(Click to enlarge.) This isn’t my usual thing, but I’m not sure I’ve ever posted some of my sketching or drawing. This was for a school assignment, anyway (a sketch to go along with Shelley’s poem Ozymandias), but I’m really satisfied with the way it turned out, considering I whipped it out in about ten minutes.
Three of the senior portraits I edited/shot and edited. These are the final, final edits as they will appear when I submit them to the yearbook.
I took Tori’s senior pictures last week, by the way. This is the only one I have fully edited so far, but I think they turned out really well. She’s super photogenic, despite what she likes to say, so it was a lot of fun.
distanced herself from
what she knew as
and, in doing so,
I want to tell a story. It’s a love story, of a sort. A story of how I, a teenager from the far reaches of nowhere in particular trying to figure out who he was and where he belonged, met the love of my life. A story like that.
It’s a complicated love, because when love is normally, typically, usually discussed, the object of affection is a Homo sapiens sapiens, or at the very least alive. People fall for a lover, or they love a favorite pet. I fell in love with a time and a place. It was you.
We met when I was thirteen. It felt like a punch in the gut. I was blindsided by just how much I hated you. You transplanted me just as I was shooting out roots; you took me away from everything I wanted and everything I thought I needed.
We met when I was thirteen. You seemed aged and ageless. I was too blind to see it, but you were wise. I hated you. I truly, completely, wholly hated you. Your wisdom fell on deaf ears, and washed away in the water. I didn’t need you.
Your wisdom fell on deaf ears, yes; your lessons cut through clearly, cleanly, crisply. Even though I didn’t know it, even though I wasn’t paying attention, even though I was unaware, you were smoothing out my rough edges. The first polish hurts the most.
I hurt, so I fought. I ran away. I ran away from you. But I couldn’t escape you, because there was nowhere else to run. Anywhere I could have run was the time and place that you were. Anywhere I could have possibly run was you.
I hurt, so I talked back. I talked back to you. I told you that I just didn’t like you, that’s why I was misbehaving. I ignored you; I ignored your rules and ignored your wishes for me. You couldn’t have changed my mind.
I hurt, so I wrote a list. I wrote down a list of the ten things I hated about you. I hated you because you were different. I hated the way you were treating me. I hated how you just weren’t the same. I didn’t want you.
And so I hated and hurt. And so I hurt and hated.
It didn’t do any good.
Because I grew up. I spread new roots. I learned.
You helped me learn. You pruned and trimmed and shaped me. You polished me. And it hurt. But it started to hurt less. I grew accustomed to you. I grew to understand your quirks. I grew to know your ins and outs, and I was satisfied.
I slowly realized we were on the same side. We were in the center of the circle, back-to-back, fighting as one. I was the student. I was the apprentice; you were the master. I was the hawk; you were the trainer. I was Katherine; you, Petruchio.
And you polished me.
You smoothed me, made me smarter, sharper, quicker. My skin grew thicker. I found things that used hurt—not only the things you did to me, but other things as well—hurt me no longer. Smarter, sharper, quicker, stronger.
But I never accounting for falling in love. It was never my plan. It was unexpected. It came as a surprise. I had made other arrangements. The deal was sealed, the plan was set, the gears were in motion, and I was gone.
I was sixteen when I left you. You had taken me—a lost, angry, confused boy—and made a man out of me. I was better for it. I’ll never regret it. There is no resentment. I loved you. Guess how much I love you? I love you this much.
I was sixteen, and I left.
I returned to my home. I, the boy from from the far reaches of nowhere in particular, returned to the far reaches of nowhere in particular. I made mistakes. I, your project, made mistakes. I didn’t honor you. I scratched the smooth surface.
But I learned again, and I grew again. I learned how to live without you. I grew on my own. I shaped myself. I controlled my own destiny. I picked up the bleeding pen and wrote the pages of my story. I became the man with the bleeding pen.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t miss you, that I didn’t think about you often, that I didn’t wonder what things would be like if we had never parted. But just like I needed you, then, I need here, now.
I fell in love with the time, not just the place.
I visited you this summer. I was seventeen. I was a whole seventeenth older. You had aged imperceptibly. I was different, I imagine. But you were too. I couldn’t tell how, and you wouldn’t tell me why. I suppose that’s just the way things go.
We can’t be the same forever.
But I still love you.
I love you.
Yours truly, completely, wholly,
I am ashamed of this:
Sometimes, I imagine my death.
Not really how or where or when, just the death. This is not what shames me.
Because then I wake up. Not from the dream, but from death. I am floating in a golden fog and pale, warm light, and this is what makes me ashamed.
Because I don’t believe in an afterlife. But that doesn’t mean that I’m not human. It doesn’t mean that I don’t fall into the human comfort of believing sometimes in something.
Through the mist is a big flat lawn, and a chain-link fence and oleanders and a baseball diamond. And a wide limestone cliff. And a whitewashed roof.
I guess I don’t know how my heaven got to be that place, if you’re lucky enough to know where it is.
I guess I’m lucky to have found my place so early.
I guess I never thought it would be there.
I guess I’m confused.
Just wanted to share my latest Independent Photo assignment. I’m really happy with the result.
My cousin Nissa.
Nissa and I went out yesterday to shoot some supplementary senior pictures to the ones she already had, and we drove out to where I shot mine with Dad a few weeks ago. The light was beautiful again, and we got some really amazing results. To be honest, I like being behind the camera more than in front of it.
It’s funny how everything seems sensible in the moonlight.
I stood with the window square in front of me.
Showdown. Each of us immovable.
I inhaled, and felt the chill travel down each inch of my spine.
My toes were nestled in the carpet, safe.
But tonight was not time for safe, it was time for free.
Everything was in crisp focus as I reached out,
Caressed the edge of the screen,
Lifted the edge of the screen gently,
Held the edge of the screen as I set it on the floor.
Summer wafted into the room,
But I was sure it was the moonbeams moving the curtains.
I could feel them hit me, dead in the chest,
Infinitely powerful, immeasurably gentle.
I clambered out of the window,
All pale skin and lanky limbs,
And stood on the warm tar of the shingles in my underwear.
The great old oak tree across the street whispered to me.
The stars winked at me, just out of my reach.
The cars on the highway whistled to me in the distance.
The galleon was moored on the gable.
The crew of one waited in the rolling current,
His ship bobbing curiously over the front lawn.
I scaled the rough slope, and as I neared,
I was bathed in the warm glow of the sails.
Dreams, he said. They’re made of dreams.
I made them myself, actually.
I stood silently for a moment, contemplating.
Is there room for one more?
I mean, are you taking passengers tonight?
He glared at me, his eyes narrowing.
Of course. Whom do you take me for?
There’s always room for one more.
Then the tension was gone. He laughed wholly,
Lost in his own little joke, echoing across my safe suburbia.
Unmoored, we drifted slowly, drifted pensively.
The galleon hung over the cul-de-sac.
My cat pushed his nose to the glass as we floated away.
I waved back, and he pressed his paw to the pane,
Mirroring my own hand.
A gust lifted us lightly, suddenly, and we cleared the roofline.
Tonight was a time for free.
Took Sparta out into the grass today. I think we both had fun.
The locks on my windows
Have never had to stop someone from sneaking into my room to hold my hand, to mumble apologies about the broken lilacs under the eaves, to blush readily and chuckle quietly.
Why do they even have locks?