March 21, 2010

Spring Cleaning


As I was trying to think of a topic for today's post, I ended up sorting through a lot of my old work.  Like a lot of people, when I procrastinate, I try to do so productively so that I don't feel as bad.  I went in and edited some stories I have no intention of working on again, I reorganized my folders on the computer, and I added a few lines to some extremely stale false starts.  While doing that, I came across this piece that I almost forgot about.  I think it was written about a year and a half ago.  Even though it is just an intro, there's something that I like about it.  Perhaps I'll put some more into it down the road.  For now, I want to show you guys a snapshot of some of my pre-HBM writing.


When I was eleven years old, all I wanted to do was fall in love.  As far as I knew, it was amazing. It involved romance, adventure, struggle, sacrifice, sex, and heart-felt words; it was everything about the world that I craved and had never experienced. Only when in love would you have the opportunity and motivation to say, “I would never let anything hurt you.” I think, in addition to the other perks, I believed that love gave you superhuman powers, allowing you to stop oncoming city buses if your loved one was in their path. 

I tried to find love.  I went to all the school dances and I always asked someone to dance.  I braved the ridicule and glares and spoke to girls outside of the dances, even the ones far too cool to be friends with me.   It was in vain, of course. I turned twelve in the middle of grade seven and remained loveless, even danceless. 
My determination for love saw me alternating between morose dejection and elated excitement. As often as I was let down by the eventual detachment of a girl in my class, I was thrilled by a glance, a genuine laugh, or a small kindness from another.  This over-sensitivity to the changes of fate made me prone to replaying my day in my mind, looking for a clue as to whom my one true love would be.

It became a habit to keep myself occupied while my mind tabulated my luck for the day.  It was frustrating to consciously mull over every small event.  One day, I had wandered into our pantry, where I lifted up our trap door and peered into the crawlspace underneath the house. It was pitch black inside but I could smell the gas from the furnace and slightly rank smell of the dirt and clay.  Still wondering whether Jenny had meant to brush up against me while I was at my locker, I flicked on the light and went down.

I think I was going to have this kid make a tunnel under his house to...somewhere.  I can't remember.  Maybe I'll put him into someone else's story instead of this one.  Like I said, there's something about him that I like.

Alex Newcombe

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