Midwest American mutt, writing, drinking, laboring, trying to do something with this heart.
Contact me ElisLastWill@gmail.com
As writers, I think it’s natural to settle into comfortable patterns: styles, topics, paradigms, techniques, formatting, genres, phrasing. In fact, I think it’s a necessary component to developing a strong sense of our own voice. There are certain places that our writing takes us that just feel like home, small pockets of brilliance and warmth where we can tuck ourselves away. It helps to focus on our strengths, building confidence and honing skills.
But, I think stretching past our comfort zones allows us to explore deeper under the surface. It gives us a sense of our boundaries, in terms of our creative or artistic vision, and offers us a valuable opportunity to remind ourselves that there’s entire universes hiding behind the horizon of what we do well. It offers us the chance to surprise ourselves.
So, I’d like to issue this challenge. Write a piece about a topic or in a style that is totally alien to you, or that you feel is challenging for you, or that makes you uncomfortable.
Tag it with: #TWC Prose Prompt: Flip The Switch
[You can read the finished pieces be clicking the tag link. They will also be spotlighted on Burning Muse]
I will be monitoring this tag for the rest of June and be featuring pieces from it.
I hope some of you will participate.
If your art is writing, your just spinning your wheels not doing this. A whole lot of noise going no where. And you smell like burnt rubber, like dollar store army men. What I’m trying to say is do this, you smelly artist.
The first pair belonged to him and he is still hard to write about these days. I never gave a departure for us of something to remember but more of something to fade. I still have his things gathered in my closet and his painting is hiding behind suitcases. Because when one is trying to mend a heart, the everyday glance after a clean shower of something that was shared makes the skin feel dirty again. Like his scent is still there and there isn’t enough laundry cycles or showers to get rid of him. This wasn’t how it was suppose to be though. He is still suppose to be here on scheduled days and waking me up with a plate of eggs that he perfected to my liking. Or I was suppose to be waking up to him putting on his leg warmers for his winter walk. It took a week after I told him I couldn’t do this anymore that I woke from bed and I had leaned over the sink to cry instead of wake for my morning routine. If someone breaks your heart like the ocean breaks waves, it’s a hurricane when they shake routines and morning wakes. Months of missing and holding off caressing letters and pages, I confessed my missing and aches in a closet to him.
He should have stayed. I swear, I can still feel my legs defrosting from whatever our winter was.
California evaporated into the froth of the sea, and when all the glitter had finally water logged and sank, the coast could once more fizzle hard against Hollywood’s daring drag.
Starting suddenly beneath the rolling folds of her sheets, an architect in Ohio wakes like a discharged gun to a phone call fronting an Eastern rising sun. The boulevards had burned. Burned high and into their eyes, into their castles, and across the moats their hips have carried like hula-hoops for safe space, blocking people and heart and fear from their skin and coast lines.
The flames had licked LA clean off the plate, and released it all, billowing ash in the sea swept air. The people had been breathing the fumes in since 10:27pm the night before. The Fire Marshall had interviewed well. Across the state in unison, they pointed their noses to the sky, and attempted to assimilate the last of the city into the layers of their shaking skin. Children playing along the bay watched the adults and stood still, followed suit.
They said, “Carry it with you while it still lasts, son. Fear is powerless when it can’t figure what to steal from you, and it knows we have nothing left but the smoke in our lungs. Breath deep, child, breath deep.”
And it was gone.
The city became nothing but an overdue library book, forgotten knowledge under the bed of some kid who was taught to stop and breath in the fleeting things of his world before they wash out to sea. Taught to breath. To breath well, even when they’re gone. And a generation was released. California first, they decided, the internet next.
My note: Linear and sweeping. Read this.
After the stroke of midnight, I made my pilgrimage to your Sunday mass hoping to find enlightenment in the cathedral of your bed. Detrimental as it may be, you have always been my Adonis. Glassy eyed and weak pulsed. Amazing you could even see me through such constricted pupils, but I’ve come to know you paired with poppies. Somewhere along the way your addiction also became my home. We spent the early hours of this morning searching for solitude in the muffled sounds of each other’s taction. We made love the way cavemen attempt firestarting with rain soaked flint; desperately and vainly. Sparking limbs rolling into and out from the other with no hope of providing any warmth- only the comfort of rapport and a sense of tradition. Reverting back to our old ways of intimate distance. And that was it. Nothing more than carnal carnage left in place of a once promised love. Perhaps we were only ever meant for Sundays. Some things are intended for moderation, so I suppose we were naive to ever strive for piety. I was never destined for bare feet and an engorged belly; it is simply not in our stars to be constants. Like Persephone, I am bound to have you strictly in thirds. Our pitfall being that we are ever too greedy for the feel of familiarity, always wanting to take the road best known. Your father kissed me once on each cheek this morning as I stumbled down the stairs mascara smeared and stale whiskey breathed. His eyes were pained at my fall from grace, as if seeing me in the light of morning afters was too bright to bear. He told me he missed me at your family dinners, but for once I could not agree.
You always wanted something more.
You always wanted something different.
Sure you liked my hair in curls,but it would be prettier in a messy bun?
Of course pink lipgloss makes me pretty but maybe I should try red lipstick for once.
Yes, that dress was nice but it will look better if I lost ten pounds.
I should have got up and left on the first but your lips pronounced
but I nodded in agreement and ate salads for 4 weeks straight.
I changed and changed and changed.
I took so many skins to worn,I forgot which was my own.
My body wasn’t my body anymore.It was your atelier.
I was nothing more than a mannequin,dressed in your desires.
I’m done talking about Tumblr having a writing community because as writers it has become our poison.
Now, communities are not intrinsically bad. Where would gay marriage laws be without the gay community, right? Without it’s masses and masses of members and supporters around the entire country banned under a single flag. But what’s medicine for one can be death to another.
Individuals in large groups naturally start copying one another. Hipsters and Levi’s 510’s, Menonites and jean skirts, lawyers and khaki trench coats, punks and mohalks, it goes on and on. You see where I’m going? What was once original begets cool, begets trendy, begets par, and then everyone starts sounding like my friend @GirlVsWhale when they sit down to right about the condition of their heart (because yeah, Kristen is that monumental, and yeah I’m projecting-she has influenced me a lot).
I’m the guiltiest person you know who sometimes writes just for the hearts. Come on, notes feel great to get. I check my dash far too often and internalize the results. I am to blame, no one else. And in the end it’s not just my writing that suffers, but me. The me that tries to sleep at night. The me that fears I’m loosing myself. That I might wake in the morning and actually have become someone else.
I don’t want to be someone else. I don’t want to be you. I need my voice, my art needs a voice. I want to die and have there be absolutely no confusion as to the individual who’s in my grave.