But Blue Be the Mountains

Hello and happy spring, readers:

While sifting through countless journals in my research, both from myself and other former students, I stumbled upon a very powerful entry from the fall of my sixteenth year. Though there are no words for those that I wrote, I felt the entry to be mostly agitated and rather conciliatory, and it reminded me of a time deeply into adolescence.

I also believed this to be the year that I discovered Alex Garland and Chris Bohjalian, and began sampling with inflection under the teaching of the school’s very notable Roger H. But I remember that fall to be a sad one, sustained only by a forced disconnect with my environment. For the days were short but somehow long, and that sadness held fast to us all.

Thus the writing of my book is underway. I felt confident in sharing this 2004 journal excerpt since it has played such an important role in my journey to its completion. If I’m being truthful with myself, I thought this selection of my writing was rather crude (even after a few minor corrections), and I experienced my rhetoric as still being noticeably shaky. But, I suppose, it speaks of a time that feels closely to the way I feel in my life now. Additionally, it’s always fun to trace where your literary style begins.

Until next time. Have a wonderful rest of your spring and an even better start to the summer months ahead!


But such was the earth. And unto the earth, pockmarked and crippled, came the swelling of clouds. Over fields long forgotten. Beyond yellow spots of dust that moved and carried with the wind, and pressed up against the brick walls below.

Yet dawn led to day, and with it the smell of nickel. And into the night, the amber kept on. Warm though it was, the woods were still. And a soft fog settled over the spaces above the leaves, burned off by only the fumes of gum turpentine.

But blue be the mountains, and green over the hills. And still the fires ate at the stone, leaving layers of soot to dig at the doors. For the buildings were white at the edges, and turned in toward the heat. And the feelings of failure came to us both suddenly and intimately.

Split-end braids seared at the tips. Three-letter initials bleeding through blouses. A village of sharpie-stained people that walked with yellow ash in their hair. Knew we nothing else but this?

Be it there. Be it there, so badly.

-Diana Nowak, Upstate New York, 2003-2005


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