Answers

fa9b0ebc349855a9a24993414570521bFor one of my last assignments of high school, I was commissioned to write a short story based on a work of literature this year. I chose to base my work of fiction on the theme and premise of St. Augustine’s Confessions (my favorite Christian treatise, by the way!)

Answers: by Rebecca W.

He hurried down the street, swerving this way and that to weave through the evening crowd along the sidewalks. A glance at his phone told him the time, and just as he raised his eyes to the church tower, the church bells tolled, their rings echoing deeply throughout the city. When he heard them he did stop, and pushed his cold-chafed hands into his pockets. The steeple rose above the building tops, it stood out, an old red brick cathedral in the metropolis. The sight of it held him and with a tightness in his chest and throat he stood, staring up at it through the bare branches of the trees, over the cold surfaces of these buildings.

His phone vibrated, shattering his focus. He held up the device and saw that he had received a text message from his mother, his gentle mother, waiting at home for his return. She doesn’t need to always wait, he thought, almost bitterly.

“Augustus, I look forward to hearing about the first day of the semester. I’ll be waiting up. J

He replaced the phone in his pocket and started walking again, pressing against the frigid winds weaving like ghouls throughout this grey city. In all honesty, he began to believe he had chosen the wrong college plan. The wrong focus. The classes…they served to affix his mind with the philosophical questions, ponderings, and insights he had known and wrestled with forever, it seemed. His enthusiasm for investing time and energy in reading the meditations of classical ages…his enthusiasm seemed leaden within him, encrusted by icy indifference. And that feeling dismantled everything about his future, his present, and his past. Augustus’s stride quickened and at last, after an empty hour of pushing past people and ignoring the cold biting his face, he turned onto his street. The apartment he and his mother shared was at the opposite end, but he hurried, his drained mind hardly comprehending the space of time.

“I’m home, mom,” he called, slinging his coat on the rack as he slid the door chain in place. His mother suddenly appeared at the end of the hall in the kitchen doorway, surrounded by the golden glow from within that room.

“Augustus! How was it? How did you like your classes?”

He shrugged and slipped past her to set his backpack down on the window seat.

“Fine,” he said briskly.

She gave a small laugh but then as she watched him her smile became a slight frown. “Just fine?”

“I mean, not much happens on the first day,” Augustus sank into the chair to pull off his leather boots.

“Which class do you like best?” his mom prodded.

“Oh…astronomy, I guess.”

“What about the philosophy one…the Philosophy in Literature class that you signed up for?”

“Fine,” Augustus repeated, even more tersely. He pulled his backpack into his lap and unzipped it, shuffling around for his homework assignment notebook.

His mom sat down across from him, watching him with a thoughtful purse at her mouth. Her eyes, gray-green like his, gazed at him with a steadiness he suddenly found discomfiting.

He felt driven to answer her look, offer at least some explanation for his attitude of disinterest. “Things have changed, I guess. None of it clicks for me. I want to understand too many things, and I just can’t find a way to…relax. I don’t know…” he bit his lip and studied a pen he’d pulled out of the bag. “Maybe I just lost interest.”

His mother sat down at the table, resting her hands on the table. She leaned a bit towards him, and watched how his shoulder slackened, his head bent with weariness.

“Augustus, you were…so ready to begin last year. So full of enthusiasm to jump in, start studying, start working towards your goals…”

“It’s not the teachers, or the classes, or anything. It’s me. Just me.” He sighed, rubbing his jaw slowly. “Maybe it’s time I go a different direction. None of it feels…right…anymore.”

His mother sat back, biting her lip.

“Everything feels so indefinite. What we learn about. What we read. The professors don’t help. I want answers, but I can’t find any. No matter how much I try.”

“Answers to…” his mother prompted.

“Answers to why. How. I mean, it’s just so pointless. Why do I need to study what the Apostles wrote, what the saints of Byzantium wrote, the speculations of Greek philosophers? Maybe I’d be better off concentrating on one of the sciences. Biology. Physics. Those make more sense. I just…got so tired of it all today. I feel like I took the wrong turn in my education.”

