I’m not sure but I think I may be finished with Ishi. At least close to finished. I feel like I managed to change it enough that people reading it may find it accessible, based on the feedback I received, but that I also managed to stay true to the original voice I had first created. I think.
Tonight I like it. I think it may be better than anything I have written so far, but I don’t really trust myself all that much since I think that often and then later think or realize that my work isn’t very good. Or good enough or right- whatever any of that means. I need to clean up the ending and do my best to correct the grammar, but seriously I’m an ignoramus when it comes to grammar. People always write, “your punctuation is too distracting to read this.” Sometimes I get defensive and I think, “Who the f’ are you?” I don’t see the problems though. Really it isn’t my fault, since I spent most of my 7th grade grammar class being humiliated by the militaristic grammar teacher, and I pretty much shut down after that.
Anyway- ew nasty memory, it is amazing that our schools had teachers that actually humiliated children, but they did.
Here is a small bit from the story: (I act like I’m advertising for a huge book or something)
Whenever I played at Wendy’s place we’d spend most of our time in a small swampy alcove, down below Wendy’s property. There, thick streams that looked like someone had drawn a thin line in the mud with a branch spread out like extended fingers between the Manzanita trees. The streams filled up during the winter then turned to muddy clumps of red clay during the summer. No matter what time of year there always seemed to be mosquitoes. I would pick at my scabs after spending the day down at Wendy’s. When I’d get home my mother would dab me with the chalky pink calamine lotion, mumbling about why us kids don’t stay away from that dirty mud pit. Her boyfriend would glare over at me telling her I looked like crotch rot. She would hush him, and dab more bits of the cool lotion on my skin the cotton swab soaked and mushy leaving impressions of its fine fibers.
Speaking of not learning to write “properly” in school. I just picked up Kurt Vonnegut’s collection of short stories, Welcome to the Monkey House. I absolutely love his preface:
I have been a writer since 1949. I am self-taught. I have no theories about writing that might help others. When I write i simply become what I seemingly must become. I am six feet two and weigh nearly two hundred pounds and I am badly coordinated, except when I swim. All that borrowed meat does the writing.
In the water I am beautiful
In the water, I am beautiful too.