Grunt work somewhere between dream and duty / poking through with all them shoots of beauty

I have, in some fashion, been forever transient.

It isn't a matter of owning a nomadic nature. It isn't the habit of feeling bored with other authors' stories with ten pages remaining. It isn't the act of looking over someone's shoulder during conversation; the studder and pause, no matter how slight, jerk me back to my wide eyed listening.

I have, simply, forever lacked an anchor. I drift, I float, I dream, and when I cannot dream I cry the tears of an amnesiac genius who remembers only that, once upon a yesteryear, they were something more. When I cannot dream - those dreams which are not really dreams, but rather the stories spun of synapses firing with the cool, cool heat of a thousand Vesuvians - my mind's eye sees nothing but dust, as if the mental playground that is my imagination is covered with a molted funeral shroud. When I cannot dream - those dreams which are really dreams, and furthermore the crib sheet to my desires - I lose the tether to my inspiration as a child would lose a kite to September winds.

I once dreamed I was barefoot in a wintergrasped, moonlit forest. A bear walked through my clearing, and pointed with its snout to the quiet fresh water pool I had not yet noticed I was dying from dehydration while searching for.

I once dreamed a coin could leave an angels' hair tracer, passing from pocket to pocket and cash drawer to bank.

I once dreamed I was at war with a foreign nation, an inversed American flag sewn to my jacket's elbow.

Those dreams, and notebooks' others, are mine. Like lost nations' treasures piled to ceilings of cavernous banks, most remain untouched; very few are ever brought streetside. That was to be my fate - a dreamer surrounded by glassy metaphors and zirconium plots.

Until I found my hook. Until I realized, plain as day, there was a spiraling theme to these fragments. Until I decided "This is what I can write. This could serve the opus of my dreams." Until I leaned back on my ankles, knelt low to the floor, surrounded by a frantic 10 page wireframe outline... and finally convinced myself... and finally realized I had a story emerging from years of margin notes and post-it tabs... that changed everything.

It terrified me.

On one hand: I have a concept which may prove to be the most successful story I have ever written, more epic in scope and more poetic in metaphor than any previous offering. On the other: I have a concept which may fail. I am a binge writer. I will get the urge to write, I will fight it for a day or so, and then I will succumb for days or weeks at a time and compose. Since having these aforementioned idea, I have been terrified to write because I know, deep down, whatsoever I pen will lead me back to this story. And, were this story to fail to capture its audience, I would be a broken man. I have hemmed and hawwed and procrastinated and excused my timidity for a year.

Thankfully, I have also dreamed - those dreams which are not really dreams, but the effervescent sunbeam of innovation to the flower that is an idea.

I've decided now is the time to capture my story to paper. Come what may - insofar as seeking/gaining an editor, discovering a format, and publishing - I'm going to stop allowing myself to procrastinate. The final mental block I had to erradicate was that I would miss having this story rattling around my brain. This is the closest thing to a New Year's Resolution I've ever made, and noding is more concrete than writing a note on the whiteboard; I'm ready to mount this white whale to the mantle. It is time to gather my notes from my mind to the page. It is time to weave a tapestry of character development from the happenstance of plot. It is time to write it up and tear it down. It is time. I'm going to take a deep breath, and start sharpening the knives. Expect to see more of me, more often.


Serjeant's Muse

"Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief / they all murder their inspiration, and sing about the grief."

Heading home along the freeway,
an old car parked on the verge.

A flash of blue becomes an older woman
with her white hair in a bun,
picking apricots.

Black cockatoos cross our path, flying south,
into the wind.

The Sun warms our backs, until we curve around
to follow the birds, long afternoon shadows striping our path.

I love this stretch of trees, the
smooth sweeps of countryside before we
crosshatch our way across the township
to land amongst familiar clutter.

The dogs dance a welcome.

I'm back, sort of. After the semester from hell, burning my brain out on anthropological theory and the first half of my trainwreck of an undergraduate thesis, I honestly wanted to never write another word in my life. Burnout is a bitch with heels.

I graduate in May. I leave for Africa sometime in the fall. I am on my way towards something brilliant, something that will look good on a résumé, something that I'll never shut up about. Something that will haunt my nightmares and fuel my rants for the rest of my life. I'm more afraid of closing this chapter of my life than opening up a new one --- ever since I made the decision to leave for the other side of the planet in service of soft imperialism, I've met the most amazing, engaging, challenging people.

This is how it's always been. I make a decision to leave, and I make friends in droves. They come out of the woodwork, flock to me. I'm getting invited to parties, invited to hang out in bars with hot chicks, invited to get high with after work. I get random 3 AM text messages. People call me. I feel like I'm socially integrated for the first time in my life, and yet, here I go, clipping this blossom in the bud. Typical.

But one thing I've learned since I began to call myself a man was that life isn't nearly so neat and delineated like that. I might run into someone I smoked a bowl with twenty years down the road. I might marry one of the hot chicks I never went to bed with after a night on the town. Who the hell knows? Or, I might go off into the sunset and never return to anything like this. It could go either way. I could never run into any one of my friends again, disappear, get my head chopped off by some revolutionary guerilla army, show up for fifteen seconds on CNN. I honestly have no idea how the next three or so years will pan out, so I'm holding on for dear life.

All I know is, I better pay attention. They tell me these are the best years of my life, and I don't want to miss one single solitary thing. This includes getting back to writing. This is what passes for a New Year's resolution for me.


It all starts yesterday at 11:30 AM when I wake up. My friends and I head to the mall to watch Yes Man! For the second time. Afterward we chill at a friends house. We leave and then come back 20 minutes later. Then we leave again and it’s me and my brother in my friends car just driving around looking for a party. We end up searching in the wrong place for 20 minutes. Then I get to play with a cute two year old for an hour. Then I play with his eight and five year old sister and brother. Then I go home and start and finish the Watchmen graphic novel. Then I go to another friends house and chill. And I get to see my girlfriend. Then we go to the mall to give me a makeover! And it just so happens to fit metaphorically with the new year. I get a haircut I am still getting used to and 4 hours trying on clothes. And I didn’t pay a dime. There is now a picture of me in teal colored skinny jeans.

Then we went and hung out and my girlfriend's house before leaving for the mall again to see Yes Man! again. I saw all my favorite parts. And the girl next to me was a blonde with the perfect stereotype laugh of a dumb blond porn star. Now I am at home. Today is the first day that I have used all 24 hours in a day. And it taught me something.

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