Take A Pike

In the early 2000’s a yellow-paged book came into my possession. “The Last Vampire” by Christopher Pike slipped itself over the backseat of a traveling bus. I retrieved the soft cover novel and started reading about a five-thousand year old vampire, called Sita. In a matter of days the story came to an end. I passed the book back over the seat and waited for the next one to come through. 51WS2P2XR2L

Jackie, my dealer, supplied the novels to several people in class. A small group that used the books as inspiration for their own novels. We traded composition books full of vampires that lived in Egypt during a time before pharaohs, similar to Sita’s background. She lived in India where an evil spirit inhabited her dead friend and started the vampire lineage.

My version mirrored this heritage as the protagonist summons a spirit to revive her dead friend. This started the lineage of vampires to encroach the human world but without the promise of eternal life. A vampire would live the expected lifespan of a human but with superhuman powers, like telekinesis. I gave these stories to friends that gave them back with confused looks.

“If they don’t live forever then how are they still alive?” they asked, flipping to the front page of  my story. I saw that it began in modern day times with the same character that lived a thousand years ago. Somehow this plot-hole never occurred to me. I needed to revise the story.

I changed my vampires to infinite creatures of the night in exchange for their telekinesis. This allowed my protagonist to flourish with also a goal in mind. She needed to keep her life eternal while recovering her superpowers. I found something new and interesting about the story that kept me writing and reading stories.

Christopher Pike continued to inspire me as his characters often dealt with deadly matters. In the “Chain Letter” series, a group of friends submitted themselves to a mysterious contract that forced them to commit embarrassing acts in exchange for the send’s silence. This deal stretched over the length of three novels. I finished the last one in my dad’s car while on the way to high school.51YXS2N1PSL

At this point all my friends found different clicks of people to engage with. I ventured into the art department where I found the terror of commitment. Turning in a disfigured still-life embarrassed me more than an incomplete one. I turned in sketches of men with only half a face or two-legged elephants. Although earning a passing-grade they left me feeling ashamed of my inability to complete things, similar to Pike’s characters.

The unknown meant the unwillingness to find out the mysteries ahead. I needed to charge ahead through the gray between contoured lines and blank paper. I needed to stop fear with perseverance. This allotted my imagination to find a balance between the real and the unreal as projects completed themselves. Because the thing about art is that it only exists as it is made.

I still struggle with the ability to sometimes follow a professor’s instructions to finish a story. Sometimes my projects amount to nothing except fine detail and little character growth. These things matter little and a lot. Art needs time to grow , and I’m willing to make more deals with myself and others, in order to see that happen. After all, writers need readers as much as I want the next vampire installment from Christopher Pike.

 

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The Aftertaste of a Dream

 

Four years ago I got rejected from art school in New York City. The experience left me stranded in the middle of Florida with two best friends. We gathered our strength together in order to help one another. A flock of hands lifted one us out of a broken heart and into the art studio, where they learned to give into their emotions with by studying them. A flock of hands pulled one of us away from a small town, where everyone believed that a medical degree led to happiness, and into the vibrant city of Orlando. Each of them found a way to believe in themselves again while I wondered where to start.img-thing.jpeg

I switched majors, from art to writing, but still felt aimless. New York City no longer appealed to me since Orlando became my home. Its craft coffee shops, literary clubs, and hipster bars resonated with my need for culture. I no longer felt the craving to taste other cities, but I still craved a dream.

One of my friends went on to graduate and moved to a different state. The other one got married and continues to study art at the same university that I attend. We still help one another get through the hard times. Although, not all hard times call for the attendance of friends. For example, I felt the bitter taste of rejection the other night and thought of New York City. After several seconds it dissolved into something sweet. My teeth grinded against one another in anticipation for the next sample of rejection. I needed to taste something like it again. Maybe I’ll go to grad school. Maybe I’ll intern at a radio station. Either way I need a dream again.

Morning Lion

In my bed I once awoke to find a lion sitting at the foot of it. My first instinct wasn’t to scream as perhaps someone, a less imaginative-someone, might have done. It’s golden mane was unlike any one I saw ever in my dreams. I didn’t want it to disappear so I forfeited sleep and comfort. I crawled slowly towards the beast. The bed seemed longer than I remembered it to be. Through tunnels and mountains my body tumbled. Even through an avalanche of pillows did I not take my eyes off the brilliant beast. It’s pearlescent teeth reminded me of a pirate treasure I buried beneath the ocean when still an adolescent. The closer we came together the more familiar our friendship seemed to be. I couldn’t remember the last time we met but that didn’t seem to be important. I knew that approaching it was not against the laws of nature. So I came as close to it as possible but still did not touch it, for there was still the fear of it being an illusion. I could smell oatmeal in it’s mane, the kind my father served me every morning before school. We talked for several minutes about Kindness before it reminded me that no one deserves solitude. I saw it’s paw shiver and that’s when I noticed the sun was beginning to leak through the blinds. I asked it not to go. It promised to come back. I hope so.

The Next Academy Award

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I can tell the day is still fresh even though I woke up late. The man in front of me, ordering a triple shot late, is without any wrinkles in his business suit. There’s something about him that’s different from the ones back home. The stripes on his back are bold thick black lines that glow with a grey outline. When he puts a hand in his pocket the pants hug a hard body.

He pays for the coffee. I pay and sit down to start my homework. Only two minutes later my eyes end up studying a couple in the corner of the cafe. I figure this is as good a time as any to daydream about my future.

