November 13, 2009
This has been a very psychologically trying semester for me, and I realized that this struggle has been bleeding into my writing. I’m in Advanced Composition, which is an extremely open-ended writing class–though it is still my most challenging so far, perhaps for this very reason. So far I have produced three different writings: a short story, which is, by itself the longest piece I have ever written, a short play, and a narrative poem. The writings are completely separate in terms of plot and characters, but there are subtle ways in which they depend on each other and interconnect, so I am inclined to include them in the same collection. I was imagining this collection to be heading toward some cumulative point, until Wednesday. On Wednesday I realized what my writings really were. They are partial psychological profiles of myself.
It just so happened that in Advanced Comp. on Wednesday we were asked to write a short piece that develops one of our characters. Mine is probably a bit shorter than the requirement, but I don’t think I’m going to add much more to it, and I think I will use this as the introduction / preface to my collection.
Confessions and Regrets
It is through situations that we best see into the souls of characters; it is through characters that we best see into the souls of their authors.
Y’san in the Market
The marketplace stirred like the clouds of dust that follow the hooves of horses, but Y’san drifted about like an autumn leaf in slow descent. Ahead of him, two children tossed a stone back and forth between one another. When a failed toss left the stone at Y’san’s feet, the old man smiled at the children, picking up the stone, and returned it, nodding in respect to the child’s gratitude.
“Rolls today, Y’san?” hollered Pedro as the elder approached his bakery stand.
“Yes, please. Six coppers, correct?” Y’san replied, once he had finished walking to the booth.
“Six coppers. Here you are.” Pedro handed Y’san a basket of rolls.
“Thank you much, Pedro. And your coppers.”
Pedro took the coins and crooked his head. Just as Y’san was about to turn to leave, Pedro blurted, “Hey, we’re getting together for cards tonight—you should come join us!”
“No, no,” said Y’san, “I’m much too old for that.”
“Nonsense! You know that some of the finest cardsmen are the elders! And I’ve heard stories about when you used to play. Join us! It will be a good time.”
“Oh, no, no.” Y’san smiled, shaking his head slowly, and walked away. That night, the elder watched the wind blow through the ferns and imagined the jokes and stories that would be shared over that game of cards.