Sailboats.

So often I find myself staring out the window,

watching boats sail along the coast.

White sails scrape the bright blue sky,

while the boat’s streamlined hull cuts effortlessly through waves.

They move without fear;

without worry or weariness weighing them down.

Gracefully, they sail slowly past the horizon and into my dreams,

my mind commanded by Sirens as my head sinks to the depths of my desk.

 

When my eyes reopen, I am no longer in my seat in fourth hour Freshmen English,

but instead find myself awake on the deck of an old fashioned cutter.

Its polished wooden trimmings sparkle in the light,

sails snapping and crackling as if they were alive.

Winds whip across my face as water sprays from a starboard wave,

sending chills down my body and through my entire being.

With a sudden jolt, I’m thrown from the vessel!

Frigid water pours over me, and I awaken.

 

I open my eyes to waves of laughter.

As I pick my head off my desk, Mr. Collins is talking.

My classmates sit, staring at me with judgement in their eyes.

“I guess someone didn’t get enough sleep last night.”

Mr. Collins notices, shaking his head. He then returns to teaching.

Almost reflexively, I find myself staring out the window again.

Back to the breeze, beauty, and benevolence of the open water.

Back to bliss, to balmy weather and breaking waves.

 

“Mr. Smith, may I speak to you?”

Class has ended, and my stomach sinks as reality returns.

I approach his desk, tentative and wary, awaiting my punishment.

“I see you’ve noticed my Haseltine.”

“Yes sir.”

He slowly walks to the painting, stroking the frame fondly.

“It speaks to you too, doesn’t it? It’s beauty? It’s elegance?”

I nod, quickly realizing I’m not in trouble as I initially suspected.

 

It has been nearly four years since that day, and I stand on stage.

Having already grabbed my diploma, I gave everyone a quick wave.

I felt a hand on my shoulder upon returning to my seat.

“Mr. Smith, may I speak to you afterwards?”

I smiled ear to ear, remembering with fondness Mr. Collins’ class.

After the ceremony, I walked slowly towards the worn brick building,

remembering epic yarns and tales I’d spun over the last four years.

It was like an epic: filled with challenge and triumph, victory and defeat.

 

As I slowly walked into the old classroom,

sun shined through an open window.

But like always, my eyes were drawn towards the painting

of the boats and the lake.

I walked to it slowly, it’s sleepy and sultry Siren song once again reaching.

Still today, it was a window, a portal to another reality

where I captained an old-fashioned chopper.

Even now, I could almost feel the wind at my back.

 

“Mr. Smith.”

The older gentleman’s voice was soft, touched by today’s celebrations.

“She’s all yours.”

He slowly approached the painting, it’s soft song also ringing in his ears.

“Sir–I can’t possibly… it… it belongs here.”

The words he spoke next, I will never forget.

Whenever I look at the painting I remember, to this very day,

the way he smiled kindly and said:

 

“We become so consumed by our work,

our stresses, our desires, our need for more,

that we often forget to stop and look around.

We stop looking out the window and no longer find beauty in the world around us.”

He sighed to himself, transfixed by his thoughts and reminiscing in his own hypocrisy.

“We forget our dreams and desires to explore, to adventure.

We forget the rush of the wind, the sounds of the sea, the rocking of the boat.

Take it, and never forget. Never stop searching.”

-ZCS

The Flow of Time.

Time doesn’t flow like a river or a stream.

It doesn’t crawl forward at a slow trickle,

it’s neither clear nor calm.

It doesn’t lazily drift by without a care in the world.

Instead, it is a rushing torrent of water.

Riptides and rapids, it is constantly pulling and grabbing at our feet.

 

Time is frigid and fast, never stopping for a second.

Dark premonitions make it swirl menacingly, cold as the ocean’s depths.

It crashes onto rocks, bombarding the sand like a WWII air strike.

It drags us to the ground with the speed of a cheetah,

the strength of a shark clamping down its massive jaws,

the ferocity of a wild grizzly bear charging at its prey.

 

Time is controlled chaos.

Everything drops into free fall, cascading beautifully down a gentle bluff.

It sparkles as it catches the light at the perfect moment,

each lucent orb a glowing diamond, forever reaching towards the sky.

It seems to hang in the air, beautifully suspended,

a dew dusted spiderweb in morning’s first light.

 

Time transcends our mental limitations,

untainted and pure in a world so full of poison and pollution.

It falls with the grace of a feather,

splashing into a shallow pool and causing rippling rings.

Each ring slowly reaches the edge of the pool,

lapping softly against a pebble beach.

 

Time is gentle, nurturing and soft.

Each pebble is round and silky

resurfaced by the ages’ gentle caress.

Finally time becomes motionless, coming to rest in the shallow basin.

At last, it reaches a tranquil, glass-like stillness.

It is only then we truly understand Time.

-ZCS

Six Words.

In a creative writing class that I took early on, we spent a majority of our sessions discussing the best ways to effectively choose words. We use words so frequently that we often forget how strong they are, how potent they can be. For this reason, I’ve always enjoyed six word stories. Simply put, a six word story is, well, six words. Each story is unique and quirky, where the author uses a maximum of six words. Six word stories are unique in the sense that they leave a majority of the work for the audience. However, for these stories to work, each word must be chosen purposefully to create a vivid image. Periodically, I intend to post six word stories like the ones below to hold myself accountable to this page. Enjoy!

His plane crashed, her life ended.

Open windows, closed eyes, shattered heart.

-ZCS

Hello.

This isn’t a blog where I write about my life story. I’m not going to vent about my problems or post cute pictures of rabbits with things balanced on their heads. That’s not who I am. I’ve had a passion for reading and writing from a very young age, and it’s something that I’ve grown to treasure more and more as I’ve moved through high school. There’s something magical about the written word, something that up until this year I couldn’t quite put a finger on. But this year–my last year of high school–I’ve realized that it’s quite simple: writing has purpose. This idea of purpose, of objective and intent, is what leads me to my title. I am an extrovert. Each day thousands of words pour out of my mouth without purpose or meaning, sometimes trailing off into nothingness when they aren’t met with the reaction I desire. These words express nothing, mean nothing, and most importantly accomplish nothing. All of the works published on this page are not my words–they are my innermost thoughts and creative process. Here, written for all to read and (hopefully) enjoy, they will have purpose. Welcome to The Inner Thoughts of an Extrovert, a collection of works by Zach C. Smith.