“You’re not done til’ you die,” Abraham said to himself. His eyes focused on themselves in the mirror. Sudden movements destroyed the stillness of the moment. He was trying to outpace the reaction of his reflection. Having failed, he joined the other chairs around the kitchen table.
His notebook landed in front of him atop the wooden surface. He pried his pencil from his left ear and scribbled on a blank page. His name and date escaped from the lead at the top of the page, but no other words followed. Sensing depression, Abraham decided to go relieve his stress on the basketball court rather than grieve over in his un-productivity. He planned to finish drafting his speech later that evening.
Younger men flashed their brilliant athleticism with dunks, blocks, and speed. They were bouncing all over the court. Abraham walked over to one man dribbling a ball on the sideline, “Hey man, you got next?” The man in a yellow tank top looked up from his dribble and responded, “I think he’s got next. That guy in the baby blue shorts.” The man speaking to Abraham couldn’t dribble without looking down. The ball escaped his rhythm and fumbled away from him.
Abraham nodded and walked over to a dark man with a baseball cap on backward. His most noticeable characteristic was his stretched stomach. He looked like he had just eaten a Thanksgiving feast. The man Abraham was walking away from scurried to gather the ball before interrupting the game in progress. “Hey man, you got next?” Abraham barked while approaching. “Yeah, you want me to pick you up?” “Yeah,” replied Abraham. “Can I see that?” he continued while pointing at the ball the man was holding. The large man bounced it over.
One of the teams was overpowering the other. Someone called for the score. Several responses made it apparent that 10-2 was accurate. Abraham looked around at other men on the sideline. These were his future teammates. He sized up the odds. Altogether they weren’t tall, athletic or young. He wasn’t expecting a miracle victory against his team’s future opponent.
When he returned home he sat back down at the table. His forehead and limbs were sticky. He picked up the pencil and began to write. The words came fluidly in the way stream of consciousness slows to a pace one can actually write at. He wasn’t impressed but seemed satisfied with the progress. He thought at least now there was something to work with should better ideas fail him.
Standing in front of the audience he guessed that 200 people might be present. Abraham had prepared a speech to inspire future writers. What made him nervous was speaking without knowing what he was going to say. Preparation kept him from losing focus and subsequently his audience’s attention.
Bursts of short lived light energy popped in the distance. The dimmed overhead lights in the college coliseum hid most of the cameras from his view. He inhaled for several seconds and began.
“Good evening everyone.” He paused, “You were all supposed to reply good evening in unison there. Let me try this again.” He heard a few chuckles and said, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen,” “Good evening,” the audience replied. “You know, when you think nobody is listening or paying attention, that’s when as artists I believe we give the most effort. The will and drive of achievement and recognition is just so great in each of us. The fear of failure drives you later on in life. So how do you continue to be productive and work to succeed after already becoming a success? I say never look back. Allow yourself to forget what you’ve done and maybe you’ll do it again but better,” he said this with an emotional flare that welcomed the subsequent applause.
“Thank you. I had written out two pages of this big long speech,” he said breaking away from the script in front of him at the podium. “But I think what I’ve already said pretty much says it all. I could give advice for hours, but it’d do no good because everyone would forget it all. And rightfully so, I’d just be clobbering you do death with power-thoughts.”
“So I’m also here, being paid I should add, to fill your minds with some of my work. Well, I thought it might be interesting to have one of the students read a couple works of mine. So there is one seat in this auditorium with a red chair. Yes that’s right, one red chair. Everyone else’s rump landed on an ugly blue cushion. So this one person whose gluteus is planted on red will read two of my most famous poems. If you would all look now and the lucky one of you come up and help me kick-start this reading.”
A woman walked toward the stage with a stretched smile. She was wearing professional attire and looked to be about the average age of a student in the school’s graduate program.
“Now hello miss. What’s your name?” “Yolanda,” she replied. “And what might you studying at this wonderful college? asked Abraham. “I’m in the MFA program. I want to be a professor and a writer.” “Wonderful,” he replied. “Now I have two pieces for you to read this evening for me if you will. The first is called Lopsided.” Many cheers escaped the mouths of the audience members. Abraham glowed like a flattered rock star. “The other is called Space Gnome,” he continued. The cheers grew louder this time. “Now, does that sound good?” he said as the cheers died down. “Yes sir,” she replied with a smile.
She began reading:
When she finished reading “Space Gnome” the crowd of 200 plus roared in cheer. “Thank you Yolanda,” he said as she headed back toward her red chair. “I’m going to read some more works. But as you all know or may not know, those are likely my two most famous poems. I hope you all enjoy these as much as those two. Before I began, can we have one more applause for the great reading by Yolanda?” The crowd obliged a bit less enthusiastically than before.
“So here are a few more…”
– Eric McCarty (4/2/2012)