“They’re just little pieces of silver,” he said. “What could they possibly matter.”
The little pieces form a portrait of a girl at 22. The girl was me.
So, the girl writes books now.
The girl is no longer just a set of hands trying to ward off things.
It’s hard to write into the hard places, but one of the reasons writers do that is so that someone might be helped. If you tell a sad story, and there is a lot of pathos, you can reframe it.
The period you see is 1981.
I was very much in love, and then I had my heart broken. I think it shattered so badly that?
Sometimes one wonders how we survive at all. But if you manage to be strong enough you will live past wounds.
So I am taking the book to the Conference this year and will be reading from it. Some words from it…
So seeing these?
Fragments of silver are time.
The book is called “Where I Laid Me Down To Sleep.”
The last picture.
The end of a love.
Maybe the most madly in love you ever are happens in your 20’s.
This one hurt the worst of all of them. There were many.
We all had lots of loves in that era that closed out 1979. And the corner turned into the 80’s.
Nobody talks about what happened.
Because it is hard to do that.
We used to listen to this.
So, some chunks of prose from that time that define the characters in the landscape…
Twenty two is a girl with a pocket full of starry dreams standing on the edge of a precipice with milk white skin. She doesn’t understand the cliffs yet. She doesn’t understand the rises and the falls of the heart or what love will be or mean. There is hair to toss in the wind, and she flips over and brushes it, flips her head back, releases a smile that floats full of little stars, picks up a paintbrush and steps into a darkroom. She doesn’t understand that he’s been watching her, or that he wants to devour her, or that he wants to take something that she thought was her soul and turn it inside out. He’s going to call it love, when it happens.
The tables at Saigon are tiny and he’s waiting at one of them for her. He doesn’t bother to stand, or to seat her. Instead he’s wearing a smile and those dark, dark lenses. She’s going to have to wait until he feels like taking them off.
She didn’t realize that the camera had been aimed at her the whole time. He recorded everything about her as she was walking to the table. It’s not even an automatic, but he cocked the shutter so fast it blurred, one frame into another.
She sits down and he is aiming it at her face before she can even say: “No.”
Her hands are her only protection from his lens. They fly up like birds to cover her face. “Don’t,” she says. “I don’t like getting my picture taken.” That’s not going to stop him, though. Not exactly. He puts the camera down on the table and she looks at him carefully, her eyes swimming in the details of him she’s never seen so closely. The blackness of the hair along his hands and knuckles, the turquoise ring, the T-shirt he’s suddenly wearing that she hadn’t noticed earlier. It’s palest blue with a green dragon on it. Underneath the swirling scales it says, “San Francisco” in the kind of a font that you always see that signals “Chinese.”
I’m just glad I’m part of one of the best writer’s conferences around.
Not going to be easy doing the readings but?
You have to.
You have to bleed on the page is what people say.