Monday, September 17, 2012

Fiction Writing Class: Week 2

Last week was the second of the Fiction Writing class I am taking this semester. What stood out for me this time was the way that recalling aloud from each other's work, while we all sat in that semi-circle, already caused people to see more detail in what they recounted, and to transfer some of that "seeing in the mind" to the in-class writing.

Here is a dream-telling that I wrote in my journal for week 2:


Dream

I’m in Key West, but when I look out of the window, there is concrete and glass and asphalt everywhere, tall buildings with old fashioned iron fire escapes, and an elevated train track with cars thundering by overhead. This isn’t Key West, I think: this is Chicago.
“This is Key West,” says RA, who seems to know what I was thinking, even though I am sure I didn’t say anything. “We have to pick up the stuff from Key West and take it to Chicago.”
“What stuff?” I ask.
“There isn’t time,” says RA. Suddenly we are running through a long corridor, dimly lit by a string of forty watt bulbs dangling from the cracked ceiling. The corridor stretches out for miles, and we seem to run forever without getting to the end of it. At last we come to a giant freight elevator, and RA says: “The stuff is in the basement.”
“What stuff?” I ask again.
He doesn’t answer, but just grabs me by the elbow and pulls me inside the elevator when the doors slide open.
I quickly notice something odd about the interior of the elevator. It is enormous, and made entirely of glass, and it has two floors like a split level apartment. We are standing on the upper level, looking down into a space that is decorated in glass and chrome furniture. A glass chandelier that must be ten feet wide hangs down from the ceiling of the elevator. Through the glass wall in the other side I see a brick wall moving upwards, interrupted every few seconds by signs saying “7th floor,” “6th floor”, and so on. So this must be an elevator, I think.
“Yes, of course it’s an elevator,” snaps RA.
“I didn’t say anything,” I shout. “And where did all these people come from?”
I notice that even though we are on the balcony of a giant glass penthouse apartment style elevator, we are now standing in a densely packed crowd of men and women in charcoal grey suits, shoulder to shoulder as if we were riding a cramped high-rise elevator during rush hour. I hear a voice saying: “Hello, Philip.”
I peer around the shoulders of the person in front of me, and below me I see JB, sitting on a chaise longue, naked except for a man’s shirt which she is hastily buttoning up. She is looking down so that her long blonde hair obscures her face. “I’m sorry,” she says.
“For what?” I say.
Then the elevator reaches the basement, the doors open, and I am dragged out of the elevator by the crowd. From somewhere far off behind me, I hear JB’s voice faintly crying:“Don’t forget the stuff.”

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