I decided to enroll myself back into college but still am without a goal in mind. Like a trophy or Academy Award, maybe it’s easier to go through the motions of labor when there’s the possibility of a reward. Except, I’ve been in that frame of mind before and it got me nowhere. If anything I feel that this blog has reaped more possibilities out of my future than school ever has. I discovered newspapers that are looking for my point of view. I’ve opened up about myself for the good and bad, and I’ve learned more about myself.

So what do I want next? I want to finish school just to finish it. A bad grade can be a bad grade but that doesn’t mean I haven’t learned anything. Don’t get me wrong I still care but it’s different than before. I don’t think school has all to offer. I have all to offer if I just keep trying. Maybe some people envision romance or a fancy suit for their futures but I want my writing.

Enlightenment

It was the during the first week of attending University when already I started feeling boxed in. Nobody knew my name. Every night so far I had stayed in reading about people’s journeys instead of taking them. The spiritual adventure about fulfillment that Elizabeth Gilbert took in “Eat, Pray, Love” was one I truly admired. It wasn’t just the places she went to, but the risks she took in facing down her demons through meditation that I loved reading about. Inside myself there were arguments I was unwilling to have at the time. The most important ones were about love, loneliness, and creativity. I needed help expressing them so I started searching for a guru. Every day on campus I noticed there were groups of faith located in the courtyard. Some were about Jesus while others were about Atheism. I had a particular attraction to the one with a swami and three male disciples. I decided to sit down and talk with them about their beliefs to see how they could help me. It wasn’t like I was prejudiced against any of the others but this was a faith I had never heard of. Bhakti Yoga. I learned that they were vegetarians whom worshiped Lord Krishna through meditation. I pictured them sitting and chanting thoughtful words until reaching Enlightenment. Looking back now this was ignorant of me to assume. That was what I wanted so I accepted their invitation to visit temple the following evening. “I think there will be lots of students there.” I told my best friend Patootie (Alias). Patootie was going through a rough transformation at the time and agreed to come along. I think he pictured Meditation the same way I had. The next day though we found ourselves ready more for the gym than prayer. Outside, the temple looked like a regular person’s house with a vegetable garden. Inside were glossy wood floors, a monk, and a stage altar. The Monk welcomed us and offered a seat after Patootie and I took off our shoes. He told us about how faith was something he relied on to carry him through the darkness. I couldn’t really relate because I felt that darkness was still something I hadn’t opened myself up to. I didn’t know what my challenges were. Halfway through the Monk’s explanation of Prayer was when a group of them entered with the Swami. He was an older gentleman with a shaved head and draped in an orange robe. Patootie and I were welcomed to a half hour long dance/music circle. I shook a tambourine while chanting “Hari Krishna” over and over again. I remember thinking: Even though this isn’t what I wanted this is still exciting! And it was. After the dance the Monks pulled out their texts to review with the Swami, like a sermon. I took this time to watch Patootie. He seemed nervous when everything began but by now he was perfectly relaxed. I was happy.


An hour later we were on our way home discussing what just happened. Patootie expressed that he had been afraid at first. He hand’t expected something of Faith but a group that could help quiet his mind. I agreed but noted that what just happened never could have taken place in our hometown. That’s when I realized there was so much to explore. The reason I’m so boxed in is because I feel empty, I said to myself. I wanted more experiences inside of me. If they weren’t exactly similar to the ones in “EPL” I had to be okay with that. You can’t recreate other people’s experiencesAnd you shouldn’tSo I vowed to build a nest of my own interesting things. After dropping Patootie off at his house I went back to my own. I grabbed a couple of paint brushes, pastels, a canvas, and played some Lady Gaga on my iPod. This was my hymn and altar. I loved art. I loved music. I loved color. Maybe that day I hadn’t reached Enlightenment but I’d be damned if I stopped trying.

Stepping Out Part One

I used to get confused on what to write about. Confused because what I wanted to write about was my life. The problem was everything in it seemed small and uninteresting. I studied, read books, worked out, downloaded music, danced, and served tables at a local diner. I still do these things, but somehow recently they all have blossomed.

It happened three months ago when I pushed my studies aside to let myself grow. Since then I have posted a blog, sung karaoke, taken dance lessons, and found out that I don’t want to serve for the rest of my life. These are the basic means to my happiness. How?

Well when I was in school my studies were the last thing I wanted to do. I remember scraping patience from the bottom of the bin just to write a vocabulary sheet. It was exhausting. There were bigger fish to be had like singing, dancing, writing a good story, playing the guitar, learning to rollerblade, and painting. They swam around my head and I just couldn’t keep up. After six years of pursuing one passion I realized others were passing by.

It wasn’t easy though to let go of “mental” comforts. Luxury is said to be owned by those whom can afford them, and college was supposed to support me with a Dream Job. A job that spared me from serving six hours a day for gas money. It was then that I had to ask myself if this was a worthwhile career and the answer was obviously No. I didn’t want to be the person that others called over for more gravy. I wanted to give people interesting things to talk about. I couldn’t do that without first knowing what captured my attention. Everything around me was still blurry. I realized if it took some time to clear my perspective then, for the moment, serving was justifiable.

Time can be defended but it cannot be saved. In the beginning the days rushed over me and I did nothing. I stayed in bed telling myself that I could do things later. What happens then is the bigger fish migrate and someone else reaps the benefits. Happiness I’ve learned is something that has to be seized in the moment, but the moment never comes if one is too lazy to reach out. So I grabbed the edge of the bed and pulled myself out…(To Be Continued).