Sunday, July 25, 2010

Writing with a Flare (literally)

Emergency Flare and Me
So we've been on the road for 3 years and I still enjoy it but there comes a time when a girl has to try something new.

I manage the business aspects of our little company, writing down lots of numbers in a book, tracking our cost per mile and flipping around the radio dial. If you happen to read this and work for the IRS, I do A LOT more than that but for security reasons, you know, I'm not saying it. I Just felt the need for a creative outlet.

Enter the online creative writing course.

It started last Wednesday and I am really enjoying it, I don't know why I didn't do an online course before now. Well yes I do, I'm lazy but that's not the point here.

So we get a couple of assignments and I do them right away, post them (hand them in, as it were) and I'm off to a running start. Then we get a benign little assignment to write one paragraph about a lit candle. Just one paragraph using all the descriptive power we can muster to describe the burning candle.  I didn't have a candle the day the assignment came out but I wasn't too worried, I figured I could buy one at the next truck stop.

Twenty-four hours and 3 truck stops later I was still without a candle.

No problem, I know what a candle looks like, I'll just imagine it and write that down.

I stare intently into the middle distance trying to conjure an invisible candle.  My mind is a blank. I have no idea what a candle looks like.  I search the truck for something flammable. We have emergency flares, those suckers would glow  I bet, but quickly dismiss this, the assingment is for a candle.  I have matches, I'll just hold those and write what I see.  I light the first match and quickly write down the colors and shapes. It fizzes out. I light another, it fizzes faster than the first. I light another, drop it and burn my bare thigh, maybe I should be dressed for this exercise.

I think of the flares again.

I search for something else to light. A banana, my pencil?  I know;  a rolled up paper towel! I am excited, this will work, I think.

I roll it tightly, twisting it's paper neck.  It too fizzles, even quicker than the matches.  I search some more. I need some kind of accelerant. I make another paper towel roll, this time dipped in engine oil. I light it. It stays lit, hurray!

The truck fills with smoke, my nostrils sting, the embers flit around my bed. This is no warm glow, it's a conflagration. I drown the oily flame thrower, clean up the mess and write eight sentences about a flaming snake.

Still the flares beckon...

I managed to write about an imaginary candle but felt like a fake and a fraud. I didn't have a candle and surely the teacher and everyone in the class would know and I would be laughed out of the class and rode out on a rail, whatever that means. So I admitted (whined) I didn't have a candle and one of the students said why not write about the flare since the whole thing is supposed to be creative writing.

Now I had a challenge and I can't resist a challenge!

Next episode: The lighting of the flare ( this is not a dramatic pause, it's a pee break)

1 comment:

  1. well i have to say i am enjoying your "blog". told misha about it too. love the pictures. and did you know i use to live on lake chatauqua? keep writing - i am enjoying the trip. . .


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