Unfolded

I was sitting in economics class. It was boring as fuck. My seat was right by the door, next to the trash can and recycling bin. I held my head up with a hand, staring at the blue tub. It was one of those moments when I felt like thinking of something super philosophical, real poetic and nuanced. I was just paper to be recycled. No. Everyone was just scraps of paper, waiting to be changed into something new. Cliche. I couldn’t really think of anything new. I couldn’t really think of anything. I mean, it was an old, faded recycling bin. I was staring into space, trying to find the meaning of my life within a paper metaphor. My thoughts were folded origami. I could unfold every crease, just without surety of being able to reform that paper bird.

I zoned out. Hunched over in my seat, I felt an empty feeling that accompanies unfolded paper. I felt beige and spacey. Sometimes, when I fall deep in thought, my mind gets loud and unfocused. I find it troublesome to think of one thing at a time, or have one philosophy or sense of purpose at a time. A rope is tied at each arm, pulling me apart. But that day, as I stared at the recycling bin, my teacher humming on in the distance, I thought of nothing in particular. My mind sat stark, a desert. And that paired feeling, that beige feeling, flooded in.

I can’t really describe the feeling other than nothingness. But it isn’t a lacking in feeling, it’s a feeling of nothingness. There’s no pain, there isn’t a sadness involved at all. It’s just a starchy stretch of non-being.

I went home and tried to forget being this way. I tried washing it out of my mind, cleaning up the beige waters. Maybe being away from school, from the boring as fuck classes and boring as fuck people would make me feel better. I distracted myself, tried folding my thoughts back into their previous shapes. It wasn’t purposeful distraction. I had no intentions of recognizing neither the feeling nor the repressions of the feeling; my empty mind just found the room to do so.

Re-creasing the edges is difficult, sometimes. Especially if the paper is folded the other way. Sometimes it can be easy to make a new crease by accident. Sometimes new thoughts emerge out of the coursing river, toes skimming the desert below in a struggle to swim. While I sat at home, knee bouncing up and down, I skipped the whole thinking process and came to a decision. It’s incredibly impulsive to do that, to have decisions as thoughts. To skip the careful folding, the refolding, the reevaluation, and just crumple the sheet entirely.

I went into my bedroom and sighed. I wasn’t acting impulsively; I was mindlessly doing some repetitive task, walking through sand, swimming through feeling. I got out a sheet of lined paper. I held the pen in my hand, tapping it against the desk. I was so submerged in the feelings of nothingness, I had nothing poetic to say. I had only the practicalities and simplicities of the moment. The pen had a Christmas ribbon tied round the cap. I looked at the red dots, shaped like hearts. And then wrote two sentences and signed my name.

The white water of feeling washed over me, cooling me, keeping me calm. I also felt dragged down, away from myself and from everything around me. I was just doing some task. There was no weight to anything, really. My legs floated in the waves and the crumpled paper got soft and clumpy. Everything I did from then on was through the constant nullity of thought.

//

Paper crane.jpg

Read longer stories on the short stories page. Since summer is finally here, hopefully I’ll be writing and posting more frequently. -Kylie Eileen

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Coffee Coffee (and cigarettes)

“Nothing is original…Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.”

-Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch is an independent filmmaker, creating things like Coffee and Cigarettes, a movie that I vaguely remember falling asleep to once. Though I particularly didn’t find myself absorbed into his creative efforts, I’d consider that movie pretty original. It captured things like subtleties in dialogue and made something as raw as conversation into this tangible (and boring) movie. Normally you see action and adventure or at least conflict, at least something to get the viewer’s attention in order to portray whatever complex thing you have to say on screen. Not Jim, though. He did something different, something unique, and people really took that on and grew a liking for it.

However, the quote above is a snippet from this larger excerpt about how Jim goes on to say that it’s okay to steal things from other artists. I know it sounds bad, but as you can read here, it’s actually pretty insightful.

It also helps back up this point that I am now going to make.

Nothing is original.

Since I’ve put myself on the foundation of being a “writer”, and in my spare time I make videos and whatnot, I guess I could call myself an artist, in a way. I’m really trying not to be that pretentious here. But, as an “artist”, the only cool thing about my passion would be making something new, something engaging, something people want to read or watch or, most likely, criticize.

