Saturday, October 23, 2010

talking to imaginary friends

One of my longstanding bookmarks takes me to a plot bank--this is a collection, not really of  story lines, but more like a random, weedy compilation of prompts that might trigger a story. 

I go there when my head feels unusually empty--I like to scroll down the list and just pick something more or less at random to write about for an hour.  It's a low-stakes game but one worth playing: If the writing stalls out it's not my fault, and, if it flies, I'm a genius after all. 

Today, though, I started getting interested in the list itself, not as prompts but as legitimate discourse that just happens to be in random order.

Back from prison with some new vices,  
there's more to him right now than meets the eye.  
Grandma is convinced he's in some kind of cult. These days,
it looks  like he lives out of his car.

He sees the face of Christ in a anthill
and tries to make the car into a work of art;
He says, "The fumes from the new asphalt are too much,"
and starts assuming the role of a dead sibling.

Then he starts confessing to old sins, and we all notice,
that the puppet show plot is very close to his real life.
This is what it is like when a family disapproves,
and when a close friend begins talking to an imaginary one.

Selections from Hatch's plot bank, reconfigured.

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