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Not me, her

In 1987, I found myself trying to write about a high school girlfriend that had been molested by her father when she was a child. I was 19 years old, struggling to find my way through a screenwriting assignment about delivering character. The idea was to describe messy young love between two Sid and Nancy want-to-be's. But that failed, as I could not stomach oversimplifying her complicated past, events that shaped her life as a 16 year old with a mohawk, a smart mouth, a lingering stare. I understood that I had to start at the very beginning.

No one wanted to hear the story. When it was my turn to read in class, it even came to be that some of the other students asked to stand in the hallway before they heard another description of what happened in that lonely little house in the middle of nowhere. I was trying, and failing, and trying again to get things right, to explain how this happened, how it could happen to this girl, how this man found his way to acts of selfishness and d…

combat boots and red socks

There is a ripple of laughter dancing around the dinner table. E is perched on her chair, her head tilted back, her mouth wide open as she howls. N's eyebrow is raised, like a movie star. V is slapping her palms against the high chair, mashing rice into her fingers. They are all in complete agreement about what I will write about this week, as sure as sure can be. The shitty teenagers obsessed with their phones during the concert, lips pursed in eternal duck faces. The long wait in the cold because we could not find the VIP entrance, and then eventually did in the back of a parking lot next to a tiny market.

They know I will piss and moan about the lack of food, the choice of whiskey. And as for the bomb threat that ended the show, and how no one announced we should all leave the building? Well, I must write about that too, with righteous indignance. Were they just going to let us all stand there and hope it was a fake threat? 

But I am doing none of that. 

I am swept up in the realization that I took my daughter to her first concert. People were indeed getting trampled. Beer bottles shattered. Cigarettes dangled above our heads and dripped hot ash. My child knew the words, and shouted them at the top of her lungs. She pumped her fist in the air. She wobbled back and forth in a new pair of Dr. Martins, their laces dancing around her ankles. She shivered with excitement. I leaned on the railing next to her, feeling invisible. Not the dad in the Fat Possum hat, not anyone. A ghost. The music bounced around the room. Beautiful, stark images played on a wall of screens. The drummer pounced and flailed. The singer wore red socks, his black pants hiked up for some flood that never came. 

She was happy, even thrilled. 









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