Wednesday, June 12, 2002

I have been writing one thing or another for a good portion of my 35 years on this planet. To the right of me as I type these words is a large wicker basket (I have learned from watching Trading Spaces that baskets and trunks are practical and aesthetically pleasing storage spaces) which contains a stack of notebooks and binders filled to bursting with the detritus of a lifetime spent indulging artistic impulse and the urge to self-expression.

That stack is nearly two feet tall and includes material dating back twenty years or more in some cases. Sifting through this paper trail is a curious (sense 3) experience for me. It is interesting to see how my writing style has evolved over the years. Some of this stuff is so bad that it is painful in a self-conscious kind of way to read. There are treasures as well, though, if I may say so myself - strange glimmering shards of inspiration, softly luminous jewels of imagination buried in the black soil of mad teenage scrawlings.

It is the latter, I hope, that I propose to share with you here. It seems at one point in the early to mid 1980's that I experienced a definite phase in style and format. The vignette (3a) was my specialty. A few short paragraphs conjuring a scene on the page. Not unlike, come to think of it, what I have been doing recently here and here.

It is in a spirit of openness that I present for you the least embarrasing of this material from bygone days in the first of a potential series of posts I will call The Paper Trail. I post this material as is - no cosmetic tweaking of grammar or punctuation, no tidying of sloppy ideas or execution. The raw output of my young mind for your elucidation and entertainment.

Please keep in mind that I was doing time in my teenage years - between 14 and 17 I would guess - when the words below were written.

The Paper Trail

I sit here, and my thoughts as they so often do slip back to those warm summer nights. Not so long ago, yet seeming like an eternity away.

The two of us sitting out on my front lawn, drinking lemonade in the lazy summer heat, talking and waving happily to the passerby. Talking. . . yes we talked, long into the night. It's the one night that strikes me now in particular, his rough but somehow soft voice sounding out to me in the twilight of sunset.

"Hey," he said softly, as if he didn't care if I heard him or not.

"Yeah?" I answered as I observed the growing amount of red in the sky.

"Have you ever laid awake at night" he continued "safe in your bed and heard the sound of an army of rabid tootsie rolls parading through the streets of postwar Australia while viscious kindergarten children disembowled their parents?"

I glanced over at him and thought that maybe once, as a child, I had heard such a sound. "No." I answered.

He looked at me with those burning red eyes full of some emotion that I couldn't name. "Well I have." he said coldly.

Don't even think of plagiarizing this laurel in the crown of literature, I hereby copyright it in this year of The Goddess, 2002.

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