A master of distraction attempts to create a character.
I got doughnuts the other night before what seemed like a musical love child of the E.T. soundtrack and songs of Oompa-Loompas. T was interested in the musician who was not only performing but put the whole thing together at a place called Ham and Eggs downtown.
It came after checking out Chisme y Queso put on by members of the Center Theatre Group. The experience entailed improvisational skits inspired by chisme, which means gossip in English, written on the back of promotional coasters by people in attendance of a quaint bar in Boyle Heights. The reward for the most tantalizing gossip included tickets to a showing of Into the Woods, bottle of wine and a gorgeously giant wheel of cheese (one of those that can be easily melted over food and more conveniently consumed in slices cut straight from the plastic casing).
After a few rounds of applause-influenced evaluation for the winner, D won the prized package of goodies with his poignant piece of chisme. Unfortunately I missed the reenactment of his writing because I stepped out for a cigarette with T and was lured to dance in Mariachi Plaza by an elderly woman. She was dressed in a turquoise blouse, eggshell cardigan, denim shorts and comfy brown leather boots. It was like my spirit animal could tell the smoke was a mere distraction from being enticed by cumbia blaring from a stage that held a modest dj stand. Moving the crowd to dance from the stage was a short bearded man with a knack for strumming his güiro.
When we returned to Eastside Luv, we caught the last round of chisme and participated in the judging the winners of previous rounds. While D won the main prize, second place went to V, which was an inevitable consequence given his fantastic talent in storytelling. I don’t even think my story bit was pulled from the large plastic container holding everyone’s pieces of gossip. It didn’t matter. My mind was on doughnuts and I knew Ham and Eggs was just two storefronts down from a Dunkin Donuts. After a slight detour of foosball and some more dancing, we left Boyle Heights and concluded the night with a grand gesture of solid carbs.
This New York experience was intriguing
though quite unsettling. I lost my phone
the first night of debauchery as well
as a generous amount of almonds and
blah blah. New York is exhausting. I don’t
know why I find it so enticing but I can
see why some are fond of Jersey. It is
such a different pace there I can’t help
but feel like it’s a lovely escape from
the chaos of the city of Manhattan and
its surrounding boroughs. As I sit here
in LaGuardia peering around the tablet
station, I see a woman looking at the
cost of education within the Butler
University website. There is also a
hearing on Syria military action with
Secretary of State John Kerry playing
on the television in the corner of the
large window. I noticed he stumbled
upon his words when responding to a
question about support being provided
by the government. I can’t really pay
attention to what’s being discussed
mostly because of a hangover that
hasn’t really gone away since I woke
up after eleven in the morning and
rushed as fast as possible to Queens
to gather my belongings and catch the
bus to travel for an hour and forty
minutes in order to get to my flight
in time, which wasn’t departing until
four thirty but for some reason seemed
to be sooner than I had expected. This
city does that though—influences a
sense of urgency among its residents
and visitors no matter what the activity.
Even as I sit and wait for my computer
to charge completely, it’s like I cannot
stop thinking about life but that doesn’t
really mean anything. I guess the pace
of my brain is so swift with nothingness
it’s kind of comical. I wish I could take
photos but my batteries are dead. I
thought about purchasing new batteries
for my Nikon camera but my feet are so
tired and my body wants nothing but
cheesy carbs on a level that deems
movement of the body frivolous. So
silly this does feel as I ramble on.
Sunday seemed like a day meant to absorb curious energies of books. Upon entering the store, Nigellissima was the first book to catch my attention. I flipped through images of fresh produce and divine Italian recipes with occasional pauses to smile in contemplation of the length of time Ms. Lawson used to determine how best to showcase her fondness of culinary art. In seconds a glimpse of figs, though they are quite delicious, deterred my interest in looking any further so I closed the book and shuffled around the center tables to the end of a shelf near a family seeking counsel from customer service. The cover of Barrel Fever caught my attention and my eyes followed a few lines of crafty humor until the absence of caffeine in my system threatened the lighthearted nature of the literary excursion. The energy of the family was pleasant but the noise was slightly taxing on my eardrums so I escaped into a mass of fiction.
Shelves filled with work by authors whose last names clutter the end of the alphabet seemed to beckon my spirit. Within seconds I found The Imperfectionists with the cover facing the aisle, which was copyrighted in 2010 but currently dons a silver Notable Book badge of The New York Times Book Review. The cover also advertised a conversation between Malcolm Gladwell (for some reason I thought his name wouldn’t evoke the red squiggle on this computer) and Tom Rachman at the end of the story. With its speed, detail and humor, Rachman’s method of storytelling immediately enraptured my attention; however, my curiosity of his conduct in interviews bubbled more as familiarity blossomed between Lloyd and myself.
