Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Truth: I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year.

So this fiction blog is on hiatus until further notice.

Some possible first lines:

Because I had never fainted before, the startling sensation of waking up after unconsciousness was entirely new to me.

She was always worried about her appendix, but terrorism didn't faze her in the slightest.

When the morning starts with a jumper, it's never a good morning for anyone.

She sucked the coffee down defiantly, though it burned her throat and made bile churn in her stomach.

You were the one I'd hoped for.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

this is it

I woke up this morning and didn't have to go to work anymore. Simple as that, a million ideas were careening through my head at breakneck speed, for all the projects that I want to start and all the extreme sports I want to try, and all the wines I have to drink and all the music I have to make and all the mountains I have to climb just so I can see what's at the top before I die. But first, I thought, I'd heat up the old arthritic knee and maybe get some breakfast in me. Breakfast turned into lunch, and into dinner, and early to bed, of course, the better to get a jump on the next day's dreams.

Friday, October 06, 2006

i'm almost certain that we both lied

This morning's metro ride was supposed to be the sort of affair where I get on the train, I find a seat, and then I proceed to sit in that seat and listen to my iPod for twenty minutes after a semi-sleepless, hungover night. All was going according to plan: after my miserable walk through puddles and merciless roadspray, I found a seat on the train, right at the edge of the seat bank (my favorite seat). A black woman of a certain age was sitting next to me, and she made her presence known by saying, "Good morning." I'm sure I mumbled something moderately pleasant back to her while an old Cardigans song blasted in my earbuds.

The ride was like any other, the calming influence of familiar music punctuated by the screeching of the brakes and the periodic stops. But right after we had passed the first stop, I saw the woman next to me take a pink pamphlet out of her bag and rest it on top of her still-folded copy of the Post Express. She held it up for a while, as though she expected me to get a good look at the cover before she opened it. It was called Happiness Digest. Like Readers' Digest, only for the Bible. As the train crept through the district, she made a big show of opening the pamphlet and folding it over to read it.

It was the kind of booklet that my grandmother always kept around her house, piled in neat stacks on her coffee table. They were basically portable sermons, replete with quotations from Scripture and affirmations of God's love through Jesus Christ. The woman, whose smooth face belied her age, was visibly checking on me, to make sure that I was reading over her shoulder. I was not.

Fiona Apple was crooning about sin in my ears. The woman knew that I would be getting off the train soon, as I was buttoning my coat and unbuttoning my umbrella, so she turned to me and spoke in a slow, frail voice. "I like to give away this pink book on my birthday," she said. "Will you take it?"

...so, what would an angel say?
the devil wants to know...

"I already have one." The words slipped out before I was even sure what I wanted to say.


I was in it, now. "Yes."

"Take it anyway, and share it," she said, thrusting the book into my hands as I stood to leave the train. "It makes me happy."

"Ok, thanks," I answered, the words tumbling out of my mouth in a curious hurry. "Happy birthday."

"Oh!" she laughed, sounding a bit startled. "Thank you."

I hadn't noticed her perfume until that moment, cloying and heavy like old people and incense, but the scent stayed with me all the way to the office.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

he licks the spoon, he throws it away

He licked the spoon from his yogurt like a well-behaved little boy taking his cough medicine. A man of thirty, he knew, of course, that yogurt would help his internal colonies of healthy bacteria repopulate during his current course of antibiotics, so he consumed the last from the plastic cup as meticulously as he could. His pitted and mottled patches of skin were suddenly visible in contrast to the serious pink tongue that darted out from between heavily whiskered lips, painting the whole picture of this almost lascivious licking with a broad-brushed grotesquerie.

When he appeared to be done with the yogurt, he paused for a moment to consider the spoon. It was plastic, black, and probably covered with inactive forms of whatever it was that had made him require antibiotics in the first place. "I like to wash these things," he said, "and reuse them." But he knew that wouldn't be the safe, clean thing to do. So he chucked it into the garbage can like so many nickels into a tollbooth receptacle. Gone and good. I wondered about him, sometimes.

Monday, October 02, 2006

life is a junior mint

Peppermint ice cream makes me exist fully in the moment. No flashbacks to long summer days of running barefoot in the tall grass. No memories of mom's homemade stuff: she didn't even start making her own ice cream until we kids moved out. There is absolutely no emotional baggage to stand between me and the perfectly cold pink dream that is currently performing a miracle of slow, sweet melt on my tongue.

Unfortunately, my next spoonful was somehow tainted with this month's extra-chocolate specialty: the clerk must have used a scoop that wasn't entirely clean. While I am in the clear as far as peppermint is concerned, the bittersweet of chocolate recalls a series of events in my life that I would otherwise rather forget.