Almost A New Year, Almost A Developed Idea

At promptly 12:11 Monday afternoon, I finished my semester and I had never felt such an instant wave of exhaustion. I took the liberty of sleeping all afternoon because damn, I deserved a nap. Going to art school, final exams were close to non-existent. When I went to community college the next semester, final exams were equivalent to high school tests.This past semester, however, I was dually-enrolled between Louisiana State and Baton Rouge Community. I was a full-time student who started two days after the semester began, attending two schools, and working closing shifts three to four times a week. So, to bring it all home, I really deserved that nap.

While school proved to be difficult and stressed me out more than I would have liked it to, one amazing thing came out of this semester. As many of you now know, I am a Creative Writing major. At LSU, I took an Intro to Short Fiction class, where I met so many crazy talented writers, as well as was able to write my own short story and share it with everyone in this class and have it workshopped with my peers. I have to say, it was incredibly nerve-wracking. I didn’t know if people would like my story or if I was even good at writing.

Many times in my life, more often now, I have often wondered where my place was academically. Throughout childhood and being an angsty teenager, I was never really good at learning math or science or foreign languages. Those things were hard for me and they’re still hard for me. When I made the switch in high school from academic electives to artistic electives, I felt like I  was in my element, like I was smart. People loved my photography, my art teachers actually pushed me to be my best and pushed me beyond limits I never knew I had. My math teachers, my science teachers, my foreign language teachers never did. I honestly have to say that even my English teachers never made an attempt to make me a better English student. So sitting in my short fiction class, as well as my poetry class, I felt behind because everyone was looking so deeply into our assigned stories and I was only able to read the stories on the surface. My classmates would be pointing out themes and metaphors and create these grand analysis’ from these stories. I could only find the emotions that I related to and talk about the images the stories created. However, as the semester went on, I found myself more comfortable in the environment of this class because I knew I was learning just by listening to my professor and peers talk about these stories. I know that I’ve learned more in this class than I did when I was in high school.

I remember in the seventh grade, my language arts teacher split the class into groups and we all had assigned books that our group had to read and present to the class. The high level book was A Wrinkle In Time and I requested to be in this group. Throughout my years in the school, I was never put in a position to read this book, or even read at a higher level. I knew I could do it and I wanted so badly for my teacher to put me in the high-level reading group. When I made this small request, I was denied. I wasn’t a bad student or a bad reader. This was a time in my life where I couldn’t stand up for myself and make my case, so I took no as an answer and let her put me in a lower reading group. I found myself thinking about this experience a lot this semester when I felt like I was incredibly behind in literature in my short fiction class. My academic teachers not believing in my abilities or believe that I can better my abilities is something that hindered my education growing up. I never wanted to better myself academically because my teachers never saw the potential of me bettering myself. I realize that this is a two-way street, but believe me, I tried hard, and I got help when I needed it. No teacher, however, made an effort to ask me if I needed help, if they could offer anything to make me a better student.

So you’re thinking, “But Sydney, how did you come to be a Creative Writing major when your teachers left you with such a bad experience?” Well, it’s really simple. I love telling stories and I love reading. In the past years, I shed my shell (if that’s a thing) and became an entirely new person. Creative Writing is an art and art has always been welcoming to me. I may not understand chemistry, geometry, political communications, or even how to form a sentence in French, but I can write a damn good story and be proud of it. And don’t you dare tell me I can’t make a living being a writer because I don’t care. It’s my life and if I ruin it by becoming a writer, at least I’ll be happy ruining it. I’ll probably even get a good story out of it.

SO, now to loop this all the way back around to the story I wrote this semester. My story became a lot more personal to me than I had ever thought it would. After submitting the final draft of it. I thought to myself I could just write a whole book of short stories just like this. I won’t reveal to you all what my story was about, but I will tell you that I might just be starting a book? I’m not too sure. The idea came to me the day after submitting my story and I was driving to work. It’s a little half-baked, but anything half-baked turns out amazing. Think half-baked cookies or half-baked brownies. Everyone loves a soft and chewy chocolate-chip cookie and don’t you dare lie about that. Like the title of this blog says, it’s almost a new year and I almost have a developed idea.

Halfway Through Semester One

Well, well, well…

It has been quite a while, hasn’t it now? Well, since I’ve last posted, let me give you a short update.

I started my sophomore year of college as a freshman transfer in my dream school, Louisiana State University. I’m a declared Creative Writing and English major, so by the time I graduate I’ll still be without a job and probably still living with my parents. But that’s okay. I’d rather be broke and living with my parents and love what I’d doing than being rich and living on my own with a job that makes me unhappy and regretful. Which brings me to my next thought.

