A Requiem for My Wanton Words

The Purpose of this Delenda: A Limbo Between Digression and Deletion

During my last college semester I studied under a brilliant professor; he taught me to quiet my inner censor and to just write as I wish--despite my post-traumatic-professor-disorder which paralyzes me with self-doubt, these the war-wounds worn by so many students after years of terrible teachers, each either entirely apathetic or deeply entrenched within the utterly rote—their lectures just jaded regurgitations in Power Point, those slides cycling while the students fitfully sleep in-seat.I began writing a memoir for his class and I have yet to finish it; my writing has not been as clear and precise as it was while under my professor’s mentorship and I have more than doubled my original page length, though very little has actually been said therein. I am increasingly lent to my own obsessive compulsive writing tendencies. My prose has of-late been lost in loops and tangles of meaningless tangents—self-indulgent insertions of the beautiful words I love to taste in text.This blog is a collection of passages deleted from my memoir—an attempt to preserve wasted words, which are intrinsically sacred in spite of me. May they have their heaven here; may this final resting place, this Delenda, be better than nothing at all—better than true deletion.

If this unjust medium--this blog--be not the cure for my wild-fire writing, then surely The New School will be.

I was recently accepted to The New School in New York City for their MFA Creative Nonfiction Writing program for Fall 2010. Being accepted into such an esteemed university, being awarded such a coveted spot in their writing MFA program -- it's like winning the academic lottery. I have never been happier than I am in my dreams of a true academic setting. I know this will be the solace I have sought since being under the mentorship of my undergraduate writing professor.

This is me...

This is me...

This is me as well...

This is me as well...
In Death Valley, the Sand Dunes and Solitude Suited me Well.

January 26, 2009

--Tangent taken from Page 154 of my Memoir. I haven't quite decided whether or not I am going to remove it completely, or if I'll instead just find some more appropriate place to insert it. I think a lot of it is repetitive, and most of it--as usual--overblown and archaic in description. It occured to me today that it is not a normal thing for a writer to never edit their work, to never draft, to hardly do more than run a spell-check. I write quickly and almost from beyond myself, and I rarely edit, and I never draft. This makes for a lot of mistakes, a lot of jumbled prose, but it also makes for something more raw and real, I think. When I "free-write" I sound positively insane, but when I consiously control the thoughts that swarm from mind to page, I am able to produce something lucid enough that it needs almost no-editing to stand as what I'm trying to get it to be: Me.

"The University"
"Part 3: Reclusions"

