Love Letters

I slumped into a creative withdrawal yesterday morning, unable to string some sentences together. My mind wandered, as always, bouncing around from nonsense to more trivial clutter. Eventually, I woke up staring at a blog article, one of those trite lists detailing twenty things you must do in your twenties. God damn it–this is what I’ve come to. You know it’s bad when you’re actually searching this garbage, merely to avoid whatever you’re suppose to do. Well, this article derailed me even more, nonetheless, some value yielded from it.

The #20 item one must do in their twenties is to write their future self a letter (yeah, I read the entire article). I recall doing this exercise when I entered high school and later receiving the letter right prior to graduation. The letter was somewhat embarrassing, but also reflected an honest introspection. Therefore, recognizing how much I’ve developed in this past year, I figured what the hell, let me wipe my soul onto a one-page letter. So I began.

Letters, in my opinion, are the most personal form of communication. Someone can confess their love or problems over the phone or through text message, but when one formulates their thoughts and emotions only to splatter it out onto a page, that truly evokes real vibrant emotion. For instance: numerous books have been published just on authors’ compilations of letters. Letters deliver insight into the real man behind the pen or typewriter. Furthermore, the process is arduous: requires time to think and time to write, no matter how competent of a writer.

I signed my name, dated it, and stored it away deep inside of my mac folder, only to be opened years away. I felt fulfilled, and actually, galvanized to write more letters. Then, it was patently apparent what to write next– a love letter. Love letters require time– much more time than all other letters. I mean, love is a process, which unfolds and develops over a period, and contrary to mainstream belief, it is not instantaneous. With that, love letters undergo a similar procedure: an unrolling of your feelings, exposing your true, vulnerable identity and rich emotions for the other person.

In a nutshell, I’m not finished. I attempted to do it in one sitting, but that try became futile. Revisions and editing were ceaseless, only to be left with some unorganized feelings. As I stated previously, it’s a process. So, I’m back at it again today, sculpting away, applying syntax with the hope that it might just graze the surface.

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Vehicle

The library on Page Street of the Haight-Ashbury district is stashed with works written by or covering great authors and bands of that area. Inside, one can locate single sections dedicated to the Grateful Dead and Jack Kerouac. The Beat Generation and the 60’s hippie movement was revered in this neighborhood. In addition, Volkswagen vans and old heads still linger, fifty years later.

I admire the leaders of that counter-culture era, and there’s one man who bridged the two movements: Ken Kesey. As I sifted through the biography section–inclusive of compiled Jack Kerouac letters–I landed on Ken Kesey’s biography. I immediately disregarded the other enticing book options and settled down on a leather, reading chair to assimilate an insightful man.

Ken Kesey was a rebel and a joker, trekking and laughing through life the way he desired: whether it was on a school bus or a tractor. Nevertheless, he yearned to be known and heard, which propelled him to journey down to Hollywood in his early twenties and not long after, write his magnum opus: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

I recall reading this book–required reading–in middle school, and for once, I actually relished what I read–assigned books were typically humdrum. I had no familiarity with the author, but the plot and prose captivated me. With that, to this day it remains one of my favorite books.

Over the past few months, I’ve crossed podcasts or contemporary books and articles comprised of regurgitated material, primarily the attempted, underlying message. It’s natural because of the internet, but for some reason, it was discouraging to me. Whether because the message wasn’t originally articulated or rather, because there was no new insight gained. Nevertheless, a quote from Ken Kesey offered solace to my concern of not only my own work but everyone else’s as well: “I think that the artist should feel obligated to force whatever he can upon his audience and be the authority because if he doesn’t, some advertising man will. Ronald McDonald will be out there telling people what to think. The cynic who says, Oh, none of this counts anymore, is wrong. I can remember when I thought that too. But the older you get, the more you see people in the past who have thoughts that last. Things you think you’re saying for the first time ever, have been said better before by Shakespeare, though they may need saying again. As Faulkner says, there are the old verities. Revenge is about the same as it always was.”

All in all, we’re all copying or imitating to some extent. The truth is everlasting and must be relayed through generations. It may just require a different vehicle to be heard.

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Library Card

I was stationed at a long table against the white-brick wall in the public library, with a view of the empty basketball-courts behind back. An older librarian was to my left, sifting through the reserved books and calling her co-workers dumbasses under her breath–it was quite comical. I was trying to warm-up my mind to get to the point of putting words down on paper–in an artful way, of course. Then, my phone was buzzing on top of my satchel; it was a call from my friend, Ryan. I went outside to take it.

I returned back to the table after a conversation full of non-stop laughter and two minds working together. Thirty minutes later, I received a text from him, reading: “I couldn’t stop laughing for twenty minutes after getting off the phone hahah.” At that moment, my words were flowing on to the paper with ease.

We each know certain people who just understand us and make work effortless when together. It’s almost as if the two people finish one another’s sentences. I’ve only encountered one person who I am able to do that with, especially when it’s in reference to humor.

I leaned back in my navy-cushioned chair and giggled through my reread of my recent story. Bursts of laugher erupted and echoed in the still library. It’s true–“Having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card.”

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Falling Leaves

I hunkered down at a picnic bench, allowing my mind to wander and create the stories within my head. The park was tranquil, as every so often a dog and their owner would stroll by. The leaves on the tree were fading into different colors, and the sun began dropping, signaling the commencement of fall. I came there to sit in peace and be outside, generate tales that I have been putting off for a long time.

Usually, when I’m at my happiest, I unlock a flow state where I can construct stories on the fly. It’s a form of creation that derives pleasure for me, and splashes color on a relatively bleak reality. However, as I have been, stress can inhibit any surge of creative movement. With that, I perceive life for what it is: the facts. Instead, I rather drop a preposterous dye onto the mundane and allow it to soak in.

I wrote and wrote, sometimes reaching a halt, but eventually, an idea arose and broke open a gap within my consciousness–entry to the flow state is now accessible. I paced around, circling my table, changing positions, reaching for my camera. It was my own island within the green fields of the park. Isolation, a spot where I could be and think independently and freely.

The leaves descend by themselves, one by one, until they are all scattered in a mosaic against the ground. As leaves make the plunge alone, it symbolizes the essence of fall for me. Fall is typically a moment of solitude: whether it’s for self reflection, to replenish myself, or to simply create. For good or ill, I seem to reel back into seclusion.

I wrapped up my work and shoved my computer into my knapsack. At this point, I’m the only one occupying the park. I ramble over towards my car, parked by it’s lonesome. As I tugged open the door, another car pulled up. It’s a man in his thirties, accompanied by a black lab in the back. He didn’t look over my way; just sat there and gazed at the open fields. I backed up and pulled away, leaving the park as it was, for himself.

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