for that english major

Such Stuff As Oat Bran

Oat Bran is a rather mundane meal, one which presents a transient window for edibility before it eventually regresses into a blob of ghoulish rubber, but I seem to make it every day. This is, in part, because I’ve lost my artistic appetite. Like staring down at the depths of congealed Oat Bran, with its opaque face yielding nothing but a wrinkled, grimaced expression gazing upwards in perpetuity, I have no craving for my cerebral right-side. As an english major burgeoning on the cusp of academic fruition, saddled with debt and no clear back-up plan, suddenly succumbing to a head full of oatmeal is not exactly opportune. Somewhere within the stratum of my literary career I broke that seal between work and play. Words which once held power now seem trivial and pathetic, like squinting down the iron barrel of a .22 gage and inexplicably concluding that the skeet at the end is as irrelevant as its ceramic exterior would suggest. Where’s the love? I have no clue, but it’s not sniffing my sorry ass anymore. No art, no love and no will to write about the world from my proverbial, thought-escaping island. And like falling off the horse, there’s no immediate instinct to climb back on, especially when it turns out it’s not a horse but a deranged and intoxicated troll with a valium addiction that you’ve been riding. There’s a sense of morbid curiosity in it all, laying on the cold bedrock, watching everyone struggle to stay atop that dumb troll; therein lays the perspective of it all, I suppose, the game you never realize you’re playing until you lose.

Though I never was very infatuated with the game to begin with. English and literature can be a bloody business when operated as such, but it is the thrill of the ride that makes it worth it. Like a true ambitious journalist, I’ve always been a devout cynic masquerading as an objective realist while secretly being a stone-cold, crippling pessimist. But now, instead of viewing the world from my cushy oyster, I’m starting to agree with the nihilists. Our social platforms are openly ridiculous, with every new app or medium shoving themselves into view like bottom feeders. The multi-headed beast of evolved social media is steadily becoming more legitimate, but beneath lays an undercarriage of moral catacombs that reek of molding inanities and asbestos, and so instead of diversifying my portfolio, I prefer it all to be fumigated. I’ve always been taught to search for the obscene and the contradictory, but little did I know, my generation would service a glut of this, with a surplus reducing the demand for the prey I grew up hunting; there’s no thrill if the buck ties itself down and marks its heart with an “x,” where’s the hunt in that? In this day-and-age, where every act of human tragedy is instantly on our phones squashed between updates of the ‘Sox score and some social phenomenon, it’s almost a workout not to become a depressed nihilist. Everything is ludicrous now, and I find myself drifting towards the opposite, gazing at the bowl of oatmeal in all its banality.

Of course, this is all cemented in the fact that I fell out of love with words around the same time my intimate love turned sour. It was true love, until it wasn’t - and that was it - until I came to the shuddering discovery that the entire well was poisoned, and love was reduced to nothing more than a cackling poltergeist, chasing me down disguised as a twisted caricature of my ex-girlfriend. It’s impossible to comprehend the risk of salvaging love, especially when that love is fashioned together like an old, decrepit tent with insufficient poles. In reality, saving a relationship is nothing short of an exercise in masochism; instead of grabbing a life-jacket and gluing yourself to a lifeboat, you go down with the ship. But if given the choice between love and Oat Bran, who in their right mind would choose Oat Bran? Oat Bran sucks.

Though, of course, that decision is inextricably contingent upon the quality of love, as well as the degree and supply of Oat Bran, considering its quality is rather straightforward.

So here I am, stranded and faced with that daunting event horizon of the unknown, lashing mangled expectations and listless mediocrity into some sort of raft. In effect, this has led me to feel I’m missing something, like there was an indiscernible carrot suspended by a stick on my back that I’ve been fruitlessly chasing. Now that carrot is gone, potentially mistaken for valium by the troll - or my heart by some poltergeist - and I am left with nothing to lead the way.

You would think that saturating my life with literature and writing would be able to overload and jumpstart the system, like injecting a shot of shakespearean philosophy directly into the chest. But no assessment of the human condition can bring me back, no, I’m much passed that. Perhaps I should meditate while listening to The Bible on audio book and call my local senator and beg for forgiveness, or entertain my fantasy of becoming a gypsy and release my inner-vagabond. All strong suggestions, but all futile in the end. Although love is but a chemical process evolved to facilitate reproduction, it sure has a habit of overreaching its boundaries. In truth, I have tried to recapture that old flame, but no matter how I try and rage against that dying light, I cannot reverse it. I am at the mercy, therefore, of time’s unflinching rigour, be it helpful or harmful. I feel old, very old, staring down my bowl of Oat Bran, seeing myself in that wrinkled face glaring back. Without my books and love of writing, this world seems different, but neither brave nor new. It is just a world, filled with bumpy, swirling opaque landscapes, and best devoured when hot.


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