Friday, December 17, 2010


This blog will be moving soon, this is my last post here. If you'd like to continue to follow just click HERE or go to In the spirit of the move from Blogger to Wordpress, I am posting my first revision. I am working with a new writing coach (Heather Sellers), whose memoir "You Don't Look Like Anyone I Know," has made Oprah's reading list. Ms. Sellers gave me this assignment: First set a timer and meditate for five minutes. Imagine the room where a scene you have written takes place. See the floor, the furniture, the walls, the people. Now, set the timer again for five more minutes and draw a schematic of the room. Then, write out what you have seen. See what the new point of view gets you. Below is my revision, the new bits are in bold italics.

I am eye-level with the hooks screwed into the underbelly of the bar where the ladies hang their bags in a row. There are all color bags: brown and black and red even, one is red. Mama doesn’t hang her purse. I wonder if she sees the hooks. She is talking to the man next to her with the long black ponytail and the sideways smile. The man doesn’t say much but I can tell by how straight he is standing that he is mad. He doesn’t look at me. He doesn’t even look at Mama.

“I’ll make sure you all get paid don’t’ you worry about that.” She says to him, and then to the man behind the bar, “Vodka martini, two olives.”

My feet are slippery in my patent leather shoes so I squiggle around on the rug like ice-skating. The floor of the bar has some gum mushed into the carpet. I squat down to try and pick the gum out. It smells like the ocean and I look up and someone is walking toward me and the door shuts behind them and through the squares of glass in the door I can see the lights of the hills across the valley like It’s A Small World. When the man walks past I run to Mama’s legs. She smells like Jergens and corn on the cob and there is a stairwell behind me and I think it will be fun to bump down the stairs and I start to go over there—

“Duffi Jo stay right here,” Mama says.

“Mama…” I point at the stairs.

“Just stay right here a minute,” She says.

So I float there in the bar like a little secret and she hands me a matchbook to play with. Then I open the matchbook and I scrape it along the bar like I’ve seen Mama do with the lid of a shoebox to get the seeds out.

Then she says to the man, “I wish you would just keep that to yourself, you know?”

And he doesn’t say a thing. His long wavy black hair doesn’t even move when he takes his drink from the bar.

Mama bends down to lift me into a tall leather chair in front of the bar. I sit twisting it and trying to make it go all the way in a circle but it only goes halfway and halfway the other direction so I just go back and forth until I get dizzy.

I can see some people at a table on the other side of the room and they are looking at me. I stretch out my feet and look at my white Mary Janes and then I look at them again and they wave. And I turn to Mama and I touch her dress but she is talking to the man.

“You can have my olive,” she says, and she hands it to me.

It tastes sharp and not like any other olive. I like it.

She takes something out of her purse, an envelope, and she hands that to him and he leaves with it. Then she takes a tissue from her purse and blows her nose.

“Do you want a Shirley Temple?” The bartender says.

I nod my head a little.

He pulls a snake tube out from his sink and out comes bubbly water and then he turns over a red bottle and a jigger of syrup comes out and then he puts a cherry on top. He slides it to me. It has a straw. I like a straw. I am going to have to stand up in my chair to reach it. I shift around and hold onto the arm part so I can get my feet under me and my whole chair tips a little. And I think maybe if I just get on my knees it will work.

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