In order to further harness my own writing ability, I now make myself a conventionally nice breakfast every morning. Perhaps not every morning—perhaps twice a week. I hate to bring it up, but we are still in a pandemic. I’ve become surprisingly less self-aware; I went from feeling as if I knew every little wacky detail about myself after a month in isolation, to forgetting it all after realizing that rehashing every fact I knew to be true about life gets repetitive after a while. I’m like a machine at this point. I need this ritual (hardly) to remind myself of who I once was, and of who I’ve become. I’m a monster, chowing down on an egg while my teacher’s voice buzzes from my nearby computer. If it’s not clear already, I would, without hesitation and despite its unpopularity, remove every breakfast item from the face of the earth if given the chance. But how’s this got to do with writing? I’m not quite sure. I have a shaky hypothesis about this phenomenon, this act of going against your own normality to remind yourself that you are still there: I think I’m pushing towards a conscious image of myself, an image that doesn’t rely on the presence of others to challenge itself. Here’s the beginning of a piece I have just written as an assignment for our brand new fiction unit:
‘“Did you think it was a good idea to start off with a line of dialogue.”
I can smell sweet potatoes, candlewick, and breath.
“Has it not been done before?”
I hate sweet potatoes.
“Right, fix it,” says Sally.
I don’t feel well.
“Nonetheless, I’ve heard it’s good to start in the middle of the action, is it not?”
I touch my tongue to the inside of my bottom teeth, which have acquired a sensible amount of plaque along the bottom corners.
It’s almost as if I needed to remind myself of the task at hand: yes, Kaia, you’re writing fiction now, get used to it. CW has managed to effortlessly slip into fiction writing, with a new instructor, a new syllabus, and the same Zoom meeting link. I just have to catch my mind up to the change. So I’ll continue my uncomfortable breakfast routine until I decide I’ve had enough and that it’s time to get into the swing of things. I can feel this moment approaching.
Kaia Hobson, Class of ’21