Saturday, May 10, 2008

where the buffalo roam

where the buffalo roam

I’m sure I’ll regret this.

The workshop that I took in Taos with Natalie Goldberg a couple weekends back was all about approaching writing as a practice. We deployed something called timed writings where you just write -- always moving your pen not allowing yourself to stop not editing as you go -- for ten solid minutes. Pros go longer than that.

It was hard. And I wrote a lot of crap. The best thing about it was how it plumbs the depths -- “frees the wild mind” as Goldberg kept saying -- and makes you color outside the lines because you run out of normal things to say.
I’m gonna post just one “shitty first draft.” Maybe I’ll post more from the workshop, but I’ll edit them first. This one I won’t.

We were given a phrase -- “I remember” -- and then told to GO. This was the first one of the day.

The night before I had a dream about a buffalo.

I remember the thick wooly fur of the buffalo come to me in my dream how I expected it dusty and dirty and flecked with sticks and how it wasn’t. How it reminded me of the long silk of Bodega’s fur, big large grey mane coon of a cat grown great from a kitten who would curl beside me to nap; hot September afternoons in South Pasadena along Huntington Drive when the soot from the steady passage of traffic would gather as black dust on the windowsills.

Hot, napping, he’d curl beside me sweet just grown cat still barely a kitten my top off because there was no swamp cooler no A/C and my tank was drenched. How he woke me from napping his silky fur against my belly a heat I didn’t mind somehow how he woke me from napping his scratchy tongue against my skin and then his try to suckle: sharp cat teeth on my tit. NO, boy. But still we napped; me laughing, him learned.

And how this memory spills into a memory not mine a memory shared by a girlfriend napping somewhere in Hollywood stolen moments while her little boy slept, him waking while she still dreamt and her to find him, having rummaged through her closets having rummaged through her drawers to be pacing the floor in her heels her dildo to his head fielding make believe telephone calls for her while she slept.

Hot summer napping comes in a flood of memories, some wished for some had; something about the sun in mid-day fighting through the shades; something about waking from dreaming to find a warm form beside you -- the best naps happen naked the best naps go somewhere more still dreamy still bordering this world and that the best naps spill into tangled limbs and wetness and kisses found and some kind of strong finish.

And then we awake. Naps being the hardest thing to wake from of course but they can’t continue because then they wouldn’t be naps. They must emerge into the rest of whatever the day must be whatever must be done.

And there’s the tragedy of waking: moving from the doing nothing; moving from receiving to being; moving from dreaming to doing; moving from petting buffaloes to knowing that buffaloes don’t ask for belly rubs.

audubon's buffalo


I, Rodius said...

Regret nothing. It's got a power to it. And a structure that does not at all seem like unedited free form. I dig it.

suttonhoo said...

yay. thanks. :)

Lolabola* said...

love the end bringing it full circle

dogfaceboy said...

Where's the bad part?

I used Goldberg's book (Writing Down the Bones) for a craft essay on rough drafts, but it's one of my oldest and most used writing books. I swear by writing as practice.

Every morning, I would run and simultaneously jog my creative juices. Then I would come home and write for 30 minutes. The run would give me a theme, and I'd plan all the routes in my head.

Lots of these freewrites turned into blog entries. I found no shortage of things to say and ways to say them.

Thanks for pointing me to this. I love the whole poetry of your buffalo piece. It makes me want to write a companion. I have a buffalo robe upstairs on my bed, my husband's 50th-birthday gift. That's where my buffalo roams.

anniemcq said...

#1: This is amazing and lyrical.
#2: Charley does this exercise a lot.
#3: How proud am I that the dildo story made it in?! Sweet!
#4: See number one, then add brilliant.

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