Seven hundred and fifty words doesn’t sound like much, but it accumulates over time. There are thirty-one days in March, and I’ve pledged to write seven hundred and fifty words each and every single day of this month. Of course, nothing happens to me if I fail – except that my name gets put on the Wall of Shame on the website 750words.com. The real consequence, though, is that I won’t be writing. And that’s not a good thing for me.
I realized why I felt so disconnected from last night’s reading. There are two primary reasons. One of them, and I know it sounds silly, is that the man who organized the event confuses me and makes me feel very strange. He is a poetry teacher, and as such, I suppose I expect a certain amount of sensitivity and emotion from him. But he’s absolutely blank – he has no expression on his face, he has no tone to his voice, and his body language conveys the boredom and discomfort of a teenage boy. During the reading, he kept checking his phone in order to check the time. At first, I thought it was because he wanted to make sure that everyone was staying within the time limit of six minutes, but now I’m not so sure. I do think that he was genuinely uninterested. Or maybe I’m just being overly sensitive. My eyes kept being drawn to him throughout the evening, and I couldn’t help feeling like there was something wrong with the way he was acting.
The second reason I felt so strange about the evening is that I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I want to be. And that’s not a good feeling. Being so removed from my own, personal, fiction writing made me feel like I was an impostor of sorts when I was up there at the podium, reading a story that I hadn’t even reread in its entirety before deciding to read from it.
It’s odd, but through all the things that have happened to me this school-year, nothing caused me to be quite so moody and aggravated at my therapy appointment as this removed feeling that I had last night. I think that it upset me mostly because I couldn’t figure it out. It took a good half hour of talking through things to figure out why I was so confused and bothered by the event.
Once I did figure it out, though, I felt almost immediately as if a weight was being lifted off my shoulders and out of my chest. So that’s that.
Now, because I feel like it, I’m going to use up the rest of my words for the day in writing a description of something – I won’t know of what until I get going. Well, here goes:
His mind was a strange and crowded place. His childhood seemed constantly to be on the surface. It was the shore from which he began all his journeys, and it was littered with broken bottles, shredded rags and lonely people spread out, each sitting alone and not making eye contact with any of the others.
From the shore, his thoughts would board a variety of vessels. Sometimes they took rides in small, rickety sailboats. Sometimes they walked along an extended gangplank to reach a vast, well-manned barge, complete with minstrels.
On their voyages, the thoughts would encounter islands of differing splendor and population. At first glance, each seemed unique, absolutely one of a kind, but from a bird’s eye view they looked similar, populated by the same kind of people, all containing trees and animals of some sort or other. One of the qualities that all the islands shared was the presence of orphans. Not all the orphans were sad; in fact, some were quite cheerful, but the fact was that there were too many parents who were dead or gone on all of these islands, and although the thoughts sometimes wondered themselves why this was so, the man they belonged to never seemed to dwell on the fact overlong.
Perhaps this was because his thoughts always returned to the shore where he awaited patiently with the others. This shore, too, was populated by ragamuffins, running around with their palms extended, asking for a penny, please sir, just a penny, just so that I can get a roll. When the man asked where their parents were and why they didn’t feed them, the children – some of whom were really quite grown up and could perhaps have found work if it wasn’t for their presence on the isolated shore – looked bemused, as if they’d never even thought of the option of parents.