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My Erratic Twenties: Disillusioned Individualist

Posted by CW64 on November 23, 2009

My isolation continued on into my late-teens and twenties, but that time period in my life became equally erratic, meaning filled with ‘on-again-off-again’ conflict and stress, not to mention a lack of self-esteem and second-guessing my own goals and direction.

When I started college at eighteen, part of me yearned to become socially accepted and to make friends; instead, I was outcast, kept at a distance and arrogantly snubbed by certain people who had made certain erroneous assumptions about me based on their own limited exposure to my actual person. These experiences, though hurtful at the time and haunting throughout the following decade, fueled me in ways that would eventually bring out skepticism towards people and the world around me through the flame of raw emotion; such interactions had an impact on me in so many humanly complex ways.

I worked odd jobs through my twenties while going to school on and off. Where this was a lack of direction, I see it now as a means to an end, struggling to not only find a niche, but to establish my own fertile and respectable identity.

One example dealt with the midnight shift at a gas station (that alone stirs the imagination with a variety of exciting as well as frightening possibilities). I worked under my ex-brother-in-law, an anal and bombastic runt of a man, who shouted rather than spoke calmly. I was held up by a druggie once, but I felt vindicated when, a short time later, I deterred a gas scam and had the driver arrested. My ongoing experiences here and in other retail scenarios have already been laid down in a recent three-part short story entitled Service, about a young frustrated man of 28 with a dismal existence who works at a convenience store. He is smart, though, and takes care of his own, until . . .

This came about predominantly through my artwork. I had started a novel about a sixties rock band living in Detroit, and one piece I sketched in precise detail depicted these characters. That work was one of a few showcased in an art exhibit.

Women, too, came back into the picture, but these only served as fleeting events which, although originally ‘hopefuls’ in romance, turned out to be mere "friendships" and rejections. As a result, I had limited engagement with females outside of my immediate family. This series of non-surprising let-downs shaped me in ways that could only inspire such jaded but realistic stories to which many people can and will relate.

Strangely, though, I became fascinated with erotica. Fantasies abounded! I never offered any of these visual depictions  for any art show, however, but I did carry through on writing out various fantasies that obsessed me at the time. Not only did I manage to express myself in this way and did so individualistically and creatively, but I also developed my writing skills by studying the concepts of imagery and metaphor, which I found had no end.

This was the time period, too, during which I continued developing my song-writing skills. I wrote a song for a woman during this era of my life–someone who, as I had suspected, turned out to be a lesbian. I hold no prejudice toward gays as I am liberal-minded in that sense, but the loss was a crushing blow. This young woman (twenty-five to my twenty-four) had a deep effect on me, and the music rang out. She and I are still ‘friends’ (whatever that means; we haven’t spoken in years), but that song is still fresh in my mind.

My writing, which definitely swelled to get out, was released in only bursts of energy. These bursts were erratic, but they reflected the spirit of a caged animal that yearned to be released. These writings, aside from my one novel and erotic samples, mostly revolved around class assignments written through creative angles. One was an essay I wrote on the novel Johnny Got His Gun. The story was about an unfortunate soldier who had lost his face and all of his limbs during WWI. The young man couldn’t cry out, couldn’t be heard, felt trapped within his own dark space. How eerily reminiscent of those in society who long to be heard and never are! I remember that piece and am still proud of it for the unique way I addressed the story and the issues pertaining to it.

Despite that, I felt lost. Where was I going? At 29, I had goals, but I had no self-confidence or light source to lead me there. I felt as if my life drifted aimlessly, with no end in sight. I knew I had to find a new milestone to reach; needed to grow and move forward. Women, if they fitted into this plan, were definitely not primary; my writing ambition took precedence, as so it should have, and I am glad it did.

Next: My Thriving Thirties: Rising Parallels . . . .

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