I was writing fiction in my 20s but in a pretty undisciplined way - late at night, maybe, after I'd peeled myself from the walls of a nightclub and crawled home along the gutters. But I slowly became more serious and more devout in my work, and I fell seriously in love with the short story form.
I just didn't get it- even with the teacher holding an orange (the earth) in one hand and a lemon (the moon) in the other, her favorite student (the sun) standing behind her with a flashlight. I just couldn't grasp it- this whole citrus universe, these bumpy planets revolving so slowly no one could even see themselves moving. I used to think if I could only concentrate hard enough I could be the one person to feel what no one else could, sense a small tug from the ground, a sky shift, the earth changing gears. Even though I was only one mini-speck on a speck, even though I was merely a pinprick in one goosebump on the orange, I was sure then I was the most specially perceptive, perceptively sensitive. I was sure then my mother was the only mother to snap, 'The world doesn't revolve around you!' The earth was fragile and mostly water, just the way the orange was mostly water if you peeled it, just the way I was mostly water if you peeled me. Looking back on that third grade science demonstration, I can understand why some people gave up on fame or religion or cures- especially people who have an understanding of the excruciating crawl of the world, who have a well-developed sense of spatial reasoning and the tininess that it is to be one of us. But not me-even now I wouldn't mind being god, the force who spins the planets the way I spin a globe, a basketball, a yoyo. I wouldn't mind being that teacher who chooses the fruit, or that favorite kid who gives the moon its glow.
I made it the mantra of those days; when I paused before yet another series of switchbacks or skidded down knee-jarring slopes, when patches of flesh peeled off my feet along with my socks, when I lay alone and lonely in my tent at night I asked, often out loud: Who is tougher than me? The answer was always the same, and even when I knew absolutely there was no way on this earth that it was true, I said it anyway: No one.
Gabby couldn't believe what he had just said. Her mouth gaped open and a flirty smile came over her. She slowly peeled her half wet white t-shirt over her head and then slowly shimmied out of her shorts. What had gotten into her? She had never acted like this before, but she suddenly felt playful, fun and daring. If he wanted to play, so could she.
From the photo albums, every single print of her had been peeled away. Shots of the both of us together had been cut, the parts with her neatly trimmed away, leaving my image behind. Photos of me alone or of mountains and rivers and deer and cats were left intact. Three albums rendered into a revised past. It was as if I'd been alone at birth, alone all my days, and would continue alone.
...if you are writing without zest, without gusto, without love, without fun, you are only half a writer. It means you are so busy keeping one eye on the commercial market, or one ear peeled for the avant-garde coterie, that you are not being yourself. You don't even know yourself. For the first thing a writer should be is-- excited. He should be a thing of fevers and enthusiasms.
I went out to the hazel wood because a fire was in my head cut and peeled a hazel wand and hooked a berry to a thread and when white moths were on the wing and moth-like stars were flickering out I dropped the berry in a stream, and caught a little silver trout... (Song of Wandering Aengus)
As if to build a fence around the fatal emptiness inside her, she had to create a sunny person that she became. But if you peeled away the ornamental egos that she had built, there was only an abbys of nothingness and the intense thirst that came with it. Though she tried to forget it, the nothingness would visit her periodically - on a lonely rainy afternoon, or at dawn when she woke up from a nightmare. What she needed at such times was to be held by someone, anyone.
Sheriff Fox was running his fingers through his thin hair. In a few short years, he'd look bald as a peeled apple. The Snoop sisters and their sidekick, the town's bag lady no less, had traipsed into his office without knocking first. His admin (he couldn't remember their names to save his life) had ushered them in, and they'd just dumped this hot potato into his lap.
Animals are murdered to produce meat; vegetables are torn up, peeled, and chopped; most of what we eat is treated with fire; and chewing is designed remorselessly to finish what killing and cooking began. People naturally prefer that none of this should happen to them. Behind every rule of table etiquette lurks the determination of each person present to be a diner, not a dish.
I started to crawl off; then I remembered my leftover pizza, and I peeled off the salami, pepperoni, and anchovies and placed them on the CD tray (whicn no one used these days with flash drives around)on Boone's computer. I hit the close button and watched the smelly part of my delicious dinner slide away. Boone would have a great time wondering 'where's that smell coming from?
In our hallway, ablaze with welcoming lights, my Lolita peeled off her sweater, shook her gemmed hair, stretched towards me two bare arms, raised one knee: 'Carry me upstairs, please. I feel sort of romantic tonight.' It may interest physiologists to learn, at this point, that I have the ability - a most singular case, I presume - of shedding torrents of tears throughout the other tempest.
At lunchtime I bought a huge orange The size of it made us all laugh. I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave"" They got quarters and I had a half. And that orange it made me so happy, As ordinary things often do Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park This is peace and contentment. It's new. The rest of the day was quite easy. I did all my jobs on my list And enjoyed them and had some time over. I love you. I'm glad I exist.