From “John McEnroe Visits Seven Months” by Sean Aden Lovelace, winner of the Crazyhorse fiction prize:

He says, “John, you make me ill, physically ill. Listen: every person has one thing they’re placed on this earth to do, born to do. Think Mozart, think Pistol Pete. Most people — I bet ninety-nine percent — never find their one thing. Not ever. They live miserable lives, half-lost, feeling like something’s not right. We’re one of the lucky, John. Born in the right place, right situation. Fate is smiling and you’re just going to shit on it. Throw it away! So, I ask you again — what-the-hell-are-you-doing?”

I hang up the phone.

From “Reasons for Concern Regarding My Girlfriend of Five Days, Monica Garza” by John Tait, also in Crazyhorse:

Feelings I Must Fight in the Wake of My Split (?) from Monica Garza

A dread that, by losing Monica, I’ve lost my one late opportunity to become a person who continues to grow and change along with a growing and changing world rather than shutting myself fearfully away with the rest of the people like me. A naive optimism, fueled by well-intentioned movies and TV shows, that we Americans can overcome all barriers between us and embrace each other based on our shared humanity. A recognition that even though the above is a crock, it shouldn’t be. The worry that I am more concerned with what others think of me than with my own happiness, a fact that makes me wish I was miles from every other human being—maybe on some unpopulated island or at least archipelago, though when I imagine myself in that desolate place it seems only natural to add a companion, leading to fantasies (about M. G.) that are both pleasant and troubling.

I think the second one may be set in Houston? Anyway. Both pieces are more experimental than what I usually write, and I enjoyed them immensely (the second one slightly more so).

As always, reading these stories made me think. What was I put on this Earth to do? (Write!) What-the-hell-am-I-doing? (Procrastinating…) What feelings must I fight? (Impatience. Fear of failure. The munchies.)

What about you?

5 responses to “Questions brought on by Crazyhorse”

  1. phhhst Avatar

    Sometimes I wonder if I have never been published because I might stop teaching and that is what the Universe has in mind for me. But then,I realize that is just my ego and defense system kicking in ; O

  2. Rita Vindedzis Avatar

    I’m sure you’ve read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. If you haven’t, read it. If you have, read it again. I read it 2 weeks ago and have since started and finished a project that I’ve been meaning to do for a whole year. It’s put me in a very carpe diem mood!!

  3. Kristan Avatar

    Ego and defense systems are important! But so is teaching. And as your post revealed today, you’ve got a great group of kids. I can’t even imagine how rewarding and inspiring it must be to work with them the way you do. (Granted, I’m sure it’s frustrating sometimes too, haha. They’re in high school and middle school, after all!)

    No, I haven’t! I haven’t even heard of it, to be honest, but now it’s on my reading queue. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. angie Avatar

    I dl and am reading the second one.

  5. Kristan Avatar

    Let me know what you think!