Making the Impossible a Possibility

College Writing Camp 2011

This, in effect, will be a long scrolling page of all of the writing that I choose to share from this camp. I hope that you will be willing to share any feedback that you have on my pieces! 😀

No More

I step onto the red sand, disembarking the sleek silver airplane that I was just previously onboard. A tiny lizard scuttles by almost instantaneously, a dusty, sand-tinted reptile.

The mission I have been set forth to complete is indefinitely terrible. It is so atrocious a concept that, if it were not I who was faced with this horrendous task, I would call the other man to take my place a disgusting, monstrous creature. How can one be expected to betray the place where one has resided in for their lifetime? How can one live while knowing they have to murder their own parents, own family, own friends, neighbors, teachers, acquaintances, strangers? The faces you have glimpsed on the streets about your town, without any thought to consider the potential that lives inside of that stranger. Of course, it is I that they decided to pick off the streets, a stranger with unforeseen but expected knowledge. A man with a wife, two children, a dog, a home, a job at the local historical society—a bland man.

But perhaps they realized I knew too much. I consumed their history hungrily, wanting to feed and satisfy my lustful appetite for the past. Wanting to taste what life was once like. They did not approve of that, so now they are making me destroy it all. Everything I’ve created, everything I’ve known, everything I thought I could yet discover.

We live in a stratocratic society. The military controls all of our movements, all of our daily existence—perhaps it would be better for me to say our struggle for survival. The town was given rations of all necessities, carefully measured out for three month deliveries. If our community ran out of the supplies, there would be no exceptions for a different date of delivery. Everything has a set time, a set schedule; the makings to formulate a mechanical world. Each individual acts like a gear turning within the whole ticking clock, each person gingerly setting foot into place. One wrong action, and the gear is ripped out and thrown on the junk pile. Unfortunately, they’ve found me valuable, even more so than that of my whole entire town. So, in the nature of the masochistic, I am set to destroy all of the rusted, unusable gears that reside in my town. Extinguish the small flicker of hope that was still left within our society.

“Take heed! You have until four thirty to set up your encampment. Then you are expected to set off the explosives. Understood?”

“Yes sir,” I mutter, my jaw set into stone. The man grits his own teeth, hops down from the cockpit with his absurd, wraparound sunglasses. He marches over to me, and in one instant slams me into the scorching sand with his meaty arm.

“Excuse me?” He yells down at me.

“Yes, Sir!” I say, loud and clear, wiping the grit out of my eyes.

“Do not fail, Bronson.” He stiffly turns around and marches back into the airplane. A hot gust of air bursts around me as the airplane roars away.

I stand up and take out the small silver package they gave to me. I pull out bread, dried meat, vegetables, and a small portion of fruit. Four waterskins have been provided as well.

I press a button on a small forest green square of fabric, and it immediately pops up into a small tent. I glance at the chrome watch on my wrist; three fifteen. Almost an hour until the untimely demise of my family. I do not know whether it is worse to bear the pain of never saying a last word to my family and being tortured by defining myself as a coward, or acting like everything is normal and falsely leading them into happiness before killing them. I am a disgusting, vile man, and I do not deserve to live. But they control me. They give me orders, and I must obey, for I still may have the chance to change things for the rest of the world. I might lose my family to them, but I will not lose my chance at bringing normalcy back to humankind.

For it was not long ago when still both genders were able to go to school. People were given free education, and everyone enjoyed the liberties of partaking in activities that made them feel successful, joyous. Joy is not an emotion that is common in this world anymore. But in the history books, joy was found with every day. With every new friend, every daybreak, every child’s smile. Now it is just a sadness, because they all come to a sudden end.

The birds squawk their raspy threats from above. The ugliness of their protruding maroon heads, their oily russet bodies. The sharp beady eyes and bloodstained beaks. I would rather listen to the clangs of our metallic music than the horrific shrieks that are their birdsong.

Three thirty.

They had taken me to the capital, a place full of bronze buildings and green tinted mirrors. Everything was reflected ten million times, so that you were lost in the crowd of human bodies and the ghosts of their flesh. I was given ensembles to match their grotesque uniforms, to look like one of the many that have betrayed any connection to humanity and have transferred into the mechanical thinking of military preciseness. They inserted tracking devices into my body, extracting my pride. I was given the tiny black charm to clip onto my pants. It just has one tiny green button, a bronze insignia on the back. This two centimeter device will annihilate everything I have ever known within one second.

Four.

I wipe my sweaty palms on my sleek gray pants. I am overheated, itchy, but I must remain still. I must maintain my composure. The small pager I have on my being blips. I look at the small screen. It’s my home. I pause. I shudder. I accept the call.

“Dad!”

My throat closes. Bile rises in my throat. I wince, then choke out familiar words. “Daniel. Hello.”

