Scenes From An Excursion
They sat at facing ends of the couch where Mimi was to sleep the night, with a narrow view onto the neighborhood she’d moved from, where her friend had bought an apartment.Read on →
The file creation date on the original of the draft I’m editing and that was my MFA thesis is two years ago today (disorienting, having such exact information about something that remains very fluid). I cut this chapter and made it a separate story almost as soon as writing it, and none of its characters remain in the manuscript. But it got me past the paralyzing fear that I would discover too late—for the MFA, anyway—that my idea didn’t have a book in it.
In the matter of the wind, tonight we are all in it. Some of us are forever talking about the trouble with our hair. Some find trouble less trouble than none. I believe by spring we will miss it all. In Boston, the consultant said, I have to drive all the way and still the snow is not cleared. All the way he thinks how impressed we are by his fortitude. What impressed us was the snow. What worried us was the failure of predictions.
Our friendship was extremely convenient to major transportation, I said, and Vicky laughed, and immediately we had that, the line, and that we seemed to appreciate it equally, as a joke, and didn’t care that it was true. Her evening proofreading shift began at my preferred train’s departure time. So we had that, too, she said. Jostled between men in sweaty-backed shirts in a narrow bar on Forty-fourth Street, we’d hurriedly decided on an overly flowery white wine and were bent close over small glasses.
“The best kind of mistake,” she said. “Twenty minutes and it’s done.”
“How will that work, with the proofreading?” I asked.
“It’ll have to work, won’t it?” she said.Read on →
|Committee Member:||So, except for ______ and ____, these [characters] are all terrible people.|
|Me:||Yeah, pretty much.|
It’s done! 75,781 words, 309 pages double spaced in 12 pt Baskerville (because, you know—trusty!)
I want to sleep for a month…
Novel revisions with stout and Hurricane Sandy.
We’re getting house-shaking gusts and are under a town-wide state of emergency, with the kind of intermittent power hits that make me think branches are on a wire somewhere, but the sky is brighter than it was for most of last week’s glum calm. I’ve definitely been in much stronger winds, but never at such a distance from the brunt of the storm.
The bride said the wine was paid for so we might as well stay—me and Trevor and Juan, who’d driven me up from the city, and a man with no jacket whose name I’d heard as Rich. We thudded into the deep carpet lobby, more lounge than lobby, the bride said, clasping her hands behind the groom’s neck, bouncing in his arms, her shoes slapping unsteady time into the air. Rich set four bottles on a small table. Two armchairs and a small sofa were drawn up. Outside, the DJ was walking his speakers to his car and snow was blowing through the lights and the pines.
"See?" the bride said. "There’s no going anywhere now."
"It’s good wine," Trevor said.
"Why not," I said.
A Guest Post by _________
After reading that Awl post yesterday, I decided it was high time I got cracking with my snorty forties, so I sexted around to all the fortysomethings I know who haven’t blocked me (nothing personal, they’ve DM-ed; kids, you know, using the phone, AMIRITE), and what do you know at wine o’clock on a weekday (weak day we call them) nothing was going yet in Rye and Montclair, trains late, bar cars crammed, bunheads to pick up from lessons, but hey Brooklyn! And one of the mixed blessings of being forty-five or forty-two or even thirty-nine is the belief that no one, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding, knows the parkways and bridges of northern New Jersey as well as you do. For instance, the Outerbridge Crossing! Not so named because it’s the outer bridge!
So in less time than it takes to scroll through a five-hundred comment thread, there I was, parked in the old ’hood, mid-block of course, and up on the roof they had better have been getting that party started, and they were! And since this was Brooklyn, of course everyone there were writers, so rather than incriminate myself, I asked for a few impressions. Think of them as guest posts of a guest post.
I received my contributor’s copies of the spring 2012 issue of Parcel today. It’s edited, designed, and produced in Lawrence, Kansas, “dedicated to readers with a love of the elegant, tangible, hand-delivered book,” and printed with soy-ink, and opening the envelope took me back to the deckle-edge, big, classic children’s hardback books I remember opening with extra care for their clean, new, permanent scent.
My story is called “Apples Horses Brides.” Here are the first few paragraphs:
By August I could only sleep at steep angles against three pillows, midday, when the town dozed off for blocks. The window fan helicoptered me to a grass hut, and reporters in flak jackets filed the evening news from the high school lab where Dennis and I had met. Our teacher bent over me, horn-rimmed, tortoise-shelled, and I didn’t know what I had done.
In the morning when Dennis woke beside me I had been knotted awake for hours. Buses creaked toward Schenectady and the triplicate perfume of invoices I never had to fingernail apart again, he said. None of the names we liked—Lisa, Peter, Jennifer; Michael, Paul, Christine—belonged to anyone.
“How about Chet?” he called from the kitchen. I heard him: verse, refrain, bridge: proud Mary keep on boiling—boiling. He peered around the door frame, his moustache a drooped grin.
“You goose,” I said.
“What?” he said. “I’m singing you the perfect egg.”
When he brought the toast, white, with marmalade, the yolk was cooked through solid.
“Is it okay?” he said.
Thanks, Parcel editor Kate Lorenz, designer Justin Runge, and publisher Heidi Raak!