Here is a sneak preview of my upcoming novel which will be posted on Wattpad when I get around to it.
I am telling this story so you will believe.
My life began in Mrs. Martinez’s office, which was decorated up and down with sequoia. To this day I have never seen so many tree decorations in a single area. They were on the wallpaper, on the light switch, the rug, the molding around the floor and even on the ancient glass ceiling lights that set off a warm and comforting glow.
I was sitting on my hands, rocking the squeaking swivel chair almost off its wooden legs. Mrs. Martinez sat peacefully, as if there was no agonizing squeaking sound piercing the otherwise silent counseling office.
At last, she ceased typing and looked over at me. “Alright Daniel, sorry about that. What can I do for you, sir?”
“I want to be a poet.” The words came bubbling out of my lips, a violent waterfall of dreams all pouring out inside this sequoia office. “And I know it's tough and I know I’ll be a starving artist but I want to do it I really, really, really, really, do, I didn’t realize how much I wanted it until last night when I was reading some stuff by William Wordsworth have you read his poetry before Mrs. Martinez its beautiful, glorious, and he said, oh what did he say…” I snapped my fingers together, as if the motion would make me recall the single phrase that sparked the rest of my life. “Well no matter it was something wise and profound and I looked up like I was in a trance and it hit me! It hit me Mrs. Martinez! A poet! A poet!”
Mrs. Martinez was looking on with an amused expression, like that of a passing shopper who sees a child playing or singing or laughing. Her mouth was moving thoughtfully but the rushing of the world was so loud and my mind was so bubbled over with the sheer relief and the excitement of finally saying my hearts’ desires aloud that I didn’t quite catch what she said. I can recall thinking that it likely wouldn’t matter since she was smiling which meant she was pleased, which meant she wouldn’t force me to become a textile worker like my aptitude test had told me.
“But, well…” She tapped her fingers and looked concerned and I stopped my restless movement. “I guess I’m not on your wavelength. You’ve got it figured out it seems, what would you like to be counseled on?”
“Oh, well…” I’ll admit that I hadn’t really thought that far. In my mind it was the thing to do. When you find out your life calling, you go and tell your counselor. At least, that’s what Bennie did about a month ago. He came slamming into the house one day after school, head all ablaze, singing and shouting, ‘I’m going to be an architect! And Mrs. Martinez said I could! So there!’ I had it ingrained in my mind that there was a tradition that came with discovering your dream, a ritual of sorts that happened to involve Rutland High School’s career counselor. I wanted to be a part of what my brother had. “I guess… I guess I just wanted to tell you that’s all. Test out how it would feel to finally say it.”
“Well, the only word I have is to not take the term starving artist lightly. Very few people are able to be a poet and nothing else. I’d assume even Shakespeare had a day job until things really started taking off.”
“Well… I think I could do it Mrs. Martinez. Really truly I do.”
“Do you have poems written?”
“Yes… Little ones I mean… just kind of ramblings… No actually, not really.”
If the poems in my head counted I would have enough books to fill their own library. But the truth about life is that you typically don’t realize something is special until a lot farther down the road. As I was walking through the woods behind my brother and kicking up the leaves and the rocks as I went, being a poet was about the last thing on my mind. Even last week my head was consumed by other things, writing down the poetry in my thoughts of course, was not one of them.
She smiled gently and the sequoia gathered around her. Their painted and sculpted leaves even seemed to tremble, vigorously and strongly. It was not a timid shaking but a proud and defiant clatter of drums. “Well I say the first step is to write some poetry.”
“Yes, yes I think that’s exactly the first step.” My fingers were vibrating against the palm of my hand and I felt a deep sense of profundity flowing through every part of my body. Something had just been made concrete. I had taken the first leap, lit a flame that was racing down a string track. The universe itself seemed to be singing.
“You know Daniel, there isn’t a single thing in this life which does not contain poetry in it. The best of luck to you.”
She dismissed me and I fled from the office on steel legs down the sequoia lined corridors of the counseling office. School had only just begun but I raced out the front doors, the sleepy security guards not even looking up from their desks. I ran across the scraggly expanse of lawn, a biting October wind pushing me along somewhere far and free. I felt like I could go and do as I pleased. I could run and jump and hide and speak in any manner I wanted. I had grown up, or at least was starting too.
The grass seemed greener and the sky seemed bluer and wider than it ever had before. The wind took on a material clarity and everything bloomed and vibrated around me. It was like the day I put on my glasses for the first time and all the fuzziness had turned sharp and clear. It was like a whole new world was dawning at my fingertips.
With a new sense about myself I ran. Through dead leaves and wilting flowers and dry, brittle grass. The cracked remains of the mountain pink flower traced everywhere I stepped, and it seemed like all the trees were sequoia, reaching high and far up into the sky, their leaves deafening as I raced through them. I skipped and danced and jumped all around, whispering and then shouting.
“I’m going to be a poet! I’m going to be a poet!”
I closed my eyes and I saw it, I wrapped my fingers around it. I grabbed a pen filled with starlight and wrote my story on the waves of the universe. It was there for the taking and I had never been more eager.
I circled around a birch tree, grabbing its trunk and flinging myself in an ecstatic circle.
“So this is a dream then?” A crystal voice sounded behind me.
I turned around, already grinning, my response to the voice fresh on my tongue. “Yes! Yes a dream like no-“
But there was nobody there.
My steel legs stood rooted and I felt every bit of skin crawl over my bones. I peeked behind the birch tree, and finding no one, backed myself up against it. The woods around me suddenly seemed very dense. “Is anyone there?”
The last of the birch tree’s leaves rustled above me, a few cascading down to my feet, bumping against my head and my arms on the way. The wind had gone away and then I heard her voice again.
“This dream will not come easy.”
A shiver went through me and I shook the tree with a force that knocked all the remaining leaves off of it.
I had never heard voices before, and due to all the movies and books I had always assumed that it would be a very scary incident. I suppose for many people it is, hearing someone else’s voice inside your own head, one that is saying things you did not think and sitting beside your own mind, overpowering it. But her voice was beyond me, it had been all around me, like it was being carried on the wind or like the trees and all their leaves were speaking. I felt what a person who used a telephone for the first time felt. Hearing a voice right next to you, a voice of someone real and very close but yet they were miles away. So upon hearing it I wasn’t filled with an eerie sense that my life had taken on the plot of a horror film, but I was filled with an even greater sense of determination, and better than that I didn’t feel quite so alone. I felt supported, comforted. I trusted her enough to respond.
“But that’s the thing about dreams, isn’t it? You’re willing to work for them.”
The answer came later that night, in the dark space between reality and dreams. “Yes, dreams are things you make tangible.”
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