The Most Brutal Writing Lesson: Breakthrough for the week of 12/3/18

Nothing ever goes away
until it teaches us
what we need to know.  
—Pema Chodron

What do we avoid learning? Again and again. Love? Too easy. White Rabbit? Been done. Graffiti? Tell us. What would your scrawl to the last days of 2018 be?


Thank you,  Cin Norris:  My life is being devoured. I am offering up my life as food for an illusion. Response to prompt on 7/29/17.

What an amazing buffet! They have everything, including stuff I’d only read about and some things I’d never seen before. The red wine punch fountain in the center burbles charmingly and sends thin slices of orange bobbing on tiny wavelets. Is that escargot? What is on that platter over at the end? It looks like pomegranate seeds, except I’ve never seen turquoise ones before. It’s being served with a large fork, which seems vaguely disturbing.

Hiding beneath the leaves of a masterfully crafted Caesar salad I spy a crystal bowl with tiny cats in it. Surely they’re carved of carrots, but they’re so perfect in their minute detail they could almost leap out of the dish at any time. Incredible! Who could have made this buffet, and why?

Near at hand, so close I almost missed it was a clever arrangement of thin cannoli with some kind of tiny stems bunched together to make bristles at the end of a brush. Some of the cannoli have pen nibs made out of God only knows what. All are filled with a deliciously thick blackberry cream. I nearly pick one up and take a bite but somehow I have come by the impression that all of this is for someone else and I am only the caretaker.

I adjust the cannoli pens so they make a more pleasing arrangement and move to another part of the table. On this side, which was previously hidden by the punch fountain (where are the cups?) and cunningly juxtaposed with an elaborate abacus made of Cheerios (Cheerios?) I find the most amazing piece yet.

Iridescent fish scales and translucent squares of eggroll wrappers are crafted to give a very realistic illusion of a computer screen. A keyboard of cubed nuts and a mouse carved from a turnip complete the sight. It almost seems as if, with a few clicks of the finely carved mouse, I could bring up a jellied Google or a seared and consume them. No, I sternly tell myself. This is for someone else.

I am the one who created this buffet with its delicately carved carrot cats and thinly sliced despair. My hands know the feel of grating the cheese on the Caesar salad. My heart carefully offers up everything I’ve created on the digital as an expression in the analogue. The brushes and pens are for you, dear reader, to feast upon and understand my struggle. The fountain of joyous wine provides a playful accompaniment to the burning ghost pepper poppers and the sugared ice that takes the sting from the heat.

All I am, all I was and ever shall be is carefully laid out on this table for you, dear reader. For myself, I take nothing but this knowledge: illusion is ever crafted of reality, from which I sip hope like the earth’s most honeyed mead.


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