Showing posts from April, 2014

Character Study for Karen

I want, what I want. What I want is you. You order a Sad Martini, you call it. Two parts vermouth, one part vodka and the juice of a lemon. But you don't order a it,  you point at your glass and the bartender knows what to put in it, because this is your place. They know you here.

They know you here better than I know you. They talk of your velvety laugh. Connor, the barkeep, told me how you were late to a photo shoot one day, because you stopped to rescue a dog. He says that's who you are. I laugh and say no one's that nice. Connor's chubby face furls itself into a fist and he punches the words at me, "She is that nice."

I'm lucky he let me wait here for you. And now that you're here I feel even more lucky. I know that's not how the words should go together, but when I'm with you, Karen, words don't make much sense.

I want, what I want. What I want is you.

Happy Writing exercise

I remember the last time I was really happy. I was in Phoenix hanging out with Karen, Scott, and Terri. I was driving. I consider driving a stern task. Driving up Central, laughing for no reason I can remember.

The car was too small for us and our luggage, the lunch was too heavy for all we planned to do that day, and we had no time for errands. All the spaces in between our concerns were fun. We made each other young again, and free.

We stopped in to see an old friend and his new storefront. There was nothing special about our visit, but looking at his shop, talking about business I didn't understand, I felt I was in the presence of love. As though somehow leaving Seattle and landing in Phoenix helped me turn the corner and pack all my concerns, all my everyday worries into a bag.

I say it's like that after a few drinks, but drinking only masks the problems that sit next to me. This was a moment in time when all of myself and all of my friends' parts and pieces were welco…

Thunder, Natalie Goldberg, writing exercise,

The first time I remember begin afraid was during a thunderstorm.  I couldn't have been more than seven or so. Also,  I remember being a great kid. A few tantrums, but I was the kid the neighbors liked to babysit. I was as mellow as the day is long.

My parents left me and my middle brother for the night for  a 70's all-night-discoteque. That night a storm rolled in. Some days I think it never left me. My brother, my keeper, reading a comic book.

The thunder sounded like it would roll right through the roof of our house. The first clap of thunder brought my brother to the window, and me to the floor. I could only shake and cry in place, as he peered out the window, I think, looking for lightning. How would I know, my eyes were closed?

As I cried, I demanded that mom and dad come home. I worried into my brother, I could see his resolve weakening, though I didn't know what resolve was then. At the last minute he stiffened and told the truth. There was nothing mom and dad coul…

A writing prompt of my own from November 7th, 2007.

A writing prompt of my own from November 7th, 2007.

So I dug in. I took it just above the nose. The pain came at the same time my knees buckled. I dug in. I dug in for the last time in my life, the last time I can remember trying ….I remember clearly, it was all in slow motion. I was thinking nothing, I was hopped up on pure athletic zeal. Just me and the ball. There was no pitcher, no one in the stands, just a sacred dance of sport.
I tell people that is the moment I gave up, but it's not. I gave up before that day in the batter's box. 

About washing dishes # writing exercise

The house is empty on a perfect Spring day and it shouldn't be. I can hear the television set on in the background, but when I look in the den, I find only my father's 32 ounce tumbler, filled to the brim with rock solid ice cubes and iced-tea, but no Dad in his chair.

The kitchen, where I should find my mom making dinner appears to be abandoned in the middle of preparing a dinner. A skillet pushed to the side, no apron hanging on its hook. The breakfast dishes from me and my brother have been pushed a side, a reminder that we haven't done our chores.

I drop my backpack and scrambled back to the front door, peering out on the driveway and across the street, I can hear neighborhood noises that cause no alarm. I see all the things I should see; my parent's cars parked in their spots, my brother's car parked on the street, but no family anywhere.

My sentence is clear. I cry my way back to the kitchen, I pull out the red step stool, so I can reach the sink. I begin doin…

#6 Writing exercise Jell-O

I grew up in a non Jell-O making family until somebody, somewhere made it the desert of choice for  people trying to loose weight in the 1970's then, it was everywhere.

