Friday, December 16, 2005

Making This One Up As I Go Along

I had a fun, albeit brief conversation with Rachael Mason over at iO yesterday on the benefits of blogging. She's approaching blogging from the perspective of a seasoned improviser, going ten good years without letting something sit longer than her scene partner agrees to. I'm coming at it from pretty much the exact opposite angle, a hermitic sketch writer who prefers to not even be in the scenes he writes, and is morbidly afraid of improv.

So blogging, we decided, is great because it's the long-sought inbetween. It's not as finite as lit or sketch writing, it's not as immediate as improv, but it's both and neither at the same time. It's the lone writing format where spontaneity trumps revision, and that's a comforting bridge to exploring other aspects of creation.

That in mind, I'm going to do one of my classic stream-of-conciousness blogs. These were actually my primary writing tool in my old zine days, and some of my favorite pieces that were on "in the margin" came out of this exercise. (note: i deleted all my stuff from "in the margin" when i got depressed. someday i'll put them back up, but i'm not quite that healed yet.) Enough intro...let's get lost.

Rapid Assumptions and Torrid Affairs of the Heart
by Arturo Sanchez, Ripley Smith and A Cast of Thousands

"Who the hell invited Stanley Tucci?", Rico asked, the cigarette smoke resting comfortably on his football-sized shoulder pads.

"The most likely suspect is the one you never suspect right at first, but she's also the one who probably never does it."

"Tina, away with your ideas. They don't mix. They're like oil and water, which don't mix."

"Last time I try to help you, schmuck"

What a long, long story this relationship is. It started at the 1987 Track and Field City Championships, spanned three decades and twice as many continents, and left a trail of death and devastation as far as the eye could see. Such is life. Such is love.

Rico's faded alabaster jacket stood out like a recently-hammered thumb against the paisley earth-toned wallpaper, and his demeanor wasn't helping. He shook violently from the elbows down, a lifetime of wrong turns fueling his already nervous posture. The cigarette pressed against his Mick Jagger-esque lips further narrowed his gangly frame, making him the butt of jokes, the scorn of the Social Club.

Tina made her way to the raw bar, and dove into a plate of oysters. "For twenty nine years I've hid behind a mask, like a halloween mask, one that conceals your identity, but I don't get any treats. Only tricks."


Four oysters and a J├ąger later, she tracked Rico down. He was where he always was this time of night- awash in a sea of introspective rambling.

"I feel certain that I'm too tall for this room"

Tina bit her tongue, knowing her wisdom would bring only a harsh reply.

"I used to think, from this height, I might be able to see my house. The things I used to think."


"Do you have to do that in front of me? Do you have to do that so...loudly?"

"I suppose not."

"Be a doll. Reach for the fire extinguisher, but don't grab it. Instead, hesitate for a moment, rethink your original decision, then, with a look of defeat, turn back and say 'I'm sorry'."

Tina extended her freckled arm near it's breaking point. Her fingers trembled three inches shy of the handle. Her eyes darted about the room, then collapsed under the weight of her brow. She turned to Rico, "Is that what you wanted?"


Fly Me to the Moon played softly in the background, and the hall's overturned seats took the visage of stick figures. For a moment, Tina thought of taking Rico's hand, wrangling him from the wall with equal parts courage and charm, and dancing, dancing, dancing, until one of their hearts gave out. Which one would I rather be, she thought? The survivor, grieving more for show than out of loss, cupping his heavy head in her lap, stroking his Mediterranean hair, caught up in the bad memories but using the good ones to put on a convincing performance? Or the dead, her last sight being the shocked face of her lover, he pulling the same charade that she would, were the situation reversed. Or maybe, they would both die in an appropriately Shakespearean conclusion to the narrative of their shared life.

Still, it was only a moment, and she realized that she didn't like Fly Me to the Moon anymore than she liked Rico or herself.

"The oysters are pretty good. You should try them, if you think you'd like an oyster, because they're really pretty good."

Rico stared blankly at the empty dance floor. His hand found hers, and he looked deep into her eyes.

"No thank you. I don't care much for oysters."

The song finished as the two shared silence, save only the occasional slurp of an oyster.


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