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 apartment had been empty, except for Lucy, for so long that she had lost track of the months. She sat watching the light rise through the bedroom window and set over the kitchen sink for days at a time, no sleeping. She couldn't bother trying to stomach the last packet of crackers lying just outside her reach on the hardwood floor. Her hunger had left her not long after Thomas and their little boy.
Describe where you are now, using everything but visual description. Cater to those who respond not only to visuals, but to sounds, smells, sensations. I wrote this alongside some of my favorite warriors at our retreat at Leeloo Cabanas this past weekend. Enjoy!
Rumble, tumble, raspy and low. Pitter-patter, pitter-patter, faster, faster, slow. Sky soldiers beating, beating on the world below. With my eyes sewn closed, they all feel cold, sliding slyly down my surface like the slime that lines my nose. A faint scent of smoke fades to the flavor of tomato in my throat.
This is a poem, I suppose, written in response to a prompt at our first ever writing retreat this past weekend. The prompt was to think of of one thing I came across during the day and describe it without using any adjectives (the use of color is allowed). I chose to write about an "iffiffy," which is what my father used to call the little white floating remnants of dandelions. I had just finished talking about him with a fellow warrior when, walking back to my bungalow, I was swept up in a huge swarm of these iffifies that seemed to appear out of nowhere. I smiled and said hello to my old man, and I knew I had found my topic for the prompt.
Following Warrior Kiki's lead, the group decided to use colors as prompts for a shorter exercise in class. For my color, I chose blue. I was writing with a blue pen, so it felt fitting. When my pen ran out of ink halfway through, I picked up a black one. So I switched my color over to black. Here's what I came up with.
I fell in. I didn't dive. And I couldn't tell if what surrounded me on that descent was a body of water or in fact just the blue of your eyes. Either way, I was sinking, the light of the sky fading to a darker hue. My skin grew darker too, due to lack of oxygen. I began to tumble, bouncing this way and that, off of things like limbs, until I came in slow-motion contact with the bottom. Bottom, rock, cotton, like candy. It doesn't matter which. It's all the same when your lungs are thirsting for a necessary breath. And broken, bruised, you know you're going to drown.
This is a continuation of my list of 40 things that would blow my mind if they actually happened. Check out the exercise on our writing page for more information and check out Part 1 for my previous 20..
21. Seeing Aom (my Thai student) in the States when I go home in October
22. Seeing people's auras
23. Inventing something
24. If I was recognized as "famous" for anything
25. Being a published novelist
26. Seeing my baby (even if I had known I was pregnant) for the first time
27. Seeing a mermaid
28. Winning the lottery
29. Being offered a job by a headhunter
30. Being left something valuable in a will
31. If somebody offered to pay my students loans or the gov't forgave them
32. waking up as an actual butterfly
33. The discovery that we do all see colors differently
34. If I shrunk
35. Learning any animal species has a written language
36. Finding gold
37. Flying a helicopter or plane
38. Exploring a shipwreck
39. Finding out I'm royalty of a tiny island nation
40. Having access to all the secrets of the Catholic Church, past and present (finances, documents, etc.)
Bonus: If I stopped aging
Prompt: You come across a shoebox on the beach. What's in it? (Please note, this is to be sung, not read. Now warm up your vocal cords.)
A shoe box, a blue box - Oh, what's in you, box?
I found you buried three feet under sand.
And I can't understand, why a woman or man
Would put you by hand
So far down, under sand.
Last week we did an exercise where we compiled a list of 20 things that would blow our minds if they actually happened. (Our homework is to grow this list to 40, so stay tuned.) For more on this exercise and the resulting writing, click here. Below is my list of 20 Things That Would Blow My Mind If They Actually Happened.
Writing prompt: pick up the nearest book. Now pick two numbers - these represent the page number and the line of text you will use as a prompt. On July 1, we picked: "Until her last moment on Earth she was unaware that her irreparable fate as a disturbing woman was a daily disaster." Below is my response.
The knocking on the door was barely audible over the music blaring from the speakers next tot he tub.
"Luanne! Luanne, open this door!"
If she could hear in that moment, she may or may not have recognized his voice. She didn't even remember her own name.
This is a poem from the writing prompt: write about unicorns
When you give a unicorn a trumpet
Don't expect it to be polite.
For their horns were made for poking
And they're tasteless in the night.
You may tell him: Man,
It's only made for music.
He'll say: I don't have hands so
Don't you tell me how to use it.
In a restaurant, in candlelight,
He'll make you drop your knife.
In your bedroom masked in shadow
He will traumatize your wife.
A unicorn at any other time
Is a magical sight.
But when you see one with a trumpet
It's best to wonder on and say goodnight.
Chicago-born citizen of the globe, rich in the things that really matter. Let's get weird.