"Every man leaves a lasting influence... that will affect future generations for centuries to come. But let's face it, not all legacies are the same. Some are productive, others are destructive. Some are illustrious, others are infamous... what kind of a legacy will you leave behind? A spiritual legacy is one that money can't buy and taxes can't take away, it is passing down to the next generation what matters most."
Steven J. Lawson

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Children of Innocence

This is the first two sections of a nonfiction piece I wrote for my Creative Nonfiction class last year. Please leave some feedback. Thanks.

Children of Innocence
The rain came down softly, each drop tickling our skin, dripping off our noses and onto our lips. Trails of water left by the drops lined our faces, only to be covered by fresh droplets that fell from our hair. Bare feet splashed in the muddy driveway, soiling our clothes with mud and grime. We are three brothers, partners in crime, creating mud pies and enjoying the gummy earth between our toes and fingers, pretending the mud is our dough. As children and boys, we do not care about a little mud and filth.
“Mine’s bigger than yours!” I holler at my brother Dylan, two years younger, and more brave and witty than myself. He doesn’t respond, focusing intently on his own creation, a mountain of dark brown dirt mingled with rocks and a stick, serving as a flagpole, protruding from the top. My own creation consisted purely of mud that would not stay together for longer than five minutes. I struggled to maintain my work of art, but continued to have fun in the midst of my failure. Repeatedly, I poured more and more mud on top of the sliding mound. Somehow I believed that repetition would help solidify my excuse of a structure. There in the driveway I stood with my brothers admiring our handiwork as the rain continued to slash against our bony arms. Dylan ran to tell Mama to witness what we’ve done with our young hands. She walked out to the porch to applaud our work with a smile and a comment of how dirty we were. We just smiled and returned to our mud and rain. Garrett, two years older than I, decided to throw a handful of mud right at me, which I returned in full. Soon, a storm of a mud war raged between us, mud flying everywhere, Dylan keeping Garrett and me away from his ‘territory’ so as not to destroy his masterpiece. My feet obliterated my mud pie with one heavy thud in an attempt to make a hasty retreat…
Rain continues to fall as I sit in an old, red armchair by the window of my cheap and aging house. My mind wanders as the rain pelts against the window pane. The drops of water slide down the glass creating a blurred and distorted picture of the cars as they come and go, their lights reflecting on the raindrops, creating a prism of light. They twinkle until the car moves out of sight. The only noise that can be heard is the pat -a-pat of the rain against the house and the cars that pass by occasionally. A copy of Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front lies unfolded in my lap, its pages slightly creased from being read over and over, though I am reading it for the first time. My index finger remains poised on the passage left unfinished because of my wandering mind. Memories of my childhood rush over me and take me to the past where I escape from the world and its concerns, all worries cast aside for a brief respite. For the next few moments I do not concern myself with my financial woes or the fact that both my roommates are gone for the next week, or that groceries are getting low.
I am on my own for the first time and the excitement is mired by fear…fear of failure and poverty. The fear is ever present, ever growing; I feel lost. In those precious moments, I long for the time when these worries did not cloud and darken my mind as a storm does the sky. As Remarque’s character Paul says, “A terrible feeling of foreignness suddenly rises up in me. I cannot find my way back; I am shut out though I entreat earnestly and put forth all my strength." You cannot go back to the days of your youth; they are gone as ashes blown by the wind…

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debbie bailey said...
July 18, 2008 at 7:43 PM  

Congratulations on your blog! I'll be interested to read your writings. Keep up the good work.

debbie bailey said...
July 18, 2008 at 7:45 PM  

I guess I should have said, "I'll be interested in reading your writings." Edit and polish; edit and polish is what a writer's life is about.