Sanibel Writing Conference Exercises

The Writing Conference on Sanibel Island, Florida is underway.IMAG3657I have begun the day with some writing exercises, led by John Dufresne:

1. Write what you are feeling right now:

Still the pain in my back, the lower blade, dull, deep. Don’t want to move my arm the wrong way. It’s an odd big room with glass doors bringing clanging light in.IMAG3673

2. Expectations for the conference:

Above all, get someone interested in “my bad side”, any thoughts, any moment that will lead to that. Meeting people seems to be the key, getting anyone to know who I am so that the next email isn’t trashed without a decent look. I am always very happy to be given the time, space and freedom to write in any way, for “Anori”, anything else, and revising “bad side”IMAG3669

3. Reflections on childhood, remembering/imagining a moment before going to school, even your first memory:

The water was far away, everything was, through the fence, looking below, imagining what it would be like to be on that floating log, or was that even remembered? The monorail turning high in the sky, metal and glass and movies on the curving wall, the sun coming in the outlet.IMAG3670

4. Who was your first friend?

Ronald was a bear with a big face, flatter than he should have been, little chubby arms and a long hanging belly, tiny legs. I stuffed my things in his back. Charlie was there too, a sad little monkey puppet with a hard bobbling head and cheap brown cloth for a puppet body. They were always together, Charlie inside Ronald, always there on my bed, beside my pillow and then in my closet. I don’t remember not having them, getting rid of them. I wish I did. I probably forced myself not to remember that, growing up and throwing them away.IMAG3680


Our room was in the back. It looked over the garden, the garage behind that. IMAG2188We had a record player on a wobbly table between our beds and listened to records in the dark, the hallway light coming under the door in a broken throbbing line, sloped to the end. light-under-doorI felt whole with my arms flat against the sheets, my face just touching the covers, listening to my sister’s breathing and her changing positions in her bed. I wanted to stay like that forever.
BeeGeesSpiritsHavingFlownWe listened to KC and the Sunshine Band and then the Bee Gees. And then the needle picked up and clicked down and it was quiet. My sister got out of bed and took off her pajamas. I did too.0_5cce5_245f4503_L.jpgShe went out the door, running. I went after her, the warm brightness now cool, stretching my hand out against the wallpaper, an angular flower pattern that bubbled in curlicues. Vector. Seamless floral pattern, backgroundWe were at the top of the stairs, looking over the banister, and heard Nani coming out of the kitchen, her shoes hard on the linoleum into the hall. We ran back and hid under the covers, laughing, when her shadow cut into the warm broken light and she pulled my covers back. “Get your pajamas back on this instant.”

Airplane Window

I was on a long flight, the in-flight movie about hapless criminals, depressing. King of Comedy pic 3I stared out of the window, the drone of the plane’s engines coming through the fabric walls, and tried to imagine the ocean below. IMAG2756I pictured the ice bobbing in the swells but had the smell of the plane in me, antiseptic, and nothing of that smell was in the ice, and opened my eyes, the interior lights off, and it came to me, that pristine crystalline moment of a thought, something from nothing, the genesis of a book – prostitutes driving across the United States in an 18-wheeler. trucker-naked-lady-tire-flapThat was it, prostitutes in an 18-wheeler. And west; they were going west. I knew that too. I had my book just like that, in the thin light, timeless, constant, an arctic summer, my hand down the plastic handle, on the plane over the stark Greenland mountains.*IMG_3423

*Extract from Buzz

New York City: Electing a Mayor

As I understand it, there are two distinct choices in today’s New York City mayoral election. It’s either this: A-police-officer-shoves-a-007Or this:extralarge

Whoever it is, I expect it will be better than this:

Toronot mayor Rob Ford: "Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine...probably in one of my drunken stupors."

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finally admits, “Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine…probably in one of my drunken stupors.”

Mute and Dense, Staring Back

It stared back, mute and dense, the black eyes, unknowing. a-hot-girls-photo-mirrors-2Seeing it, so dull, so obviously a mutation of a mutation with ridiculous purpose, its bloated sense of self, misguided as to think – think? – it had significance, like it actually had ideas that meant something. Screenshot (100)I looked across it, at the passing light and the shadows coming up, and tried not to think.Screenshot (83)I swung out before either of us knew it, and smacked the glass hard, indenting the top half, cracking it down the center. It was a good hit. Solid. It looked like a whale breaching, half out of the water, turning away, the stratification of its underbelly completely out, coming together at the top edge. Breaching humpback whale in TongaMy face was on one side of that now, the same, just warped at the edge by the balene indentation It didn’t reflect. The sides of the glass pushed out, the wood behind. 600full-thru-the-mirror-screenshotMy hand was bleeding.