Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Writing Exercise

So my writerly friend Scott came up with a wonderful idea. Take some of your favorite songs and use them as an inspiration or stepping-off point for short stories.

Below is what I came up with. Here's the fun part. Who can tell me what song was my inspiration?

Dear Mom,

I know you’re going to catch hell for this. And that’s not fair, I know. I guess you’ve probably seen the reports over and over ad nauseum by this point. I’m the one they’re dragging off. Not you. You shouldn’t have to suffer. When I was walking into that courthouse, some bullshit reporter yelled out, “Why’d you do it, Owen?” I just kept walking with my face to the concrete. Acting like I didn’t hear it. But I heard it. I acted blank and like I wasn’t present. But I was.

The truth is- I couldn’t believe the question. Did that jackass of a reporter really expect me to answer? Did he really expect me to stop amidst the crowd and cacophony- the noise and rushing- and talk? Did he think I would stand there and deliver some pithy little sound bite for him and the folks back home? Or some well-reasoned lecture? Like I’m some kind of professor something? What the hell was he thinking? Can you believe people get paid to do that?

Looking back on it, though, he kinda was my first prosecutor. Sitting here with some time on my hands, I really do wonder. I do wonder “why I did it.” It’s not like he was asking for it. Not like he was secretly screwing my wife or something. William Gibson Smith wasn’t anything special. Not deserving or undeserving of any favor or disfavor. He wasn’t asking to die. Not anymore than any of the rest of us, anyway. You know how some guys, though, are just asking for trouble? To get hit? Taken down a notch? They talk like they’re so tough or so smart. Got that bubbly electric blonde or elegant waif on their arm like an advertisement? Those kinds of guys make me question things, not William Smith. The kind of guy with everything handed to him…silver-platter. Job, car, woman, smiling friends. Those are the guys that make me question fairness. What’s fair is fair. Isn’t that what they always say? Or All is fair in love and war…Man, that question of fairness…it really claws at me. You know what I mean? It’s like sometimes I can’t sleep because I keep those pounding ideas alive in my head. If no one ever said life is fair, where did I get the idea from? Was it a dream? Did I dream it up? Surely there’s some reality propping that table up, right? I mean, I’m not normally in the business of creating ideas out of mid-air. So surely there’s something to it. Fairness exists somewhere, right? Otherwise we would have had to create it. Creation ex nihilo. We’re all nihilists that way. Creation. Creation. There’s something to it, right? To create. To make order. Structure. To arrange. Breathe life into chaos. Make a living, breathing chaos. Forge it. Give it substance.

Some nights…Man! I just can’t keep all of these ideas at bay. It’s like having your back to the door, pushing with all your weight. Your arms splayed. You groan and grunt and strain. But it’s not enough. I still have the thoughts. They still come out. Still come out. Still.

I wanted to shout when I was in that courtroom. Listening to those dull arguments and propositions by the lawyers and suits, as if I weren’t even there. Not even a bit player in my own drama. I wanted to scream “Do you know who you’re dealing with here? Do you know? I consume whole worlds!”

It’s all right, though. It’s all meaningless, mom. All of it.

I miss you.


At 11:26 AM, Blogger Cara said...

I have no idea but I'm eager to learn what it is! What a great idea.

At 12:59 PM, Blogger Mike said...

"Bohemian Rhapsody"


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