29 03 2012
Daphne and Apollo

Daphne and Apollo

The Roman poet, Ovid, once spoke of transformation. Fifteen books comprised his narrative poem, Metamorphoses. In retrospect, to say that Ovid spoke of transformation would be an obscene understatement.
Ovid seemed firm in his belief that love was a constant catalyst in transformation. It was the recurring theme in Metamorphoses, rearing its head as either a personal love for another or oneself or taking physical manifestation in the form of Cupid (Eros for those of the Greek persuasion).
Often leaving its subjects humiliated and confused by irrationality, the end result of love in Ovid’s poem was transformation. Apollo’s objects of affection, Daphne and Hyacinth, became a laurel tree and a flower, respectively. The water nymph, Salmacis, found herself so overpowered by lust for the handsome youth, Hermaphroditus, that they morphed into one beautiful, androgynous being.
During a recent weekend visit from Will and his children, Avery and Aurora, we ventured to the Buffalo Museum of Science with one of my dearest friends, Leslie, and her 5-year-old daughter, Violet.

Avery and Violet

Avery and Violet

The kids took to eachother like they were the best of friends, holding hands and laughing and playing and running throughout the exhibits like children ought to do. I sent a photo from our museum visit to Leslie. It was of Avery and Violet exploring a play area, hand-in-hand. Her reply was: “Who would’ve thought this possible about a decade ago, my friend?” That reply echoed in my head as if the nymph herself were pining away in my brain. A night out with Laura Palmer at The Bang-Bang Bar would have come across as tame compared to a night out with Leslie and I a decade ago.  

That reply. Those words. They weren’t fifteen books that comprised a narrative poem but they became my own, personal, Metamorphoses. The words that perfectly brought to light my own transformation to a place that I never expected to be. A place that I am happy to be. A place where saying that Cupid had no part in getting me here would be as much of an obscene understatement as saying that Ovid only spoke of transformation.

I used to write.

27 03 2012

I used to write. It’s a little-known fact about me. Most facts regarding the passions, hobbies, and dreams of my adolescence tend to be “little-known”. It’s not because I am harboring some scandalous skeletons in a closet from way back when. It’s also not because I am embarrassed over the fact that I spent more time at the neighborhood library than most of its employees. It just never seemed to be an applicable topic for a conversation over cocktails with a group of thirty-somethings.

Regardless, I used to write.

Sometimes, memories of writing come rushing back in such detail that I can almost smell freshly cut grass. To elaborate, my fondest memories of writing are of holing up in my suburban backyard, camping in a beige tent within the company of a thick summer air, a crackling bug lamp that filled the inside of the tent with a fluorescent hue, a boombox whose purpose was to record (via a blank Memorex cassette) my musical obsessions off a local radio station countdown, and the standard summer smells that you take for granted as an adult but would go back and savor if you could. Ergo, the smell of freshly cut grass accompanying my memories of writing.

I couldn’t say why I stopped (or why I ever started, for that matter). It would unfair to place sole blame any one particular reason, instance, person, or circumstance. Undoubtedly, the reason(s) were shallow and, looking back now, in no way came close to overshadowing the enjoyment that writing brought to my daily life.

I used to write but I never would have labeled myself a writer. I never pretended to be a future Pulitzer winner. I never even saw myself becoming something as common as a dowdy professor who teaches creative writing at the local night school. My writings (short stories, mostly) were not an extra-credit assignment for English class nor were they a cry for attention from parental figures. I can’t really even say what they WERE for. Stories are sometimes just that… stories. Sometimes they don’t need some deep, philosophical, world-shattering meaning or. Sometimes their purpose isn’t to bring that solid B average up to a B+. Sometimes just telling them was and is enough.

Here I sit… years (too many to count) since the last time I’ve written anything. I haven’t a clue why I am writing again. Maybe I need a creative outlet so that my brain doesn’t feel stagnant. Maybe the fact that I am dating a writer makes me nostalgic for the days when writing used to be what I looked forward to doing every evening after school. Maybe I have stories or experiences or observations that finally want to be told. Maybe it’s all of these reasons. Maybe it’s none of these reasons. Maybe I’m selfish to think that anyone does or should care.

Maybe one day I can feel comfortable enough to say “I write.” instead of “I used to write.”