I breathed deeply the fresh woodsy air and adjusted the leather bound books of my booth. The cannon announcing the opening of Faire had already been shot, and it was just a matter of time before people started streaming through the lane in front of me. I was quickly lost in the current of old friends long unseen and patrons coming in.
During the first lull in the crowd, a man came to the register with several small notebooks with Celtic symbols etched into them; some of my newer pieces. I smiled at him, glancing at his face briefly before taking the proffered card. The receipt printed off, and as I started to lay it out to hand him, I read his name.
Think about an event you’ve attended and loved. Your hometown’s annual fair. That life-changing music festival. A conference that shifted your worldview. Imagine you’re told it will be cancelled forever or taken over by an evil corporate force.
How does that make you feel?
I can think something that really influenced my life, and then it changed for the worse. Couchsurfing.
CS was this awesome travel website. It was a way to get to know people in a new place and ask ’em questions, get to know shit that’s not in a travel guide, maybe meet up, and also maybe stay with them.
Dear Midnight –
It is as a friend and colleague that I am writing you. I fear that you are taking too much on yourself as the inspiration of poets and lovers, for they all seek your company. Let me help take up some of the burden. Need I remind you that you have been stealing my sunshine (as it were) for eons? Can we not finally resolve this?
Yours, Noontime (formerly Midday)
My dearest Noontime –
How thoughtful it was of you to consider my own well-being, particularly given the work that you need to do containing the sun. We both stoke fires: your sun stokes the fire of the Earth; I cannot help that I stoke the fires of the Earth’s inhabitants’ imagination. I freely confess that the light of the pale moon in my sky depends upon your sunshine, and I thank you for it.
Several weeks ago, I wrote about losing or not having a father. I’d like to continue those thoughts on something I found: a father figure.
A few years ago, at a football game at my old high school, the marching band director was going to be recognized for 25 years of teaching. Since Cohiba and I met in marching band, we both went back to see him, and a lot of people we had known were also there. It was fun.
That night, he was really happy to see that Cohiba and I were together, he asked about our parents, he knew about my accident and asked about my life since then. Later, I was listening to him talk to the band – so familiar – and remembering how it felt to hear him say the things he said – so encouraging.
I realized this was the only man who was in my life consistently and regularly during a traditionally challenging and influential time in a person’s life. He was also the only man I’ve ever really trusted before Cohiba. He set boundaries with me, scolded me when I was a brat, and encouraged me to do the right thing. He did the things for me I imagine a father would do.
I treasure my memories of him.
A man and a woman walk through the park together, holding hands. They pass an old woman sitting on a bench. The old woman is knitting a small, red sweater. The man begins to cry. Write this scene.
Today’s twist: write the scene from three different points of view: from the perspective of the man, then the woman, and finally the old woman.
Man: (Thinking) This is nice. Okay. Okay. Ooh – crack! Okay, missed it. Okay. What? Okay. There’s a bird. Okay. Don’t poop on me – what?! Okay. It’s okay. Oh look, a woman. Okay. This is – what was that? Who said that? Was that real? Wait, I know her… Oh God – mom?!
Woman: (Thinking) Okay, so far so good. Jesus, after four years, I can’t believe he’s willing to left the hospital for a walk! The meds must me workin’ for him. Will he start talking? What would he say? Probably bitch us all out for injecting him so many – what?! He’s crying?!
Old woman: (Thinking) I can’t believe I brought this here, the sweater I was going to make for his son. Was that the wrong thing to do? Will I even see him? How different is he? Oh – I see him. He looks just the same! Does he see me? Does… Oh… he does!
My home at age 12 – a time in life I hated, yet I currently look back on fondly.
I’m an only child, and my real dad started leaving us way before 12, so it was just me and mom. The house was small and red-bricked with a circular stained-glass window in the front. It had a long hallway that, when we moved in when I was two, I yelled down to hear the echo. ~EH!~ When i got older, we swapped the carpeting for hardwood floors, and I could slide down the hallway. There was a little phone alcove in the middle of the hallway, and we stacked phone books under the telephone there. When I was talking with my friends, I unwound the cord pulling it so far to my room.
We had a basement – it was finished on one side, unfinished on the other and cool on both. I would sit on the finished side, watch 21 Jump Street, and fold laundry. Especially in the summertime. The AC – which was robin’s egg blue, of all colors – didn’t work very well, and during a thunder storm, we had to turn it off. Sometimes days passed without it on. Just fans.
The yard was big. I had mowed, crawled on, made snow angels on it – I knew that yard. Each tree. I knew them all. Climbed a few. Bushy overgrowth in the backyard became monsters and spaceships and a clubhouse for one. Mulberry bushes. At 12 years old, I kept my 10-speed on the side of the house. The street was short and boring – no other kids.
It was in a bad neighborhood, but situated in a great part of the city. And I could ride to all of those parts. Moreover, I had the time to imagine and be outside, and I miss that so much.
A dusty and rain-stained window barricades me from outside clatter. Facing a side street, lighter traffic and a large loading docks create dark, cemented, oil-stained caves. I could see water from an exposed pipe drip down the side of the first cave where two men are alone and talking. Gesturing with their cigarettes, their motions were getting wider with each movement. The man farthest from me is shifting back and forth on his feet in agitation.
The next dock over houses an unmoving mound covered by a pink thermal blanket. A tied white grocery bag sits atop it.
The third dock is the brightly lit by an overhead lamp. A circle of men are standing by several women are sitting on the dock. They are all laughing and flirting with each other.
For the briefest of moments, the bone china image in my window is still and pristine.
In the first bank, a man throws a punch, and the image shatters. The men from the third bank tangle together in their effort to reach the fight, and they all bowl over the man who threw the first punch. The women trail behind, and as one of them passed the second dock, she lifts a corner of the pink blanket, and a brown hand extends from beneath it, smacking the intruder.
My favorite meal from youth? Ones that have emotional importance – it depends. Actually, no, it would probably have to be the one mom would make for us for St. Nicholas day. St. Nicholas Day, December 6th, was always the precursor, in my child mind, to Christmas. I put my shoes out by the fire place and got gold chocolate coins. But the day before, St. Nicholas Eve was also like a holiday in my house.
That was the day, when I was little, that mom and I decorated the house for Christmas. She would put up the big bulky tree and we would put candles and garland around the house, and ornaments up. It may also have been the day we started playing Christmas music, though that may have always been Thanksgiving.
But to decorate that day, she would always lay out a spread of our favorite kinds of foods: summer sausage and cheese and crackers, crackers, veggies, maybe some chocolates, and – this I remember distinctively – ham rolled up around cream cheese and pickle, cut up and pierced with a toothpick. That was the most distinctive and interesting flavor to me.
*Writing 101: Day 10
For such a slight man, Nathan seemed larger than life; I could see that the moment I walked into the volunteer room, despite the dozens of other volunteers. He was a force people moved around, like a large stone in a stream of water.