“You’ll never believe it! Mom just took Lisa to the store, and we just found the book that she lost! Remember? She was all upset before you left on your business trip, because it was the book that you snuck to her, on fairytales. She’s so happy right now. She wants to talk to you!”

There is a moment of silence, and then a happy squeal.

“Daddy! The book was in Grandma’s hedge! I must’ve left it there one day! I’m lucky it never rained. Not that it’s rained in a while, anyhow.”

“I’m glad you found it,” I say weakly.

“Mom wants to talk to you now.”

I hear some conversation in the background, a few whispers, and then the sound of someone stumbling with the phone.

“Bronson. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too, Dahlia.” My eyes burn, the tears acrid and blurring my vision.

“How is the business trip going? Learning some more history?”

I told her I was going to the capital to study some artifacts that were locked underneath the city council’s chamber. I had lied to my wife, the first and only time ever. Now will be the second.

“Yes! It’s going well. I should be home in three day’s time, if everything is as planned.”

“That’s wonderful news. Enjoy yourself there. I bet the capital is beautiful.”

“Not as gorgeous as you,” I almost laugh at myself for the dim-witted remark.

“Oh, Bronson. I love you.”

“I love you too, always,” I whisper back, and then I click the pager shut.

Four fifteen.

I am sweating bullets. They will give me six days to recover out here in the dry lands. I am allowed one hundred and forty four hours to recuperate from my terrible actions, and then must continue to work in the capitol building. Time will not even stop for a personal tragedy.

Four twenty.

Memories: My wife, brunette hair glistening, green eyes peering from behind her white veil, smile bright on her face, delicate hand in my palm, ring on her finger.

Daniel and Lisa, wrapped in a pink and blue blanket, cooing.

A family photograph on the mantel.

My mother kissing the children’s heads.

My father and I sitting, talking.

My wife in my arms, asleep, as I sit up and stare at the wall, wishing for a better tomorrow.

Four twenty-five.

The tears openly pour down my face. I collapse against the side of the sturdy tent, back bent, wracking with sobs. I pound my fist onto the ground.

Four twenty-seven.

Why do I have to go through with this? What would happen if I didn’t?

Four twenty-eight.

I have to. I have no choice. I will not back down. It will be quick and painless—but how would I know? I will not be there. I cannot know.

Four twenty-nine.

I stand up, stock-still. I am a man. I am strong. I did all I could to protect my family. I am sorry. I will grieve. I will live. I will remember. I will love. I will try my hardest to do my best. Someday, I will die, too.

I watch my watch, seconds ticking slowly, mechanically, steadily. Five seconds. Four. Three. Two.

I push the button.

No more.

He Loves Me Not

I didn’t mean to end up like this. Stuck in a limbo between love and pain, betraying my own sense of security.

From the start, he was as average a boy could be. Tawny hair, long limbs, beaming smile, squinty hazel eyes. But he was beautiful. Ironically beautiful, for his outward demeanor hid the core of his person, a dark writing mass of hatred and envy. When a person is filled with hate, they do not have the ability to love.

When someone is deprived of love, they become the hardened shell of a person, brittle, crumbling stone that cannot comprehend affection. I made the mistake of meeting him.

“Calla,” I said, extending my slim hand.

“Mason,” he said, smooth as velvet, taking my hand in his.

The electricity was terrifying. Perhaps that was the first sign, how my body uncontrollably shuddered to diffuse the buzzing sensation filling my insides. It did not take long for him to charm me.

Mason knew he had me. I was trapped in those hazel eyes, knotted in his tawny hair, caught between his lips, tight in his vice-like arms.

I kissed him often. They were sweet, tiny little kisses as light as feathers, warm breath. I do not think he felt a thing. Not even when I would make him wrap me in his strong arms, relishing in the comfort of his body.

But he did feel something.

He felt betrayed when I wasn’t there. He needed to feel needed, hear my laugh and see my smile and know that he controlled me. My feelings, my actions, my carefully considered words. He wanted to break me, smiled as he would pin my arms above me against the wall, yelling into my face. Bruising my wrists, slamming my back against the whitewash. Noticing the purplish rings underneath my eyes the next morning, satisfaction without a word having to be said.

If only I could escape now. But I loved him, and I do not wish to give up on him. If only I could drive out the hatred, the envy, and replace it with happiness and love. I have seen him smile, but I have never heard him laugh. Not once. What type of a person cannot even laugh? Laughter is one of the most natural of human sounds. It’s usually uncontrolled. Maybe it’s because Mason has such a good sense of control over everything.

It is dusk. I walk into my backyard, glancing up at the gray and violet sky. The trees provide a dark row of points against the sky. A lone tear escapes down my cheek, uncontrolled. I resist defeat.

I will walk into Mason’s arms tomorrow. For tonight, I will not call him at the normal time. I need one night for myself.

