When Free Writing Will Not Make You Free: Resistance Training for Writers, published in Brevity Magazine in 2015
In July 2013, I ran a marathon up Mount Adams near Trout Lake, Washington. Nobody questioned my physical prowess, because the accomplishment was indisputable. But, if you actually pressed your fingers against my belly, you would have felt pudge, and you probably would have been surprised to not feel functioning abdominal muscles (you’d also be surprised to have your fingers on the belly of someone you had just met, but let’s skip that part). My abs weren’t important unless I found myself in the plank position, and why would I attempt plank when I could lie down, sit or run 13 miles? I learned how to engage my gluteal muscles for the first time in early 2014, when my new gym membership included sessions with a personal trainer. However, the fact still stands that I was able to complete a mountain marathon with scant help from my abs or glutes.
One can write a fantastic essay without understanding point of view...
Regarding the Dead Lobster Found at 60th and Stark Street
I don't know why it's there either.
His thick shell has turned maroon.
Flies circle the fetid patch of pavement.His feelers
Fell limp, green, down. He makes me think
Of you. I'd like to laugh it off
As some schoolboy's gag. Instead, I recall
The last time we spoke, when your eyes bulged with
Shock and your back clung to the barroom wall.
I would never leave a lobster thus,
Restlessly pinching into the damp
Air that never offers breath...
You go to Thessaloniki, Greece. Not to the parts of Greece rebuilt to escort tourists towards white statues of petty gods that no one believes in anymore, but Greece where the Grecians live and the water meets them.
Thessaloniki, where you decide to learn how to play chess.
Thessaloniki, where the men lift their pawns and coffee mugs and talk about you in a distant language, not because they want to sleep with you, but for pity. They don’t like your culture. They don’t like your youth or your gender. They don’t believe you are really alive. They don’t think you know what life is.
You assume much in Thessaloniki, but since you assume no one around you speaks English, you can’t very well check your assumptions, can you?
I insert my fare card and two wings open wide enough for me to pass through Farragut West station towards the Kennedy Center. Gleaming in the silver dress my grandmother found at the Jewish women’s resale store and forty-five minutes away from my fifteenth opera, I am ready: I have listened to Puccini’s Tosca three times with the libretto in hand and dreamt for a full week of the myriad ways the director might stage Tosca jumping off a building to her death. Having not yet received walking lessons in heels, I clack and thud at each step on the rust-tiled concrete until reaching the escalator that carries me towards dusk and my mother.