blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
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The Slow Crawl

I try to mirror my own life with my writing. I delight in the disorientation I feel when I sit down to write. I try to explore the regular topics that plague my mind on a day-to-day basis. I did so in “Haitian Death Song,” tackling the subjects of death, family, depression, and the utter disorientation that comes with obsessing over all of these. I once heard that writers write about the same thing over and over again. I believe this is true, but I try to write about the same thing in different ways, so as to stab at these ideas from different angles and see what bleeds out. The disorientation that John feels over Yoshi's death, how Yoshi was a good person and did not deserve to die, is tied to how puzzled I feel in my daily living as well as when I sit down to write. I obsess over certain subjects, even lines and word choice, to the point that I feel like I am driving myself mad—perhaps figuring things out, but raising so many questions in the process that I actually leave the act of writing with less clarity than when I started. 

I am absolutely confused by death, and by the human condition. “Haitian Death Song” centers around a very basic concept a teacher told me once—the fact that we are born ensures that we will one day die, and each day, each breath, is a slow crawl toward inevitable death. I do not understand why I feel so disoriented by this fact, or by living as I do—a miniscule blob in the middle of this ever-expanding universe. Through my writing, just as in my day-to-day living, I try to figure out the meaning of this life. I wonder if anything needs meaning beneath its surface, or if it is enough for something to simply exist. Do I need to figure something out before I die? Or is the fact that I am living beautiful enough? I question these things, and attempt to answer them. However, with every question seemingly figured out, two more surface—like Hercules slicing heads off the Lernaean Hydra. I feel I will die with questions still rattling in my skull, but my writing, just like my living, is fueled by the fact that I feel the need to figure something out along the way.  end