The Best Time to Write is Now... The Best Place to Write is Here... The Best Person to Write is You...

2011/07/03

excerpt from "Between Friends" by Jason Temple

Foreword

  If this were a movie, the script would read something like this;

Opening set, empty playground.  A haunting string melody scrapes the audio track.  Lazy pan in to see a male teenager sitting on the swings.  The Sun washes the ground in a surreal burnt orange haze.  The youth is hunched over, his right arm reaching up to grasp the chain half heartedly.  His head is down and shoulders hunched.  The light plays across his back but doesn’t seem to completely alleviate the shadows on his face.


  Okay, Maybe not, but it would still make a great opening scene wouldn’t it?  Some guy sitting on a swing, on an empty playground in what could easily be sunrise or sunset.  Everything is alive and on fire except for him, he is in shadows, and lost.

  I like to think of my life as scenes from a movie.  The pieces I can pick up and change around so the hero gets the girl, and the villain leaves in shame.  I can add the drama and excitement to any scene and make you want to be there with me; fiery red brushes of color when things are roiling, muted blues and greens when things are calm.  It’s not really a hard thing to do when you think about it.  I sometimes wonder how many other people look at their lives this way. 

  If you asked me whether my life would make an interesting movie, up until last night I would have said “maybe with a little polish… okay, a lot of polish.”  Last night changes everything though.

  Do you know what makes a good writer?

  I mean a really good writer.

  Someone you want to go back to the store and buy something else they have written without knowing what the story is about.  Someone who likely makes a living off writing books because he or she has such a loyal following.

  It’s the ability to move people.  It’s the ability to take that one searing moment of pain, when you thought you had everything and you lost it, and make them feel it.  It’s the ability to rip the searing pain out of your heart, and gently place it on the table for others to poke and prod until they make it their own.  It’s that little moment of connect, that little spark between what I’m putting down on here and what you are thinking that makes a writer just good or great.  It’s being able to make you cry, without telling you that you should.

  For the first time in my life I think I might have something to say.  Something other then the drab days and slow night painted with bright colors that got me the award in Mrs. Chokecherry’s 5th grade English class.  Something just about everyone can relate to, whether they have felt it or not.  The dizzying heights, the pounding rush of adrenaline as you sit there and look down, not knowing how hard the bottom will feel when you finally dash yourself on the rocks.

  We all have our moments, our shining glimpses of the good, the funny, the touching.  We brush up against something greater than we are, and you feel it; you can almost reach out and grab it.  You sit there and figure "if I could just bottle that feeling, or capture it somehow, to share with the world, I would."  THAT is what a real writer does.

  I brushed up against something earlier today that took me totally by surprise.  Feelings that I always thought I knew, even if I’d never felt them before.  Who knew the searing heart wrenching happiness that could be so easily found could be also so easily snuffed?

  You see I'm not what you'd call popular, like that was hard to figure out right?  I'm not a guy who's into sports, or cars.  Hell, I’m not even the head of the AV club, or the Drama class.  I’m that guy, you know, the weird guy hanging out in the library on my lunch; sitting in the corner with a note pad and a book, seemingly happiest by myself.  For most, my presence in school is just something to be ignored, less important then the gum they are wiping off their shoe.

  I've lived in the same house for as long as I can remember; a decent sized 4 bedroom houses on the corner of a cul-de-sac.  The siding is brown, which actually helps the house blend in to the trees that surround it.  The windows almost look like eyes staring down the street to the dead end.

  It's almost funny because the houses on the street were made from only 4 sets of plans, and although there is a little variety in how often each house comes up, it's pretty obvious that there are only 4 repeated over and over.

  As a kid I remember several things about this street; the grass was always that color of green that speaks of health even if there is a brown spot here and there, the sky was a light shade of blue usually with a couple wispy clouds darting slowly across. There were several trees which was great cause they gave us plenty of places to climb or hide behind as kids, and we had a huge open field with a small playground in it where the neighborhood kids would go to play baseball or just run around the playground playing park tag or some other game we'd come up with that day.

  There always seemed to be marks on the road where the neighborhood kids had dragged their bicycle ramps, or Hockey Nets out.  Chalk littered the sidewalks and splattered images that had been drawn the day before always seemed to linger, like ghosts, almost gone but not completely forgotten.  If it was sunny out, you could almost hear the squealing delight of little children, and if it was rainy the street seemed to shrink back in on itself, hiding amongst the trees and bushes like it didn’t even exist.

  This is of course where I met her.

  Yes, you knew it was coming, there had to be a “her” right? All the best stories have a “her,” if you hadn’t noticed.  Hell I'll go so far as to say there isn't a good story out there that doesn't have a “her”.

  I'm going to do my best to remain a little detached here, because up until about 7 hours ago we were friends.  The thought of being more might have passed through my mind as something that would be cool, but I’d never taken seriously.

  We were inseparable as kids, right up to the age when people start to decide who's interesting and cool, and who’s different.  Beyond that we were still friends but not in the same way.

  This inevitably brings me back to the party and the events of the last 24 hours.  I made a play for what I wanted.  For the first time in my life I truly rolled the dice…

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