Now, I may have talked about this once before and if I have, well, read it again.

My senior year of high school was extremely exciting and nothing could bring us down. We felt like we were invincible. But we weren’t invincible to the truth that came with life slapping us across the face once walking across that stage and grabbing our diplomas. Senior year was exciting because we would all share our college plans and why we chose the profession we want to go into. What saddened me most about this, though, was the fact that people were going into professions just because they were able to make a lot of money or their parents convinced them to do it or even their parents told them to do it. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

Today, kids are leaving college with degrees and are finding it almost impossible to find jobs. Today, fields are being discriminated against, especially in the fine arts.Today, it feels as almost that the American Dream, where everyone can grow prosperous in this nation, is dead. So here’s why it saddened me so much to hear kids my age talking about just ‘makin’ the big bucks’. It saddened me because it didn’t feel true to who they are.

With the general knowledge of how hard it is to find a job after college and spending thousands upon thousands of dollars and thousands upon thousands of hours, why would you study something that didn’t at least make you happy or excite you? I can understand that a lot of people study science because they love science or medicine because they love medicine or even painting because they love painting. Which is the point I’m trying to make.

Study something because you love that subject. Don’t study something that is purely to make money or purely because someone told you to. It’s your education and it’s your future. Take control of it. Take the bull by the horns and show him who’s boss. Sure, it’s miserable to find a job in your field after college. But wouldn’t you rather be miserable and passionate about what you’re doing than just…miserable?

After taking different english courses, going through a rough summer filled with a lot of self-reflection, and attending four colleges in the first two years of my college experience, I think I have found my calling as a creative writer. I’ve even thought about getting a degree in education so I can follow my passion of traveling and teach english in the Peace Corps. I’ve also thought about double majoring in International Studies and minoring in Women and Gender Studies because I want to help women all over the world. My ideas are scattered and I may not be able to fulfill all my wishes, but I know my heart is in the right place by starting out studying something I’m so passionate about.

I only hope that other people can study what their passionate about because they are truly passionate about it, not because they are motivated by some other third party or financial idea. Even though this post is a little bit scattered, I hope the general idea came across and you understand what I’m saying.

So with that, I will sign off for now. Hopefully, with the stress of midterms over and my semester winding down for a few weeks, a new story will be written and posted. But for now…

-Neutrality

Attempting Escape

I’ve been sitting here every night for the last three years. I leave out my bedroom window and climb through the bushes, walk silently through the dewey grass, and find my favorite tree stump in the forest. I sit here for two or three hours every night and stare up at the sky, watching the moon, counting the stars. I make myself cozy on a tree stump, a tree stump that remains uncovered by the foliage of the trees high above. I bust out a notebook and begin writing down my thoughts. Thoughts that range from how the darkness is surrounding me, how the leaves rustle on the ground when a small breeze brushes through, how at any moment I could be attacked by a wild animal. I never know what to expect when I’m sitting here, but I know right now it is unusually quiet. It’s a quiet that I’m not sure how to process or how to get through. It’s almost deafening.

Exactly three years ago tonight is when I began sneaking out of the house. I was having problems sleeping, too stressed, too paranoid. I hadn’t made any friends in school, all my old friends stopped talking to me. I thought everyone saw me as the weird girl who never spoke and always had her head down. Insomnia from stress kicked in and the walls started closing in on me quickly one terrifying night. I could feel my room getting warmer and warmer, my throat was beginning to close, and tears were welling up. I jumped out from beneath my covers quickly, only wearing a night shirt with boxer shorts and leapt out the window. I ran  and I ran. I tried to escape myself. I didn’t know where I was going, my feet getting muddy and my hair becoming a tangled mess. Finally I tripped over the very tree stump I’m sitting on now and landed in the dirt. I turned my body over and saw the opening in the trees. I laid there, staring, calming down, breathing slowly. My body loosened up on the ground, but I could also feel mud soaking through my shirt. I sat up on the tree stump, my leg a bloody mess from scraping against the side of the trunk. I sat there till almost morning, walked quietly back home, showered, and went to school like nothing ever happened.

The quiet deafens me and the dark is surrounding me like a cloak. Chills crawl up my spine and I hear someone crying, someone running through the dead leaves. Each leaf breaking into million pieces and being flung in all directions from someone’s feet. The shine of the moon becomes dull, the gleam in my eyes from its reflection disappearing. I look to one side of me, in the direction of where I came, and see a translucent figure. A girl, just like who I was, running, trying to escape her mind, with only a night shirt and boxer shorts on. Her feet covered in mud, her dull blonde hair a tangled mess. She doesn’t know where she’s running to, but she keeps running. Then she trips over the trip stump where I’m sitting, her leg becoming a bloody mess from scraping hard against the side of the stump. I don’t know what to say or do, tears fall down my cheeks one by one, and she looks at me. She see’s me, she acknowledges my existence. Tears are streaming, old mascara falls beneath her eyes, soaked in dirt from her hair to her feet.