Jell-O molds, Jell-O with fruit in it. Going my friends' house for dinner. The shag carpet neatly at attention, a three foot by three foot Godseye hangs over their chimney with care and the potluck was in full speed. There at end to the table separated from normal deserts, like cake and pie, sits Jell-O. Red, passive, ready to cut into squares. Very adult Jell-O. Lonely.

Jell-0 is needed nowhere. But if you're going to have Jell-O it's got to be red or green. Not strawberry or lime flavored. It will taste nothing like that, if you are expecting it to.

By the time Jell-O made it the cafeterias of my youth, it was for snorting(on a bet) throwing (for fun) or propelling at someone (Todd) through a straw. Jell-O. Not food.

Writing exercise # 5

Getting warmed up by using some of Natalie Goldberg's writing prompts...


I pour my coffee into a pint glass, from my friendly french press. I add cream and the color turns from chocolate-oil black to sturdy tan. Then I wrap my hands around the glass to feel its heat, to let the coffee slip through the glass, through my skin and into my veins. The coffee is never weak, it's strong and friendly.

I drink my coffee in sips, chewing it, acknowledging it, noticing it, letting it talk to me. The caffeine is secondary, the bitter shock when it his my lips, the heat and liquid butter of the half and half dance across my tongue, there is nothing better in this moment.

I experience myself through this liquid conversation. I drink coffee there for I am.  

It's a private experience. I don't get from Starbucks, or coffee on the run, or coffee after dinner, or coffee wit…

Writing exercise #4

Getting warmed up by using
and some of Natalie Goldberg's writing prompts

When I die I miss you. I will miss being around you, hearing your stories, drinking your drinks and wondering what's going to happen next.  I will miss all of you.

I will miss fucking you.
I will miss being confused around you.

I will miss loving you and being loved by you.
I will miss curry. I will miss making love with you.
I will miss speaking broken Spanish, because the guy at Home Depot thinks of all the non-hispanic people in Home Depot, maybe I'm the one that speaks Spanish.
When I die I will miss having a body and all things I could do with a body. I will miss the things I never did. I will miss the things I never wanted to do, and now never will. 
I will miss you, I will miss you though I will carry you in my heart beyond on the veil of this existence.
I will miss being nervous after telling a lie. I will miss twice baked almond croissants…

Writing exercise #3

I don't remember the first time I saw my dad with a drink in his hand, or a cigarette. But I do remember thinking he was cool. I don't remember the bar, so I fill it in with different backgrounds when I tell the story. 
It was loud, smoky and I was a alien by at least a decade to this place. The smoke curled around the figures bar side and made them look once removed.
He was laughing through a story,  too loudly for the others around around. Yet his eyes were sharp enough to pierce the smoke.  I remember him seeing me through the haze, across decades, letting me know we lived in two different worlds.

His world, other than being my father, was a world were people were at his beck and call. They called him, "Hank," and were waiting for Hank to call the next shot; at pool, at the bar, and at the barbecue grill. They called him about creating opportunities for small African-American business. They called him, when I 
couldn't be bothered with his advice, guidance, parent…

Writing exercise #2

Getting warmed up by using
and some of her writing prompts

Memory of my mother...
My mom cooks like nobody's business. She's magic. I see her and hear her humming and singing as cast iron pots move and are prayed over.

Her coca-ebony skin glows with a little chicken grease from the spatter. She laughs and smiles as she moves collard greens and ham-hocks to happy tummies.

Memory of the color red...
Blood on my clothing from sparring again. Throbbing blood-shot eyes from sparring. Trying to see through a vermilion haze to my sparring partner.
Punch, spit blood. Cross, jab, hook, spit blood. I try to remember a time without blood in my mouth, a cleaner, younger time.

Memory of a sound...
Summertime sizzles on the grill. There are no mistakes in this season. The ice cream truck jingle-jangle marks the shank of each afternoon of play. I wish for my seesaw time with Shelly and Chris. I long to be torn by the splash of swi…