Machiavelli and the fight for what was rightfully mine were like the first tentative spark in the tender of who I once was; I wouldn’t have predicted the dramatic effects of my budding disillusionment, but this bundle of tender-wood, the cold ashen remains of what once burned with passion, would soon ignite again under the mentorship of a like-mind (though our minds seem akin, mine is surely but a fraction of his, my abilities never to catch the shadow of his brilliance as I trail behind his lead) and someday, again, my obsession with the written word would be incited and stirred to rising flames—the same flames I remembered kindling in my youth, when my prose was always effortlessly aglow with an authentic voice, even though it was little more than awful as a narrative—and this fire, which one professor would evoke from mere embers, nursing the needs of all things analogous to fire: giving me the room to breathe, to be wrong and erratic, in my writing and in school, to encourage me to silence my censor and ramble until something familiar and my own appears, emerging from the recesses of my dream-cast mind, my innate imagination returning to my work like an old brown bear roused by the coming Spring, seduced by season’s change to leave his cave; like the snow-bound bear my prose hibernated within me while the world outside was barren and fruitless. At first my writing was noticeably worn by the years of lethargy and, particularly with my first endeavors, for a while my words were this way—like something still somnolent from seasons spent asleep, visibly atrophic in both thought and execution, but eventually it all became something more: after many pages devoted to my natural narrative tendencies—writing like a madman rants—something real showed up, my imagination awoke from a sleepy-state of self-censorship; although, by this time, an entire decade had come and gone in the absence of real inspiration. So even if my current and still somewhat-pathetic excuse for poetry and prose is not yet a thing of beauty, it is nonetheless the most honest thing that’s ever come of me—so much so that I find myself peering into the pages I write as though they were a mirror made of my own words, and I have come to use my writing as a way of seeing myself clearly. But after the four-year war, at least I can wear my wounds with pride and quell the nightmares that speak of war with a kind of consolation—the notion that I am somehow better because.
As of now, I am able to stand aside from my former self and say I have been altered from my previous state to one I feel is more a-fit to me; the comforting cliché whispered in despair like country-church prayers, the hypnotic mantra I keep repeating, saying again and again to myself that by the triumphs and tragedies alike I am restored—but I know that, though the tragic times did change me, the parts of me that I know as myself were lost and forgotten until my last college course, and I would not know myself, nor would I even enjoy being the person who I was if I were to have remained that way and were as such still the same today—I remember girl as someone else entirely, like an old friend I used to know quite well but lost touch with her in time. That person who was so essentially antithetical to myself as I am in-truth would surely still be the cloak that veiled in-rigor-and-rhetoric the imaginative musings of my sleepy-soul, keeping it bound to bed-time journaling and bombastic critical reports, robbing my college years of any real artistic endeavor or self-expression, and this would certainly still be the same if it were not for one force acting upon the odd undulations of my obsessive and repressive tendencies—it was not by tragedy or even by victory that I was restored to a place of passion and it was not because I was fated to have a life trying enough to merit my telling about it that I always have a memoir in mind, but it is instead because of my last professor that I have the will and words to write at all, and equally it is because of this professor that I am a person I like to look at in my pages of mirrored self-image.
Further still, it was this last professor who gave me the permission I required to return to who I once was, and at the same time, made me into someone I’d always wanted to be—namely, a free and fearless conductor for a highly-charged and churning web of thoughts forever funneling above my conscious mind. Equally, it was he who first unearthed the writer within me, something innate to my very essence which in youth I had decided to burry alive, and there beneath my academic analyses and the day-dreams that numbed me from the pain of this drudgery, dulled the ache from a droning world, and within my well-ordered mind there laid a stirring within the grave, something still awake in the recesses six feet under my outward self, and though it was entombed beneath the layers of soil, each a passing year and another layer under mounds of monotony above it, still how quickly he shock the soil from the sleeping side of mind that loves to write as though no one will read it, and that corpse of a past-self quickly became the most active aspect of my inner-self, ruling the reasons for my every want and will.