The transcription of Rachman and Gladwell’s conversation unraveled the threads of my creative blanket under which I no longer find solace—clarifying what was meant clouds my original thought—and incited a unique enthusiasm, which sparks, effervesces, and dissipates like ripples in the water unpredictably. When I returned to the beginning of the conversation to read the description of Gladwell’s current activity in writing, he revealed a plan to publish a new collection of old work epitomizing his days in New York. Immediately my mind raced through recent examples of the exceedingly prevalent tendency to collect.
A recent example arose when a friend discussed someone’s fascination for propaganda of the Second World War, which manifested itself in spending a significant amount of money on an original pendant of significant weight strung on a loop of beautifully dyed plies.
Though examples of collecting are visible in front of electronic devices and in personal spaces, I suppose an electronic device could be considered personal space as well, conversations about collecting have been surprisingly frequent this season. In the case one produces an adverse reaction to the habit, if in fact the last word of that portion of the sentence is the appropriate term, the matter of sustaining one’s time with intangible indulgences comes to mind. Then comes the question whether the unenthused party finds a similar release of endorphins when actively feeding their literary imaginations, in which case the degree to which one feels fondly for a book would come into question as they may find solace in continuing the free cycle of textual institutions.
Fiction, how you baffle me. How long did it take Rachman and Gladwell to collect, assemble and execute their fragments of thought?
The story of a more recent thought cloud of mine includes the journey of a gangster princess who navigates through intense circumstances that test her will and courage in ways she can foresee without being prepared to address the issues at hand. For some reason, the theme seems quite similar to the work environment of most recent times. The negotiation process required to get individuals to endorse through taking advantage of an opportunity to lower the amount of money owed to creditors. Perhaps mafia energy of an older generation would fit better in contemporary Detroit.
The first episode could be a meeting where a new alliance with a formidable record in advertising is entertained in order to garner support with hopes of building communities but it’s a trap from an underground force slowly gaining momentum, which is under the false leadership of someone physically unappealing but charismatic. The handsome leader of the rival group eventually makes the acquaintance of the princess after they meet at a jazz club but to her dismay, and before any suspicions arise, his celibacy forces the princess to reconsider how she carries herself in public settings.
So true it is to create a story from immediate mental leaps, one will confront messy and impractical barriers compared to assembling fragments of thought smashed between dull pages of notebooks with varying thickness. At the same time, what becomes of the censoring voice? Goodness.
“The way you wear your hat, the way you sip your tea, the memory of all that, no, they can’t take that away from me.”
As this song drifts in my mind, I can’t help but think about how to show an interest in the Charlotte culture when I have so many memories of the past floating in my mind’s eye. Everywhere I look, thoughts race through my brain and make no sense as I try to slow the stream. It’s like I’ve reverted to the days I scribbled notes of madness in the journal given to me by my brother as a gift a few years ago. I can’t help but smile and chuckle a little bit because avoiding the mess of contemplation no matter how hard I try to organize my thoughts is rarely a possibility. The pursuit of fulfilling employment has proven vital the organization of thoughts as I search for a space of my own where I can thrive in finding a voice in literary mumbo jumbo.
Twas the night before…too dated and season specific.
As I find myself sitting…too existential.
In all of my days, one never seemed so…I’m onto something.
Slow movement in the right direction never hurt a soul except for the impatient…closer.
Begin with a J and continue with the medicine of frivolous behavior…so I’m Mary Poppins?
Scribble some notes and be on your way, damned wrinkled thing of a brain!…am I summoning Dr. Seuss?
Make the impossible one of reality’s closest relatives…this requires an intoxicant or two.
Find peace in thy mind, twas there no better time to establish tranquility…no words.
After taking stabs at a few voices, I find the challenge awkward, redundant, silly and occasionally enlightening. A balance must be required when trying to rationalize diction, tone, speed and clarity in addition to making characters move through time and space. I wonder though, as I sit in a room with a partial view of the buildings of Charlotte and a rather intrusive view of a living space encased by pink windows, why does this difficulty seem most imperative to resolve during moments of uncertainty, restlessness and debauchery?
[written in February 2012]
I’ve been told to write. Not think, just write. I don’t know what to write. I’ve been struggling with a writer’s block and have been doing so many other things to avoid the process of writing only because I’m scared of what will come out on the page. But what is fear? An emotion, a thought, a face, a feeling, a hair, a sniffle, a cough, a laugh, a cry, a sound, a glare? Perhaps. Or maybe it’s a competition in the mind but what are the competing forces?
[middle of 2012]
The trees blew back and forth just as quickly as the hair on the young man’s head whipped in the air as he rode his bicycle down the street.
On a popular street in the
city of Chicago during a cold
and wet mid-winter evening,
this machine was responsible
for giving souls to objects worn
by enthusiasts of sports.
