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Posts Tagged ‘grandfather’

[Note: This may have just been one of the most self-serving things I’ve ever done. I’m only getting away with it because I have to for novel.]

[Dr. Robertson, if this isn’t what you wanted, please tell me. Either way, I had fun doing it.]

(This is a love poem for Tara Elizabeth-Lynn.)[1]

CLEMENTINE DIVINE[2]

A heavy-bottomed glass[3] tipping over.
That’s what it felt like when her head dropped to my shoulder.

She is all things orange: clementines[4] peeled in single spiral,
Sewn back together with red thread, left on the sill[5] for winter;

Thai tea[6] swirled with clouds of rice milk[7], blooming underneath
My tongue, forever staining[8] the white cuffs of my shirt;

Peach pie out of season, frozen months before and discovered under bags of
Vacuum-sealed corn, the bottom burned black when it was finally baked;[9]

A heavy-bottomed glass tipping over.
That’s it felt like when her head dropped into my lap.

She was suspended there, airy, like silk scarves, and then
Sunk, leaving iodine[10] stains on my thighs

The tint of tainted orange and a sanitized
Feeling that I just couldn’t scrub off.

Andy[11] had said, “Everyone knows
Girls are like fireflies.[12]” But it wasn’t

Until I felt her leave that I knew
He meant grasping for light that goes

Dark in your palm.[13]

1. Tara Elizabeth-Lynn is more commonly known as Tara Toms from Tara Toms and the Tumbleweeds. Toms is the only person with a poem in the Girls from the River School series to not be directly associated with Susquehanna University.
2. Morris has noted that this title is taken from a poem written by Andrew Shiraki. The original line is, “Hey lover of mine / sweet clementine divine.”
3. Morris is most likely referring to a tumbler or highball glass, which has straight sides and, as is mentioned in the line, a heavy bottom. These glasses were weighted so that they would not easily tip over, which is the reason it is an important moment in the poem.
4. A small, seedless variety of mandarin orange. Clementines are characterized by their juicy interior that breaks easily into eight to fourteen sections and, as is pertinent to this line of the poem, its flexible and easily-removable peel. Even though clementines have a Wikipedia entry, Microsoft Word has never added them to their spell check roster as anything except for a proper name for a girl.
5. Short for windowsill. Sometimes the peels of clementines, which were popular in the winter months, as they were shipped to the United States from Spain, were dried on windowsills and used for potpourri.
6. A tea popular in American Thai restaurants. The tea is usually served cold in a tall glass with half and half or evaporated milk floated on the top. The tea, which is usually just a strongly brewed black tea, sometimes with orange blossom water or star anise added, is colored with red and yellow dyes, giving it a bright orange color.
7. A milk substitute made from brown rice. Morris has noted that her best friend Abby used to make thai tea with rice milk and that that was the first way she ever drank it.
8. Again, the tea had such a strong dye in it, that it would, indeed, stain a shirt for a long time, if the shirt were not properly treated before being washed.
9. In an interview, Morris said that this references a peach pie she found in the freezer of her Grandparent’s house, six months after her grandmother had died. It was the first and last peach pie that she had ever eaten of her grandmother’s, and she considered it truly magical to have found it after she had thought that she would never eat her grandmother’s cooking again. Her grandmother’s middle name was Clementine.
10. Iodine was commonly used as an antiseptic and was also known for its orange color.
11. “Andy” is an imaginary boy in a song written and performed by Tara Toms about a boy named Andy who was every drug that Tara had ever taken and the loneliness that these drugs and Andy caused her.
12. Originally spoken by Steven Schrey one night after playing Frisbee, probably on a Sunday, in the Summer of ‘07, when he was driving Morris home in his Jeep with the top down. Morris knew it was poetry, but it took her a year and a half to fit it in the right place and have it mean something.
13. Morris notes that Tom Bailey, her fiction professor at Susquehanna University, originally said this line in describing the end of a short story. He said, “You know how the end of some short stories are like grasping for a firefly? You reach your hand out and think you’ve caught it, but when you look in your palm, it’s gone.”

