Thursday, May 01, 2003

i did not realize, let alone celebrate, it, but yesterday was my last day of classes this semester. i loved this semester. being me, of course, i was very apprehensive at the end of last semester. being me, of course, i'm now very apprehensive about the fall.

people shrug me off when i voice these apprehensions. half of the semester will be swollen with screenplay writing. i've only written one and the general consensus (i'd link to the triggerstreet reviews but that would be ghastly and depressing) was that it was sub-par. true, it was a first effort. but who's to say that this attempt will go better?
people say pshaw and i'm offended, the way a 6 year old is offended when not taken seriously. no, really, people, i'm scared to death. the least you can do is squeeze my hand.

i wrote a lot when i was 6. i had a ramona quimby diary and when i confided something too personal, i'd tear out the page, scribble over the words, shred it and bury it in the trash can in my brothers' bathroom. i wrote stories about life being cruel and unfair, which for me it was not. i wrote about girls named kate and mary and personally knew none. influenced and transfixed by the roald dahl books, in particular boy, my stories nearly always involved violent punishment of children. no one ever hit me, except the time my older brother knocked into my mouth and a baby tooth fell out, as though he'd put a quarter into a vending machine. in reaction he said he deserved half the tooth-fairy money.

when i was 10, the parabola of a tennis ball inspired me to rush home and write my first poem. it begins, "i had a dream the other night/ i flew with silver wings/ surprisingly i wasn't scared/ to leave all normal things" and ends, "it was a time to start another day/ but when this one will end:/ maybe i'll fly again tonight/ and this time, with a friend." actually i'd never dreamt about flying. i still never have.

the flying poem was anthologized by the bastards at the national library of poetry. those vultures feed on the vanity of people like me, pretending to sponsor a contest, updating you every few weeks, "CONGRATULATIONS!! you're in the TOP 2%!! send us more cash." eventually they declare you a winner and sell you, for $50, a hardback book with your poem on page 424 after as many horrifically bad poems called "rain" "the day my cat died" and "when you left." the first in the book -- it's burned into my memory -- begins, "salty tears run down my cheek/ as if my eyes had sprung a leak."

i know we all have to learn lessons in life, but really though that one was way harsh. the funniest part about it, which after about a week i could appreciate, was that they also sold you a tape with your poem read aloud by a sonorously-voiced man. this guy, who probably had an mfa from princeton, had, with utmost solemnity, to recite my 10-year-old stab at lyricism: "... as i flew higher and higher, i/ could see the land no more/ so i spread my wings to try to glide/ what a thrill it was to soar! ..."

the moral of this story is, i'm not ready for this semester to end yet. i have 14 fears about next semester (11 logical, 3 il- ), none of which can be scoffed away. please, just squeeze my hand.

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