I haven’t had much time to write lately and the lack of practice is an area I want to correct so I can maintain discipline. It was the focus of a recent blog post, Finding the Flaws in Your Writing. As I noted, I am a slow learner.
Therefore I gave myself 10 – 15 minutes to write a paragraph with no care of editing, purpose, structure. No other agenda except to explore an idea pulled from my note book.
I pulled the following idea from my notebook to form the starting point:
The peeling of a mandarin; the damage to the skin to eat the flesh inside.
In my hands I hold the mandarin you picked from the fruit bowl. I wasn’t particularly hungry but you were and wanted me to peel it for you. A child-like invocation of trust and acceptance. You are seated across from me, hands clasped together, waiting.
“Can I have some?” I asked.
A nod. Acquiescence to share.
The autumnal grace of peeling a mandarin, stripping the skin from the flesh and piling it on the table like a tree sheds its leaves, is undermined by the viciousness of its action. My thumb pushes in to the knobbed skin on top, an outward belly button you called it, breaks through and the spray of citric acid spits. It is caught in the summer afternoon light, hovers, reflects, dissipates. The freshness of the scent makes you rub your nose as if it tickled the very tip.
I catch you smiling and my eyes drop to the line of your singlet top. Your breasts move as you raise your hand to tuck a loose strand of hair behind your ear.
There is a question, which, if asked, will change everything between us.
The skin forms a pile, broken pieces of a puzzle it would be impossible to solve. I could lay out the pieces, align them from where they came but without the flesh there is no substance to hold it. In the act of consuming I have destroyed.
You fidget, wanting to bite into the segments, held up by me until the entirety of the mandarin is peeled. I pull away a few segments for myself and hand the remainder over. As I pull away the fibrous strings, flensing the flesh even further, you rip two segments and bite into them. A stream of juice spouts onto the table as more dribbles down your chin. With the back of your hand you wipe your chin then the table smearing the juice further.
“I’ll clean it later,” you say with a mouth full of flesh before spitting the pips into your hand, reaching across the table and dumping them onto the torn skins as discarded bones.
Our intimacy is bound in the question I want to ask for it will strip our skin like peeling a mandarin that we may eat the flesh inside.
my type of writing, riffing off a single word or an image or an idea. I also had a story involving a forensic attack on an orange and through it discovered the lush word “albedo” which has 2 very different meanings, one pertaining to the humble citrus fruits and the other to outer space!
A new form of writing: literary science 🙂
I liked how he compared the peeling of the mandarin to how the question he wanted to ask would peel away layers of their relationship.