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Monday, June 18, 2012

Post Cards from Kenyon

First something under the heading of of pure straight bragging.
I have been selected as Georgia Author of the Year for 2012 for my second novel, Paradise Dogs.  Pictured is me with two Georgia Author of the Year Awards, the other for my debut novel, Endless Corvette.
I told you this was pure straight bragging; you were warned.
Next, while I'm at the Kenyon Writers Workshop, I'll be posting the assignments as I do them.  Today's assignment was to take postcards we were given and write a short piece of up to 200 words of what might be written on the back.  Here they are.



I recognized Sam at once.  He’s at Hooters off I-20.  I’d come to use the girls room - you know I’d never eat there, but he’s so skinny!  He’s a dishwasher I think.  Would they let teenagers cook?  He came out to bum some cigarettes from a waitress (I told you I smelled smoke in his room!)  but I guess I’m supposed to be grateful he’s got someone looking after him even if it’s just giving him cigarettes.  He’s got a tattoo, and he’s done this thing to his hair – a white streak down the front where I think he must’ve used bleach or something.  I don’t know if he’s on drugs, but God, he’s so skinny.  He pretended he didn’t know me, so I played it cool but I think he could tell I was rattled.  I just slipped back in the girls room like I’d forgotten something shut the door to my stall and call you right away, but – wouldn’t you know it?  The damn cell phone wouldn’t work.  I got a room here in Billings until I figure out what to do.  I don’t want to spook him.


Dude.  Met a so-called native American, a complete douche.  Driving down the State highway every exit says: FRIENDLY INDIANS.  STOP!  Friendly assholes.  I ask the guy about his peyote and he completely narked.  It was like he didn’t even know what I was talking about, which I know was bullshit because he was speaking perfect English to the white bread family units in there with me.  Then he was a Friendly Indian.  “You want a picture with me?  You seen the mesa?”  But with me, it’s all like how I got to leave before he calls somebody.  So I’m like, so if I buy one of your bullshit rubber tomahawks, you’re a friendly Indian, but if I want to score some goddamn peyote which I KNOW YOU HAVE because, I mean, just look outside, because like what the fuck else have you got, you’re all like Mr. Citizen, well, that’s bullshit, man, because I’m talking about authentic native American culture and you just want to sell goddamn rubber tomahawks that were made in Taiwan, and I bet if General George Armstrong Custer could see this, he  would be real proud of you.  And this is total bullshit.


I saw this and thought you’d get a kick out of it.  I don’t think Brad would think it was so funny, but you and I were always on the same wavelength.  Remember all the times we used to laugh, no matter what, as far as I’m concerned it was worth it.  It’s really South High Street, that’s just an abbreviation, so there’s also a NO HIGH STREET, and a EA HIGH STREET, and a WE HIGH STREET.  This is the only one they made a postcard of or I’d have sent the others.  You can show it to Brad if you think he’d like it.  I hope you guys are okay because I’m fine.  I actually stood right at the street sign that says SO HIGH, and it’s just like in the postcard.
Anyway, I just thought I’d send it in case you got a kick out of it.
Tommy.
(PS – actually there isn’t a EA HIGH and a WE HIGH street, I just made that up.  But there is a NO HIGH STREET.  I told the guy at the store they should make a postcard or that one too, and he said it was a good idea.)


You must believe me.  You and I are Capuchin monkeys.  Your name is Berthold.  We ran away.  The woman Doris, I do not know what her game is.  Also, don’t trust the man, Mickey.  No one has a mustache like that without it affecting his head.  The circus broke up.  I’m in touch with Pico the knife-throwing dwarf.  Stark the Magician caught Raul– remember his mustard-yellow tights? – with Margot the String Lady.  Stark climbed the trapeze and slit his throat.  He fell with a horrible burbling from his open windpipe like a wet scream fifty feet to the thin sawdust and packed earth.  They’d put up the nets.  Henri ran off, and as far as anyone knows, didn’t stop running.  Margot was all remorse, saying she’d loved only Stark.  Pico thought it had to be one of his illusions, to teach her a lesson.  That he’d be up in a flash, clean and dry, brushing himself with a whiskbroom.  But Stark is dead.  I will come for you tomorrow night.  I have seen you mowing, and the clothes Doris makes you wear.  It makes me sad, but it’s nearly over.  We will run off.  Pico waits for us in Tijuana.


When I saw how beautiful it is here, I instantly thought what a perfect scene this would be for your film.  I don’t blame you for anything, I want you to know that.  You are a special person and a unique spirit, and I know one day you will make your film.  This is just like the scene you described, when Lonnie and Ben, two lovers, like us, remember?  Are in the wilderness looking up at these massive columns that time and wind have sculpted out of rock, and they’re thinking how ancient and mysterious nature is, and how fragile a thing is this gift we call human love, when WHAM! These giant hairy mutant spiders come up over the rocks with death-rays shooting out of their eyes and that creepy high-pitched chitter-chitter noise giant bugs make and Lonnie and Ben have to run off to the jeep and get back to town to warn the others?  Only no one will believe them because the only other witness is a sterno bum who doesn’t believe it himself, and how that’s like a metaphor for the obstacles the so-called civilized world puts in the way of love?

2 comments:

  1. Twice Georgia Author of the Year! I am so happy for you and am on chapter six of your next successful novel. Congratulations & much love, A sister

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  2. Oh, MAN. What fun! I will share these with my students, if I may, and inspire them to do something like the same. Very very very cool! Also . . . MEGA CONGRATULATIONS ON WINNING GEORGIA AUTHOR OF THE YEAR !!!!!!! WOW.

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