Friday, July 29, 2011

Term of Affection

Why did you call me chérie?

Was it because my situation became very real to you after that cold day in July, the one I knew was coming but nobody listened to me? No, what did I know, just a twit with an attitude who'd been to the rodeo once or twice before. Did it become hard to ignore after that day, so you used pronouns you probably shouldn't have, lumping you and me into a singular category where one of us really doesn't belong? Was it the realization that I am running out of time, and you are, therefore, running out of time to make any of this happen, make any of this work? Did you say it because you're lonely? Because I'm lonely? And if we let ourselves, we could help each other, but getting to that point is going to be tricky. It requires crossing a chasm we've never dared to face, one so deep that if we fall, we won't make it back out. One that could ruin all we've worked to establish. Loneliness is making my sorry heart bleed.

Why do you call me chérie?

Is it because your demeanor was different, non-challant, casual, cordial? Were you covering up for something you didn't say, or did actually speak out loud? Is it your way of letting me down gently so the mess can be avoided, heading me off at the pass before I plummet into dangerous tides? Are you worried about my eternity, because I seem so clean and free and void of sin, with the innocence of youth and the grandeur of an unknown future? Are you afraid you'll soil me, take away what you think I possess when you're not really sure if I do, or that you don't? Convictions do not run cold in me. I am stronger than I look, more brutal than one might think. I do not delight in folly, nor do I allow emotion to dictate my thought.

Did you use that word as a term of affection? Were you attempting to show what I cannot see? Was the repeat usage a reaffirmation or a redundancy, something you forgot had escaped your lips just days before? I fear the first time may have been a mistake, as your behavior afterword would suggest, but the second time has yet to tell, I don't know what to make of it. You seemed so natural, so at home in the word, in the loaded meaning that could continue from dusk till dawn, only in the dark of night, ribbons of idiosyncrasy, looking at the moon, gazing at the stars, with a memory foam arm and tired, tired eyes.

It was a term of affection, otherwise it wouldn't have been uttered twice. But the mystery lies in the context. Therein is the real question. If I could go back to when we were sixteen and make myself notice you, would things be different now?

Monday, July 18, 2011

About A Boy Who's a Friend

Something got me thinking about you tonight, so I looked up your blog. Not much was new, but what was new made me miss you. And my mind wandered and I realized: I miss talks in the car and walks up the street, dinner at Ruth's and nothing ever complete. Redbox movies, chocolate chip cookies, guitar solos, fairytale songs in hospital rooms, annoyed looks at paper basketball. Promises to finish it later, promises fulfilled, plays with British accents, English nerd geek-outs. Salads at Lambs Cafe, Unblock Me, freezing rain and charcoal skies behind your frame as you broke away to talk with me for only a second. Play reading and play writing and play watching. A Poem about Peter Pan, eggs benedict and homemade danish. Married student housing and lame songs about Provo love, then a real song and real great, real big voices singing about love in the real world. Spring rain on my shoulders walking to the car. That night at the old Children's hospital with Bob and those others and the movie we watched after. Writing papers for EarAmLit, Noodles after the final, explanations, insight, kindness, friendship, non-committal, benevolence, patience, expectations, revelations, hope. Barnes and Noble, and you laughing at my armful of books and indecision. Slurpees and hot chocolate and nonchalance. Spanish and French dueling it out. Brett Dennen's "Heaven" and "How to Train Your Dragon" on the day Zack was born. Your sister and banana nut muffins and all those nights and days I hoped you'd come around.

Three years worth of sporadic memories crammed into one long paragraph... your heartbreaking disappointment at the absence of mile-high biscuits, you walking me home when it was just down the block, calling me when I needed it the most though you couldn't have known... Thinking about you everytime I listen to Kate Voegele. I hope you come back from Provo soon.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Thunderstorms inside. Thunderstorms outside.

It's monsoon season in Utah. I didn't know we had one, but apparently we do because it's been monsooning everyday for like a week. That does not a monsoon season make, but usually it's hot and dry here in July. Personally I like it. It's a relief to not have the heat, or the sun. It's reflective and brings me to introspection.

I've been on a bit of a Jane Austen binge lately. Having only read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, not really the classic Austen, I never really understood her writing MO until I found myself watching the movies of all her books except for Northanger Abbey, as there isn't a movie of that book yet. I also watched Becoming Jane, which really started this whole Jane Austen journey. And I realized something that was very profound to me: Jane Austen had a sad life in love. She never married, had a proposal by an oaf that she declined, and died at age 42, alone. Yet all the characters in her novels find love and happiness with rich, handsome men who love them with every ounce of their souls. And hearts. And minds. And estates in the grand English countryside.

In Becoming Jane, a fictionalized "true story" if ever there was one, Jane tells her sister Cassandra that she is giving her characters- coincidentally she's writing Pride and Prejudice at the time- magnificent happiness, so grand it's practically unfathomable. This got me to thinking about myself and my life as a writer. I prefer non-fiction for the pure fact that I know it actually happened to someone. It was a real person's struggle, someone's pain and loss and heartache, it was true love and real feelings and overwhelming joy. It happened. It meant something to someone. It was genuine, not made up.

(DISCLAIMER: I have written fiction, have read loads of fiction, taken classes on fiction, and it takes immense talent, emotion, and genuine thought and feeling to write it. I also know from experience that fiction oft times comes from true life experiences. So I'm not trying to knock fiction. Hopefully you'll fully grasp my meanderings in a moment or two.)

I realized that I didn't want to write books about the life I wish I'd had, or the life I hope I'll have. Even though hope is a wonder asset, too much of it can lead to heartbreak, just like writing the life I want to happen for myself will. It's okay to hope, but I feel I have to draw the line at creating impossible fantasies for myself. In one of my all time favorite movies, You've Got Mail- and this is not the forum to discuss the grammatical errors in the title of said film- the heroine, one Kathleen Kelly says "So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book when, shouldn't it be the other way around?"

I want to be successful like Jane Austen. I want my books to become canonical. I want to write the book I have planned now, maybe something in epistolary format, publish my chapbook of poetry from that class I took, perhaps research and write a historical diddy about England during the second World War. But I don't want to write a life that isn't mine. I don't think my heart could handle it when it turned out to be false. I want a great love for myself, not for someone else, not for someone I'm writing, wishing it was me. I don't want my life to be something I read in a book once. It should be the other way around.