Pima Writer’s Forum – Tucson

writing-campSo earlier this month I signed up for a membership on MeetUp.com to see about maybe connecting with other writers in the area. Tonight was the first meeting I attended and I really enjoyed the hour I spent with these folks. We turned a twenty-minute writing exercise into about forty-five minutes of writing and ended up banging out some pretty good stuff. I had to leave early so unsure how much everybody else got done, but I rambled on about two different subjects (which I’ll “transpose” below from my handwritten stuff).

Don’t be mad that there’s no real conclusion to either; they were just an exercise in getting the creative juices flowing. I may come back to the ideas later on and flesh them out a bit more, but for now they are what they are.

RAMBLE #1 (Frontside of page)

I turned to look again at the stranger and it was eerie how familiar he seemed to me. As our eyes met, I had a creepy feeling that I either knew him or had seen him somewhere previously. To call the feeling “deja vu” wasn’t quite accurate; there WAS some degree of familiarity between us, but the space and time didn’t figure into things. It was only his eyes that stood out to me. His face was like the countless others in the crowd. But those eyes were not.

When I was a younger man, I was constantly receiving compliments on my own eyes. I was, myself, a huge fan of eyes. Some men are drawn to various other physical attributes, but I wasn’t “some men”. Eyes, to me, revealed so much about a person. Mad eyes, bedroom eyes, sleep eyes. There was always a backstory to a person’s eyes. Whether it occurred five minutes prior, or ten years, there was some event that influenced the eyes that looked back at you.

I was completely unsure how to read his eyes. He didn’t appear mad or incredibly happy. They sparkled, but from what cause was uncertain. As I continued to stare, I could tell he was becoming uncomfortable. He took a step in my direction and my stare was broken almost immediately. He opened his mouth and asked if we knew each other. I mumbled that I wasn’t sure but his eyes looked familiar. Now that I had said what might be the strangest words I’ve ever uttered, it was out there. He smiled and said that wasn’t the first time he’d been complimented on his eyes. I began to tell him it was more of a matter-of-fact statement than it was a compliment, but held back. This encounter was awkward enough already and if he wanted to consider it a compliment, so be it.

RAMBLE #2 (Backside of page)

It was incredibly hot and I’d gotten tired of walking. I had thought that a trip out from camp to gather firewood would be over and done with by now but here it was, an hour later, and I was lost in the woods with no firewood to show for it. Along the walk, I had suffered a couple injuries. My right hand was bleeding as a result of being snagged on a thorn and my left knee had become swollen after a misstep during my first fifteen minutes of this walk. My mood, which had previously been pretty jovial, was now sullen and I was muttering to myself.

Back at the camp, my friends were setting up for dinner. Joe and I had taken firewood duty. He had gone one direction and I had gone the other. My attitude was worsened by the fact that Joe had been flirting constantly with Candace. Joe knew that Candace was the main drawing point for me even coming out to this barren forest. Why on earth was he taking the lead with her? Maybe I needed to be more assertive. My father had told me that for years. He was my polar opposite. A quiet man who timidly hoped for events to transpire, my father was a boisterous man who usually wore out his welcome within minutes of meeting someone.

Here I was, out of water and short on patience, wandering through the woods. Usually I had no problem with the outdoors, but it was going to be dark very soon. Darkness, as a general rule, didn’t bother me either, but being annoyed and hungry will always aggravate one’s usual fears and opinions.

Lost in my thoughts, I didn’t initially hear the leaves behind me crackling. It wasn’t until I heard a grunt that I turned around. To see nothing there. Wow, I was getting tired and annoyed. I wasn’t quite sure which direction would return me to camp but I looked around, trying to retrace my steps this far. My knee was throbbing steadily, but I was pretty sure it would hold up.

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