There are multiple ways to write. A few examples: a) you already have the story in your head, pretty much in its entirety (this happens to me sometimes); b) you invent a character, put it somewhere, like a store or a cafe or a gym, and let the character take charge of the story; c) and I just thought of this one, you can discuss a topic that interests you with a friend while recording the conversation. Then listen to it and transcribe your more interesting remarks.
I suppose that last one would be better suited for essay writing.
There’s a documentary on Kenneth Koch on YouTube, and he mentions a technique whereby he just gets behind a typewriter then writes unfiltered. The he goes back and edits — or more like, salvages.
I also read an interview in the book The Essential Allen Ginsberg where Ginsberg advised his writer friends to do like he does if they want to put out a book: go though your journals and pick/choose/edit.
As far as I knew, I was lying on the grass, looking at the sky. Come to find out I was staring up at the roof of your mouth and its scattered white clouds. What gave it away were your lips, and how I noticed that they were lips to begin with was when I saw a second sky after you rose for air. I used to think this was my grave, staring up from this distance, like people would come and bury me. And now I realize that your teeth are the trees, towering like delicate aspens and darkened in silhouette, with the sun shining from behind like a new day.
A man in a bookstore whose friend was in the research phase of opening his own bookshop was on the phone with said friend, describing shelf layouts.
The man on the call was middleaged with a foreign accent and wore a ball cap and a stylish sweat jacket. He had a goatee and reeked of cologne.
The man finished his conversation and sat at the cafe table studying something on his mobile device. No words came from his mouth, but his cologne continued being obtrusive.
One young woman sitting nearby liked the fragrance, thinking it smelled like success, and she found the man’s side of the conversation exciting. She wished she could be in on the plans.
First of all, the eggs in my dream were not in their carton. They stood upright, transfixed inside my fridge, side by side as if a married couple on their porch.
Who knows what they were looking at? Perhaps each other.
Observing them, they struck me as enigmatic, and so of course I thought of that painting American Gothic. Continue reading “Two Eggs”
She had a cocktail in a plastic cup, and I remember her nose was a sort of red.
She wore a blue denim jacket at her house party and didn’t care.
The one thing I remember about her was her curls. I remember their frizziness, like if you washed a doll’s hair and just left it as is.
Her apartment floors had old linoleum, and the rooms were low-lit and looked comfortable. Everyone seemed to be happy.
She had an interest in me, and we both liked the Beatles’ White Album. We had discussed it at the student union. Continue reading “Cold-weather gathering”
A girl in front of her house was doing hula hoop tricks today. She reminded me of a flapper — maybe Josephine Baker, the way she stared dead ahead and smiled — perhaps knowing she had it down and that she would beguile onlookers.
The hula hoop never stopped moving, regardless of where it wound up — seemingly precarious but staying put, like a plate on a stick in a vaudeville act. What kept it gyrating? It reminded me of those yo-yo tricks, where the yo-yo appeared motionless, like a hummingbird probing for pollen. Continue reading “Heroine of the hula hoop”
Steam rose like pistol smoke from my double shot while I gazed at the Silver State horizon, musing to myself that this was the type of place where Clint Eastwood had had it out with many an unshaven buckaroo, adorned with his quintessential poncho, woven with the colors of coffee & cream. Continue reading “Smoking cup”
Nobody in the congregation could imagine her not moving. Doris had always moved — as if made of rubber or as if a bouncy spirit had inhabited her.
People remembered her swaying across the gymnasium floor during the church’s centennial celebration. She was dancing to My Girl by the Temptations and all the other songs on the DJ’s playlist, all the way up until the finale of Sister Sledge’s We Are Family. People recalled her lips moving while singing, plump with rouge lipstick and her eyes going all expressive. But now they were still, and her lips looked buttoned and had a cinnamon tone that you could barely even notice. Continue reading “Doris”
The old man was delivering seedlings to a nursery in a beat-up truck — its platform fenced in by scrap-wood panels.
It was the start of a new day: The man wore a yellow shirt — loud as unmitigated sunshine.
A shovel jutted up from the center of his flatbed— its handle to the sky, as if the spade were staked into deep earth.