Monthly Archives: February 2006

In Other News…

I’ve recently submitted several poems to the Calliope, the student journal at NVCC. I am also participating as one of the inaugural student staff on said publication. This is the first issue where students are incorporated into the editorial and publication part of the issue. Obviously, since I have submitted poetry, I cannot judge in that category, but I will be reading in one of the other categories, along with the visual arts segments.

What else… I have several new poems in the works, although school is taking up most of my time…

I have two applications in for four-year colleges. After I graduate in May, I plan to get ready to be going to my first choice…

Life always seems to get complicated when you least expect it…

The War of 1812

So I picked up 1812, The War that Formed a Nation, by Walter R. Borneman, recently to read for my History 121 class. I’m not exactly sure what we are supposed to write about it yet, but so far the book is holding my interest well. This is one of the wars that doesn’t get taught much in schools. Probably because the United States really did not fair all that well during the beginning of the conflict, and who wants to read about that? We are a patriotic country, we don’t want to know about our failures… But if you have studied the Revolutionary war, you might realize we didn’t do all that well militarily in that one either. Or in the Korean or Vietnam, for that matter, the current Iraqi Wars either. So as a country, we are what? Six for eleven? If you count the Civil War as well.

Anyways, there is a lot in this book that I am learning. For example, did you know that in the early 19th century (before 1810) that Aaron Burr was indicted for treason? Or that General Wilkinson, the top US army General, was in the pay of the Spanish Government and was referred to as “Agent 13” by them? Or that the frigate, USS Constitution, earned her nickname of “Old Ironsides” in a conflict with the HMS Guerriere (sic)? All true… And all facts you probably don’t know unless you are a History scholar. So I’m already getting a lot out of the book, and learning more that I knew about the War of 1812 before.

So there you have it… More updates as I continue reading….

The Man and the Coffee Shop, pt 2

So his days went. He would go to class in the morning, have his studious break at the coffee shop, then go back to class in the evening. He worked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. There was no break for him, but studying during his break in classes allowed him to visit the neighborhood bar or the bar at the restaurant where he worked, and drink either beer or wine, respectively. He enjoyed both, but the beer was too expensive at work, and the wine at the neighborhood bar was crap. He would go to the place that had what he felt like drinking. He would sit and drink, and maybe eat. If friends or acquaintances were around, he would talk to them and be boisterous and drink. Otherwise he would sit and watch sports, or sit and write. He was going to school to become a writer. More accurately, to earn a degree to become a professor to support himself while being a writer.

The man wrote a lot. He wrote when he had free time. He wrote while waiting for the professor to show up to class. He wrote when stressed, when overwhelmed with school-work or work-work. He wrote when bored. The man was often bored. He was bored when he was not reading or writing, mostly. Classes bored him, when they were not English or language or art. They bored him especially when the professor talked straight from the text. He often thought, while in those professors’ classes, This is not the kind of teacher I want to be. Then he would think of all the great teachers he had. The first was his kindergarten teacher in Virginia Beach. As a young child, he had loved her. That is the greatest compliment for a teacher, to be loved, he thought. His fourth-grade math teacher in Burke had helped him understand school. In sixth grade he had a teacher who really turned him on to reading; she had assigned Orson Scott Card’s novel Ender’s Game to the class. Ever since reading that book he had been hooked. He quickly proceeded from Card to Stephen King to Hemmingway. From Hemmingway he got interested in William Faulkner, and then William Shakespeare. This all happened before his junior year of high school. He respected the authors more than his own parents. They were children of the fifties and sixties and products of the Vietnam War. They wish they had been hippies, and if they could get rid of the youngest fifteen-year-old son, they would be living that life now, if individually.

The Man and the Coffee Shop, pt 1

The Man and the Coffee Shop, pt 1

A man was sitting at one of the small tables in the coffee shop. A loose-leaf binder was open in front of him and on top of that sat a thick book. It was the kind of massive literature book seen in college, with tissue-paper-pages like a Bible, and easily three-thousand pages thick. The man was studious. He would read in the book, then pause and look out the plate-glass window, then bend back to the see-through page with a pen. He was drinking a large cup of coffee, but only when looking out the window in thought. The plastic lid of the cup rested on the table with a green plastic glob of gum stuck to it.

He would pause, take a drink, and look out the window. He was too old and studious and solitary to be in high school. When compared to the young high school boys and girls gathered on the couch or outside at the sidewalk tables bundled up against the cold wind and smoking cigarettes it was easy to tell he was not their peer. He was not old either. He wore a close-trimmed, full red beard. It was neat and clean. His worn jeans and unfashionable sweater showed his comfort with being comfortable.

Occasionally while looking out the window, he would watch the kids. He watched a girl light a cigarette, then share the lighter with the boy next to her. The man looking out the window watching though, They are too young to be smoking. He watched them drag the smoke into their young pink lungs and thought, That is how you know you’re getting old, when you think ‘they are too young…’ The man drank his coffee and watched the children smoke. He bent back to his book and reread the passage. When he leaned on the table it would rock. He knew this, and did not spill the coffee. He came to the coffee shop often between his classes and liked this table with its rocking. He liked to look out the window while thinking.

He watched the high school kids and smoking their cheap cigarettes, and think, They don’t know what they’re wasting. I was the same way, I did not know… Then he would read, and make notes, and then think, I was the same and now look at me. I’m twenty-seven and five years behind my peers. Make that seven years, since I won’t have a degree for two more. Then he would bend back to the little rocking table and read a while more. Later he would pack up his things and go to class.