More than merely coax my muse from the grave, this professor revived my writing and imaginative mind in-full, and in a matter of mere weeks. I never intended to write creatively again, and I had come to regard the ghostly aberrations of my forgotten self as a part of living a scholarly lifestyle, meriting a pat-on-the-back for every day I didn’t give into my imaginative tendencies, and when the process of smothering the breathe of my muse had all but silenced my will to write, it was a kind of silence inside my mind that I once heard described of the fallen house of Usher; the act of burying a part of myself beneath my active mind akin to the story of Roderick Usher, whom as I earlier discussed, buried his sister Madeline beneath their house while she still clung to the last of lingering life and the physical world, and because of her purely of-the-flesh existence (essentially, in a vegetative state) Roderick soon finds her to be little more than a pestilent reminder of the last of the dream-hindering tithes still binding him to his stake in the tangible realm and, as his twin sister—who was all present in body and absent entirely in mind, the antithesis thereby of Roderick—was the flesh-and-blood chains which shackled him to the world he longed to leave for his own mind, and as long as she lived, her very presence in the physical-realm would keep him from fully immersing into his intellect, her only existence linked to the very part of himself he so desperately sought to amputate, the genetic likeness of his antithetical sibling was the last thing still tethering him to the tangible, and so he decided to do with his sister as I did with my imagination during the peak of my academic obsession, physical depravation, and utter reclusion from the waking-world; equally there was another time during my college years when I performed this ceremonious burial of some part of myself, banishing it to the dirt and darkness in the forgotten underworld of my imagination: it was in my profound reclusive withdraw into my mind most primarily that I began to daily dig a deep hole inside myself, eventually it would become the plummeting gravesite to cradle my own body in soil, burry the demands of my flesh, over-turn the earth upon my physical needs whenever they would break my focus on whatever I was so intensely reading, writing or otherwise studying
This was not at all unlike the tale of how Roderick buried Madeline, as my perfectionist inclination prematurely placed my imagination in its untimely grave, both my muse and my physical attachment buried under earth where it remained through my college years, affixed beneath the surface side by side just under the house of my conscious mind, just as Roderick had buried Madeline, underground deep beneath the soil upon which the Usher house sat in a dilapidated repose, six feet or so below, somewhere not too deep and not too shallow, buried between layering soils and sediments somewhere just below dusty surface where immediate-memory grows and just above the lower depths where everything tends fade until forgotten, and in this hallowed crevice beneath the house-of-active-thought, therein I left the best part of me to rot in solitude, entombed to draw the last breath of life from within a ground-gripped coffin, my muse laid to rest before its time because I was taught to preserve ambiguity in academic essays at all costs, my narrative voice hush-fallen by my own hand, an unthinkable span time wasted on rigor and recitation, all the while the nagging call from that coffin-cast part of myself dissipating until it haunts only in sleep, whispering the words and phrase I never wrote, writing the stories I was too busy being scholarly to tell, so much of myself lost or maimed because a syllabus required it of me, and now I mourn my mechanical compliance with the requests of a jaded instructor; to quickly did I destroy anything uniquely my own in hopes of winning their favor in grade-point or praise.
In a matter of weeks my professor uncovered what I had long since left for dead, and while my muse survived to see beyond its internal grave, it was still as useless as a pile of old bones unless I could silence the voice within me screaming to stay true to scholarly style and not my own indulgences. My professor was quick to quiet my inner-censor, giving me permission to write whatever foremost came to heart and hand—without stopping to structure it properly, or to ask myself if that extra adjective really serves a vital function, or if a comma is extraneous, or whether or not I am using too many em-dashes—and from this honest, ugly, unbridled sloughing of imagination came hundreds of problem-wrought pages: countless lines left in fits and twists of strange punctuation, the arrangement of it all amounting to, at most, a filibusterous farrago of functionless metaphors—each like a labored breathe between the rushing tides of thought and text—the words huddling between punctuation and ordering themselves into tantivy tangles of love-worn alliteratives and fragmented phrase, many orphaned and unfinished, left to fend for themselves; so much of my work is filled with these fledgling clauses, each struggling to survive among the snarls and snares of shifting thought.
Still, even in the worst of my work, when I am really feeling self-indulgent, my tendency towards repetitive, long-winded digressions and heavily subordinated, clause-laden sentences are still a thing far greater than well-written rote; what could be more distasteful to eye and ear than my censored expositories—always I find that when I write for someone to read me, these sad, Sisyphean attempts to please an audience will prove about as fruitful as those aimed to earn the favor of the academy; both so fickle and unforgiving, especially when they read your work, as with regard to a audience and academy alike, they daily read with a growing disinterest and, when they do review you’re the product of your passions, even just a few pages of it, it is always met with the same cyclical series of sighs and scowls, and their source of displeasure is undeniably your foolish musings, just an unruly cluster of words like the fingerprints of a feral mind, this nonsense which you’ve been peddling to them as something functional and informative, and all that can be said for this is that the world would surely be lost without both the Zinsser’s and the Emerson’s among us: either our world would fall by way of the former—losing itself in frivolous fact and function—or else it would falter from the latter, and alas, our fangled world would be infinitely lost in a fool’s fanciful fadaise. For most critics and the perpetually unimpressed of their sort, nothing will satiate their hunger for something they haven’t yet heard, and when they read, they thusly read as so: first their focus is so festinate, then fastidious when they begin finding flaws