Friday, February 28, 2014

Seattle Edition: Rita

Seen on the ferry to Bainbridge Island at about 3:30 p.m., February 27th, 2014

Rita rides the ferry daily, its floating concrete sturdier than land, unsinkable. She eats popcorn. The cloud-choked mountains and black pine shadows are better from a distance, murky symmetry shadowed on a rippling glass floor. She cannot see the people on shore, and the people on board are safe like her, silent, island-backbone-mesmerized, wind-strewn, soft-motor-lulled.

More of a vignette than a story, but that's okay. So exhausted! But sleep is for the weak. Must take in as much of Seattle as I can while I'm here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Seattle Edition: Essa

Seen at Elliott Bay Book Company at about 3:30 p.m., February 26th, 2014

Essa's father was a tree and her mother was a botanist. When he rocked her in his limbs, when he shook fruit from his branches for dinner, when he cushioned her head with his moss, her father rustled her heritage, the slaughter of his family, all for a paper mill, all for the printed word. Then Essa's mother would kiss her cheek and say that she didn't need books because all the stories she could ever want already lived in her head.

Essa's father died a few years ago--Asian Longhorned Beetle infestation--and her devastated mother went soon after, convinced she would never find another tree as sturdy and green. Essa moved to Seattle then, moved in with an anarcho-punk squatter who loved the outdoors and viewed written language as a tool of the Capitalist overlords. Today she found him sleeping with a young lithe tree, a sapling really, and when sap oozed from her eyes he said he was sorry but half just wasn't natural enough.

Essa is in the bookstore now, she is angry, she is flipping through the pages, eyes skimming over the shapes of words, feeling the paper, searching for family.

Today I ate nothing but meat, potatoes, beer, and an ice cream cone. I hate myself a little bit right now. I love Seattle, though. Gorgeous town.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Seattle Edition: Marge

For the next few days I will be briefly reviving Pretending to Know You while I attend the AWP Conference in Seattle

Seen at Seattle Coffee Works at about 4 p.m., Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Marge likes to pour her own milk in, make sure it's just so. There is such a thing as too hot for her drink, and there is such a thing as too cold for her body--stump neck wrapped and round head covered, despite the sun. No rain is better than rain, but no rain isn't good enough to make her stop thinking she should have moved to Florida with Jean when she had the chance. There is no such thing as too close to her sister.

Marge owns one pot and one dog and she buys two large stalks of broccoli, one for her pot and one for her dog because lately the hills have been reminding her to watch her weight. There is such a thing as too heavy, there is no such thing as too much butter. And that's Marge's problem: her suches and her no suches are her closest companions. Not even her dog is closer--her dog likes his broccoli just so, and he can't tell Marge how to make it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Lenore

Seen at the Freakin' Frog at about 6 p.m., September 26th, 2013

Instead of writing her reflection essay, Lenore creates fake profiles on OkCupid. She pretends to be men with overbearing mothers and terrible grammar. She pulls pathetic selfies from Google images.

HEY GRL I DUNNO WUT UR UP 2 TONITE BUT IM LOOKIN TO MEET UP. UR SO HOT LOL LEMME KNO WHATS UP.

im normally into asians but your so beautiful I just had to say hi :D

U look like a real women and Im a real man, no question...Ive got lots of big guns at home....Id be happy to show you, gorgeus. 

On her own OkCupid profile, under "I spend a lot of time thinking about," Lenore listed:

crushing dreams

I'm back on the ol' OKC. Thought it might be a fun way to meet people outside of the program, even just for friendship purposes. Not that I don't adore all my MFA-ers, but I don't see anything wrong with widening my circle of friends out here.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Brandon

Seen at the movies near Summerlin, September 28th, 2013

Is this what growing up is supposed to be? Maturity? With all the girls before Tess it was one night only, a happy conquest. Not even a phone call afterwards. I'd get what I wanted and she'd get over it. 

Eventually something changed. My single friends ceased to exist. Desperation coated my mother's throat when she asked if I'd met any nice girls at school. Even my older brothers started calling me a douchebag. 

I settled on Tess because she likes video games and has long, tangled stripper hair. She buys me sweater vests and drags me to Jane Austen movies. Jane Austen. Once in my high school English class I said I'd like to hate-fuck Jane Austen. I got a detention. 

Now I hate-fuck Tess, and she doesn't even notice. She thinks it's just bedroom talk. She likes it rough.

This week my classmates' workshop pieces were all about somewhat deranged sexual relationships. Can you tell I've been reading them? 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Homer & Phyllis

Seen outside the New York-New York casino at about 8 p.m., September 20th, 2013

With Homer's mind going the way it was, Phyllis knew they'd never travel around the world like they'd always planned. It was the only thing she'd been looking forward to about retirement; Phyllis liked to stay busy, so she dreaded the long days not spent in the classroom. She would go back, or at least substitute, but Homer's deteriorating health wouldn't allow for it. He needed someone there so that when he asked, "when are we going to take that trip?" she could reply, "next year, love." 

She did manage to drive him to Las Vegas one weekend, as it was only a few hours from their ugly, too-small home in an Arizona seniors' complex. They took a gondola ride in Venice, they kissed at the top of the Eiffel Tower, they explored the ancient wonders of a violence-free Egypt, they roamed the busy streets of New York. Phyllis drank a few cocktails so her mind would be fuzzy like his. Homer got down on one knee in front of the Coney Island arcade and proposed again, just like he did in 1953. The games flashed youth and rang excitement and Phyllis could almost believe that she was back there, or at least that he knew what he was doing.

Spent some time on the Strip this weekend, but didn't have enough time to just sit and do character sketches. Hopefully there will be enough for this week, though. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

Alex

Seen during Zumba class at the UNLV Rec Center at 6 p.m., September 18th, 2013

I find your lack of enthusiasm disturbing. When you've spent the last five minutes doing squats, you deserve a pat on the back. Presumably, though, you don't want to move your arm, since you held it out straight in front of you for five minutes during the song before last. It seems to me, then, your best option is to cheer. How are you going to get through the whole hour with a scowl like that, licking your lips in concentration? I'd like to see you turn that frown upside down. After all, it's only cardio.

This guy was...enthused, to say the least. I didn't feel like jello after this Zumba class! Improvement.