in addition to ranting about life in general (see prev post!), I plan to use this blog as expression of my art, both visual and written. it will also feature tidbits of other people's art, music, literature, the gambit. hopefully i can stay interesting enough to keep you along for the ride. Nah, i'm not going to be internet famous for an epic blog of excitement, intruge, drama and suspense. nor do i want to be. that is a level of dedication and lack of real life that i don't want to explore just yet.
speaking of real life. i've decided to be more active in community events around the city. I live in a major US city. there is no excuse to be bored on any given night of the week. I've started by checking out the local event calendar on Jack FM and found a few interesting things coming up next month. am i lame for going to a radio station site to find stuff to do? meh, whatevs. at least i'll be out of the house. besides, they play decent music about 90% of the time, so i almost trust their judgement.
on to the d'arts! nothing visual today, but enjoy some U2. also, partake, if you please, of my prose. today i share an assignment from an writing course i took for about two years. if you're interested, it's Long Ridge Writers' Group. Some people have decried it a scam, while others have sung it's praises. i belong to the latter because i realized early into the process that you get out of it what you put into it. i actually tried my best on all my assignments and got constructive, postitive feedback from my instructor. so i believe my experiance to have been a success story. anywho, this short story is untitled and is kind of an episode of my life in an alternate timeline (too much Homestuck, lol!). but if the opportunity ever presents itself, i wouldn't mind making this a reality. enough gab, enjoy the story...
Autumn rain fell lightly over a London afternoon. It wasn’t cold yet, but with the heat off in the flat, I could feel winter seeping in through the doors, windows and walls. I tapped my electronic cigarette absently on my lower teeth as I looked past the condensation on the window to the soggy street below. I think I developed the habit around the time I started on the new novel. X Machina, my first novel, which consumed many years of my life, had become a success almost overnight. It received beautiful reviews, numerous accolades, a spot to be envied on the best sellers list and a quickly growing following, all clamoring for the second of the series. My head swam. It was only a matter of months before I could afford to leave my apartment in the suburbs of Dallas to an impressive flat in London. It was not impromptu, however. It was promise to myself, made on “if” and kept on “when”. My mother questioned it over and over “Why? What do you need to move all the way over there for?” I had my personal reasons, but my response to her: the culture. Texas is an artistic and cultural desert; there may be some life out there, but it ain’t much and it’s hard to sustain. London is an oasis, one of the major arts centers on the planet. I needed to be surrounded in a strange place, with new experiences and people to push my creativity further. She didn’t like it, but she understood. Deep down, she knew it was in my nature; always the runner. One year and eight months after the debut of the novel, I was in my new home in London. In the time since then, I have reinvented myself. I wear my hair long, usually uncombed, but pretty nonetheless. The glasses that I’d always dreaded wearing are on me constantly. I haven’t really lost weight, but working out more regularly has given me a firmer, more curvaceous shape. I am the picture of bohemia: the single, starving artist in the big city.
Regularly I compare the two, life before and life after leaving the States. I was familiar with Texas. I got around easily and knew where things were. Here, it’s tough adjusting to the left sides of roads and following directions given to me by locals in the know. I feel like a tourist everywhere I go; I always look lost. Back home, I enjoyed a lot of space and drove to get to locations regularly. In London, all necessities are within short walking distance like the market, the movies, and restaurants. I enjoy the convenience and the exercise, but at the same time, it means I see little outside my neighborhood. I haven’t really met anyone near me, so I wander the streets, hoping inspiration will find me. But, more often than not, I just end up home alone. After it all, though, I find myself empty more and more often. Ideas don’t come as quick as they used to. I sit for hours at the computer, staring at the keys, tapping the cigarette. I don’t feel compelled to write like I did when I was a no one outside the published world. I don’t want to do anything. I have no motivation, no spark. I don’t regret the decisions I’ve made; I just wonder if they were the right ones.
It’s not quite writers block, I don’t think. It’s a new, weird “what now” block. Like the story has a good start, but the ending you envision doesn’t work with the plot you’ve written so far. I started my story; I got published, I moved to London, I am an author. But the ending is vague and almost daunting. I’ve become what I always wanted, my dreams are coming true, yet part of me feels there’s nothing left. But of course, I know there is so much more left. I’ve got a series to finish, deadlines to meet. I’ve got new concepts sketched out on sticky notes and scrap pieces of paper everywhere. The pressure is on to produce. My editor is expecting the draft of the sequel now. I’ve invested in a life very far from where I’m from; failure means being homeless and stranded in a foreign land. Then, there’s the emotional wreckage of being a one hit wonder or having to start all over at the bottom. There is so much more to go, but this wall of self doubt is blocking me from the future. I’ve come too far to fall from grace now. In “A Dream Deferred,” Langston Hughes pondered what happens when the dream is not realized, left to decay or float away somehow. But I wonder if there has been any poetry written about the dream realized, beyond the rainbow, so to speak. I doubt it. As it stands, it won’t be written by me.
Night is fallen and cold officially fills the flat. I turn on the lamp on my desk and fold into my chair. The screen is black on my laptop, but its dulcet hum denotes it’s on. I stare at it for a while, inhaling from the cigarette and slowly exhaling its artificial toxins. In this light, I see myself reflected in the screen, surrounded in vapor and darkness and an idea is formulated. A woman, a witch perhaps, beautiful and ancient, is smoking a kiseru callously as a hero implores her help in his noble quest. The concept is sticky, staying put in my head and I smile slightly. I put the e-cigarette down, wake the laptop to life, and I write.
Copyright© K. Knight 2010