I’ve Missed You

There you are. I’ve missed you.

I feared you were gone forever…gone for good. I haven’t seen you in many months, maybe even a few years. Where did you go? And why?

No, let’s not dwell on the past. You’re here now. I’m glad of it. I thought that I would forget myself when I finally saw your face again, but I find that I’m still remembering myself…in spite of your glory.

There are those eyes! So beautiful. The perfect combination of your mother’s and father’s. Dark on the outer edges, and lighter and lighter as I move inward, so that the light brown slowly fades to green and then to blue. A brilliant blue. I’d forgotten it. I’d forgotten how long you yearned for blue eyes, and then one day realized you’d had them all along.

I haven’t seen your eyes in many months. Maybe even a few years. I’ve seen bits and pieces of you, here and there. A flicker of light out of the corner of my eyes. A flash…and then you were gone again. Why did you have to go?

I searched for you. I left no rock unturned, no book unopened, no light unlit. I stood on my tiptoes and pushed myself to reach just a little higher, because maybe, just maybe, you were hiding up there. I dropped to my stomach and crawled around, desperately searching for you…searching for much longer than I care to admit. Searching for much longer than I should have. Searching for long enough that I should have found you.

But I never did. I tried. I really tried. Maybe you couldn’t see it, maybe others couldn’t see it, but I tried with all my might. I replayed the songs we used to love. I rewatched the movies we used to rewatch until we could recite the lines in our heads…the same ones I watched in other languages because I knew them so well. Because we knew them so well.

Nothing worked. You left me. And I couldn’t figure out how to get you back. I wasn’t mad at you. I’m still not mad at you. I’m mad at myself. Frustrated that I worked so long and so hard to get you back, and then out of nowhere you just came flitting up to me, like nothing had happened…like you had been here all along. Jumping out at me as though you’d just been hiding in the corner. Hiding for only a second.

But you hid for many months. Maybe even a few years. It’s been so long that I can’t remember now. But you’re here now. Let us forget the past. I’ve been remembering it enough lately for the both of us. I’m ready to be with you again.

I’m ready to be you again. I’m ready to break out of this shell that’s been blinding me to you. I’m ready to get off the floor, to rise on my two strong feet, and take you back.

Where have you been? Why couldn’t I find you? Why did you make it so difficult for me to find you?

I’m glad you’re back. I’ve missed you.

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Unfinished

I love to read. I can get emotionally invested in a book three lines in, and occasionally I will spend an entire day sitting in my living room reading. Earlier this year, I read a 400 page book start to finish in one day (which, while not unheard of, was uncommon to say the least).

However, I have found that I don’t really enjoy reading short stories. I recently read Duck by Stephen Parolini on my Kindle app, and while I thoroughly enjoyed it (and highly recommend it), I finished it way too fast. I loved the main character, Thomas, and I was left wishing for a longer picture into his life.

It just felt so…unfinished.

I like to lose myself in a book. I’m currently reading John Steinbeck’s East of Eden, and I find myself wishing I could sit and have a cup of ng-ka-py with Samuel Hamilton. I think that I like reading so much because I tend to see the characters in my books as my friends, and I enjoy going on adventures with them. In the same way that listening to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” instantly takes me back to being 11 years old and going shopping with my girlfriends for matching t-shirts, the nostalgia that I get from reading (and especially rereading) books makes me feel all warm and cozy inside.

“It’s like a long book that you never want to end. And you’re fine with that because you just never, ever want to leave it.” – Pam Halpert, The Office.

I get so invested in the characters that I never want the book to end. I just want to continue being a part of their lives for as long as possible. I want to settle in, burrow down into the covers, and live each day through and with these fictional creations.

And my writing reflects that sentiment. I spend so much time in the day-to-day lives of my characters, really fleshing them out and getting to know them, that the plot kind of falls to the way side. I have these individuals that I love and know so well, but I’ve written 50 pages about them and NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. Perhaps this is why I like John Steinbeck so much? He’s rather heavy on character development and lacking on moving a story forward. I remember my favorite chapter from Grapes of Wrath was an early, very short chapter about a turtle crossing the road. Steinbeck literally spent four or five pages discussing in great detail this little reptile’s trek across the street. The detail and descriptions are so effortless and perfect.

My favorite book of all-time, in case it wasn’t obvious, is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. In fact, my pen name is partly derived from the heroine of To Kill a Mockingbird and one of my all-time favorite literary females, Scout Finch. One of my favorite parts of the book are Lee’s descriptions of the fictional town of Maycomb:

“In rainy weather, the streets turned to red slop; grass grew on the sidewalks, the courthouse sagged in the square. Somehow, it was hotter then…Men’s stiff collars wilted by nine in the morning. Ladies bathed before noon, after their three-o’clock naps, and by nightfall were like soft teacakes with frostings of sweat and sweet talcum.”

Isn’t that just beautiful? It makes me wish that Harper Lee had written more novels after To Kill a Mockingbird. Her imagery is just so spot on, and her characters are unforgettable. There have been a lot of great dads throughout the history of literature, but Atticus Finch takes the cake. I’ve literally read this book more than twenty times, and it just keeps getting better.

The thing is, I’m realizing that if I’m ever going to FINISH a story, it’s almost going to have to be a short story, because I can’t seem to get it up enough to properly flesh out all the characters and story lines bouncing around in my head. I have a few stories that I’m currently working on, and I’m excited about them. I know I don’t get on here much and that it’s hard to keep current with me, since I can be so hit or miss in terms of consistency. But I feel like something great is around the bend. And if you love literature the way I love it, I think you’ll be excited about what’s coming, too.