Sometimes I want and sometimes I need and sometimes all I can do is smolder. I once wrote a poem (and it later became the first I’d ever perform) called “Waiting for Exposition“:
It’s like watching fireworks being / launched into the sky / on the Fourth of July. / I know well enough to expect / explosions // … // I know I’m no firework / no explosive / no lightshow / yet I still feel the fuse / burning down my crown like kundalini / I can feel the altitudes fall around me / as I soar higher from this drug that / sane people call oxygen and / psychiatrists call life.
I have a fascination with fire. The way the flames lisp through the air, tumble and turn and throw themselves to and fro. I read poetry at an open mic back in March or April, and I started with the same words–some echoes of my lines include “This is where it burns / all the flames / fighting their holy wars / let me smolder among them” and “Samson is burning at the broken pillars / limestone capsules and locks of hair / arms shriveled, torso chiseled / too far from marble, turned to dust.” But fire is fire, and words can’t tame any flame.
Certain songs make me think of fire, too. Jewel’s “Kiss the Flame” immediately comes to mind, as does Florence + the Machine “Rabbit Heart,” which I don’t think mentions fire at all. So does Sixpence None the Richer’s “Kosovo.” The flames burn through the melodies.
So it’s only natural I should want to meet the world in fire.
I wrote this the other day and figured it was too mentally askew to be worth posting. I was in a bad place–stressed by finals, consumed by philosophy–and strange things happen in dark corners on bright days, you know? So I’ve been thinking about it anyways, and since I’ve had some more time to consider it, to reflect on it, I’ve found there’s actually some merit in it after all.
So with no further ado, I present to you “Dancing Fire”:
I know it’s been a while since I wrote any fiction, but I had no idea it was all the way back in March when I posted my last short story and only in April when I wrote my last writing exercise. It seems so vacant, thinking about things now, how I’ve gone so long without writing. It’s been nearly as long since I’ve written in my journal, come to think of it. Perhaps that’s part of the reason why I’ve felt so disconnected and lackluster of late. Without writing, my blood turns stale and lifeless. With blood follows breath, and then the rest is listless emptiness.
This next prompt came from the chapter in “Method and Madness” on showing and telling, those oft-cited glories and errors of skillful storytelling. “You’re telling too much,” he might say of a boring and cumbersome passage, or perhaps “Show more,” she’ll advise after reading the same thing. We would think that telling is dangerous, that without telling writing is automatically uplifted to the realm of perfect prose, but that would be mistaken. Just as I always advocate a pronounced state of balance and moderation, the same applies in writing: Too much showing is just as baneful as too much telling. This exercise will help us get down to the bottom of why.
Today I’ve been lax. I just haven’t had the energy to do anything. Not that I’ve been sleeping too restfully, though. Why is it when I yearn for sleep most my dreams keep me awake? Perhaps I’m more stressed from the prospect of school starting on Monday than I had imagined.
In any case, our time here is beginning to close. With the passing of one narrative births another, and only seven teachings remain.