Writing Conditions

I wrote in the summer of the MH17 plane crash. The summer where the world seemed lost, both numb and sickened to the numbers: 298 dead in Ukraine, bodies and only parts of bodies pulled from the wreckage by separatists, bags burning on the sidewalk; 26 members of a family, including young kids and several pregnant women, dead from an Israeli military strike intending to kill one Hamas member. 

I wrote in the humid summer mornings with a fan turning from side to side, just long enough for my neck to get sticky and then cool. I wrote as my father withered, losing both fat and muscle mass after surgery, and as the stress of college applications and senior year loomed over me like a bad thing waiting to happen. I wrote without freedom. I wrote under duress. I wrote while surrounded by books by Kaplan and Barrons - preparation for the SAT. I wrote with a candle lit to keep away mosquitoes and quell the stench of dog shit that seemed to linger on the walls. 

I wrote while walking. I wrote while listening to Sylvan Esso and Wayne Coyne and also silence, but for the fan's whirring and the screech of the cicadas outside that with closed eyes I might mistake for the tropics.

Sometimes I wrote at night, when the fruit seller would come by, shouting his wares through a megaphone, in a last attempt to empty his open truck of bruising peaches and browning cherries. Often I would overhear angry voices and I would lean in towards the single-panel window, peek through the shutters to listen in wait for the quarrel to intensify and then break just before erupting into fists.

I wrote not dutifully nor faithfully and when my brother awoke at lunchtime or dinnertime or somewhere in between, I would look up guiltily from the show or movie playing on my laptop screen, suddenly disturbed by the hours wasted and the day's approaching end and say bitterly, "Good morning."

Hannah ChoComment