And I obviously love writing. I love making stories and poems and expressing myself and my feelings to the world in a way that can end up being slightly unique. However, nothing is truly original. I’m inspired by things in my life. From watching a book’s pages move in the wind, to spending time with someone I adore, everything I write is inspired by something else. The style I choose to write in is inspired by recent things I’ve read or things I’ve been planning to try. My vocabulary is taught in school and is then pushed around and added to by books, people, places. Nothing I can compose on paper, or on screen, will ever be truly unique.

And I know the old saying: It’s unique because you wrote it.

But, really, it isn’t. I’m writing in a classic style here. It’s a blog/essay/rant/thing that millions of people have done before. That whole one sentence paragraph thing isn’t mine, the overused parallel structure isn’t something I’ve whisked out of thin air. Nothing besides a tiny bit of Kylie flair differentiates my 3 view blog post from the countless others across the internet just like it.

Now, looking at Jim’s quote at a different angle, it can be proved wrong (and then proved right again because no argument can be that simple).

There is something that stands out to me when I think of originality. About a year ago now I happened to stumble upon something that really changed my outlook on writing. It was a poem:

Lighght

Aram Saroyan, my favorite poet, created that poem above. He is known for being this revolutionary in concrete poetry, making one word poems that weren’t meant so much as to be read, but rather looked at. His sentences weren’t prose, but a picture on a page that held more than verbs and nouns, and signified something unique to his era. He actually, I believe, created something authentic, something original.

Aram is this representation for me of what is new, what is actually original. His poetry inspires me to strive to do something different, to try and create something idiosyncratic.

Withstanding, I don’t think I’ll ever be the revolutionary in anything. I don’t think I can convey everything I want to in something as simple as words. Even video and other forms of media can be limited and the effect I want to make just isn’t achievable. I admire what both Aram and Jim have done in their perspective fields of expression, however as groundbreaking as they were even they weren’t completely original.

It’s a paradox, maybe.

Originality is subjective. Henry David Thoreau, my favorite philosopher, didn’t create his ideas about society and values out of thin air. He actually mentions in his writings how fond he is of Homer and how everyone should be required to read the Iliad, or something of that nature. His beautiful prose is a combination of taught language, read literature, personal experience, and then, at the very end, sprinkled with that old Henry pizzazz. The length of time something has been around doesn’t directly show how original it is. And I think many people don’t really understand this concept, hence all pretentious people raving about classical music. Even Homer probably gathered his original thoughts from other people and experiences and

I’m guessing you get the point now.

Originality is subjective. And though it may not truly exist, and I may not become any sort of revolutionist in terms of writing or film media, at least I’m being an… “Artist”. I’m creating something new out of a bunch of other ideas and things that have happened in my life. I may not be completely content with that, with the fact that nothing I do will have any huge impact in the world of writing or otherwise, but at least I’m taking these ideas and adding the Kylie flair. It’s really all in the way you look at it.

Nothing is original.

And even when you see an original idea, it’s just another one taken, diluting the sea of authenticity.

coffeecoffeeandcigs
This image is something I uniquely made, but out of two ideas not my own. Its a paradoxical picture of symbolism.

 

 

 

Wayward Wind

White listlessness upon the leather bound spine gathers up with the wind, creasing the air with every weathered page’s sound, life itself not sturdy enough as print to stop the incessant drain of words that have leaked out of the blank spaces of the mind. The mind, of course, being a representative for actual life. For actual words.

Wind as sweet as the trees which drive it carry the dead, thin passages through the dimensions. The wind’s howl, though soft, rustles the layers of death and leaves the carcass standing still, for it does not have the strength to ruin everything, to affect everything in it’s way. The structure is surely gone, as the black liquid has already vanished, a varnish not suitable for the droplets of purity, for the cleansing it rightly deserves. However the skeleton stands, upright in comparison to what structure actually is, deep and saturated in color, unlike it’s dead predecessor of winding, crinkling, white lies. Lies, if not true, can also be washed and forgotten. A secret, in a way, is an empty surface where the death used to stand.

When the wind seems to stop, and the hollow structure is indeed not hollow, but rather just empty, the print does not feel inclined to find it’s way back. The telling way in which the cream is left pure, or broken if the wind proves stronger than usual, directly showcases the life which has been forgotten. The air, though crisp, is deep and changing. It is symbolic in the sense that to allow such to occur, forgottenness would have already taken place, and the blank mind would have already been formed. (Of course in an extent all minds are deemed blank). And the structure would have been appealing still, have not the judgement been blank in its measures as well. Hollowness, fondly found in a tree, ironically, may not be as apparent as in the dead coffin. For there to be blankness, there must be something to be blank, even if words reappear, though unlikely.

