Before I get into today's mission I wanted to tell you all something. The work that is being done in this #21DDW process is unedited, first draft stuff. Most of it is from someone's heart, someone who wants to improve their craft or personal responsibility as a writer. Please be kind. It is a difficult thing to share your art, unedited, so please, please be kind. Okay...'nuf said.
Write about love.
What do you think it takes to stay with someone 50 years?
Is monogamy a thing of the past? What does long-lasting love look like in 2017?
What does it take to have a long-lasting relationship?
This can be a poem, story, letter, etc. Go with the flow.
First I want to tell you that the moderator and genius of this 21 day challenge is newly married. She just wants us to tell her the secret to marriage…right Mrs. Carter-Hawkins? If I knew, clearly, I would currently be in a marriage that might have lasted 47 years or so. My friends Bernie and Dianne Schultz have been married 47 years, I was their maid of honor and they are planning a big party for their 50th – I hope.
Truth is – I have no idea. I do, however, know what it takes to make a marriage not last long at all. As a means of personal reflection, not everyone has the "bones" or the tools to be with others. Period. Not everyone was raised with images of stable husband and wife relationships or continuous relationships. And even if they did, in these days, many folks are not willing to put up with the alcoholism, sexual abuse, verbal and physical abuse or any of the myriad of abuses that folks suffer in relationships. Years ago it was expected that once you marry you are married for life, regardless of the challenges. That has not held true for some time.
The following is a short excerpt from a book I am writing. It shows what it takes from both people, who are failing, to stay together. Clearly the people in my story did not come to their relationships with good “bones” as I mentioned above or the tools to know how to negotiate a relationship.
This small piece came out of a workshop prompt by my instructor at Community Literature Initiative. She told us to choose one of the phrases she gave us and write a scene that conveys that phrase using description and action. I chose to put my character Irene into the scene and used the following phrase: sometimes she didn’t think she could go on. Here goes:
Irene thought about packing a suitcase. She thought about what she would take with her. She thought about where she would go and how much money she would need to get there. She pictured a sleek, gleaming greyhound pulling out of a slip in the Port Authority bus depot, gliding along a teeming highway, headlights from cars and trucks and other buses flashing into the quiet seat she might occupy by herself having shooed a drunken service man on his way, then protectively plopping her large handbag onto the seat next to her. She thought about leaving Eddie. She dreamed of no longer having to put up with his demanding groping in the night, feeling the harshness of his need, he telling her of her wifely duty, she still wondering if that included all the things he wanted from her in the dark. She thought about leaving Momma, her beloved Momma now dying from cancer. She thought about leaving Jemma, her first and only baby. She imagined, with relief, leaving the demands of living in a factory town, with small bars on every corner, small minds in every home and even smaller paychecks lining their empty pockets.
Irene imagined a new city could be the antidote for her restlessness. She would forge a new life, she thought, envisioning a place where no one knew her, where no one would point fingers, no one would be in any position to shame or blame her. Irene imagined she would shop in shops where the scars of her childhood no longer lined her weary brow. Where she’d dance with men who wouldn’t raise their own weary eyebrows, who wouldn’t lick their own thinning lips assuming she was the entre’ in a three-course meal. She imagined in that new place, this place where no one knew her, her skin would shine in the bright sun and the rain would douse her, easily running off, no longer sticking to her like the lies that were whispered in the shadows where she lived.
Irene got up from the aging rocking chair in her darkened bedroom. Eddie was due to come home. The baby would stir soon from her afternoon nap and she thought she heard Momma call or moan. She walked into the hallway, heading towards Momma’s room. Then a thought occurred to her. Maybe she should take some of the morphine hospice left for Momma. That could be a quick trip, she thought, while wiping the loose hairs away from her face, realigning her bra, pulling her stretched panties out of her butt crack, wondering if she had time for a cigarette before everything got started again.
The working title for the book is Irene: a (fake) memoir.