The room breathed foreboding air in a dark chasm. Dark like the entrance to a cave, but with streams of the moonlight trickling and permeating the windowpanes, dotting the interior of the room like a chessboard, with fingers of luminance reaching across the walls, furniture, and floor - reminiscent of the effect automobile headlights have on treacherously twisting trees barren by winter's chill banked on a narrow rural lane. Blinking beams flickering synthetic dull hues of blues and whites lit the room's far corner. The hour was late and the night itself had an aura of trepidation. Apprehension would be the better word choice, really; apprehension of what the next day would bring; apprehension of how I could ever complete this daunting task at hand, weighing heavily above like a mountain's summit. The task had to be completed that night, and my astute diction is most savvy and perceptive in a time of dark ambience such as the night.
Normally, my inventive juices flow with unprecedented speed and efficiency, like that of a glossy, glistening, gleaming mountain stream cascading through the evergreens. However, tonight that cerebral river of creativity ran dry. Crushed aluminum, rigid plastic bags, and crumbled papers of ill-conceived ideas littered the floor around my chair. Crumbs of cereal crisps and plastic wrappers piled up into a heaping eyesore, like the rubble of a war torn village. Here is where I sat, in the corner of this darkened room, my mind in a turbulent yet tranquil trance-like daze, where all of my ingenuity had eroded into frustration and apathy. My eyes gazed mindlessly at this flashing screen, this computer that has been, coercively, the object of my full attention for many hours. Tonight, I have to write a personal narrative for my AP Literature class, due the next day.
Personal narratives are the most difficult type of writing assignment for me. I never like to talk about myself, you know, maintaining the whole modesty characteristic and what not. Given this introspective moment of clarity, one can infer that discussing stories of my commonplace lifestyle in the first person perspective is not my forte. Isn't writing about your life rather presumptuous and pretentious? What makes one's life so provocative that others should read about it? What yields a life, one of six billion currently functioning, worthy of sharing with an audience? Can the seemingly insignificant moments of one's life be expressed in a fashion both substantial and entertaining through relative recollection? Who has the audacity to exhibit his or her mundane routine as a work of art? Does a life filled with merit satisfy such a prerequisite? What is meritocracy anyways? The questions fly, people die, politicians lie, Tammy Fay Baker cries, and I must conceal all these concerns of virtue and maybe, for once in my life, just follow the directions of my teacher and write a personal narrative. But first, I needed a smoke break.
Returning to my self-proclaimed office, I experienced full satisfaction in the lull in the aforementioned monotony. After cleaning up the debris from my derailed train of thought, the gentle tapping of keys commenced. More questions loomed as another problem reared its sinister mug - the task of selecting a topic. How does a writer choose just one particular moment in his or her life? That's what life is, really, a series of moments. There are many moments that shape one's character for the better or the worse, moments which create the memories that make us smile or cry at our old age, when interstitial glucose fluid is being pumped through our IV unites at the neighborhood old folks home. At that point, memories are really all you have left. Which moments to choose, though, commonplace or exciting? What is commonplace or exciting? These adjectives are relative based on the individual. I could write about a car accident or a family vacation. But alas, those topics are exhausted and too cliché. What about the moments in my life which are exciting to me? Perhaps - but discussing certain proverbial skeletons in my closet may compromise what little integrity and reputation that I may have once had. Not that I should sacrifice skillful, artistically-sound writing for my integrity… who the hell does that? Should the moment I choose be representative of my life as a whole? Should this moment be an atypical event? Should this moment be an archetypical event? Should this moment be one of those pivotal points in life, when one finds Jesus or something? Should I stop asking so many questions? I really don't know anything anymore.
I began to consider stories of my childhood, tomes of me as a strapping young lad, chock full of bubblegum nostalgia and baseball. However, my boyhood was probably more twisted than that. Instead of Mother Goose tales before bed, I heard the tale of Oedipus Rex. I could've written about that, but that piece could convey a wretched tone, which I detest. I could discuss occasions more recent in my life, such as the time I saved a school bus of adorable children from a brigade of grizzly bears and Jehovah's witnesses, and their blasted literature of unequivocal numb-skullery. Sure, I could've written about that, but the piece would have been a fib, since that story didn't really, well, happen; thus negating the function of this writing assignment. I quickly nixed both ideas.
