were circled in plastic chairs, old-fashioned arm chairs, and couches tucked inside
the spacious two-car garage that had been repurposed into a
library/workshop/extra living room. (Only in the East Bay!) I was one among 9
of us, the only girl, and though we spent copious amounts of time arguing
whether Stephen King was a writer or a storyteller, and if David Foster Wallace
was a genius or simply mentally masturbating onto the page, eventually, we did
actually write some.
into a coffee shop and etched into the linoleum are the words:….”
just write, and when the time’s up, it’s up, and we shared around the room. I
love that part of prompt writing in a group (not that I’ve done it much), but I
love the variety of ways people go with something. The disparate styles we had
became obvious, and also, we all visibly relaxed a little after the reading was
through, as if we’d marked one another with a nod of approval, Yes, you are a
writer, I feel comfortable having you in this group. It’s funny, but it’s also
important, I think, to have that kind of respect for one another in a group like
came up with spontaneously is that I am the girl in it–the one we never meet. I am the girl who gets
up in the middle of the night and leaves her lover. And then unceremoniously
there. I was curious to find who in the story I was, since, well, I have an
opinion that we are all or some of the characters we create. I am both the
runner, and the lover calling after myself to please stay.
was in a casual “relationship” with this guy, who was by all rights a decent
fellow. One evening after we’d been in flagrante, he was holding me in his
strong early-twenty’s arms and intoned that he’d like to take me out sometime, like, to
dinner. I gasped, Why?? And he replied, because he liked me, and wanted to get
to know me.
to clarify, “Married Men” is a song, not an autobiography. It’s an impulse, a
thought, a cop-out, a desire, a fantasy, an avoidance, a way to stay stuck and
alone, since ultimately, I won’t follow through on those impulses.
you how skittish I am, I’ll let myself be surprised at how I show up in my own
work and reflect myself back to me. I’ll warm up to the sword-wielding, 2-a.m.
sneaking, rabid runner. I’ll tell her that commitment to living in one place
has only brought me health and stability; I’ll tell her that, in owning a cat for
the first time, the love I have for her I’m happy and proud to give; I’ll tell her that in the many places I’ve used
“Stability First,” I am the better for it.