Sunday, June 26, 2011

How Writing Groups Go Astray

Every writing group has its own peculiar character.
Bart turns into a bat and comes to the writing group at Alexis’s. Everyone but Stephanie realizes who the bat is; he perches on the back of the couch and squeaks. Later, Steve turns into a skunk and hides under the couch in embarrassment. Alexis tries to lure him out with a piece of cheese, but Bart eats the cheese. Bart insists on staying, hanging from the ceiling and sitting on the TV while Alexis watches, trying to persuade her to turn the channel to ‘Devil Girl from Mars’. Finally Stephanie brings lentil soup and he vanishes, leaving the apartment deep in guano.

Steve will leap out from under the couch and grab hold of Karla’s leg, refusing to let go until she lets him sleep in the bilge.

Some writing groups are more peculiar than others, of course. This was my third writing group. We often laughed uncontrollably about something called The Kitty Picture; just what The Kitty Picture was, I can no longer quite recall. I imagine it was a work of sentimental art retrieved from a garage sale, but perhaps I am mistaken and it appeared suddenly on a tortilla like a votive image of Elvis or the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Preparing for the Near Future

Here's what Rob Breszny had to say a couple of weeks ago:
LEO (July 23-Aug. 22)
I dreamed you had been tending an unusual garden for months. Your crops weren't herbs or flowers or vegetables, but rather miniature volcanoes. Each was now ripe and stood about waist-high. They erupted with a steady flow of liquid blue fire that you were harvesting in large, gold, Grail-like cups. Apparently this stuff was not only safe to drink, but profoundly energizing. You sipped some of the potion yourself and distributed the rest to a large gathering of enthusiastic people who had come to imbibe your tasty medicine. The mood was festive, and you were radiant. This dream of mine is a good metaphor for your life in the immediate future.

I was unsure whether this is about my students or my writing. Perhaps it's about both. If it was very immediate, however, I think it was about my students, both those who graduated and those who will return next year.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Fragment: On Grief or Resignation

With a certain stoic interest, he sat near the rail watching his mother float away as she stood in her long dress in the smaller, furl-masted sailboat, as though she were a figurehead entering an unknown port. Later, when he had grown up and left the sea, he stood in the center of a dusty road and watched his wife's car disappear down the straight; and it seemed to him very much the same.

(No, I'm not sure you can say furl-masted when it's the sails that are furled rather than the mast, but no better phrasing has ever come to mind, either 23 years ago or now. And no, I'm not sure exactly what caused me to write this, although I have a general idea. I would change a few words now, perhaps. It has a different meaning for me now than it originally did.)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dragon Fails

For the most part, I have Dragon rather well trained to take dictation, but it does require proofreading, especially on people's names and on words like "suppurating" which have a way of appearing as more common words like "separating." Every now and then, however, something truly perverse emerges, like "we behave with unusual incompetence sadistically yet without to obviously changing our outward habits."

That was supposed to be "we behave with unusual and complicitous decorum yet without too obviously changing our outward habits."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ancient Limericks

A lady who looked like a cat
Used to go out and sit on a mat.
She wondered quite soon
"Should I bay at the moon?"
And her neighbors all wondered at that.

A boy who resembled a dog
Used to play he was dead as a log,
Until one day his dad
Quite enough of him had
And made him get up and go jog.

There once was a monstrous big tanker
Who when pulled by a tug did not thank her,
So the tug said "You bitch!
You belong in a ditch!"
And straightaway stove her and sank her.

A beggar asked me for a dime;
I said "Here, go and have a good time!"
He said "Not on your life,
This all goes to my wife,
Who's locked up for committing a crime!"