Welcome to The Seeking Series - a limited run of essays by emerging literary voices that brings writers into conversation with the journeys driving their creative process.
I think I might be onto Something
By Jade Brown
The mood, the hints, the instrumental waves. The discourse inflates into a moldy aftertaste - I was almost onto something. Neapolitan ice cream leaves me to rest into writer’s guilt. The characters are gritty but inconspicuously tender, almost as if they’ve risen and decayed on their own. The trashcan chortles at my wasted vision, I give it something better for taste. The thick air belongs in this room; I’m a writer at times and at times I bare it all for my right.
I think that I have the ability to warp my psychosis into talent. DREAM, is what I tell myself - dream. I severed my handbag for this, and I’d want nothing more. The outside almost prays to God for exceptional life. I think we’re both perched up for acknowledgements. I can’t give things a rest if they sulk in slumber. The notebook has its way with my dribbles, and my laptop’s screen does coy justice. I think it’s time I light something on fire, it’s between the weed and me.
Around 9am I scrapped stubborn ice from off the base of the freezer; I name this character Raul. He could be Latino but that would be too obvious, instead he is a bisexual German hombre with coarse hair that he don’t know what to do with. He is hardy, like ice, and fizzles under warm gazes. He hates when people mention the need to burn the past because Raul chisels the here and now through icicle figurines. His boyfriend almost licks him to the stick each moment they melt away their burdened glaze.
I found out that my biggest audience is my fingers, except their claps lack animation. My last applause was a grin beneath the thirsty moonlight, walking me home after a kiss I didn’t want. A boy whose name I forgot and ate. Months later, that same name recoiled through writer’s rage, and ended up being my biggest devotion. I don’t know what I love more - writing or the stories I plead to tell. I think my parents would be proud of the way I morph my stages of misbehaving. I think they would be.
Jade was the name I was gifted. Freed from Roxanne’s embrace, there laid a baby Jade with a quirky disposition. My mother had nothing else to give, so she gave me Jade. Golden green treasures that occasionally sculpt deities, sometimes too heavy to hold - Jade. Old folklores and musty myths with a dash of aspiration - Jade, who will be a writer and maybe recreate a warm place to stay. I don’t thank my mother enough, and after her burial, all I was left with was Brown.
Take a page and make it better. Now, take that page and make it matter to someone else. There is an ego at the pit of something that fades. There are humbled losers still allocating their visions at the dinner table. Reinvent a missed connection. Misery only comes about when strange goes out of town. Speak desire as if it wants to pursue you. Cringe at anything that cripples individuality because distinction makes an author. Play alphabet soup with your characters, nothing else will leave you as full.
I say to myself.
I have too many hoodies in my closet. There is one I wear all the time, and the other one I only wear on my days off. My cat garnishes them both with nudges and hisssss. We keep the TV off to reinvigorate nonsense. There is a maze somewhere in my shoe-bin that is as captivating as it appears. It might lead to another hoodie. I’m probably more eloquent in that hoodie, I may even elope with a thesaurus one day and come back a true academic. I lie about my age all the time. Hisssss, she says. This hoodie isn’t as comfortable as it looks.
My skin disrupts the pattern. You are Black and a woman; I think that’s all I got for now. The story suddenly needs a bit of seasoning. I’m on my last pint of homemade Adobo, I have to write this down because literature won’t be flavored unless I admit my culture. I owe my Angolan grandparents an essay, muito bem! I like to save race for the end, it nooses in the white crowd.
There you go.
I once caught my cursive going on a date. I told her, crossing lines won’t make the pages want you more. You almost need to not be there, but invisible enough to jumble your disastrous grammar. You can hide almost anything within muttered details. Let yourself fall off a bit, and feel as though ink never bleeds. Still, we both know the truth: nothing is messier than broken words.
I was waiting for the tale to get back. All the music sounds the same now, and the light from the kitchen casts a gaudy smell. I think creativity measures itself with my ability to create. Nothing comes out smoothly, and I’ve stopped trying to make my words digestible for one thing. If I searched for a crowd beneath my fiction, I’d only find the protagonists who could care less who I am. I give a lot of myself up for the sake of the narrative. I believe if I went about it any other way, I’d find it all uninteresting.
Jade Brown is a fiction writer and poet based in New York City. Her writing centers around liberating women placed in dehumanizing categories, and creating conversations around mental health. Jade's form of writing hopes to challenge literary norms, and freely explore creative language.