Isn’t it strange that on a day when the sun peaks through the clouds, the desire to scream and shout can linger upon the tips of one’s toes? The temperature at 3:30 this afternoon was not extremely cold but the wind carried an icy breath that cooled every pore on the exposed skin of my face. I felt the burning sensation still bother the entire surface of my eyes, both exposed and hidden by my eyelids, and I felt the watery mucus drip down my nose before I sniffled it into the back of my throat. Although the cars were passing me awkwardly while I posed as an interesting obstacle since the sidewalks have not been completely shoveled, I couldn’t stop staring at the sky with its white clouds flowing through the air–an interesting contrast to what was left of the dirt covered snow that lingered on the ground. I thought about taking a photo as I have in the past of clouds that bend and break the light waves that shine onto the earth’s surface but then I realized that I didn’t need to capture something that is going to change immediately after grabbing the camera.
I found this strikingly similar to the
Oh how the writer’s block frustrates me! I’m in the suburbs with no other distraction than my job, which leaves enough time open in the afternoon and evening to do the things I need to do. I get out at five
When Allen refers to Goethe’s suggestion to the Earl of Sandwich in 1783, whether Allen was attempting to be humorous or serious, I’m still unsure, I felt like the reference was indicative of something worth taking note. Had I been more proactive in my studies of English literature at the university, I would have felt more of an appreciation for coming across the writer’s name twice in a single day. I ran across the Goethe’s name a second time while I was searching Netflix and found Du levande written and directed by Roy Andersson.
Within the first few minutes of the film, I couldn’t help but identify with Bobbo, the spelling I will need to verify, because I often feel like a bystander of the drama of people around me, not without good reason. For the thirty minutes of viewing and nonviewing, I couldn’t help but
White rice and black beans, my habitual New York caloric consumption, relieved the somber feelings I had when I woke up in the morning. I couldn’t eat until
Lost, it’s lost
the words I last wrote
about the emotional rope
off of which I now fall,
they’ve vanished and I know not
where I placed the damn notecard.
So silly, so jovial, perhaps even witty
my flight of thought
seems to have taken me.
But, oh, the days I could linger
with sanity in the park
and upon my finger.
Now every moment feels as though
every carb I eat
consume this skin covered meat.
Sit still, I say in the dark
and smelly room, only to find
I am not so shrewd.
Simple instruction, and consumption in moderation,
those beliefs in temperance
seem to only madden
as I determine how best to use
my tools of satisfaction.
But that cannot be a sensation
worth the trouble of a roller coaster through emotions,
conversations with inner monsters,
and the passively strong forces
of an insignificant nature.
As I transcribe the words
of a person sitting on my right at the
outdoor area of Common Market,
I find the content of his speech
rather superfluous for his companion.
I realize in my desire to capture
distinct surrounding affects,
I need not rely on conversations
of others in order to animate
the mind. Many would likely
avoid wasteful contemplation of
those in close proximity since there
are many who bask in bromidic cordialities
that impede understanding the depths of
consciousness with which we crave
acquaintance. I hate ending a
sentence with a preposition
but the help of this grammatical
crutch can be extremely advantageous.
It’s been over a month
since I arrived in Charlotte
and I am learning my patience with
verbalization, despite the veil
of interest that can be used
to extract what it means
to be, is dwindling.
However, I still crave
listening to stories that
cultivate one’s mind during
today’s economic and political
chaos of American and global
societies. Then again, with
coverage of frivolously
political dras, and
it seems easy to fall into
ignorance of positive impacts
on marginalized and disturbed communities,
which ones who live in bounteous bliss can incite.
As I end my second glass of Merlot,
I find my mind traveling further
from reality while male and
female voices around me
seem progressively foreign.
Perhaps the speakers’ blaring
99 Luftballons alters a comprehension
of brogue more so than Bordeaux merriment.
I also arrive at the point of intoxication
where the validation of inquiring for a
cigarette is inevitable and I cannot
avoid laughing at my laudable
expenses, which contradict
saving money to address
the financial obligations
accrued during unique
But what of bodies
of legislative, judiciary
and executive exploits, how
are college graduates expected
to fulfill repayment standards
when governing bodies, both
domestic and abroad, seem
incapable of setting
a positive example?
This thought bubbles
after taking heed to the
perspective of a commentary
created by an insightful minority
as does the influence of social
networking on conversations
enjoyed when in public.
How can online sensations
serve as points of elaboration
for those in close company while
jointly transforming into pivots of babble?
First, with how much wine should I fill another glass?
I can’t help but feel slightly guilty for hoarding numerous business cards, newspapers, books (which were the result of sneaking past a gate and shuffling through a large pile of reading material on the side of a building near Bar 13), gallery and museum pamphlets, postcards, opened and unopened mail, photocopies of textbook chapters cited for CELTA course assignments, and so on. Even though I’ve amassed a large number of printed materials after living in Harlem and Bushwick, thanks to two indescribably generous friends, I explored only a small fraction of Manhattan and Brooklyn’s facets, which guests and residents experience on a daily basis. I anticipated spending more time writing but the pace of the city makes one feel like time and money can disappear at the same speed that a marble drops into a body of water.