A Stream of Mobility

I am quite content to live in a changeable world.

People die. Relationships end. Everyone constantly moves; vary their schedules, their diet, their physical appearance.

♦♦♦

            Words are one of the best essences to describe oneself with, of course, whether in song or speech or writing. But words can be overrated.

Some words are preferable to your own being, like symphony, chartreuse, tranquility. Some words also appear distasteful, like grange, squelch, jugular. But, overall, words are one of the easiest ways to connect people, because no matter the language, the tone of your speech or writing or the way you emphasize certain words expresses the feelings invoked within the person.

♦♦♦

            We have tone. We have emotions to emphasize through voice, through the movement of our teeth and tongue and jaw and lips, the twang of our vocal chords and the comfort of sound. To hear oneself is to know oneself.

People say words are like photographs. They capture a specific tone, a windowpane’s glance into one instance, one remembered moment. But what about appreciation of the simplicity of the photographs themselves? For isn’t it true that any media of art in general allows people to connect through their cultures? Why can’t we leave the unsaid in silence, and for once feel the liberty to just express ourselves through instruments or clothing or paintings? I do not feel it is about the importance of words, but it is about understanding the power of expression as a whole.

♦♦♦

“All speaking is like singing.”

            Listen to the symphony. The range of vocals. The accents. The languages. Everything melds together in a clashing masterpiece, all volumes, all forms of diction, different sentiments. Perhaps, if we all took the time to pay attention to the beauty of speech in general, there would be less prejudice within languages.

Everyone has a voice. It is a precious thing, however, to find that voice, secure it, cultivate it into a resemblance of your own person.

Each time we talk, we tell our story. We are writing the dialogue of the novel of our life, billions of words in a patchwork quilt. We should sing out our gratitude for having such a free form of expression.

♦♦♦

“Everything is permanent, because nothing is permanent.”

            True consistency might be bland. If everything was permanent, wouldn’t that eliminate second chances? Forgiveness would be obsolete, and all emotions would be set to the extreme.

Why do we need to speak, to read, to write to convey a point? Isn’t it just as strong to look at a serene landscape and appreciate the value of it? Do we really need words for people to understand its beauty?

♦♦♦

When I was fifteen, I learned that someone in my family had Parkinson’s disease. I did not grasp the true importance of this. How could the strongest person I know in my life succumb to an invisible, deadly thing? It coexists inside of him, eating away his self-confidence and pride for being who he is as a person. A disease is truly the most terrible thing that I believe anyone can encounter, even worse than death. The knowledge of an evil, twisting being, lurking in the shadows of your own nerves and muscle mass.

I will be honest that it is one of the most difficult things I have faced in my lifetime. The worry of a progression, time taken away from the health of one of the most powerful influences in my life. The truth is, I am not yet sure if I fully trust religion, but I need something to believe in, to strengthen my family.

♦♦♦

            On a lightly frosted spring morning, I remember buttoning up my pea coat in the school hallway and slipping into my placement in line, marching into the brittle morning air. My class walked a few blocks to the local public library, where we skipped up the set of stone stairs and whooshed into the temperate building.

A desk was set up with twenty glistening library cards in a tidy little row. Each of us eagerly held a pen as we painstakingly wrote our names out in rather wobbly cursive. A gaudy smile broke across my face as I gingerly picked up my finalized card, determinedly striding towards the children’s section. I held the passport to all of my literary adventures.

♦♦♦

            A trip to Disney World was the greatest thing any little girl could ask for. I remember clearly the morning that we were getting ready to leave the house. I clutched a small baby toy in my little hand, a little bear. In all reality, she was my best friend. I wasn’t really imaginative with her name {Baby}, but I didn’t have an imaginary friend, so she took the place of my number one companion. Baby went everywhere with me. I am also convinced that although she didn’t speak to me, I actually somewhat learned a few things from her. I learned that it is possible for someone to be around almost all of the time to comfort you. I learned that there can be someone that can be your true friend, that will listen to what you have to say. She had a white body, with a pattern of teal stars. Her head was pale yellow, with blue eyes, pink cheeks, and an adorable smile.

My dad warned me not to take her along with me. ‘She’ll get lost,’ he said. ‘Susan,’ he said to my mother, ‘you know better. Don’t let her take Baby.’

But take her I did. I smiled, gleeful that I, for once, outsmarted my daddy. Daddy didn’t realize that I indeed could take care of my best friend. I made a point of showing him that I was cuddling her in bed at nighttime, and that we were both safe and sound.

One morning, we were rushing to get out of the room to a planned breakfast. Baby was a tiny little bear, and flat and slim at that, albeit plush. When I came back to the room, the beds were freshly made, and Baby was nowhere to be found.

