Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The Dead To Return
The first typewriter I ever had was an IBM Selectric that weighed nearly half of what I did and made a sound that would cause the dead to return. I got into the habit of typing every morning, early, and my roommate said that I was to write LONGHAND and longhand only before ten in the morning, saying that if it was good enough for Shakespeare, it was damn well good enough for me. Point taken, I kept the Selectric monster for the night hours and took to morning writing without the benefit of typing. I did not want to cross my roommate -- she was in the last stages of an extreme weight loss regime and suffering from the kind of meanness that partial self-imposed starvation produces. She'd lost nearly sixty pounds on Weight Watchers and had lots of brochures featuring the skinny, unattractive president of Weight Watchers, a woman who looked as if she'd suffered a slightly disfiguring burn, but in fact, was merely aging prematurely because of all the yo-yo dieting.
I felt her pain. Given my years as a gymnast, I had dieted for sadistic coaches that kept us in outfits too small to make sure that we always felt pressure to lose weight. I had long given up the hope that I would be small enough to compete (height and weight both) and had resigned myself to the writing life, one that, if the pictures of other writers were to be examples, didn't require a strict attention to one's appearance. I tried to explain how I knew what my friend was going through, but I didn't. I weighed a little over a hundred pounds total; she'd just lost sixty and had twenty more to go. In a show of restraint, I'd wait until night to eat any candy or chocolate, but to no avail. "I hear you eating M&Ms, you skinny bitch. I hate you," she'd say as I hid in my twin bed across the dorm room, trying to stuff down as many as I could. If we'd been thrust into the future by ten years, I would have been typing on my computer into all hours of the night. I'd offer her an M&M, given that I was busted and sometimes she'd take it. The next day, I'd pull out the old typewriter and start to write a story about a woman who was suffering. I didn't know where I wanted to go with it, as was my wont in those days, but I felt I understood something about the subject.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Bereavement is a darkness impenetrable to the imagination of the unbereaved." - Iris Murdoch
Drinking music suggestion: Buenos Nochas From A Lonely Room, Dwight Yoakum
Benedictions and Maledictions
Thanks for all the Halloween suggestions! Feel free to add more as we move toward the great day.