Tonight, I took part in the Nature of the Muse reading and writing event at LIC Bar in Queens, NY. The unique aspect of this event is that the writers (e.g., me), in addition to reading work they have written before, are given prompts from the audience. Below is the prompt I received:
That man and that woman are not pleased with each other you can tell because his face is all red like really red like that time I stared at this drop of blood on my arm for twenty minutes that kind of red and she’s different not red not any color she’s just quiet and not just in that she doesn’t say anything but that her whole body is quiet she doesn’t move a muscle except maybe to blink yeah she blinks every so often but not as much as normal people do how often do normal people blink now I’m blinking a lot that feels crazy and he’s talking and she’s just sitting there not blinking and Susie the bartender is like totally afraid of them and she won’t even go over there whoa the guy just did that thing where you get so upset that spittle comes out your mouth and I’m pretty fucking sure that it landed on the woman’s cheek but she didn’t bat an eye and I mean that she didn’t even blink its like she’s used to that no wonder they’re having problems I’d be all scary quiet if my spouse was pretty much fucking spitting on me I wonder if he meant to do it I wonder if he meant to just spit on her that’s crazy Harry the bar owner is whispering in Susie the bartenders ear and they are both looking at the couple and Susie shakes her head no I bet he asked her if she thought he should call the cops because it’s getting mad loud now and you know he fucking spit on her but she’s sitting there taking it all in and I bet she’s just planning how she’s going to kill him and I bet she imagines doing it and then spitting on him that would be cool why doesn’t Harry ask me what I think about if we should call the cops cause I totally think we should the guys crazy and spitting and the woman’s just sitting there planning his murder I can see it I can see what she’s thinking but Harry would never ask me because he thinks I’m a piece of shit he told me that when I got here a little late I was like an hour late and he’s all fucking crazy and oh my god I think he was all crazy with spittle too.
My short story, “Plaything,” is up at Pif Magazine in their April 2013 issue. This is a short story that represents a major shift in my writing a few years ago, so I’m proud to have the piece published.
[I love the picture they picked to go with the story . . . it's perfect.]
I’ll also be reading from the same short story this Thursday at Nature of the Muse. Part of the event, other than the reading, is writing on-the-spot from prompts provided by the audience and then sharing the writing. I’m excited to be part of another reading series in Queens.
The need to write comes from the need to make sense of one’s life and discover one’s usefulness.
- John Cheever
As promised, the video of my reading of an excerpt from my short story “Driving Lessons.”
Last week, I wrote about Things I’m Loving Right Now. This week, it is all about videos I’m watching right now.
This first one is a joke, but I’m seriously considering following each step. The pea coat collar, the jutting chin, and the hoodie all make it perfect. So, where do I get a pea coat with a huge collar?
The next one is a true WTF scenario. Back in your day? What day was that? Victorian England? Try going back there. I’ll help you build a time machine.
This was the Google Doodle on Valentine’s Day. All my students loved it.
Later, this weekend I will be posting a video I will never watch – the video of my reading at Boundless Tales.
My entry for the Week 14 Trifecta Challenge using the word safe as “affording safety or security from danger, risk, or difficulty“. This is a continuation of my previous entry for the Week 12. I like the idea of using these exercises to tell a story, but slightly out of order. This segment is later in the story than the beginning from last week.
Edie ran down the hallway of her building, breathless and frightened, cursing herself for picking yet another loser. Although, this one – Trevor – was by far the worst. When she saw his profile online, she definitely had the impression that he was safe. He didn’t have any weird interests and his hair was well-groomed. As she fumbled through her pockets for her keys, she laughed to herself. Safe, he was not. Quite the opposite.
She found her keys and stopped shaking just long enough to put them through their appropriate locks. She heard Trevor coming up the stairs.
“Ooooh, Eeeeedddieeeeee,” he screamed in a fashion she thought only done by movie villians.
In addition to sounding stereotypically (and a bit ridiculously) evil, he didn’t seem out of breath. She found this odd since he had been chasing her from the subway stop three blocks away. As she shut the door and turned the locks on the other side, she realized that being a total pyscho probably does require that one work out. She had liked that, too (and, if she was being honest, a small part of her still did) when she first saw his picture – he was fit. Not in the I-spend-all-my-free-time-at-the-gym kind of way her ex Tony did. Tony was hot, but he was a dolt. Rather, Trevor was fit in the I-take-care-of-myself-and-care-how-I-treat-my-body kind of way. She was wrong about the safe part, but he was certainly physically fit (if not mentally). It was beginning to occur to her that she better re-think her criteria for selecting men.
Here are some things I’m really loving right now:
Perpetual Folly, a blog about writing.
This recipe for Homemade Cheez-Its.
Ellen’s response to The Million (Bigoted) Moms.
Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez’s response to Gingrich’s “Food Stamp President”
I will be reading my short story “Driving Lessons” at the Boundless Tales Reading Series on February 16 at 7:30 p.m.
More information can be found here.
My entry for the Week 12 Trifecta Challenge using the word image as “a person strikingly like another person”.
While Trevor was in the bathroom, Edie took the opportunity to spy on his books and pictures. She didn’t trust any guy’s online dating profile, nor did she trust the self a guy put out during the first date. But books and pictures don’t lie. She could tell everything she needed to know by glancing at a potential mate’s bookshelf (all business books mean the guy is a bore, workout books mean he’s a douche) and pictures (photos of brothers and sisters good, paired shots of him and his mother not so good).
First, she tackled the bookshelf. She liked what she saw: many of the books he had were on her own shelf. This is good, she thought to herself. This is really good. What a guy read was tremendously important to her and she began to imagine she and Trevor pouring themselves glasses of wine and discussing the latest in literary fiction. She pulled out his worn copy of one of her favorite books – The Brothers Karamazov – and saw that it was marked up and almost unreadable with his notes. Her knees buckled. She put the book back onto the shelf as she named their children Dmitri, Ivan, and Alex.
Buoyed by the great news had from his bookshelf, she moved onto his pictures. He did have an unusually high number of framed photos of which he was in every picture. This is okay, she thought to herself. There’s always someone else in the picture, so he’s not a total narcissist. Then she happened upon the picture. The picture that would send her on a several month long mystery. It was a picture of Trevor (recent from what she could tell) with his arm around a woman his age. The woman had her head on Trevor’s shoulder. This alone was not alarming – it could be a close sister or best friend. What really disturbed her was that the woman was the image of Edie.
What the fuck? she thought to herself.