Thursday, December 19, 2019

Page Match

Last Friday (right before I lost my voice), I participated in Page Match as Volta, my alter ego. She's all about delivering turns, gut punches of meaning ... you know, you think you might laugh, but then you cry, that sort of thing. She has to wear many sweatbands and a fanny pack full of melting chocolates to do this important work.

Everyone who took the stage that night and rose to the challenge of writing on-the-spot in ten minutes was fierce fire, and I was humbled and energized by sharing the writing table and stage with each one of them, and then relieved to take my wig off at the end of the night and eat a pancake at a local diner.

What can you write under pressure in ten minutes with a random prompt? I urge you to give it a try. It generates some wonderfully wild writing if you are willing to let go.

Congratulations to Monica Prince who took first place, to Carla Christopher for her second place win, and to all for their character, charisma, and diamonds-from-pressure writing.
Photography by the poetic lens of Michelle Johnsen. Modern Art space for creative encouragement provided by Libby Modern (Go! Go and find your creative self there!). Event from the fearless literary minds of Tyler Gof Barton and Erin Dorney of Fear No Lit

For the full album of Michelle's photos, go here.

And here are the two pieces I wrote that night. The prompt we were given for the first round was "Astroturf," and the second round prompt was "About a mountain." After my Prepositional Yawp, I was out of the game, left to enjoy the rest of the match with my husband and daughter.


The summer there was too much Astroturf, was the summer of tube socks. Tennis, lobbing balls over fences past the pool -- chasing the damned tiny moons everywhere. Ten, Love, whatever.  I couldn’t feel my hands. I was beyond frayed to falling until I leaned against the fence of my own body, my boundary, myself. Nothing but sky around me, I fell into it, forgot all I was but my outline, a cutout of summer at ten years old, in tube socks and shorts. I waited for anything other than the false ground, fakery, forgery of grass beneath my feet. Green, green youth, not mine, but a volley in a valley of forever. We all go through this madness of finding ourselves in the grass, looking up after a fall. The body suddenly awake, aware, a starfish.

Prepositional Yawp

About a mountain, above a garage, across the year, after the drink, against my life, below, below, below the ground, between the months when we were apart by, bye, goodbye, for all of the incantatory bell ringing of my body against the world, from the other side of the night, from the other side of your spleen, in the distant between of cemetery headstone where you left a tiny rock pressed into the dirt, into the ever after god-awful belief of the everafter, of, of, of, what is all fo this for, from one body to another, stuff and nonsense -- to you this is all to you, I miss you, you up there where no one can say or see or reach -- with that look in your face, with the way that you laughed, oh, oh, oh there are no more ways to say how or what direction other than GONE.