“Help me.” She says. Her voice is scratchy and tired. She’s propped up on one elbow and then falls to her back. She’s weak and can’t hold herself up anymore. Wanting to reach out and help, my arms stay stuck in the position of holding my notebook so close to my chest. I’m paralyzed by the fear of what is happening in front of me. I can’t answer, my throat is closed tight. I want to believe that she is not in front of me, that I’m not in front of myself. But she is and I am. I shut my eyes tight and wipe away the water from my face. I open my eyes and I’m gone. The moon is back to it’s usual brightness, the dark back to it’s normal darkness. The wind blows through once again and rustles the leaves. I know my safe place is no longer safe. I can’t escape myself, I can’t escape my mind.

Short Update!

I would like to officially announce that I now officially own this website! You no longer have to put in the search engine neutralspaces.wordpress.com. I have officially integrated to neutralspaces.com!

After a while of going back and forth on the idea of whether or not to own this blog, I finally decided upon it tonight. I love writing and I love sharing my writing with all my readers. I’m hoping that with buying the domain I’ll gain even more readers with the more I post.

I can’t wait to share this experience with all of you. I know I’m ready for this ride and I hope you all join me as well. Thank you!

Something Quick, A Break From My Book

It’s three in the morning and it is obvious to me at this point I am not going to fall asleep. I sit up in bed and swing my legs over the side. My feet are flat on the floor and I dig my toes into the shaggy rug placed at the edge of my bed. I rub my toes all through the yarn of the rug, just wanting to feel something normal. I rest my elbows on my knees and place my head between my hands. My face feels numb, my nose feels cold, and I can see slow tears dripping to my knees. I take one grey sweater covered hand and wipe my face. I stand up and begin to pace the room. My face is hot with anger and cold from sorrow. My heart is racing and chest is in agonizing pain. I turn from facing my wall to facing floor to ceiling windows on the opposite side. It is completely dark in my room, but the light from the city outside wants me to come close. I take a deep breath and walk over to the windows slowly. Taking one step at a time, attempting to not fall over from my shortness of breath. I bend down to the ground to open the bottom window just to let air circulate in my tiny room. The window only opens about six inches wide from the bottom, but that is all I need.

I take in a long, deep breath. The air is freezing but I feel it go through my nose, down my throat, straight to my lungs. It is cooling and livening and I thought my heart is stopping in this very moment. I let the air go and create a fog on the window. My eyes close, my head is resting on the glass, I sit there breathing in the rigid October air. Voices  from fourteen stories below are just faint murmurs of the young students walking out of the bar across the way. I hear the stumbling women and the infectious laughter of the drunkards. I sit there wondering where they are all going, what they are doing out this late at night, who they are, if they even knew each other before heading out tonight. Air infiltrated my lungs slowly, air evaded my lungs quickly.

In…

Out.

In…

Out.

Soon the air becomes a shroud on my body. My skin gets tighter and tighter till I cannot stand it. I stand up quickly and give myself a head rush, a head rush that forces me to hit my actual head on the glass of the window. I lean one hand against the window to gain my balance and to gain self awareness. My eyes shut tight, my nose drying quickly with snot, my stomach churning like someone kneading dough. All these feelings together gave me something I had never had before.

I had never been alone.

Till you left me in the most agonizing way you could.

I lift my hand away from the glass, pushing myself up straight. I wrap both of my arms around my stomach and keel over. I wanted to vomit, I wanted to cry, but all of my tears were stolen by time and my stomach was close to nonexistent. My eyes hurt from the tears but somehow my body is starting to produce more. I do not want to cry any longer so I stand straight. My arms are still wrapped around my body, my nails digging into my sides, digging deep into my skin. I open my eyes wide to let oxygen circulate and blink quickly. I walk over to the window and do something I haven’t done before.

I just look.

