Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Writing the Empty Nest at Parents' Weekend

I'm back from parents' weekend at Saint Mary's College of California where we attended classes without quizzes. I signed up for a writing class taught by Rashaan Meneses, who led us through a brilliant workshop on enhancing voice with detail.

We started with a short story by Sandra Cisneros called "Eleven" from Women Hollering Creek, discussed it, and then each chose an object from our past for the writing exercise. Here's what I scribbled (stet), surprised by how freeing it felt to write once again via pen on page:
The night I left the boys at Saint Mary's, I tried to cry myself to sleep but sleep kept slipping from my hand like a leash yanked hard by an eager dog.
I scanned the room, my old room where I'd slept as a child, and my heart did a double take.
There he was. High on a shelf, alone, forgotten. Faded, eyeless, mouthless, but waiting for me, for this wakeful night full of endings. I grabbed him, held him close. 
He tried, oh how he tried. But he wasn't made in today's soft stuffed animal times. He was as hard as a skull. 
Still, I didn't let go, and soon his silence eased me into sleep, as sweetly as it used to, once upon a time.
Thanks for reminding me of the sheer joy of writing, Rashaan. I miss college.

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