Just a bit of free form writing I started this morning. Nothing from my life except the horror. Dragonfly guy popped in my head when I woke up and I loved him too much. Bit of a break from horror.
The cold metal chair bites into my back as I listen to the latest speaker. I shouldn’t be slouching, but I feel like a kid stuck in church. The group had been billed as a fiction writing group, but if you add a podium, we could be an AA meeting. Hell, add some robes and we’re a cult.
The empty school gymnasium echoes as the poetry guy talks again. He just simply showed up and started reciting poems. Jasper, the guy that was running the group, tried to explain that this was for fiction writer’s and not a poetry jam, but the guy didn’t get it. We just kind of let him do his thing. It would be cool if his poetry didn’t suck so bad.
The overhead lights are shut off and we’re illuminated by a set of hastily placed work lamps. The janitor apologized and said the overhead’s were on a timer. I think he’s full of it though, and just wants us to leave.
Ok, poetry guy finished his introduction. My guess is the poem will be about his mother.
“My poem is entitled, ‘My Mother, Dragonfly.’” He beams.
I look around, some people have looks of pity for the guy, some are leaning heavily into their hands trying to stay awake. We just came off a long lecture about ‘showing, and not telling’ from Jasper. He told us all the ways we could show things.
“Mother dragonfly, your legs are not strong enough to walk, but you can fly,” poetry guy recites from a pristine piece of paper. It had been folded but the lines are so crisp that you can tell he had spent more than a minute folding it.
All the poems are like this. Last week was ‘Soaring mother eagle,’ and then before that ‘Proud mother lion.’ We all felt bad for the guy, clearly he had just lost his mom and was trying to express himself in the only way he knew how. I mean, even if it was just through rhyming animal facts he was still expressing himself.
Then his completely healthy mother picked him up from the meeting last week and now it’s gotten a bit weird.
I try to make eye contact with the cute girl across the way that writes about elves and dwarves and stuff. She’s beautiful in that ‘pre-taking off glasses’ moment in a high school movie kind of way. I never got that, half the time the girls were better looking with the glasses and messy hair. More unique.
Anyways, I tried talking to her last week, but found out quickly that she wasn’t into any universe but the one she made up. I made small talk while she explained the intricacies of her magic system. When I tried to explain my basics for what I feel makes great horror, she kept steering it back to the scary creatures occupying her world. I listened and smiled but it hurt, weren’t we here to share ideas? Also it hurt that she didn’t care a lick about my writing but the ideas thing is probably more important.
Applause struggles for life as the Dragonfly guy sits back down.
The next woman called up is in her forties and was just laid off. She told us this last week and I went home and teared up about it for a bit. She was good. I mean best seller good, but she couldn’t finish her manuscript for the life of her. Just kept re-editing and re-reading us the same passages. I wanted to tell her to submit it. It was about her life experiences as a single mother of two, having come from a nuclear family. It was touching, and I hadn’t worked up the nerve to ask for a manuscript but I think I will someday. I want to tell her to submit it to some literary agents, but I don’t.
I get up and read next. It’s more Gothic horror, and I’m starting to run out of ways to say ‘incomprehensible’ and ‘mind-shattering.’ The more I write, them more I lose the horror. I can’t put together a novel length story to save my life. I don’t write blood and guts, and I have no idea how to keep the story going past 1000 words. I went to a literary agent once, but they told me no one cared about a short story collection unless you’re established.
With that the meeting concludes. Jasper says he’ll see us next week because writing’s cheaper than therapy and we laugh. It’s a bittersweet laugh because I know half of us are in therapy. Hell, that’s probably why we’re writers.
I get up to go ask the single mother for her manuscript but stop myself. It feels wrong, it just feels so intimate to ask for something like that. I don’t want to pressure her into doing something with her work she doesn’t want to do yet. I walk away and catch up with the elves girl.
I ask her out on a date and she says yes. As we walk through the empty school halls and into the brisk winter night, she regaled me with the royal history of the Elven people of Aeri.