Thursday, October 29, 2009

Mouth

No one hears what I’m saying.




When I want to speak, I open my mouth. I have one, framed by two lips. Everyone calls lips red, but they aren’t when you look at them. They’re fleshy colored. Not nearly as interesting as people pretend they are. What’s the point of lips anyway? Besides kissing, I mean. What else can I use them for? Why not have the edges of our mouths flow directly into being the skin on our faces? And why can’t

When I want to speak, I open my mouth. I have one, framed by two lips. Somewhere in my throat I feel my vocal chords contracting. I wonder what they look like. I’ve seen the ugly, wet, pink tissues in pictures my choir teacher shows me, but I don’t think that’s what they really are. Instead I like to imagine they are a thousand violin strings. And somewhere there is a little conductor, raising his white hands, looking at the symphony about to play. You know the sound that a symphony makes when the musicians tune their instruments all at once? The note that starts small and then grows bigger and bigger until you lose yourself into it, into the basses and the trumpets and the violins and the horns

When I want to speak, I open my mouth. I have one, framed by two lips. Somewhere in my throat I feel my vocal chords contracting. Then the hum of words begins, forced out by my breath. The world record for holding your breath is 17 minutes and 4.4 seconds. But that could be just another internet lie. How do you starve yourself for that long? Maybe our lungs are small in comparison to the rest of us. But without them, we die. They aren’t expendable. A blue whale’s lung is big enough that, if you wanted, you could stand inside. So are the chambers of its heart. I wish my heart was big enough for the world to stand inside. Sometimes I think it is, but then I look down at it, and realize it is only the size of my fist. I can’t hold the world in my fist. I can’t hold anything when I make a fist, it

When I want to speak, I open my mouth. I have one, framed by two lips. Somewhere in my throat I feel my vocal chords contracting. Then the hum of words begins, forced out by my breath. I shape the words with my tongue. They are like wet clay. Malleable, fresh, tricky and messy but worth it if I spin them right. God created men from clay, I heard. I create from clay. And I said, “let there be light,” and there was light, but not really. Because I can’t make miracles from mud. I’m just a me. I don’t even really make words from clay. I make pots, sometimes, but they come out lopsided, or they break in the kiln, or I forget to glaze them and they are forever colorless and rough and dull and then

When I want to speak, I open my mouth. I have one, framed by two lips. Somewhere in my throat I feel my vocal chords contracting. Then the hum of words begins, forced out by my breath. I shape the words with my tongue. My teeth click together. I’m not supposed to grind them, but clicking should be okay. Everyone clicks. So if I do it’s not really my fault. What would be my fault is if I clicked them onto something, on purpose, and sliced it clean and two. Maybe something like a piece of gum, or a string, or even a hand. When I was little, so little I don’t even remember, I bit my sister’s hand and held on until she bled. Mom had to drive her to the hospital for stitches. She says it was a long time ago, and doesn’t matter, but sometimes I look at the weird, curvy scar the stitches left on her otherwise perfect, white hand. They raised skin is too pink to go with those slim fingers attached to the manicured nails. I wish little me hadn’t bitten. I took away the prettiest part of her. Her

When I want to speak, I open my mouth. I have one, framed by two lips. Somewhere in my throat I feel my vocal chords contracting. Then the hum of words begins, forced out by my breath. I shape the words with my tongue. My teeth click together. And finally, finally I get to say it, finally it happens, and everything is in place and I cry, “ .”





No one hears what I’m saying.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Art



