I’ve come to an impasse in writing my novella—a bit ‘o the old writer’s block, it seems. It’s probably the dozenth time it’s happened in writing the beast. That means it’s time to take a step back and use this time constructively, polishing and rechecking and polishing even more.
And that’s okay.
Last week, I stumbled upon an honest-to-goodness wub (refer to my first post if you’re confused as to what a wub is). It’s something very, very precious to me—a flash drive, a 1G piece of plastic and stainless steel I’ve had for five years, and thought was lost to me for good. It’s full of un-revised short stories, and haiku and sonnets and free-verse poetry I’d scrawled down in the margins of class notes, sometimes in lieu of class notes—but only when the lectures became insufferably boring, of course. And even though most of the stuff on it isn’t anything special… (yet), it’s important that I came across it again. It’s a litmus test of sorts, a watermark that shows me where I’ve come from, but also where I want to go. I thought I’d share one of the more interesting pieces with you all.
It’s an experimental piece—something I’ve termed a haiku cycle. It’s something akin to an outline of a scene in a short story (and I’m pretty sure the idea began as a short story), but it’s told completely in haiku stanzas, three to a part. Now that I’ve read it again it may be a format to revisit, I think.
Queen of the Subway—Haiku Cycle No. 1
Sunshine streaming in,
And a line of blind-shadows
Slices the air. Their
Slashes line up in
A neat row. They draw my eye
To their marching, and my thoughts
Again return to
The “what-might-have-been,” though it’s
The why that stymies
I spotted you on
The rush-hour J train. It
Was your hair, lifted
In an afro, the
Queen of the subway. My gaze
Traced your length, along
The hem of your tight,
Clingy dress, down to your hand
Steady on the pole
Three weeks pass. Not once
Do you desert me. You pulse
Through my muscles, my bones. My
Mind fogs over, my
Spirit is broken by mere
Thoughts of you. I knew
That you were meant to
Be mine, and mine alone. I
Needed to find you
Again I see you
On the J, queen regent of
Brooklyn, and as sure as we’re
Magnets, as sure as
Two always comes after one,
We are drawn across
The space, together.
Mixed in amongst the Others
A burning will lies
I steel my nerve, and
Push my way through them to you.
We’re finally there.
The crown up close, it
Draws breath, quickens pulse, distracts.
Then I find your hand.
I reach out for it… but an
Other gets there first.
Sunshine streaming in,
And a line of blind-shadows
Slices through my heart.
It’s been a while since my last post, so of course I must apologize. I know how much you all hang on my every word, hungry for the details of this wub-hunter’s woeful life.
And of course, this is just a joke.
I’ve been back in the States now for about two weeks, and honestly? It hasn’t been all roses and gumdrops and rainbows. I’ve been going through serious Japan withdrawals, up to and including the combini shakes, the karaoke crawlies, and fiending for the subway. It was a good year, one that has helped me grow as a man and, quite honestly, gave me more of an appreciation for not just my hometown, but the world at large.
But now it’s time to face forward, to continue placing one foot in front of the other until my goal is reached.
And just what is that goal, you ask? I’m not even sure of that one, not even now. I have several strong ideas, possibilities, choices that I’m tossing around my head at the moment, but for now graduation is the blue-plate special of the day. There’s about a year left at Clemson, so there’s that. Afterward? At the moment I’m just trying to get back to Clemson in the fall.
When I first decided to undertake this whole “going to Japan” venture I hadn’t really thought about the logistical problems that would be thrust upon me at the end of it all. Things like, “Well, we understand that you’re abroad, Mr. Johnson, but it cannot be helped that your classes filled up because you weren’t advised by your academic advisor even though you emailed them religiously” and “I know you wish to live on campus Mr. Johnson, but there are so many freshman who were actually here and are required to have space before you. They have to be taken care of first” and “Yes, Mr. Johnson, of course you had to have your taxes filed while you were abroad and, though it may have proven impossible for you to send those forms to us from half a world away we still need them to complete your financial aid file, you know.” and so on and so on.
A little hyperbole there, but seriously it’s been a bit of a bitch. To say the absolute least.
It’s really been stressing me out something fierce. And, if you could ask anyone close to me they’d tell you I’m probably the last one to be stressed about anything. But I am only human, after all. We get stressed when the slightest thing doesn’t fall our way even if we don’t show it, and I’m no different. I really just want to graduate from Clemson, that’s all. And I will. But I suppose it’s time to start thinking about the “afterward.”
Today I saw my parents for the first time in a year. It was a good time, too. I missed them so much. But I spoke to them (read: vented) about the obstacles I’ve been facing since I came back home and mostly they just listened quietly and let me rant. But afterward I felt better, clearer, and ready to face those obstacles head on. Then we smoked a cigarette.
That was good.
Now, though. I always seem to get these things done at the last minute. As I’m sure some of you in the blogosphere are intimately aware, being a career procrastinator really sucks – though, to be fair I did just come back from overseas, and my school is being a bureaucratic bitch when it comes to paperwork and such, but in actuality it’s not so much to be stressed out over. Certainly not more than I can handle. But there are only four weeks left here in Chucktown, and job prospects down here are slim at best. At the moment this is the checklist:
– Get financial aid straight with Clemson
– Get housing sitch straight at Clemson
– Find a job doing something in Clemson
– Once I get back to Clemson, rearrange and straighten out my damn shitty schedule
– Do as much of this stuff as possible from Charleston
It’s not gonna be easy. But of course, nothing worth doing ever is. All I know is, no matter what goes down, I’ll make the best of any blue-plate special that gets placed in front of me.
That being said, I kinda need to be in Clemson come August. Just sayin’ is all.