Monday, November 17, 2008

How To Write

She is sitting under a bridge. She is not sitting under the bridge because she wants to be sitting under the bridge, but because she wants to tell people about sitting under the bridge. In fact, she distinctly does not want to be sitting under the bridge, it is cold and there are goose bumps on her legs where the skin is revealed between where her socks end on her calves and where her skirt begins by her knees. She is smoking a cigarette; she does want to be smoking a cigarette, though she claims that she is quitting. Most people who smoke are quitting, she believes.
There is graffiti under the bridge. It is not good graffiti, as the only people who ever see it are the people that sit under the bridge smoking, and no one who is any good at graffiti would waste their time spray-painting there. Sometimes trains go by at the very bottom of the hill underneath the bridge. When the trains go by, she runs. People aren’t supposed to sit there, under the bridge; it is too close to the trains. Sometimes the police come. When she police come she runs as well; she is too young to be smoking.
She brings a moleskin journal with her under the bridge. She likes moleskin because Hemmingway liked moleskin, even though she doesn’t like Hemmingway. It is conducive, she thinks, to writing things. Just as sitting under a graffiti covered bridge and smoking a cigarette are conducive to writing, effective only because these are things that writers do. She would not label herself as a writer though; she only imitates how writers act. She isn’t yet effective at doing these things, for instance, she is cold, and she wants to go inside and watch television, and often she smokes cigarettes until they burn her fingers and she drops them in surprise, and she hasn’t yet perfect the absentminded look on her face, as if she were thinking of one million other things (when in actuality, she is thinking that it’s cold, and she is thinking about the one boy that she had sex with the other day, but she really only had sex with him because she wants to be a writer, and having sex is one of those things that writers do. She didn’t tell him that though; he wasn’t interested in her writing).
She rubs her feet against the rocks on the pebbles on the ground because she likes the sound that it makes. It reminds her of hiking through the woods and her cabin, where she also sits outside pretending to be a writer, only she doesn’t smoke a cigarette because she doesn’t want her dad to know that she smokes.
She is sad. She is never sure if she is sincerely sad or if she is sad because she wants to be a writer and writers are sad. Hemmingway was sad. Hemmingway and Dostoevsky, and Sylvia Plath, and John Berryman, and probably everyone in the Victorian age (think of what all that repression must do to the personality of a writer), and Mark Twain was sad, and everyone, everyone was sad. However, she does not think they were sad why she is sad: because of the boy she had sex with—because she is trying to be a writer and writers have sex with people—hasn’t called her in several days, and she feels fat and bloated, but these things are inarticulate and miniscule, so she does not write about them in her moleskin notebook, with her expensive pen. Instead she writes about being under the bridge, and the feeling of the sharp rocks that she sits on, and the sound of the train in the distance.

No comments: