Thursday, August 5, 2010


I have stepped into my dream and I am giving directions. First, I hold up a hand to stop the car from crashing into me and Mama and Daddy. My hand shakes a little but the car stops anyway. I can see now the man behind the wheel has an immense handlebar moustache that looks as if it could fly away on its own. It almost makes him look friendly, like the announcer in the Barnum and Bailey circus Daddy takes me to every year. Then, the moustache flaps its wings and leaps off his face and into the sky. It is a bird after all, and not a moustache.

I turn to see Mama, her dress swimming around her as if a breeze is blowing. She's wearing that black Chiffon dress with the little red and yellow flowers that gathers at the waist and the wrists. There is only one button at the top of a little loop in the neck and it is left undone. Really, there is a river around her and her dress is caught in the current. "River," I say, "Go back to the mountain or the sea." And it goes. I tell her its okay now, she can stop crying and she wipes away her tears.

I look to Daddy, he squats down and holds out his arms and I run to him and he picks me up. He smells like Royal Spice and Noxzema. I put my arms around his neck to hold on when he stands up and we turn back to the two men in the car under the Fig tree. Now they are just two men with hats. I tell them it is time for them to go too. They back out of our driveway and roll away down Amarillo Street until their car falls off the end of the world.

Daddy puts his arm around Mama and I say, "Lets all go inside and have dinner." And that's what we do

EXERCISE: One way to test your skill in the use of concrete, significant detail is to create a reality that is convincing--and yet literally impossible. To begin, tell a story in which a single impossible event happens in the everyday world. (For ex: a dog tells fortunes, a secret message appears on a pizza, the radio announcer speaks in an ex-husband's voice--supermarket tabloids can be a good source of ideas.)First, focus on using detail to create the reality of both the normal world and the impossible event--the more believable the reality is, the more seamlessly readers will accept the magic.

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