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Creative Writing Assignment

I'm at Bus Boys and Poets in downtown DC having breakfast. Today's assignment is from Natalie Goldberg's excellent "Writing Down the Bones":
Write about ‘leaving’. Approach it any way you want. Write about your divorce, leaving the house this morning, or a friend dying.
There is power in leaving.

There is power in being the one packing up and shipping out; the power of purpose, the power of I DON’T NEED THIS…even if I have no clue what it is that I actually need. There is power in decision, and momentum, and finality.
“You’re really doing this?”
Hell yes I am.

Leaving the mall I forgot where my car is parked.

Leaving the party I never say goodbye…it's like having a calling card, only in reverse.

Leaving my orbit, I come back down to earth.
Leaving the parking garage, I always look both ways.
Leaving the city, I watch the skyline from my rearview.

Very important to have pre-selected leaving songs for the initial drive AWAY FROM. Mournful, hopeful, broken, road-flashing-under-car songs to set the appropriate tone for the leaving.
It’s time to move on…time to get going…what lies ahead I have no way of knowing…but under my feet baby, the grass is growing…yeah it’s time to move on…time to get going. (Tom Petty.)
Leaving Tacoma at 6 in the morning in the early spring, driving out and over the mountains in the blue-dark, trying to get my head and heart to wrap around and own that moment: I AM LEAVING THIS PLACE BEHIND. I am not this place anymore. The me that was part-me and part-this place is dying right now. A new me is being born. There is space between this old me and this new me and I’m living in this space right now. This space is dirt-prairie before a sunrise, wind blowing across. This space is dry riverbed with clattering stones at the bottom. This space is now in this car with me with my breath and my things piled high in the back.

Imagining what it will be like when I get ____...already creating a place-sense of it in my mind, what I will be like. Knowing that I will be the same and abandoning my body to that feeling, sinking into it with sorrow and relief and a certain sense of déjà-vous.

“I will take my leave of you”. I like that a lot – like your ‘leave’ is something the other person has possession of when you are with them, and you need to ask for it back.

Leaving a job.
Leaving a friendship.
Leaving a relationship.
Leaving a note. Although sometimes putting it on paper is just too far; is the equivalent of coming out and saying the thing you’ve secretly thought for years and realizing how stupid it sounds…some things are better left in the pink fleshy, underwater secret corners of your body.

Being left is standing still.
Leaving is running full-tilt.
Being left is quiet inside. Nothing to say. The person you’d say it to is five miles down the road already, eyes full of future. You only have eyes for the past streaming out behind them like the frothy, rolling wake from a speedboat.

I’ve been joined by a couple at this table and now it’s hard to abandon myself to this leaving again. This girl is singing and the other girl is scooting closer to her and shaking this table and I’m thinking of leaving this restaurant.


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