A Barnes and Noble cashier,
Who just happened to be a family friend,
Asked me what I planned on majoring in.
“English,” I said, as she bagged my copy of
“Their Eyes were Watching God.”
She smiles as pity fills her cheeks, and she says “so you’ll be back, working at Barnes and Noble, too?”
My smile vanished, and I gave her a polite thank you
As I walked out, I said under my breath
“I’ll be back at Barnes and Noble,
when you’re setting up my book signing.”
When my family asks, in that
Polite, high-pitched tone of voice,
“What are you planning on studying?”
I want to say,
I plan to study a map of the whole world,
Mountainous ridges of thought and reason
Found in the treacherous valleys between the rows of words
In all the books which span the gaps between the ages.
Instead I say, “English, creative writing,”
Somewhat through my teeth.
And they say something along the lines of
“What do you plan to do with that?”
In truth, I plan to write the great American novel,
Or become a 21st century, female Tennessee Williams.
I plan to become a cartographer of unrecorded ideas
I plan to study humanity at its finest; in writing
In life, and in writing,
I lift my eyes to the sky,
In search of a god to watch.
But in reality, the closest I’ve come is a fountain pen and some loose leaf
And a spare hour in my sweat pants
To a write an essay about what I “plan”
Instead of kicking the bucket,
I want to drop words in,
one by one,
and feel the bucket combust under the weight of the story of my life.
I want my mind to wander farther than my legs can take me.
I want to live a life worth writing about,
and then write about it.
my response to the presumptuous Barnes and Noble cashier, my doubting relatives, and my deepest insecurities