When a poet packs a suitcase, she makes a list first. White sunhat, striped sundress, sunglasses, sun tan lotion, pink sweater, flip flops, Spanish dictionary, etc... Then she folds her clothes into her rolling suitcase (carefully selected and marked with a purple ribbon so that it stand out as HER suitcase), and when they don't fit, she begins weeding out the unnecessary outfits. (But I need at LEAST 14 pairs of underwear, she worries, but maybe only one pair of nylons. On second thought, who needs these repulsive Hanes flesh-colored things.)
This process can take days, weeks. And endless quantities of angst . . .
When the fiction writer packs a suitcase . . .
he empties the entire laundry basket into a duffel bag. Who needs lists? Whatever he has worn in the last week is what he will wear in the coming week. Plus a swim suit. He’ll borrow the lotion or buy it there. And the towel. The past, after all, is often repeated in the future. This should work except for a few details like changes in geography, and the fact that most of the clothes belong to his mother, his sister, or his father (who is the same height but 3 sizes wider). Which adds a nice twist to the plot. And there's that evening out --wearing his sister’s tiny pink T-shirt . . .
AWP in Minneapolis, and recommended reading
1 week ago