Sunday, July 23, 2006
My friend Hank and I used to drag our laundry to the Lone Eagle Laundrymat as infrequently as possible and there collect writing material. Hank had fewer clothes than I did (who doesn't? I still have my gymnastics team uniform from the late 1980s) so in his relatively short life, he managed to write an entire series of poems dedicated to doing laundry and the wacky events that ensue -- a woman asking if he was carrying his underwear and him yelling back, Yes, does that excite you?, running into an old high school friend dressed in an expensive suit and expressing horror that anyone still had to do their laundry in a public place, reading Catullus poems while a cheerleading camp passed in the window. It was a rich vein.
The last time we were both at the Lone Eagle, a man was trying to teach a young boy how to play the dozens. I had to admire the guy's patience when he kept his cool after the kid spilled a juice box on him and then talked about his first daddy and his other daddy. He tried to explain to the boy how you had to both be funny and make sense with a snot metaphor. (i.e., Your head's so big that they post hurricane warnings every time you get a cold.) I had to approve of the use of snot-- snot works with children. The whole thing took a surrealistic turn when the kid started going off on all sorts of crazy tangents and then started to repeat whatever was being said. The man sighed and said, You have to be both funny and different. Hank and I looked at each other, years of writing workshops behind us, and Hank said, Boy, don't we know it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I can never be trusted not to abuse other people's metaphysics." Hank D. Ballenger
1 shot of gin
1 glass of sprite
Serve over crushed ice.
Benedictions and Maledictions
For Nina on the question of writing rituals:
I'm a huge believer in the force of habit. I try to write as much as I can in the same room every day because that's my best working routine. As I tend to be on the move a fair amount, this isn't always practical so I also try to be flexible. The things that don't change are the music I listen to (Coltrane, Miles Davis, Marvin Gaye) and the way I start -- without any inspiration or desire to write. I've never been one of those people who LOVED to write, who couldn't wait to get to the page. But once I'm there, I feel pretty good. I try to stay on task as much as possible, but I'm not opposed to mixing it up if one genre or story isn't working.