A Motel for Myself (and My Cat)

My creative space sports a gruesome sight.Fairly so: that would be the way to describe the process, be the story horror or fantasy or realistic fiction.My journal holds notes so pressed into the margins that they might pop.The keyboard grieves for one, two, three… twelve letters.The keys themselves remain but their labels are long gone.I have a Vigenere table crammed next to my mouse pad, cat treats hiding in the penumbra of my monitor, a stray hoodie string, a raven pendant that needs repainting, my Bamboo graphics tablet on its throne, a long-dead calculator on the tower, the mess of cords that make up my ‘electronics basket’, a scintilla of belligerently colored sticky notes, and myriads more all eating up the space.My poor wireless adapter and the phone stand named Phil have fallen over.Only the finest books can claim the glory of sitting with me here in the chair – Photoshop for Dummies, Michael Grant’s Light, a classic or two, a bit of Rick Riordan.

To say that I find myself content would not be wrong.To say I find myself content with this setup would also prove true… but only because I know I will not have it for much longer.

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Should something rip the motion from this picture, I would wilt internally.In my future, I know I will forever carry the humbling disorganization, but nothing more.I have no wish to keep the old computer for my whole life, nor to forever own the calculator.The books on my chair and tower will, one day, have my name and artwork gleaming on their covers, too.Imagine the possibilities; horror, fantasy, sci-fi, perhaps even a realistic fiction…And I know that if I stand still, I will never get there.The thought sparks an instinctual fear that makes breathing difficult.Stillness belongs to corpses.

Simply saying ‘practice makes perfect’ seems obvious and redundant to most at this point, or so I hope.Of course my makeshift desk now will lead to a real one later, and the letters gone from my keyboard will reappear in a book, and that every stroke mark on my tablet grows chronologically smoother.No, the greatest value to these things and the homework that joins the rave every night lies a little deeper.My self-taught hobbies, though the methods have proven common among artists of many sorts, taught me the first thing; when one self-teaches, she teaches about herself.I know now why I’m disorganized and why I don’t mind.I know now that I like horror and fantasy.I know of the ambition I hold on to beyond reason and I know why I don’t mind.I know now how to push myself forward even when my work seems moribund.And the first step in learning any new game is knowing your pieces, and knowing your moves.

There is no difference in school; its meaning goes well beyond college and job applications.Even the value of knowledge itself would be another crusty, redundant recital.From kindergarten on, homework taught me that that a dose of effort can reap rewards.Friends and enemies taught me the basics of social skills.Projects and the all-nighters that scream of stress and calluses razing along a pencil’s path in a hand’s nimble fingers have whispered about perseverance.If the lack of a creative writing club doesn’t halt my fingers, what will?If I retain the same courage that drives me to take AP classes now, then what challenge or deadline or project will force a retreat from me?

And if the things one does now teach her not to fear challenges or risks or life, what will stand in her way?
I feel the need to specify that last part; what could possibly stand and remain in her way? We have come to use the word ‘easy’ far too casually, and I doubt that as much as I can see the surface of this makeshift desk.But if there is one thing I have earned the right to call myself in my brief and uneventful sixteen years, it would be ‘writer.’And a writer knows that the upcoming negative space holds only opportunity, and will never relinquish the lethal human hold on the ability to write her own ending.

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