Friday, April 8, 2011


In the fall semester, I took a fiction writing workshop. In the next few weeks (days, months, years?), I am going to retype a few of the stories written for this class. I was in the habit of printing them off without saving them, so this is my punishment. But retyping has always been a bit of an editing/reevaluating process for moi so it's excusable. I've stapled together a little selection & after the jump is the first. They won't appear particularly chronologically probably just as much because I can't remember when I wrote all of them as that I wanted to somewhat switch them up for this process. I'm calling it an "autopsy." Which makes this a tab grouping--I might add more to this in the future, digging through old work and throwing it up on the web. This story I've titled here "Tempest," and a few extremely minor edits are noted after with a touch of afterward. The assignment was to write a story to describe this photo or one very much like it, if I have not found the exact one our professor provided us with.

"Your mother!" I scream. Joe has done it again, waited until the last moment to tell me that this dreadful woman will be staying with us for a week. "Ooooh..." I begin, stretching out the sound, getting used to it and letting it roll. I can hold a note for hours. This is how I calm myself down. It's a good thing Joe doesn't know this, because it is an angry sound & I am not an angry person. If I didn't get in the habit of making this face, this sound, then Joe would have no way of telling when he upset me. This happened on our honeymoon. I didn't want to make a scene but we need a scene--Joe & I--to understand each other. We're loud but we're soft-spoken; like to pretend we can read each other's minds. Just last week Joe said to me, "When was the last time we had a conversation for more than a half hour?" I told him at dinner, but it was small talk, so that didn't count, because I knew what he meant. Not that our marriage is uncomfortable or at all a problem--we've come up with ways to deal with this. My currently stretching "Ooooh..." for example. Let me walk you through a day in the life... We wake up, make love, he goes to work, and I do the crosswords in four different paper before making lunch, never breakfast, just lunch. Then he comes home for that meal and we perhaps end up back in the bedroom for a few moments, "slam, blam, thank you, ma'am," then we eat & he's back off to work. I knit for exactly 87 minutes and thirty seconds, then nap, and inevitably make dinner. You see, we're happy & neat & beautiful in our own way. Oh, I'm sorry, have I been talking to you even more beautiful people in my head just a touch too much? I get so comfortable in the "Ooooooooooooh," which I follow with a terse-in-comparison "nooo," that I'm forced to talk to myself, to keep my mind working. I can't talk aloud because I'm calming myself down, although it looks like a temper tantrum.


  • Original title: "So Much Character" <--amended from "Character" which was a simple labeling of the assignment from the description given by the professor
  • "Then he comes home for that meal" <--correction of original "from that meal"
  • "Ooooooooooooh" <--adjustment of original "Oooooooooooh" with 11 os, amended to twelve because it's four in both earlier uses and I wanted to present this one as if those were specific parts or thirds

There was another correction I made, or at least I think I might have made another correction, but in my typing, I passed it by (EDIT: it was the title adjustment that I've added into the list; glad to have remembered that). A few thoughts on this story: just now, typing this, I thought "allowed to talk aloud" would have been interesting. Gimmicky and kitsch no doubt, but I'm not above either. I wanted a story that had a Nicholson Baker-like link to the photo and I also wanted to examine the mind of this woman, who I think I recognized as one of the infamous women of Wife Swap but who in all seriousness might have been someone completely different, my memory is so vague. I particularly like my idea of beauty postulated here. I wanted to create a paradisaical life for this woman, something as far away from the photo as one would expect. I'm not sure if I came close. I'm not sure if it reads like a woman or a nineteen-year-old boy. Probably the latter; the truth is, generally, right out there on the page. But that's what I was going for. Being able to say this much about this little burst from the pen in class and feel as if I'm only half lying while analyzing is definite fun. I am hoping that these autopsies are all as successfully.

Talk to you later?

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