Following my heavy subject blog post last week on life and death, I’ve been working on one of my novels non-stop. The chapters I have been working on required me to do some digging into some old writing and research for one of my characters. In the process, I stumbled upon more writing I did back when I was at UCSD.
One of the last workshop courses I took at UCSD was called “Philosophy of Writing”. Yes, the title of the class was just as terrifyingly confusing as the professor and his assignments. I reread two of the stories I wrote and was thoroughly confused. I couldn’t recognize my purpose or reasoning behind the piece. I finally remembered that even back then, I had no idea what I was writing.
This isn’t surprising to me. It was fall quarter of my senior year at UCSD: I was battling the flu for the second time in three months and bronchitis that lasted for months; my patience was being severely tested by a professor who had it out for me because of my background and had no problem telling me what she thought of me and my writing through a letter connected to one of my assignments (in this situation, I put on the professor shoes and had to educate her on diversity); my mom was going off to Hajj and I couldn’t bid her safe travels in person; I won’t even get started on how I was dealing with my French literature class … I was a mess. These are the only reasons I can find behind writing such dark and nonsensical pieces during that time in my life.
In case any of you are interested, I did some digging and found an “Explanatory Note” that my professor required us to attach to each of our assignments. The following piece was apparently my interpretation of Foucault and Barthes’ theories on author-function. It was my response to Foucault’s “What is an Author” and Barthes’ “Death of the Author.” Based on my attempt to bridge both philosopher’s concepts into one, the grammar and verb tense in the piece are off; that was deliberate. Despite the high grade I did achieve for that course, so much for actually retaining anything I learned.
I need to head back to my writing, so I shall leave you with this piece originally untitled. Remember, this hasn’t been touched in four years and I’m pretty sure it was one of those “written at 3 am the night before class” assignments. I bid you well wishes trying to understand the story.
As promised, I will always post on Thursdays, even if it means putting up an old, horribly written story and embarrassing myself in the process…
The full moon of the month illuminates the grisly streets of the city. A shadow lurks on every corner sending spiders to hide within their cobwebs. Howls of unidentified animals whine into the air giving it a chill. The crisp winds lick at his black leather jacket. He pulls on the zipper as if to make sure it is possible to extend it beyond closing point. Hands wrapped tightly around themselves, wrings his fingers to conceal any warmth, he hastily walks on in a confident stance illustrating that he knows where he needs to go and it must be quick. There is no time left. It is coming.
His eyes perk up at the site of an old run down house at the end of the street. Light stream from its windows shining itself onto the dark and vacant houses nearby. He reaches the fence. Slowly opening the crooked gate, he begins to ascend the steps gently as to not step on the trail of spiders leading the way. He reaches out to the doorknob, ready to twist –
STOP! Do not enter… turn back slowly… Now.
He jumps, turning around to the gentle whispers. No sound, the area around him is calm. A shiver runs down his spine. He shakes it off and once again returns to the door. Spiders now lay confident on the doorknob, circling tighter and tighter. Changing his mind, he walks back and out the gate. Maybe this isn’t the right house.
You’re not there yet. You must keep going…must.
His first step back on the street, rain pelts down hard jerking him awake and washing out any noise. He pulls up his collar and wraps his arms tightly to hug in the warmth and continues on down the street. As if on cue, lights begin to pour out of the houses followed by laughter and happy voices. Brows furrowed in confusion, he makes a turn into a dark alley only to find another row of houses. These are silent and almost ghostly like. He can sense his destination is near now. It must be. The houses become larger and scarcer leaving now more space between them. Unsure of his next step, he stops to consider any options.
No, keep going… almost there… I should know, shouldn’t I?
Again the whispers startle him. He spins slowly in a circle shifting his eyes back and forth to spot the thing that spoke. No one seems to be lurking nearby. There lie only houses, dark, dim and undisturbed. One holds an aura of cobwebs. The rain stops. Dew glistens on the webs revealing a pathway by which to enter into the garden surrounding the grand front door. Shoving his hands into his jacket pockets, he walks through the webs up to the brick walls holding together the steel door. He raises his hand to knock and stops right before his hand reaches the gold metal.
Do not fear, enter.
The door smoothly opens shining light onto his face. Hunching his shoulders, he shoves his hands into his jeans pockets again. He enters slowly and spots a shadow coming near yet no image appears.
Welcome home. Be prepared. Another maze awaits you once again. It will reorganize itself soon. Ready? Set. Go…
The lights go out. He stands in a misty jungle ready to follow the light and whispers once again.