And I can’t even pretend that I didn’t come up with the idea of linking the few things that I did on here from Nadia‘s hypertext final project that she did for Randy Robertson’s History of the Book class in the Spring of ’09.  Nothing is new!  Just think of them as footnotes to footnotes, since I can’t make footnotes to footnotes (I tried). Though I will say that I kind of did something similar when I was fifteen and thought that I was cool.

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I got THREE poems into RiverCraft–one about Tara, one about Ally Harris, and one about my Grandfather.  It’s funny that that’s how I classify them, but that’s the way it is.

NOW: Craft witty and professional bio, organzine shit for SU Review, write a critique, read some stories, get shit done.

All my affections,

Liz

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I just finished that story I was so struggling with (first draft, anyway) and realized a few things.

First, I can’t seem to write a goddamn piece of fiction past 12 pages.  That’s exactly how long this one is (3, 850 words exactly) and my last story was around 10 pages.  “Twine,” my favorite story from intro, was 3,000 and “Valerie,” the one I didn’t like so much, was 2,997.  Maybe I just think in terms of story arcs that are very narrow.  Each story tends to take place over the time space of a few hours or a few days.  I think, really, I’m afraid to write something that takes place over a longer period of time because I’m afraid to cut up the action too much and have it lose its charge.  I really envy the likes of Rickrode and Coakley who seem to be able to write for ages.  Rickrode had a fifty page something or other for intro that was written from like four different perspectives when we were freshman.  Coakley’s first piece was 30 pages. Goddamn.  I wish I could work with paring down what I have instead of having to expand upon them. I have to start editing my first story from this semester, which is about a grandfather taking his granddaughter to get an abortion, and I have the narration so tight that I have no idea how to get back into it. Hence, me avoiding it for six weeks.

Speaking of grandfathers and abortions, the other thing I learned is that I can add something new to the list of things I write about.  If you were to read anything I’ve written you can find these main things:

1) Babies/abortions (ala any dreams I have about being preggo that become poems, and my screen play, that story)
2) My body (ala any poem ever)
3) Light (ala ANY THING I’VE EVER WRITTEN EVAH)
4) My grandfather (he’s dead. I miss him a lot. I write about missing him a lot)
5) The seasons (this also goes along with light)
6) Girls I have crushes on (aka the goddamn chapbook I’m working on (Girls from the River School!)

But now I can add number 7:  middle aged, sexually frustrated men.

“Twine” and the story I just finished are both about lusty, middle aged men who just want to get their yammies in and/or have a friend.  I find it really easy to write fiction from this point of view.  Mind you, these stories are very different.  Marley, in “Twine,” hasn’t been with someone since college (he’s around 30) and finds this abandoned dog and realizes it’s the first friend he’s had for years.  Tim Carley (name and description blatantly stolen from my dorky AP World History Teacher from high school) was married for at least 8 or so years, but has been divorced for twice as many and gets super bored with porn and almost makes out with his daughter’s friend.

Ironically, I went into the recent story with the idea “write a story about a dad who isn’t a total douche” because I tend to write stories that either totally leave out a father or mention a very distant, asshole one.  But when I finished I realized he was more similar to Marley than I had intended.  Not that anyone else would know that.  But interesting all the same.

Anyway, I’m off to cash a $6.88  check from Emma’s,  try to pick up some musical tickets, and apply to every restaurant on Union Deposit so that I can maybe hopefully have a job that I can walk to this summer instead of no job at all.

{edit} I just had that goddamn check in my hand and now I can’t find it. Of course.

{edit 2.0} I left the check on the kitchen table, applied at T.G.I. Fridays, Chuck E. Cheese, and Infinitos (some pizza buffet place).  I feel a little bit like I sold pieces of my soul, though Kenny claims he has it safe with him.

All my affections,

Liz

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