Art
Telling a lie is watercolor painting. You dip your paintbrush and begin with a stroke. There is a small streak of color on an otherwise untainted white sheet. Your first lie is probably soft, and harmless. It is a dull gray or, if you're daring, a pale nearly imperceptible yellow.
But now there must be a picture created around that lie, a web of paint. Something that either gives the first stroke purpose, or camouflages it entirely, so it is absorbed into a much bigger picture. The more you immerse yourself in your work and the less you indulge others in the truth, the strokes get longer, brighter, more colorful. Everything starts to become interesting. You are fascinated as your art takes shape. Long, spiraling chains of lime green and sweet bursts of cherry red dance of the tip of your tongue. You forget your ugly, sickly first stroke.
Your painting reaches its peak, and it has become more than just a silly game or monotonous pastime. It is something beautiful, something terrible, something you know you should not have but nevertheless something you want. It is the insatiable craving, the unquenchable obsession. Uncontrollable greed and desire courses through your veins, erupting out of your mouth and stained fingertips. The cloying taste of words on your smeared lips and the choking smell of pain on paper and your hands cannot leave you satisfied. It will never be enough. You spend every available moment plotting your portrait. Elaborate designs splash onto the paper and in your hurry the colors begin to bleed.
Paint longer (which you will) and you realize that the colors you are using now are darker than the beginning ones. You can't tell when, exactly, but there was a shift. Perhaps it began when you hid Mae's new sneakers under the bleachers to make her miss gym, or when you told mom that dad still hadn't called and erased all his messages from the answering machine. Your work is ugly to others, but does it matter? It is no longer for them, it is for you. Who are they to judge, who are they to care? It is not theirs, it will never be theirs, you will not give it to them. You regard your creation with a mad reverence, you worship the easel and nothing is important except that you do not get caught in your lie. It has become more than a lie. You are aggravated by those who claim they are "reaching out to you", trying to take what is yours, but late that evening you heave an irritated sigh and swear to clean your brush more often between strokes. You never do.
After a while you yourself also begin to realize that your picture is slowly disintegration, and in a desperate attempt to fix it you paint faster. The painting consumes you. Your mind and body suffer from neglect, but you don't care. Your friends notice how you come to school with colors smeared all over your hands and how you always talk too fast and won't meet their eyes. It isn't important - nothing matters anymore except your creation, and it is dying. In a panicked frenzy, you go faster and faster and faster, not caring what you do as long as something is being done, as long as your hands are moving furiously to cover each mistake with a new one. They dance as you once hoped they would, but it is an angry dance. The song is angry and yelling and smashing, and they move like spiders, running across the board. Every maybe is now a must - you must fix it, you must heal it, you must give it everything and nothing else exists or is except this, and this is all that matters and this and nothing. Finally, shrieking and silent you rip violently through the page the bristles fall of the brush tip pieces of wadded up soaking paper smear across the stained page with the paint and it all comes crashing down around you in splendid macabre and bleeding guilty and painstakingly crafted lies and you are caught like a spider trapped in its own destroyed web and you struggle to be free but it is your own fault and you know and you lose the strength to move.
It is not until very late at night as you stare at the patterns in the ceiling that you realize you have been left with a monster.
The thrill of beauty and secrets and creation fades. You are left to see that all you have created is a tangled mess. You angrily tear away the contaminated pages from your notebook. You turn yourself in. You apologize and sometimes cry. But crying helps. Solemnly you vow to never pain again.

But I cannot help but notice the new, clean paper before me is so horribly dull.

I dip my paintbrush and begin with a stroke. There is a small streak of color on an otherwise untainted white sheet. My first lie is probably soft, and harmless. It is a dull gray or, if I'm daring, a pale nearly imperceptible yellow. I know it will end as more than this, though, because now I cannot resist the urge to create. There has to be more to the portrait, more to the story, and I must breathe it into existence.
You say I am a liar, and that may be true, but you are a painter.
And I ask you, are we really all that different?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Beginning

I love words.

I love the way some of them roll off your tongue like melted butter. Others you have to chew on for a while, and then spit out quickly before they get away from you. Others are choppy, like the sea on a windy day, frothy foamy freely.

I love the way you chain them together to make sentences and pretty pictures. They can bend into anything you want them to, and no matter how hard we try to contain them with adverbial causes and particular structures, we can't. They aren't only adjectives or nouns or verbs - they aren't anything. They are whatever you want them to be.

That is why I am starting this whole blog-y deal. This is my creative writing blog, the result of (in part) my Wire class, (in part) my life, and (in part) my the keyboard. The title, "Star Wreck the Sea", is also the title of a poem generated by the previously mentioned Wire class.

It is also here because, if I have learned anything, ever, in all of my writing, it is that in order to write, you actually have to write. So that's the plan. I'm hoping that having somewhere that time stamps how often I write will inspire me to do it more, rather than wasting my life lying pathetically in bed, looking up at the stars and wondering, "Where the heck is the ceiling?"