I just look at the buildings surrounding me, the buildings that are taller than me, that are shorter than me. I see all the lights turned on throughout the city and I see all the drawn shades and dark rooms. Every light, turned on or turned off, represents a person in this metropolis that is either wanting to be excluded from the outside or is already excluded from the outside. I see below the strangers wandering the streets lonely, with drunken friends, sober. I see homeless men and women with tattered backpacks and grocery carts filled with bags. None of them speak to each other, none of them even make eye contact. They don’t know each other and they have no interest in knowing each other. My eyes wander up to the sky and I see millions of stars, shining bright, falling dull. The moon is full and bright, not a cloud to cover it’s beauty. The only thing worth looking at from up this high. I look down to the building across from me. There are exactly six apartments with their lights still on and activity on the inside. One apartment is a couple watching movies, two apartments are having parties, and the three others are just people sitting in the kitchen enjoying an extremely early breakfast.

My mind is wandering to how many people are really in this city. Close to millions. Of how many of the millions actually knew each other? How many wanted to know each other? The people on the streets definitely did not want to know each other. The people in their apartments were cut off to those people in the apartments with them. Did they know anyone outside of their front door? Now I am wondering if I know anyone outside my front door. Every morning I leave my door at 7:30, get into the elevator where no one speaks to each other, walk out my building with my ear buds in same as everyone else, speak to absolutely no one. I lean my head against the window shifting all my weight towards it. I breath in the thin air and let my lungs fill more and more. I am losing control of my mind. My eyes move in every direction, flittering quickly from one side to the next. My breathing cuts short and my chest gets tight. I lay down with a pillow next to the opening of the window. The sun is slowly rising and my body is quickly going to rest. The air is on my face and my eyes are having a harder time staying open. I know that if I fall asleep now I will miss class, but I am okay with that.

I turn my head to look down to the ground once again. Still, no one speaks to one another, no one acknowledges one another. Sometimes I wonder if those people even exist or if they are just a product of my imagination or fabricated from this life I am living. The lights in buildings are shut off also realizing the sun is coming up. My room is now entirely freezing and I drag my body to my bed. The parties from the building across are shut down, the couple had gone to bed an hour ago, and the ones enjoying breakfast have left for work. They still do not realize that no one else in that building was awake as the same time as them. I lay in bed and listen to the noises of cars, busses, and trains. But not to the sounds of people who know one another. I am realizing you did not make me alone.

I was already alone in this city.

 

I wrote this in about an hour and it was just an idea I came up with. I was in the shower singing New York, New York when I realized how much I actually do miss living in Chicago. While this story is not entirely true to me (I was never up at three  in the morning crying about men) but it is somewhat resonant of my experience living in the city. I loved looking out at night to see how quiet the streets had become and it was always interesting to see people wandering the streets at ungodly hours. And yes the apartment across the street always had a party going on or someone up at a strange time watching movies.

Side Notes: An Excerpt

At the end of year two, or page by page 730 as I like to say, I had never been more in love with you. I had never been in love with anyone like I was in love with you. When I woke up, the first face I saw was yours and it was the last face when I would fall asleep. I would daydream about us getting married and growing a small army of children as ridiculous as that sounds. It was a side of me I had never knew existed. It was a side I knew I could not explore with you. I knew you did not believe in marriage and I knew you did not want children. It saddened me. It saddened me because once I found someone I wanted to be in love with for the rest of my life and never knew this side of me had existed, I could not let that side of me live. I hid this newfound information deep within and I hid it from you for as long as I could. I was too in love to fight with you.

Everyday when you came home from working you would pick me up and spin me around the room. You would shower me with kisses and flowers. It was an endless cycle of you telling me how much you loved me, how you were so happy we moved in together, how much of a blessing my presence was to you. You said you could and never have been as happy as you had been with me in your life when we went on our last trip of the year to celebrate two years together. You said we weren’t a traditional couple and you were happy to comply with that term. We weren’t traditional, we weren’t ordinary. Together we were extraordinary. We didn’t want it any other way.

We had a few fights here and there after you tried to get me into the gallery. They were small and had no bearing on our relationship. They simply did not matter in the long run. Some nights when we would argue we would go till three in the morning till someone apologized or we found a solution. On nights like those it was hard to go to sleep angry, so we stayed up. Every argument, every night stayed up till the sun rose, every small disagreement only made us stronger. We were unstoppable and that was alright with us.

As Promised…

As Promised, here it is. As small as it is, this excerpt is it’s own section in my book. Also, as promised, it contains a lot of cheese and cliche, but hey, who doesn’t love a little cheese. In color guard, I always said if you weren’t cheesing throughout the show, you weren’t having a good show. So let’s see them pearly whites and show ’em what you got. This is what I got, y’all. Enjoy! And as always, please let me know what you think!