Wayward wind picks up again, fluttering the life, manipulating the death, whiteness aghast at what insolvable misery has become of the darkness that once left. The spine, of course, stays, supporting nothing, supporting everything. The mind, lesser than the spine in a sense, has become aware of it’s fate. Knowledge not meant to jest, the wind does not hold the fate. For, eventually, each white, listless, blank, empty slice of life, will be overturned, will be evaluated for no purpose. Each will have it’s light, it’s darkness. But the mind will stay in place, the spine will not move. Fate is not determined by the wind, as soft and sweet as so. Even a harsh wind will not change the binding; not really.

Winding up in a pattern, an unforgiving combination of wind and misery, each white layer of life will still be blank. For the strongest wind cannot change the fact that all death has left. That the black lettering will not return, even if so replaced, will not give meaning to blankness. The wind carries the ideas around, not very far, for the binding still acts as a skeleton for the mind, still encompasses every blank thought. The wind, then, perhaps stands as a sweet relief, a realization that all of it would have been for nothing. Unless, of course, the absent print means something else entirely. However so, the pattern continues, the white listlessness upon the leather bound spine gathers up with the wind, creasing the air with every weathered page’s sound.

book

Just Undo It

“You know you don’t have to talk about it.”

I’ve been staring at the same poster for the entire hour. It says “Racism: Just undo it”. A square, laminated piece of paper, half black with white lettering, half white with black lettering. Not only does the declarative not make any sense, but it is virtually unachievable. People will always be fighting over something and a pathetic piece of paper isn’t going to change that.

The walls around the paper are a light gray color and the sun makes it almost look cheery. The sun casts a yellow line across the poster, cutting some letters apart, segregating them with the happiness of the sun.

My eyes slowly trace down the gray wall to the man sitting across from me. I think about how no matter how many posters they hang up around this place, around the world, he’ll always be African American. Not that he should have to carry the raciest baggage with him, but the poster might as well be saying “Race: just undo it” because the faults in society will always be as concrete as genes, if not even more so.

“I know.”

He adjusts his glasses, the glass glinting the sun into my own eyes. I squint, and for a second, I can’t read the poster. It all falls under the same blurry haze, fogging out specific words or facial features. He adjusts his glasses, but he might as well be pointing a gun to my head.

I look back up to the poster. I wonder who put it there, or if he even knows it’s up there, toward the top of the wall, kind of tucked away in plain sight. I wonder if he knows what it means. I wonder if I know what it means. Just undo it. In our world, sadly, I don’t think anything can be unthreaded that easily. It isn’t as simple as erasing the letting from a poster; everything is so cemented and embedded in human nature that nothing, not even the end of the world, could get rid of it.

I see that he is looking up at the poster as well, body turned around in the chair like a plane just landed in the office. He looks up at the poster for quite some time, brown suit wrinkling awkwardly at his disheveled disposition. I wait silently for him to turn back, and when he does, he nods. Maybe he finally understands how idiotic that poster is. Maybe he gets it.

“That came with the office.” He says, gravelly voice harsher than the sun cascading on his face. He folds his hands on his lap carefully, as if they might break. “I never took it down. I don’t know why. Maybe it was just because I couldn’t get a ladder in here. It’s awfully high up there.”

“I know.”

“And it’s a positive sign, I think. Positivity is always good to have in a place like this.” He says. I don’t know if I believe him though. He looks up to the poster one more quick time before clearing is throat, a sign that our hour is over. “It looks like that is all the time we have for today.” He says, standing up. I stand as well, taking one more glance at the poster. Racism: Just undo it. If only everything could be simplified into a declarative. If only everything could be undone on a whim. Just undo it. I wish it was that easy.

Last year, in my AP History class, I spent probably too much time looking up at a poster like the one described above. Now, I’m not blaming the poster for my ultimate failure of the class and exam, however it did inspire a lot of questions as to what it meant, exactly. My teacher said that it came with the classroom, but I wasn’t so sure as to why he never took it down. It obviously isn’t a very powerful message since things like racism are so embedded into society, even after the lettering hung on a classroom wall.

Anyway, it inspired this little piece as well. Hopefully my distraction and detachment while looking at the poster for the majority of the classes are clearly represented above. You can’t just undo things, and I hope this message at least gets through a bit more than the poster.

As always, thanks for reading.

Racism just undo it