This is another piece that came out of our February writing retreat in Khanom. It's a bit more personal than the things I normally post, but sharing is caring, right? So here's the deal with this letter. The activity was a "movement and writing" exercise. We all went our separate ways for a 20 minute walk, and during the walk made note of (or photographed) three things that stood out to us. After we all returned we pulled a letter prompt and incorporated the three things we recorded into the letter. My prompt was to write a letter to my passion, and the three things I noted on my walk were:
1) Road safety mirror (that helps you see around a curved road)
2) Rooster - Right across the street from the resort was a plan concrete and corrugated steel building surrounded by a grass lot. Truckloads of men were arriving, carrying roosters inside. Despite the love the men appeared to display toward the animals, it turns out this was a cock fight, the roaring from which we would hear for the remainder of the afternoon.
3) An old gas pump on the side of the road.
The following piece was written in response to a Scrabble-style small group writing exercise at our most recent writer's retreat in Khanom. (Check out the main writing page for more info on this exercise and for other exercises and prompts!)
The words we came up with for this exercise were: Both, box, owl, half, hope, sex, sing, nut, oat, told, dorms, PJs, mug, glow, and wig
I remember it, but whether my memory of it matches what it was in reality, I just don't know. In my head, it was a good thing. We both wanted it, and neither of us had had it before. But it wasn't about that, it wasn't just sex, just "busting a nut." Truth be told, I think we were hoping for something else entirely, something profound. It seems silly now, looking back at it. Two kids living in adjacent college dorms, half way to adulthood, thinking that what had finally arrived was real life. When in reality, I still slept in mismatched PJs and his favorite meal was Lucky Charms from a coffee mug. It would be years before we knew the difference between a bread crumb and a rolled oat. We were just kids.
The following snippet was written in response to a Who, What, Why, Where When writing exercise. The criteria we came up with for the prompt were:
Who: A giraffe
What: Wants a job
Why: Would like to feel human
Where: New York
The year was 2025, and if there was anything Leef was sure of, it was that he was alive. Standing six meters tall on four legs like twigs, Leef's living was not something that could be easily ignored. It was noted by the keepers at his former prison - err - home (the zoo) when Leef took a running start and, using his captors as a springboard, shot himself over the fence and into his newfound freedom. There he stood, somewhere in the midst of New York City, where his living once again was being noticed by the shoppers lining the street, gawking and awing at the sight of him: Long neck, hoofed feet, spots warm and brown against his yellow mustard skin. "Could it be?" the people asked themselves. Yes, it could be, and yes he was. A giraffe. Leef couldn't know for sure, but he suspected he was one of the last. And the way these people stared and cowered, he thought it must be the case.
This is a short story that I originally wrote in response to a competition called "Family Matters." Based on a true story, this is a fictionalized tale of my childhood and the disappearing, so to speak, of my aunt and uncle around 13 years ago. It definitely feels strange to be posting something so closely resembling reality - please know that creative liberties were definitely taken in the telling of this story, and it was written out of a place of utmost love. Aunt Di was always one of the biggest supporters of my art (my favorite birthday gift to date is the art table that is still in my old bedroom at my mom's house), and I like to think that she'd appreciate the attempt to turn her story into something creative and even a bit creepy. I miss you always, Auntie Didi! I hope you enjoy the story, wherever you are.
Chicago-born citizen of the globe, rich in the things that really matter. Let's get weird.