Saturday, February 26, 2005

you want to know how it ends

Counseling a student yesterday on where to take her story, why to stick with it, I said, You want to know how it ends. It was one of those times, rare in teaching, when you realize after you've said something to someone else, how much it really applies to you.

I think there is a line from a movie where the fresh-faced young hero grins to his friend: I want to see how it all turns out and goes back into battle, or re-enters the room, or gets in the blue car and drives to a girl.

Singer songwriter Emm Gryner wrote in her journal of searching record stores for the kind of album she wanted to hear. Not finding it, she decided to make it.

Of course I know how it ends. It's written down on neat typed pages which have become less and less neat as events are crossed out in purple ink as they happen. But I don't know how I'm going to get there exactly, from one skinny paragraph to the next, and I don't know what I'll find when I do.

The best scenes are unexpected, a moment I don't know how to trace. I won't know where it came from, certainly not from my memory, not from my life. But something must have stuck in there, an image, a mustard seed to bloom this.

Milky chai. Walking home from the play last night, the moon diluted with ink. Snow at the open window.

Write the kind of story you would like to read.