Thursday, January 19, 2012
--I THINK THIS IS THE END OF IT
…The power went out.
It came on for ten minutes, then it went out again. Then again. And once more.
It’s been out for five days, which is the reason for my lapse in blogging.
I’m trying to be a good sport. There are worse things, right? Homeless people. Kids starving in Africa.
I’m at a local Starbucks. On the way, I passed down power lines lying across the middle of the roads, cars in ditches, trees downed over roadways, broken branches hanging on telephone wires.
It’s a bit like winter Armageddon.
Please keep your fingers crossed for me.
…So the last four nights I’ve read by lamp or candlelight—still Kim Chinquee (“Pretty” this time. I’m convinced she is one of our generation’s greatest and most unique voice; a kind a Carver for our times).
I also got “Stripped” in the mail, Nicole Monahgan’s assemblage of some forty flash writers (me included). No story is given an author byline (not for a year anyway) so that not only is author gender stripped away, but identity as well, of course.
There is some really good work in “Stripped.” You should check it out.
…When I wasn’t reading by lamplight, I was writing longhand on a real paper tablet.
There’s something about filling up the pages, seeing actual ink and you own preposterous penmanship with its scrunched letters looking like drowned spiders.
I wrote a lot—maybe 30 pieces, all very short.
The outage is going on day three when she decides.
Both of them are bundled in sweats under heaps of covers and her grandmother’s quilt. Both of them have started to reek, his skin exhaling garlic and cilantro.
He keeps pulling her close, saying, “Body heat, Baby.” Baby is new. Baby is not a moniker she’d ever have expected him to use. Baby is something they’d once planned to have.
Now they’ve got this house in the hills. Heavy, heavy snow has crushed so many things: her blueberries; old trees; Bo’s abandoned doghouse; them.
Last night, searching with a flashlight for a fresh pair of pants, she found his jeans instead, and the note. Her name is Holly. Young. Or else she’s just girlish, the way Holly wrapped the tail end of the y with a heart.
Her mother had warned her that to save a marriage meant being a whore in the bedroom. Whore. The word on her mother’s lips sounded salacious like Satan was saying.
While he snores, she takes inventory—they did it in a cluster of trees, in a U-Pick strawberry field, on an airplane, a church parking lot, and once on the top bunk while her niece slept below. They had been quiet that time. It was like playing with plush, Play dough, holding their tongues, sucking back gasps, moving underwater almost.
What was enough? What was plenty?
Thaw should come soon, and with it, possible flooding. Around spring time things will adjust, renew and blossom. Some will be better and some will have disappeared forever.