As he spoke he sensed the rise of frantic dismay that had chased him on his way home. It caught up now, and he pushed back from the table, stepped out onto the apartment’s balcony, where he could hear the sirens and city sounds reverberating throughout the night. The stars were invisible against the glow of the metropolis. For one swaying, empty moment Augustus longed to see them. He didn’t care how many number of ancient writers, poets, and bards had written of the stars. At the moment, they were out of reach but real. The dizzying thought occurred to him that answers were the same as stars. Desirable answers that never appeared in the reading assignments or in the library books he’d borrowed for research. What did he need answers for? He knew his mother had wanted to ask, but didn’t, out of consideration. He folded his arms, causing his jacket to tighten along his shoulders, warming him in the chill.

Why did he want answers? Why did the disappoint strike him so hard when he lost a train of truth? Why did he open nearly every door available except for one? That one door…it stayed closed. It was the leather-bound book his mother had given to him at age 13. It was the book he ignored. Why didn’t he want to look for answers there? Maybe he feared the truth that existed, for real, within those pages. Like the stars, hidden from his view by the city lights. Always hidden and wanted. But never sought out. He still lived in the city. He still studied the answerless books.

Elsa

Done on my little Samsung Galaxy Note, with ArtFlow! Abby got Frozen for her birthday, and we recently watched it with our brothers and Grandma. Despite its flaws, I love this movie. And I’ve been introduced to a new possibility. Elsa and Hans! Frozen 2? Redemption of the beautifully wicked Hans? I think yes!

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fanguuuurling over the beautiful art of Frozen. I was breathtaken when I watched it in the theater 😶

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Elsa from Frozen! Sorry for its backgroundlessness. I’m going to get to hard work on that when my cintiq gets here, for it will be a whole lot easier than getting out oil paint and water paint and everything else (although I DO want to learn how to use those mediums. Badly.)

flashes, flashing, flare (lighting up the night with my lamp and racing pen)

For lack of a better title, that actually sounds like a title. Because the post title I’m using sounds nooothing like one. Whatever.

this usually doesn’t happen. I mean, I’m usually not alone in the bedroom, but this weekend is an exception. My sister Abby (who shares a room with me), has flown away to TeenPact, leaving me here, to be a hermit, basking in solitude (JUST kidding, my sister. I miss you.)

My lamp is on, and there’s no one to tell me to “turn the freaking lamp down”. (But she doesn’t say freaking, usually).

My headphones boom “Neon Lights” by Demi . . . I have a Modern/Contemporia folder on Spotify . . .

I am in the blogging zone, a place of digital sunshine, flowers, and graphic exclamation marks. So. Here’s to kicking blogging-block to the curb. Farewell!

And . . . oh noes . . . my headphones are dying. Shucks.

54b2bde28d0068918dca0b604e9672fa (1)And now, here is some of my writing snippets that I’d care to sprinkle on now, as a (possible) blogging finality for the night. Probably won’t be the last word from me though. Shucks again.

It was an old joke that must have been over-exhausted by now. Even the puppet felt limp with it as Lydia pulled it out of her basket and examined its velvety material, the little bunny ears flopping forward on her palm.
            Grandmama tautly watched Lydia from her seat on the couch, shoulders bent forward. Not in the elderly stoop, but in the manner a person assumes when prepared to jump in, start commenting with enthusiasm.
            Lydia did not want to look up. She continued to watch the way the ceiling light glinted on the bunny-puppet’s velvet body.
            “Lydia?”
            Lydia’s lashes stirred slightly, as with her slight effort to look away from this joke of a puppet. She would have to slip it on her hand.

 

“Darling, I couldn’t wait for you.”
Her voice pierced him, although she never spoke. He could read the words in her eyes.
His throat slowly began to swell, until he could not even imagine speaking, until the pain constricted his every other sense, even his vision. Her face became blurred, her pile of hair an inky smudge over her brow. And her eyes! Like caverns, and his dizziness prevented him from seeing their spark.