I cried for weeks. Disney sent me a stuffed Mickey Mouse as an apology, but he still didn’t make up for Baby. I had a hard time sleeping, and I felt so alone. Then, I got over it a bit better, and then 9/11 struck. Of course, I didn’t really understand what happened until I was older, but I felt my parents experiencing the sadness I experienced when I lost Baby.

♦♦♦

Wooden desk, smooth and varnished

Coated with purple inked pens, college ruled paper,

Post It notes, forgotten beginnings.

Black laptop, keyboard shimmering

From the pounding fingers

Folder upon folder visible on the screen,

An open Word document

Book Antique, size 12 font, 1.5 spacing

My home.

♦♦♦

            I remember sitting in a crib, pressed up against a wall in-between the two windows in my pink Peter Rabbit bedroom. Sunlight streamed through the windows, a mobile lazily spun above my head. The door opened, and my mother came into the room, a smile on her face. I couldn’t help but smile back.

“Good morning, baby!” She cooed at me.

I was lifted out of my crib, ready to start the new day.

This was the time at which innocence was not condemned. When I was free to amuse myself, explore the little wonders that could be found inside of my own home. Begin coming up with stories for toys and household objects, stories that I cannot remember but were very creative and important to me at the time.

I can vaguely recall some small games I used to play. I would be a princess from some forgotten fairytale kingdom, venturing throughout the woods and stream that were my pillows and blankets. Stuffed animals would peek from behind the furniture, buried underneath layers of downy baby blankets, and it would be my mission to rescue them. I had a small kit to nurse them back to health, containing rope, bottles, tissue slings, plastic food for nourishment. Once they were rehabilitated, I would let them once again wander in their natural habitat, giving them a hug and kiss farewell.

These stories later influenced small slips of paper that I still continue to find, clumsy print detailing three sentence adventures. It is so funny that creative musings came so easily back then, and now we struggle not to be influenced by others’ works of literature. If it were possible for us to cut off our exposure to the typical, our work would once again be given the freedom to become extraordinary.

♦♦♦

Straight hair, thick and smooth,

eyes that reflect emotion.

Full lips, breasts, formed body,

finally maturing.

Outward appearance

replicating personality

The bubbly, giggly, friendly,

quirky, smiley—

Why am I so easily categorized?

Complex brain.

Racing thoughts, daydreams.

The entangled web of lies and stories

that harbor in my head.

Memories that take residence,

can’t be shut out.

Need expression.

Write.

Breathe.

Be.

♦♦♦

            The intermediate school library seemed so expansive, so threatening when I first saw it. I cowered near the beanbag chairs, still quivering from head to toe with excitement. This was a new place for me to explore, plenty of books, but I knew I’d still be able to read through all of the shelves.

Diane Balodis walked into the room, her reading glasses perched on her nose. She smiled at us, and explained all of the library rules. She welcomed us into the intermediate school. Then she proceeded to make herself comfortable in a wooden rocking chair and read “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo to us, out loud, in her soothing librarian voice.

I fell in love. I fell in love with the library, with her, with the books, with story time. The first book I checked out of the library was “Walk Two Moons,” by Sharon Creech, the first author she suggested to me.

Many other authors followed in procession. More Kate DiCamillo. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Lemony Snicket. Patricia Reilly Giff. J.K. Rowling. Richard Peck. I fell in love with books, and they loved me back. They let me escape to whole new continents, worlds, families, adventures.

Without Mrs. Balodis’ suggestions, I would not have become such an avid supporter of literature.

♦♦♦

            Right smack dab in the middle of my forehead, I had an inch long raised bump of flesh, light pink. It was a sebaceous nevi, and for cosmetic reasons, and just in case it turned into something more threatening, the growth had to be removed. This was the first time I would ever have surgery, and at that, without anesthesia.

I was terrified. On the way to the office where it would be scraped off, I was crying. My parents ignored my pleas, my terrible excuses for being too ill to go through with the surgery. I was brought into the office, then left with the doctor.

A blanket was placed over my eyes, my bangs pushed back, and then I felt a weird sensation as my skin was being cut open and scraped off. It stung, but yet was seemingly numb. Then I felt the thread as the stitches were sewn in and out. I remember the hot tears that were silently pouring down my cheeks.

When I came out of the room, I was given a stuffed dog. I still sleep with that dog to this day in my bed. Overall, I believe that experience definitely strengthened me. I learned to become better at tolerating pain. I learned to put on a strong face, even when I’m feeling weak. The stitch marks on my forehead to this day are a reminder of the experience, and although I don’t look entirely perfect, they serve, to me, as a tattoo to mark where my inner strength began to become a large part of my life.

♦♦♦

quiet moonlight

fire crackling, alive

a burning dance

lightning bugs twinkle

in tall grass

yellow, flickering

in my palm

let go, watch, listen

lean against

solid chest

wrapped in arms

safe, warm

cold night,

his grey sweatshirt

a simple kiss

free.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: