Wednesday, April 20, 2011
And you, you awful bitch, had to write me a letter that would show up TODAY OF ALL FUCKING DAYS.
You may both politely go straight to hell. I'm having ice cream.
A real post tomorrow. Tonight, some frustration needed to be released onto the internets...
Monday, April 18, 2011
"Charlotte," I said. I knew it wasn't her real name, but it was the only one I knew. It tasted thick and heavy on my tongue.
"You must be Jane." She looked up at me from her crowded vanity table and rose to shake my hand. I ignored her in favor of wonder at the shiver of her nightclothes. They shifted and whispered against her soft, white skin so gently as she moved. It was in that moment that I came to hate her.
"So he told you my name, did he?" I tried to laugh but choked instead. "It's amazing you two ever even spoke at all. God, look at you." I gestured to the swell of her breasts, the curve of her ass and lithe limbs half-covered in the early light.
"Yes, he spoke of you often," she said, softly, as if I were a wounded animal. I suppose I was. "He told me so much I feel we could be - might be - great friends if you knew me as well." She smiled. I felt sick.
"Friends!?" I spluttered. "How could we be friends? You stole from me, you destroyed my life and everything I cherished. Everyone knows and I'm ashamed to show my face in public." I breathed in, swallowing the scent of her perfume and (surprisingly) clean sheets. The oxygen cleared my head so I could continue. "But you should be the ashamed one." I reached a hand into my purse.
"Jane," she began. "Jane, I'm so sorry. He should have told you sooner and had no right to let you find out the way he did. I never meant for you to get hurt, he said - "
"I don't want to hear what he said!" I screamed and pointed the gun at her perfect, shocked mouth. "Now, Charlotte," I said calmly. "I want you to give me one good reason why I shouldn't do the women of the world a service and kill you right now."
She walked to her nightstand and pulled a cigarette case from a drawer, then lit one with shaky hands. She looked at me for a moment, then let her robe cascade to the floor in a silken puddle leaving her dressed only in lace and chiffon.
"Because," she said, taking a drag, "if was just business between Dan and me and you know that; because he really loves you as much as you love him; and because if you kill me, you won't have anyone to hate but yourself for feeling the way that you do." Charlotte took two, fateful steps toward me, drifting in a cloud of smoke. "Because you're intoxicated by me, Jane, no matter how sick it makes you feel."
I dropped the gun and felt the shivery whisper and gentle brush of lace and chiffon drift past my skin, and I cried.
To the young poet or to anybody, my advice on writing a short story is to write it. Don’t go in search of too much advice on writing it before you write it because in the end this will only keep you from writing it.
Once you have written it, try not to be too attached to it. It is a thing you have done, but it is not you. So seek out a person you can trust, a person with a kind and generous soul, a person who is not your mother or your spouse or your pet and share what you’ve written with that person. (It helps if this person knows something about stories, about how they are constructed and how they can be improved, but it is not absolutely essential.)
Make changes to this story if you can, or if you must, or if you want. Show it to more people. Try to have it published. Publish it yourself. Read it out loud to a group of strangers.
At some point, write another. And another. And do not be afraid. This is not brain surgery. If you slip? Nobody dies.
Write one leaf in which you describe something that scares you.
The last 2 paragraphs mean the most to me. "Read it out loud to a group of strangers. ... Do not be afraid. This is not brain surgery." I love it. Pure genius.
“The very impulse to write, I think, springs from an inner chaos crying for order, for meaning, and that meaning must be discovered in the process of writing or the work lies dead as it is finished.” ~Arthur Miller