The following was inspired by these lyrics:

//You’re trying to save me, stop holding your breath

You think I’m crazy, yeah, well that’s my plan//

(“The Monster” by Rhianna and Eminem)

and these:

//But you tell me to hold on, you tell me to hold on,

But all innocence is gone

What was right is wrong//

(“Bleeding Out” by Imagine Dragons)

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“Look, something’s coming! Okay? Something’s going to happen and we can’t do anything about it.”
            “We can’t?” He sounded, for the life of me, like a dazed child. Tears suddenly burnt my eyes.
            “Yeah.” Because, I realized just then that he was lost, confused, and his ties that rooted him to past entangled every part of him. It became so disgustingly clear to me and I couldn’t stand to look at him.
            All at once it was like I was the older one. I the firmly-grounded, while simultaneously my heart orbited out into oblivion wildly—he stood so near. His breath touched my cheek as his fingers brushed my arm.
            “If i have done anything to give you cause to—to run away . . .”
            Why on earth was he saying that? Something in his eyes frightened me. I did want to run away now.
            I shook my head mutely.
            A slow smile crossed his face, startling.
            “The day ought to be fair, sweet—sweet, pungent of other greater things, and you must think me clumsy.”
The tremulous music of his voice flowed down over me to the ground.

A Riddle

e9f7d8c2ca8ba1f18b3e67910cb50dfdFor a recent assignment in literature, I was supposed to write a riddle inspired by those given in Jane Austen’s Emma (namely Mr. Elton’s significant one, which was intended to mean Courtship). I had a great deal of fun with it. This riddle is supposed to be from a studious guy to a girl he admires. I was grinning stupidly the whole time I wrote it, because I was thinking, “Gee, why can’t a guy send this to me?” I tend to romanticize, ya know. So do forgive this indulgence in . . . uh . . . sentimentality. It has a lame rhyme, but oh well.

 

 

{Getting to know . . . you}

 

Please engage your mind to study

A most delicate subject

Do not permit irrational thought to muddy

A future prospect, to not object!

 

For I am the scholar,

You my tutor, and each time you speak

You illuminate, your humor choler

So persuasive, you draw me to seek

 

Knowledge of yours, which I could but know

If I opened you, read you as

A book, to be memorized, slow

And steady. The scholar must be amorous!

 

 

Yourself.

How can you make a difference when your thoughts never leave the page of your diary?

How can you ever be a leader when you never think of something eloquent or powerful to say in a group or crowd?

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Sam in the Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien

How can you affect society when you’d rather keep to the  back of the room, when you’re so insecure about your ability to debate societal/civil issues?

To clarify what I’m trying to get across, I’ll just say that there are many of us who have so many things to say, but are exhausted by the usual ways of involvement in social or political movements. Of course, it is always possible to overcome shyness in order to debate a particular issue. We are all capable of stretching our limits, and stepping outside our comfort zones. But that does not mean that there are different kinds of leadership. Let me give the definition of this stirring word:

As found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary . . .

lead·er·ship

noun \ˈlē-dər-ˌship\

: a position as a leader of a group, organization, etc.

: the time when a person holds the position of leader

: the power or ability to lead other people

There are people who form organizations, lead Townhall Meetings, participate as public servants and officials. There are leaders in the military. There are senators, congressmen, presidents, and commanders.

And there are the people who use the pen to influence and inspire.

For a long time, I’ve felt extremely insecure whenever I attend teen leadership camps such as TeenPact, or volunteering at rallies and political conventions. I watch other young adults who are far beyond comfortable with giving speeches, debating legislature and various political issues. It’s truly inspiring. And honestly, I’m working hard to overcome my natural shyness and start stepping outside my comfort zone. But I’ve come to discover, as you may have, that we are all different. One person might be excellent at impromptu speech. Another person might have a knack for forming immediate comebacks, making her a valuable member of the debate team. And someone else knows how to organize a group of people to successfully run an organization. There are men and women who rally in wartime, on the battle front, and Statesmen who stir a crowd of people, and win the votes of countrymen for a seat in the government.

fea7dad017fae9c173bdcfdba2d152adBut there are still yet others who can capture a thought precisely with the pen, and powerfully express truths and beliefs which amaze and inspire the readers. There are the artists who beautifully render a theme with a sweep of color and excellence of form. There are musicians who compose anthems which resounds in the hearts and minds of the listeners, the lyrics and the swelling notes demanding a thrill. The Rhetorician seeks the explanation, using logic and eloquence of thought to impact the rationale. Creativity can influence, beauty can move.

But the most wonderful thing you must realize is that we are all different, we all have the ability to Lead. As a writer and artist, it is incredibly uplifting to realize that creativity delights and moves, it captures in word or form what a military strategy could never do. Art calls upon the soul for a response. It evokes pathos. It teaches a theme or ideal.

 

So to all you artists out there, be Your Creative Self, and make a difference!

Docere, Movere, Delectare