My brain was racing against a clock that was determined to win. I had only a few precious hours left of the night before the pattern of my thought would look less like a Monte and more like Pollack. I began pacing with anxiety, pacing like a man in a hospital waiting room, waiting to hear news of his wife's baby. Except the reward I was expecting to receive would not be saturated in embryonic fluid, which is definitely a plus in my book. It would be in the form of a brilliant yet intangible thought. The muses' powerful enlightenment was not with me that evening, and they were definitely not willing to bear any children that would eat away at this gargantuan writer's block. Or course, I would only expect them to eat away at the writer's block in small baby bites. I don't set my standards too high.
Then, it hit me like a ton of bricks! When the throbbing pain subsided, I had an idea that only a mind as mangled within the cracks of the divergent consciousness as mine could even conceive. Why not write a personal narrative about… well, writing a personal narrative. Holy shit, that's genius!
The murky waters of this uncharted territory were sure to add a creative spice to my stew of amateur literature. A writer needs a lot of zest, and a whole lot of a lot of zeal, to satisfy the writing portfolio gods. Zesty zeal, if you will. For these gods are wrathful, jealous, and uncompromising; they demand their children to bear good fruit, the fruit of conformist writing in five-paragraph style. A young writer must adhere to their imperatives, for they have no objections to strike vengeance upon thee Old Testament-style if thou does not provide them with only the most formulaic and eager to please writing. Only the most ripened fruit is allowed to cleanse the pallets of their scathing mouths, featuring their demonic and jagged yellow teeth and a reptilian tongue which spits vitriolic venomous vile. Gee whiz, wait until they get a load of my recently acquired ingenuity. The portfolio gods would gasp in speechlessness as they held the physical manifestation of enlightenment in their hands. The gods of creative stifling would have absolutely nothing to say whilst reading such an experimental manuscript. How dare you sport thus with criticism? You ingrates! My piece would be a personal narrative that relayed an event at the exact same moment that I was writing about it! No one has ever done this. Ever. It would be analogous to live television. Remember how impressed the populous was when CBS began broadcasting live television programs by satellite in 1960? Well, I don't, I wasn't born yet, but I'm very sure everyone was very impressed. Actually, saying the television viewing audience was impressed is like saying the Pacific Ocean is moist, the understatement does not do the facts justice. That is similar to how the portfolio gods will feel about my personal narrative, a live personal narrative. A personal narrative that is "alive."
My words zipped across the computer screen like an obese man toward the nearest fast food restaurant; my fingers were all over the keyboard like a defensive lineman. I was in the zone, baby - the zone. I attempted to convey all of my most intelligent thoughts at the time into the writing piece. Upon completion of the final paragraphs, I gradually arose from my chair to my feet, towering above the flickering computer screen, and in a motionless position, I gazed once again at the room's corner, reflecting on the monster that I had created.
As opposed to Victor Frankenstein's reaction to his monster, I relished in what I created. I yelped a barbaric cheer and proceeded to engage in bodily seizure-like movements devoid of any facsimile of rhythm. In the world of young writers, this is collectively known as the Happy Dance, physically portraying satisfaction at a job well done. The fuel that kindles the ritualistic Happy Dance fire is the euphoric, gleeful emotions that the writer experiences concerning the literature he or she has composed. The Happy Dance only occurs when the consensus of both the writer's mind and soul give the work completed an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Since I wrote the piece in a darkened room, partaking in the Happy Dance was an acceptable choice. In public, the Happy Dance equates to "no dice."
After ceasing this tribal activity, I inaugurated the said actions into my personal narrative piece. Thoroughly delighted and satiated with my paper, my trembling hand, demonstrative of my delirium, grasped the computer mouse and proceeded to select the "Print" option. The printer regurgitated the papers slowly, the ribbon and cartridge pacing side to side inside the printer just like I did in the room, while expectantly anticipating the ton of bricks. The squealing hiss of the printer's operation became a beckoning, cyclic roar as I waited for my work to finally come to life and breath in the three dimensional world.
At last! I shuffled my papers like a news anchorman, and a sly grin peeled across my face. This is the piece that will refurbish my stagnant portfolio; this will be my offering to appease the portfolio gods. This is my most ripened fruit offering, a fruit with plump girth and abundant juices. Juices with a Tang-like ambrosia, the nectar of the portfolio gods. The night was growing older and more tired by the minute, and so was my well-being. Hence, I found it most fit to softly slumber the rest of the night away, to plummet into the arms of Morpheus, sleeping with the cozy fulfillment of a nicely written personal narrative. I spawned an idea that was ironically unique. Perhaps the portfolio gods will concur with my notion and administer my due kudos. Or perhaps not. Perhaps I am just a lousy writer without any clever ideas, an unambiguous smart-ass looking for a quick cop-out so I can go to bed.
back, i say