Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Struggle and Memory

Sometimes it's hard to write.

We all know this - no surprise.

There's power in a clear description of the struggle, and in particular I love this student's depiction of the bare, spareness of struggle for inspiration. It's made even richer by the second part of her writing from the same week, in which she drops us into a landscape of incredible richness and a strong, vivid, lively memory.

In fact the prompt was to take us to a landscape. First she takes us inside her mind, an empty-seeming scape she describes acutely. Then, within that spare space, she finds a rich rabbit hole of a memory.

As always, this is fresh, unedited, pure mind raw writing.


Life On Earth
What appears? Nothing appears. That’s not exactly true. It’s just that it’s hard  to describe.

If anything, I suppose you would call it a moonscape, but made of concrete, like an old parking lot, with pock marks where over-large pebbles in the  mixture have come loose and been kicked or blown away. It is gray. There isn’t much above the surface; at least my viewpoint doesn’t take it in. The air is foggy so my vision is clouded. There is very little color other than gray – many shades of gray, and some brown, like dry twigs.

Where is this place? It stretches on and on, although I can’t look very far in any direction; there is something limiting my field of vision, tight, like a rubber band.

This place is who I am right now. Something lurks in my path and it cannot be passed, tamed, or avoided. The dread is consuming me, or eating me from the inside out.

The summer my father ran for Congress was a very green summer. I was fourteen. My older brother and sister and I formed a group, along with my brother’s best friend, and we sang folk songs at all the ox roasts and labor picnics where my father gave speeches. Every weekend we went somewhere in the district, usually a public park.

When we weren’t singing, we were roaming through the parking lot putting Samuel for Congress bumper stickers on all the cars. I can’t imagine that happening today. It is a green memory. Summer, before climate change. Warm, moist, green, happy, purposeful, optimistic. Anything was possible that summer.

-Barbara Samuel

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