Title: Flashlight

Takeaway: In the middle of the day.

Seat: Front

Logged: 22 Jun 15 (Monday in the AM)

Copyright:

Time: 1 minute

Replies: 8

Revisions: 13

Publicity: Superfeed

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You weren’t going to school right now because of “mental problems.” And to make me more comfortable in that potentially awkward moment, you assured me that you don’t share that with most people because, “I don’t want to make them uncomfortable.” It was an irony gray day. The grass was green. You looked at someone wiping the sweat from his brow over a lawnmower and said, “Sometimes I think we’d all be better off with astro turf.”

You felt “way bigger on the inside than I do on the outside.” We talked about what it’s like to feel comfortable in one’s own skin. “When we don’t,” you had come to terms with, “we should be open to talking about it” in the same way we would talk about “a sprain, the flu or an infection.” With your chin up and head tilted my way, you gave a nod to some other ways to talk about it: “I’m the singer in a band.” And there was a refrigerator-like poetry in the way you spelled this out for me.

Singing gave a voice to “the riot inside.”

Singing was a part of you you could hold onto when everything else about you seemed “hard to hold down.”

Singing was “like awareness.”

Singing was “a flashlight when you’re in a dark hole and you can’t see the rope.”

You sang one of your favorite lines from a song you were working on, and afterwards joked, “Don’t worry, we’re not in a hole,” and acknowledged, “You’re alright.” Fewer than you would think say what you said next, but you actually sang it, leaving me not only comfortable, but uplifted: “Thanks so much. I’ll look out for you.”

Revisions

Horse » Authorship
Horse » 8:38 PM 17 Apr 18
Horse » 8:24 PM 17 Apr 18
Horse » 8:16 PM 17 Apr 18
Horse » 8:14 PM 17 Apr 18
Horse » 8:13 PM 17 Apr 18
Horse » 2:05 PM 17 Apr 18
Elk » 9:04 PM 09 Jan 16
Elk » 8:16 PM 09 Jan 16
Elk » 8:15 PM 09 Jan 16
Elk » 8:14 PM 09 Jan 16
Elk » 12:40 PM 27 Dec 15

The Thread (8)

 Author's voice in grey. 

  1. Opened this one up — it’s got that emo touch.

  2. This one’s just about right in length. And it moves well from beginning to end.

    I was a little confused about the astroturf (one word?) comment. How would the character know about the lawnmower reference?

  3. Several pairs of words to put under the magnifying glass.

    Knock out “comfortable” in the second paragraph.

    Knock out a “voice” in the third paragraph.

    Knock out a “develop” in the third or fourth paragraph.

    Knock out a “smiled” in the third or fourth paragraph.

    And this key line:

    You looked like someone wiping the sweat from his brow over a lawnmower and said, “Sometimes I think we’d all be better off with astro turf.”

    was previously found to read:

    You looked at someone wiping the sweat from his brow over a lawnmower and said, “Sometimes I think we’d all be better off with astro turf.”

    I prefer the former, but the latter makes more sense given the lack of context and metaphor happening otherwise. Can we work the former version in as a metaphor or something?

  4. It’s actually AstroTurf (TM).

  5. The latter works both contextually and metaphorically.

    I saw the AstroTurf spelling, too. Personally I’d go with the genericized astroturf. It’s not a product placement.

  6. Likely to agree on both points.

  7. Think Saunders. George. I think he has gifts for you to move this project forward with regards to plot development. Mehr spater.

  8. I’d like to read a short story by Saunders, George, @dolphin.

    Plot is the Pony’s white whale.

    I always saw Pony Rides as ethnographic encounters in the space between events that make up characters’ (passengers’) lives outside the car. In that space, I intended to write up passengers’ reflections on those plot-driven lives. These reflections are primarily of and for that audience — the passenger. Out of that encounter (and the participant observer/informant-like conversation that fills up the space in the car), I think a kind of epistolary form emerged. And I’ve tried to provide you — the evoked-audience or unintended reader — with a voyeuristic glimpse from the inside.

    This is all to say that this has become a writing experiment of a life experiment, both equally gratifying, if (both) loosely plotted. My attempts to develop plot in this project (or to inject it with plot, maybe) have resulted in a contrived coherence that has only seemed to obscure something I like about these.

    Related, there’s a “medium is the message” thing going on here too in their vignettishness, and I have yet to reconcile it with the plots of popular literature, television and film, whose pretty bowes frequently leave me feeling confused, because now that that’s over, I just have to figure out what’s for dinner, and I forgot to call my mom back, and that stack of bills, but the dog has to go out. And there’s that George Saunders piece.

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