are you doing??

Billy: There's a smudge on the mirror. I need to clean it off.

ER: Blech! You know I hate the taste of Windex!

Billy: You'll live. By the way, could you help me with a certain math problem. Quadratic equation again. They make me cower in terror.

ER: You always were pathetic and obtuse. Why are you taking the GRE, anyway?

Billy: Because I want to get into the UT School of Information. Because I have aspirations. Because I want another reason not to be here listening to your inane ramblings. Are you going to help me with the math problem or not?

ER: Of course not, you bloody bafoon. You won't do well on your exam. Your aspirations are nothing but shrivelled prunes, and you will not get accepted into UT. Give up, already.

Billy: Fine...forget it. I'll continue studying my vocab. Mendacious. Perfidious. Nefarious. Insiduous.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Crossroads

The Crossroads

One night I had a dream that I was sitting alone in a forest. Purple twilight was bleeding into everything--the trees, the leaves, the soft moss clinging to the rocks. I looked up and saw you emerge from behind a tree.

You did not look exactly the same way you appear in real life. In my dreams I see people differently, the way I see them without the layers of flesh and blood masking their true image. Most people look very different in my dreams. Their true essence doesn't fit their physical form. But you are almost exactly as I see you in life. Only, your hair is always longer, shoulder length, and very curly. Your eyes are luminous, the softest blue-gray, like peering into the vast depths of some celestial pool, ancient beyond time, where once angels gathered, but now forgotten even by the oldest of beings for countless weary eons.

I stood up then, and we began to explore the forest together. After a period we found a small house that had succumbed to time and decay. The front wall had collapsed outward so that only the front door remained standing, along with the wooden beams that served as the outer frame of the house. Vines had grown up along the frame, and drooped here and there, with great orange clusters blooming all along them. Part of the ceiling in the living room had sunk in and fallen to the ground, and trees had spread their branches down through the yielding roof.

The back half of the small house was still intact. We plodded through the rubble on the cottage floor, a combination of rotted plywood and leafy vegetation, long eroded to a clumpy turf. As we shuffled back through the house, stirring the leafy debris with our shoes, a dank smell rose up from the floor. In the back room we found an iron stove. It was brown from years of rust, and screeched miserably as you pulled it open. Inside a rusty maw exhaled, acrid and empty. I tugged on your shirt to go.

But you looked back at me and smiled; the blaze of life in your eyes startled me. You closed the door of the stove and turned the dial on the panel. Then once again you opened the door and stepped back next to me. We watched as several forms crawled out of the opening of the stove. I don't remember exactly how many came through, perhaps about 6 people or so. Only later did I realize that these were people who were dearest to me in life, the ones that I loved the most. My little brother was there, except we were now the same age. We were all the same age, in this place outside of time.

We all restored the small house, adding walls and windows, and even a well. It was our paradise, where we met to be together, to laugh and play and linger. Once, I was playing with my little brother. We were sprawled out on the grass below the pale shadow of a large bough. I was rubbing his hair. It was short and prickly, and I always liked the way it tickled my hand. You saw us and you said, 'Hey, you never do that to my hair.' So I tackled you and wrestled you and tousled your hair, and said: 'See, your hair is too long!' Then we all laughed and got up and went to explore the forest together.

And, though I do not remember when, we must have decided to set a signpost in the clearing next to our little meeting house. There it remains, in that twilight forest where time does not reign, and etched onto its surface in our own clumsy marks it reads: The Crossroads.

Note: this actually was a dream from last night. I remember listening to Ray Bradbury speak once, years ago, on how he gets the ideas for his stories. He said that most of his stories he pulled from his dreams...that in the early hours of the morning he would lie in his bed and watch the visions and voices flitting before him, then suddenly he'd sit up and dash to the typewriter before the story faded from his mind. This is the same way many of my stories appear. If only I had the technical mastery that Bradbury has.

Annals of the Ludicrous

Yesterday something strange happened to my co-worker Telexiana (For anonymity’s sake I slightly alter her name here). A woman approached the circulation counter with her books and pulled out her library card. As Telexiana (hereafter referred to simply as T.) reached for the card, she was suddenly seized by a hoarse cough; she turned, courteously, and hacked into the empty air behind her. When she turned back to take the card, the woman quickly pulled away.

“Your hands are dirty.”

Her hands had been at her side: they were anything but dirty. Incensed at this woman’s juvenile behavior, T. bent forward and pulled out a heavy container of Germex and, in front of the woman, slapped a large portion into her palm and slowly slathered it over her hands.

The woman’s demeanor was indignant as she handed over her library card. But T. did not seem too concerned about the woman’s unpleasant predicament.

“Maybe next time I’ll save the effort of being polite and just cough in her face," she said later.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

a la recherche du temps perdu

Now the time comes to begin piecing together fragments of dreams that have been amassing over the years. Dreams long stowed away in memory's chamber. The fear is always that in pulling open the door to let loose only a few stray memories, instead I'll be pummeled by a surge of them, a legion of filmy wraiths careening over that dim threshold.

So a commitment seems best. A commitment to one short piece of fiction a week. Be it poetry or prose.

I'll post it here, and if I don't keep to my commitment, may my mind be devoured by a bevy of wayward wraiths.

Monday, August 18, 2008

tabula rasa

Once there was a 27-year-old fellow who turned around one day and realized that he was not working very hard at his dream of becoming a writer. It was an epiphany he first had at 17, but the years began to stack up, and dreams slink by so elusively for the unwary.

Once there was a 27-year-old fellow who wanted to sketch the texture of his heart, but he had neither the proper tools nor the skill of the artist or the musician, so he was left with the most difficult of Art to master: language.

He has spent over 20 years in the study of this sacred calling, imbibing books beyond count, shifting words one over the other in myriad patterns, but he is only still just begun. He is Newton's child dipping his toes on the shore of a sea that spreads before him, terrifyingly vast.

None may accompany him on his journey. None may tread the same paths he treads, nor share with him the joys and the horrors of what he finds along his way. He is alone in the world. That is the sacrifice.

His only comfort is in recording his observations. But the fabric of language is so deficient, bankrupt. Yet he does the best that he can, and passionately believes that the true transfiguration of the mind and soul is only possible through language.

So he decides to keep a notebook where he will practice his art, where he will store his notes, his stories, his sketches.

He will start a blog.