Tag Archives: slice of life

Handwritten Pages #23 Return to Sender

Return to Sender

As the mail dwindled to bills and junk mail, so did his supply of scrap paper for shopping lists, reminders, numbers to call for appointments and snippets of love letters he wrote to his wife, dead now for three years; and the secrets he told to the person he imagined at the end of the address marked, “Return to Sender.”

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Handwritten Pages #22 Storytelling

While you and I loitered outside the 7-Eleven after school, sucking down one dollar Slurpees, I saw a tangle of sneakers hanging like a cluster of grapes from the power lines.

I said we could harvest them, make bootleg memories that won’t mature until we’re twenty years into the future when we’re telling our stories to our children.

It made you laugh and you dribbled onto your uniform and I could see the colour of your bra. You asked what if it tasted like a ragged doormat. I shrugged. We walked on past the high-hanging fruit for ours is the now. But I looked back and wondered, if in the future, we’d buy from the Bottle-O because it’s convenient, rather than labour for the truth of our storytelling.

This piece was inspired by a line from Omar Musa’s TEDxSydney talk in 2013,  Slam Poetry of the Streets. You can view it HERE.
I hope he doesn’t mind the appropriation of his lyric.

 

Handwritten Pages #17

 

Standing inside the phone booth, its panes of glass crumbled to hail stones on the concrete floor, with the receiver cradled against my ear, I pretend to put coins in the slot while listening to the dial tone. The static drone a soundtrack to the anonymity of pain. Stabbing the numbers in a sequence I have never forgotten, hoping to call the ghosts of the future to tell them not to wait up for me.

My Shopping List of Regrets

if i collected
all my shopping lists of regrets
i would take a permanent marker
erase them all
and make a black sky
to populate with stars

Handwritten Pages #14

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     It is the rhythmic rasp of the sandpaper she likes best. A counterpoint, and companion, voice to her grandfather’s asthmatic wheeze as he makes furniture and occasionally toys. Punctuated by the cough of the match head on the striking paper to light his hand rolled cigarettes.
     She can discern by ear the coarseness of the grit against the grain. Jarrah, pine, mahogany. He gives her the cork block and a sheet of sandpaper. Converses with her through each stroke.
     She knows, one day, this conversation will cease.

The Articulation of Stories as Scars

Last week during a reading of some blog post or another (and for the life of me I wish I had kept the reference to link you to it; I went searching through my browser history without luck) and this idea developed:

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My apologies to the original author whose work I was reading because I don’t think my thought is originally mine, simply a reworking or a remixing of what I had read and I don’t want to pass this statement off as purely my own. I’m using it as a launching point for discussion. 

As a story teller, the narrative I am creating has a purpose. For my writing, I want to explore the lives of ordinary people, to understand who they are, their decisions and the ramifications.

I do not write autobiographically so the story is not an attempt to exorcise a past, redress an indiscretion or justify a choice. But a narrative, once released to the reader, can wound or heal. 

A story has the potential to open up issues in the reader’s past, or to dress a wound. Such is the power a story can wield. As a writer, I don’t know what the impact a story will have on the reader, and it is my hope that the story I write will move the reader in some way.

The stories we tell one another, orally or written, are evidence of the life we have lived. Those stories are like scars; wounds inflicted by accident, neglect, or others. They are markers of who we are, what we were, what we have become and what we want to be.

Sometimes those scars are worn with pride. Sometimes those scars are hidden. Sometimes those scars are repurposed, redecorated.

This is the power of the story.

Handwritten Pages #6

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He ran his hand over the crinkled page of the skin on her forearm. Away from the cannula and tubing while day and night wrestled for mastery. 
Around him the ping of the heartrate monitor and the chatter of nurses and patients become birdsong.
He took up the pen and asked her, “Do you remember what I wrote on your hand when I proposed?”
A faint nod.
He wrote, “…and the greatest of these is love.”