————

In the days that followed our first date, I couldn’t forget how amazing it was to kiss you and having already built this oddly strong connection we had. Also, in the days that followed, you hadn’t contacted me. I thought maybe you would call the next day or even text me, but you never did. As I recall, and I recall perfectly, you waited a week and a half to finally reach out. At the time, I didn’t know if I should reach out to you or wait for you to call. So I waited and I waited. After the third day, my hope was wavering and suddenly these fears that had started settling that night were resettling. 

By the fifth day, all I could think was how can you spend hours with someone, kiss them like that, and then just disappear? I could have been overthinking the situation but that question still haunts me. It wasn’t only this instance where you would disappear. Throughout our entire story, you would disappear and lose touch with me. It scared me. It scared me to think about where you were or who you were with and what you were doing. I trusted you but my mind wandered when you left me like that. While page two of our story had just come to close, I knew that I loved you. I knew that I couldn’t be without you. So, when you disappeared for a week and a half, my mind flew through every worst case scenario it could come up with.

 

-Neutrality

5 Month Update

I cannot believe that it has been a full five months since I have actually posted on here. Don’t you fret none. I have been working on new projects. It gives me pleasure to tell all of my five readers that I have actually been working on a book. I started writing it back in January and it just got lost with all of my color guard competitions. Fortunately, moving to a new state where I know absolutely zero people has helped motivate me to restarting the writing process. As soon as I have a solid pice that I can share with all of you, I will post it on here. It could be posted tonight or tomorrow or maybe even next month. I do not want to say too much about this project but I can promise you it is going to be good. It’s going to be super lame and cheesy but a good super lame and cheesy.

Here is what I can tell you: I am taking parts from previous posts and inserting them into the story. I actually start off with using my post titled “A Small Something On the Spot”. I wrote that piece a while back and have decided to use it as an introduction. I promise I will post an excerpt soon!

Here’s An Unfinished Piece

Because of you, I am not the same person.

I used to lay my legs on your lap and rest my head on your shoulder. I sang songs to you and whispered poems into your ears late at night. You would look at me with wide green eyes and tell me how you loved my voice and you could listen to it all night long. How my voice could soothe you and and how my songs were nothing without such a voice to follow; how my songs were nothing without me.

I used to rest my hands in yours and drag you into the middle of the living room to dance with me. I would put on something light and fun and dance all around you and you would laugh. You would laugh at how silly I would become and you’d pretend to be impressed with my terrible dancing. Then you would change the music and put on something slow and romantic, then you’d take me by the hand and waist. You would twirl me around and dip me all the way to the floor.

I used to sit in our sunroom and stare out the windows with a blank stare and a blank canvas in front of me. You’d bring me piping hot coffee in the morning and warm tea in the afternoon. You would wrap your arms around me and tell me that inspiration would come if I stopped thinking about it so hard. I would say you’re right and then dipped my brushes into the paint. You would sit there with me drinking tea and we’d get distracted from my work and talk about our futures and our lives.

I used to sit in our living room and daydream about us. I would stare at you while you read the morning papers or your work reports and think about how lucky I was to be in love with someone as beautiful as you. You would catch me looking at you and ask me if something was wrong and I’d say no. Then you’d come over to me and kiss one cheek, the other cheek, and my lips. You’d laugh and tell me how lovingly silly I was.

Because of you, I am not the same person.

I can’t sing anymore. I don’t want to dance anymore. I have no inspiration to paint. I no longer daydream about being the luckiest person alive. All of these things were things that you did to me or made me feel. Now you’re gone and so is everything I was. Shame on me for looking so deeply into your green eyes. Shame on me for singing for someone whose love was not undying. Shame on me for believing those laughs were laughs of endearment.

 

This is something I started working on today. It’s definitely unfinished but I hope you guys like it so far.

Crawlspaces

Sometimes-

When the sun doesn’t shine

You wander in the crawlspaces of your mind

Your crawlspaces are filled with memories-

Some you’d like to forget

Some you can’t forget

Some you mustn’t forget

These crawlspaces fill up quickly and easily

They become tight and compact

They knock at the forefront of your mind

The memories want to come out and play

The darkness of the day embraces your body as well as your mind

The crawlspaces broaden when the darkness surrounds you

The doors of your mind open and welcome a familiar grey

Sometimes-

When the sun doesn’t shine

You wander in the crawlspaces of your mind

 

This was hard to write and I know it isn’t perfect at all. I couldn’t sleep one night and I was trying to write and all I could think was the two ending lines of this piece. It didn’t go along with the piece I was writing so I decided to turn it into its own piece. I hope you enjoy this and please don’t judge it too harshly. I can read poetry, I can analyze poetry, and I can appreciate poetry. I’m not that great at writing it. Enjoy!

-Neutrality