I started going to this writer’s meetup on Thursday nights, in an attempt to get myself to actually edit my work, like grown-up writers do. I claim to be a tireless adventure seeker, and I certainly believe that people are the best adventures of all, but I fear that, with this group, I may have bitten off more than I can chew. My first day, I certainly met some characters! My theory is that there are two types of writers–those who live very constrained lives, and want to live bigger lives through their fiction, and those whose lives have been WAY TOO BIG, and who mostly write for therapy (I almost never write fiction, and I certainly count myself in the latter category). I met the two living archetypes of this theory on one meeting! The guy on my left wore olive and beige from head to toe, works a 9-5 as an economist, and got very, very offended when I suggested that maybe Spock would be a bit of an outdated reference for a nerd in 2050, and most likely Dr. Who would be the retro geek reference of our children’s generation. The guy on my right, conversely, regaled me with a story about how he had to spend 2010 legally dead and hiding in the mountains of Mexico because of an incident with a drug cartel… Why would I ever need to invent another character if I keep meeting people like this in writers group?!? Yes, I do intend to go back, despite the good advice of my better angels.
While we were reviewing a short story, Dr. Spock (looking like he had been waiting for the opportunity to use this analogy for at least seven years), gets this mischievous smile and says that the writer needed to spend some time establishing that a kitten was cute before he throws it into a wood chipper, in order to elicit an emotional response from the reader… WHAT THE HELL SORT OF GROUP HAVE I GOTTEN MYSELF INTO?
However, as an unfortunate byproduct of this conversation, I spent the entire metro ride home composing poems about killing kittens. I typed one up and offered to to Dr. Spock at the next meeting, as a sort of twisted olive branch (atonement for my offensive opinion about Star Trek). Though I am a little ashamed that I was so capable of metaphorically murdering cute little animals, I am also terribly tempted to share it with you. Like when little kids pee in the pool–they know they shouldn’t do it, but it is oddly satisfying anyway.
Due to a questionable liaison
between a white Persian and a grey Tabby
the squirming white kitten
boasted a spray of grey speckles
stretching from the tip of his tiny tail
to the end of his wriggling nose
which was the first part of him
to dip below the whirling carbide blades
of the wood chipper.
The cheerful poet noticed
that the spray of kitten blood on the grass
mirrored the pattern of grey speckles
that the kitten-mulch once displayed.
She thought there was a metaphor in that,
but wondered if writer’s group was
such a good idea after all.