28 October 2010

stream of consciousness

Stream of consciousness is a beautiful thing.

Take this, for example.

I started with one line—stolen, quite obviously, from Mrs. Dalloway—and typed quickly, no thinking, just fingers flying. This is the story that came out.

Seriously. If you're a writer and you're unsure of how to begin: start with a familiar line and stop judging what comes next. It'll be fun for you.


Marin said that she would buy the flowers herself.

For who else would buy the flowers? She was sitting at lunch alone; at a Subway in a strip mall, looking outside and wishing she could be sitting there. But no. No, that wasn't possible today, this first day when the air felt like fall instead of Indian summer. When the leaves no longer blazed but instead were grayed-out versions of themselves.

And yet there was still something of inspiration in the air. Something of change, even if she knew that the change that was coming was winter. But then. Then there would be spring. Flowers; tulips; crocuses (croci?); dogwood trees in bloom.

And she was back to flowers, back to thinking of flowers. She would buy them herself (for herself) when she went to Trader Joe's after work. Now it was still lunchtime, a late lunchtime (2:00), but lunch nonetheless. There was still the afternoon to get through, the final few hours that stretched longer than the morning when the bustle of getting coffee and talking about what you did last night with the co-workers made minutes trip by. What would they talk about this afternoon? What did they ever talk about?

Marin took a bite of her meatball marinara sandwich (half of it was wrapped up to eat for dinner; the desire to cook was not there this week), and she thought of another fall, that one years ago when she wasn't even 18 yet.

Someone had bought her flowers then, a corsage for her wrist, and he had been so particular about the color of the ribbon. Had to match her dress for the Homecoming dance and she liked that he paid attention to that detail.

She liked that he paid attention and carried her books (it made her feel like a girl in the 1950s, a girl in a flouncy skirt and isn't flouncy an odd word? Did she make it up?). And he knew that her favorite candy, the one she could eat any time, even when she said she wasn't hungry, was Reese's peanut butter cups and he knew that she always took small, very small, bites all the way around the edges and then ate the middle in one bite. She often bit off more than she wanted, but that never applied to eating Reese's and he knew that.

He had slipped the corsage on her wrist that night before turning to face their parents. Snap. Flash. Smiles in 35mm memory.

But Marin couldn't remember much more of that night. The grayed-out leaves. The damp air. The snap of the elastic band of the corsage when he put it on her wrist. How he'd offered her his jacket on the walk into the dance. The smiles. The music she didn't like.

The sandwich was gone, and Marin had 5 minutes to get back to work. To her desk. To her email.

And later she would buy flowers.

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