CHASE Creative Writing Residency 2019: Day 3

I wake early, go downstairs for coffee. The rain is my constant companion. Back upstairs with the coffee, in bed, I write. About anything. The only rule is that I write by hand. Today I copy out two poems: Some Trees by John Ashbery, and To Be of Use by Marge Piercy. I love the rhythm of poetry to start a day.

Then a swim. While I swim, I think about what I want to work on for my project today: I am thinking about a character who loses a language, and I wonder if languages are like bodies of water, constantly changing, evaporating, condensing, flowing to fit the shapes of our lives. Is it possible for language to leak away? Dry up? Freeze? Become stagnant?

Later, I write. Or I try. But something else is in my head, blocking my way to the character losing his language. So I write about the something else instead. Like water, I choose the path of least resistance.

At lunch, we drift together from our various solitudes. We fix our own plates, compare notes on our mornings, chat about writing. It is still raining.

I manage to write about the character losing his language in the afternoon. I like this second block of concentrated writing time. It’s a back-up, another route, just in case, like this morning, something stands in the way of my plans.

Late afternoon brings us together again for workshopping a play and a novel excerpt. The cross-pollination of perspectives gives me a buzz. Downtime again, as two of the writers prepare dinner (not me tonight). I’m all written and spoken out by now. I listen to music and the rain in my room. I look forward to dinner soon.

After dinner, I step outside. It has stopped raining. The air is clean and I pinch fresh lavender buds. Even though it’s late, I’m pretty sure the sky is brightening. Tomorrow, I’ll write about peach trees.

Melissa Fu