I'm embarrassed to admit that this online creative writing course isn't doing much to stew the juices.
I guess part of the problem lies in the fact that we only have two short activities due each week and I haven't really even cracked open the book. What I have read from the first few chapters hasn't inspired me, and the activities have been pretty easy. The worst part is that we have to respond to at least two other things per week, which means that at least one person is going to comment on my warm-ups. Generally, they've been ridiculous and not at all helpful, such as “That was really good!” Well, thanks, but what could I have done to make it better? Or, my personal favorite “That was good, but I don't think people from that country treat their wives the way you say.” Yeah, well, I never said she was from any particular country . . . it's fiction, you know?
I hope that when we are supposed to do the peer-review-type stuff I'll actually get some constructive criticism so that I can actually edit my work.
I had the idea to share with you something I did just write for my last warm-up. I wish I could find the photo that goes along with it, because I think that makes the story better. It's an older couple, probably in their late seventies, standing in front of a window at what's obviously an airport. The activity was to imagine what they're thinking and feeling, if they're waiting for someone to arrive, or waiting to take a flight, etc…
So here's what I came up with (not saying it's good or bad, just sharing 'cause I said I would):
Delores and William have been together for a long time. One of their few shared activities is going to the airport to watch planes. While they stand in silence, Delores imagines herself getting on one – any one – to jet off to some exotic, far away place. She sees herself as twenty, only she's twenty today, not back when she really was twenty, pregnant for the second time and waiting at home for William to return home from his work at the Weeping Water electric company. She can have an exciting job and many lovers and not be frowned upon as too promiscuous or independent.
William imagines his first real love getting off one of the planes, a young Korean woman he met in 1952 who gave him the most pleasure he would ever experience in his life. She was diminutive – petitie and adorable – and quiet, not like Delores who has always been a tall, handsome woman with too many opinions.
Though they rarely even speak to one another anymore, this one shared pleasure is something about which they have never spoken at all. It started thirty years ago when they went to the airport in the city, Lincoln, Nebraska, to meet their son returning from Vietnam. Delores thought the plane was arriving at noon; William thought it was coming in at two. They were both wrong. The plane was delayed in New York City and their son Thomas didn't get into Lincoln until after dinner. Neither of them even noticed the time pass. They watched the hustling businessmen in their suits, just stopping in between flights, men who would never give a thought to settling in a town as banal and mundane as Lincoln, let alone in Weeping Water, Nebraska, where Delores and William call home.
This one shared activity, about which they never speak, is the one thing in their lives which has given them pleasure, privately, and without expectation from the other.