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Creative Writing Assignment

Assignment: Visualize a place that you really love, be there, see the details. Now write about it. What colors are there, sounds, smells? When someone else reads it, she should know what it’s like to be there. She should feel how you love it, not by your saying you love it, but by your handling of the details.

The road there is a 2-lane job hacked smooth into the middle of rain-fat thick-trunked fir trees. It has car commercial curves and you know you’re close when you catch blue through their dumb and gentle bodies and realize it’s not the sky: it’s the Sound.

Suddenly the trees peel away and the road drops down and there it is. My mother grew up in this town. I come here when I need to feel loved.

I am in a relationship with the Inn I stay in. Several years past its prime, it sits at the top of town, behind the fancy waterfront hotels below, red neon letters like the Hollywood sign. She’s the girl who doesn’t know she’s pretty, who’s stopped expecting to be noticed, but I see her, standing in the back, and I say, “Yes, you,” and she blushes red neon at me.

The front counter has a bell. The duvets match the shower curtains. I check into my harbor view room, drop my backpack on the edge of the creaky bed, loosen the plastic latch and slide the glass door right, letting the thin sunlight and salt water and log truck fumes in. I lean against the wrought iron railing, feet on the deck covered in its green astroturf: breathe. Maybe I’ll stand here for a while and look at that huge tanker ship bob in the Port.

The last road before town hits Sound is a logging truck road. I run along it, toes catching in concrete cracks. I pick wild blackberries and raspberries growing along the edges, standing in dead grass ditches with dandelions gone to seed, hiking boots snapping thorns off vines. A truck pounds by, chrome grill and sooty exhaust pipes, pitchy logs fresh from the chainsaw bouncing and swaying in the bed. I run behind it sucking in the wood and salt and gasoline, tonguing the seeds stuck in my teeth, fingers purple.

I am here looking for my mother. I am here because my heart is broken and I want my mother. But not my mother as she is now: I’m hunting this memory of a dream of her, the her that walked wooded trails in dappled sunlight and looked at all the plants, noticing their spines and smells, their fibers. I’ve been broken and I need to put myself in a place where my mother was before she was broken too. I chase her child’s back and fair hair to this place. Hike the woods. Stand at the water’s edge to be blasted by sand and wind and grimy foam. Let the arms of the Port wrap around me in a rocky-salt embrace. Find a quiet in me instead.
I got the photos here and here.


Valerie Wangnet said...

Beautiful post, your writing is brilliant and the tone is very haunting.

Very happy to have found your blog


Phoenix said...

Gorgeous. I love this.

Karina said...

After reading this, I now love this place as well. Thank you.

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