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We sat by the window after getting our ice cream. Peeling green paint revealed an old peach underneath, and a spider. I let coffee and chocolate ice creams mingle in my mouth. I wonder, I thought, if he's a jumping spider.
He jumped like a flea, his trajectory my direction.
Why are daughters always so embarrassed when their mothers scream in public places?
Posted by Danette Haworth on Friday, August 17, 2012
At Jack Kerouac's House, Writing Poetry
I remember staying up too late the night before, watching an episode of a detective show on my laptop, and then a second, and
I wanted to watch a third but
I told myself No, it's almost two a.m. You'll be too tired in the morning.
I remember I accidentally woke up before seven. Six shots of espresso moved like sludge through my veins.
I remember Jack's house was on the Christmas tour a few years ago. I asked the host to show me where Jack sat when he worked. The floor slants down in that room. His mother slept in a cramped bedroom just off, and he slept on a cot near his work, I think. I remember I sort of felt sorry for Jack. I could feel him hemmed in that room, his success hemming him in. That day was hot and sticky even though it was December, and I wanted to absorb Jack but too many people coming in and out and the walls closing in, the blinds were closed, and I didn't know how Jack could work like that.
I remember the first poem the writer-in-residence had us write was an "I remember" poem.
When I remembered my bossy sister and my grandma's ten brothers and sisters throwing money at us, the other writers at the workshop laughed and that made me feel good. I remember other people wrote about sad things and that made me cry, which made me feel good, too.
I remember the big white dog with brown eyes who looked into mine and made me miss my own dog, even for those few hours.
And I remember driving home, climbing the stairs, closing my door, and secretly rereading my first poem just so I could hear the laughter again.
Posted by Danette Haworth on Saturday, August 11, 2012
For me, the writing of a story almost always begins with voice, a voice so strong that it carries with it the gender, age, location, and disposition of the character. All I have to do then is think of what could be the worst thing that could happen to that character. If the voice is strong enough, I can drop the character into any situation and know how she’ll react. That’s where the real work begins: finding the right situation to exploit the voice in my head.
The image of these two girls was so strong, I picked up a scrap of paper and wrote down the main character’s viewpoint of that scene, dialogue and all. The words flowed like water from the tap. Other thoughts popped up over the next few days and I wrote them all down. Later, I nixed some of them and expanded others, but what remained were those first words spoken by twelve-year-old Hailee Richardson, owner of the red boy bike. She didn’t know it then, but her whole life was about to change.
This post first appeared in From the Mixed Up Files, July 31st
Posted by Danette Haworth on Saturday, August 04, 2012