Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sophmore Creative Writing, Period 3

I found a ton of old papers in my garage and I found a workshop piece for a creative writing class my sophmore year. I couldn't miss it as workshop pieces were to be copied 26+ times and handed out so that ALL of your classmates could give you feedback. Anyways, I thought I'd share my 16-year-old writing, and as much as it pains me not to, I'm leaving everything unedited, as much as it may need it. So let's all travel back to 1992...

Bill pulled his hand back in pain, looking up sharply as he rubbed his knuckles realizing he hadn’t been paying attention. “Listen sharp boy.” Bill quickly nodded to avoid another swat from his grandfather. “Every man faces his own destiny. I won’t be able to help you son. There comes a time when you become a man and put away childish things. It says so in the Good Book–First Corinthians something-or-other, I’ve forgotten exactly… when you get to be my age more goes to pot than your looks. Point is, you have to give up what you held dear and value and sacrifice. Even more, it’s duty–your duty to God and man.”

The old man looked into Bill’s carefree young eyes and realized just how confused they both were. “Look at me boy,” Bill blinked, shaking his head slightly, thankful that he hadn’t been struck again. “I was like you once, free of care or concern. That was long before the Lusitania… long ago. Death is cold boy, I learned it alone and you will too. Protect yourself son.”
A bomb burst, sending shards of broken air slicing through Bill’s ears.

“What was that?” Bill cried, forehead wrinkled in worry.

“Don’t worry about that now, it’s not time,” he said, pulling Bill’s smooth face into his weathered hands. “When those men come to you all dressed up with their porcelain teeth and starched uniforms, don’t take their hand. Tell them, ‘No thank you sir,” and leave.” Another blast hit the sky.


“Hush!” His old hands pressed harder against the boy’s temples. “Don’t follow them. They say they fight for freedom. Bill, you can’t touch freedom, so how will you know you’ve won? Don’t fight for something intangible. You hear me? I love you. Remember what I say…” Bill fixed his eyes on the cracks in his grandfather’s face, watching as the slowly cracked and blotted into each other as he faded out.

Another shell blast cracked, sending Bill snapping back into the mud. Pictures, places, events, and feelings all raced by him in a kaleidoscope of color and memory. He rubbed at his temples, reaching out trying to take everything in at once. He finally locked on and brought back the reality that he was not with his grandfather. He glanced quickly, still rubbing his knuckles. He was in a dugout covered in mud, smoke and debris. The small pit was vaguely lit, an arrangement of grays and blacks intoxicated by the acrid smell of gunpowder and decay. He peered through it, down at his throbbing hand; the skin peeled back revealing bone. Funny, he had remembered jumping in, but he didn’t recall catching his hand on any barbed wire.

With difficulty, he pulled off his sack. Squinting into the dark, his numb fingers fumbled for the gauze. He found it, a small victory compared to the hell surrounding him. As he packaged his hand, he scanned the dugout, finding his regiment gone. He was all alone, save six men. There were four Frenchmen, or at least that was what he guessed. They must have got it direct because they were a terrible mess. Four men reduced to a pile of chewed up flesh looking like the “assorted” bucket at the open market fishmonger’s back home. He pitied the salvage crew that came across these four. There’d be more mixing and matching than at a quilting bee a week before a big wedding. The other two were Limeys, who were in much better shape than their French allies. One lay face down in the dead center of the pit, like a bull’s eye for a blitzkrieging Nazi. The second lay on his side in a sloppy fetal position. Bill guessed that it was true what they said about soldiers hunkering over like babies when they knew they were about to die.

Bill could see the Limey’s eyes, glassed over, staring at a particular part of nowhere. Bill assumed that even a dead Limey deserved to have his eyes shut, so he lowered his hand, scooping up a fistful of mud. Feeling the uneven mix of grit and wet earth slide between his fingers, he flung it the distance of the dugout into the Limey’s face, at which point the Limey shuddered and let out a gut wrenching cough.

...and scene! well it appears post Gulf War the first I was just as anti war as I am now. I can't tell just how bad this is, but at least I was willing to sneek an anti war statement into an 800-word workshop piece that the entire class had to read. I hope that 14 years from now there isn't another Bush in office sending us back into the Middle East.


At 4:46 PM, Blogger BethInPortland said...

This is actually quite good for a high school paper.
I didn't realize you were such the pacifist:)


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