Location?: Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
Top 10 Favorite books (Rank them):
10. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas by Hunter Thompson
9. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
8. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier
7. Thursday's Child by Sonya Hartnett
6. The Method Actors by Carl Shuker
5. The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
4. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
2. Disturbance of the Inner Ear by Joyce Hackett
1. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
Who is your role model? Why?: I always sort of thought role models were for people who have no sense of direction and therefore have to emulate other people in order to find some purpose. But I guess that's kind of me, even though there's no one person I can find no flaws in and want to be exactly like. I have a lot of respect for Anne Sexton, Anais Nin, and Sylvia Plath. All of them have bodies of work that just seem so liberated and vulnerable and tough all at once. I also really admire Morrissey and Bjork - their voices, lyrics, everything about their careers and how they present themselves. ...Honestly, I can't think of anyone who is my role model to an extent that I want to be just like them. I like who I am and don't want to be anyone else - I trust myself enough to become a good-natured and talented person.
Describe yourself in 150 words (We will count, just watch.) Sometimes looking at myself in the reflection of a window pane is like staring at the condemned old house I grew up in. It's familiar, it's home, but it's been too long. I've backed so much into the wall of introversion that I stumbled upon a trapdoor at my core and ended up outside again. I watch myself swing like a pendulum from the cool, safe earth to the harsh chaotic wind in the sky, with my brushstrokes alternating between the knotted curls in my hair and the distilled calm of my watery irises. I find the world to be more interesting than myself - I wish I was a fleeting moment instead of consistent flesh - but I have a hand so I can hold a pen. I have a mouth so I can sing when talking gets too painful. [I don't talk much.]
Your favorite thing that you've ever written: (I don't like to choose favorites. This is an excerpt from a short story in the works.)
It figures that today I can’t even be allowed to do just that, though. A few feet from me, I can hear this incessant clicking noise. “Fuck,” a voice mutters. “Fucking lighter.” And despite my efforts I cannot let this annoyance slide. I turn towards the noise, ready to irrationally lambaste the poor bastard, until I see the guy. It isn’t a guy, actually. In a stool sits this woman – not even sitting, it’s more like she’s draped over it, as if posed to be painted nude in all her glory. I take a minute to look at her before she notices me staring. Everything about her is picturesque: her black hair (or maybe it’s brown – hard to tell in the dimness) falls on her shoulders heavily, curled like those bombshell women in movies from the ‘40s; the sparse light makes her skin look polished and immaculate, her curves are anatomically ideal. It gives me a start, and it probably shows on my face when she looks up and notices me there. She smirks and takes the cigarette from her mouth, holds the silver lighter up for me to see. “Got a light?” “Uh,” I begin, reaching into my coat pocket, “sure.” Instead of letting me light it for her, she takes it from my hand and does it herself, then hands it back. One quick motion from my palm to the cigarette and back again. Looking ahead, she blows a smoke ring in the air and mumbles a thank-you.
“You look like you’ve been out all night,” I say, now taking a legal once-over of her. She rubs her eyes and the mascara smears. “What time is it? I’ll tell you,” she replies, still not looking at me. “3:30,” Dave interjects, sliding a glass of red wine towards her. “Anything else I can get you, Miss Taliesin?” The woman shakes her head and stares at the painting behind Dave. The bartender looks over at me. “How about you, Walter?” I put up my hand to decline. “I’m okay. Thanks.” After Dave leaves, it’s silent between us for what seems like ten long, painful minutes. Out of nowhere, she looks at me as though she’s just remembered I’m here. She indicates toward herself with the cigarette. “Taliesin,” she says, “it’s the surname of a 6th Century poet, according to Arthurian legend.” She pauses, then laughs to herself. “Apparently it isn’t just legend, since I’m here.” I nod and hold out my hand to her. “Jackson,” I tell her, “Walter Jackson. No big story behind my name.” She sniffs at my hand, offended for some reason. “Vera.” She turns back to the painting and I put my hand back on the counter. This isn't going to be easy, that I am certain of. I wave Dave back over. “Another vodka tonic, okay?” I glance back at Vera. She’s blowing smoke at the painting with a resentful pursing of her lips. Oh God.
I don’t know how many hours pass. I lose count of how many vodka tonics I have, and Vera seems to still be sipping at that first glass of wine. The claret of her lips is almost the same shade as the rich liquid in the flute, and I guess after awhile I stop controlling my gawking at her. She just looks at me, bemused and condescending. I always thought I hated women like that – the girls I went after were docile, submissive little things – but maybe it’s just the alcohol.
“C’mon, Dave!” I shout down the bar towards the short guy. “Another vodka!” Dave looks at me hard and shakes his head. “I’m sorry, sir,” he says, “but I can’t just let you get even more intoxicated than you are now.” Vera laughs. “You are quite a mess,” she tells me, “even I can’t stand to look at you. Let’s get you a cab home.” I probably would have punched Dave if Vera hadn’t chimed in, but with the two of them badgering me I felt defeated. “This reminds me why I don’t get drunk,” I slurred as she helped me up from my chair and out the door, “I’m a fighting man. And I don’t like being held up.” Vera shrugs and lets go of me. “All right,” she says, crossing her arms, “see how you do then.” I do my best, try to stand up and walk right out the door. I land on her shoulder, in a mess of her soft curls. “You done now, tough guy?” she asks, an irritated edge to her voice, “Let’s go.”
Write for five minutes off the top of your head; Don't copy and paste something you wrote earlier.: I cannot see what is keeping you. Chin on my folded hands, a fly on the table. Outside the kitchen window, a hummingbird teases the flowers. Flutter poke petals. It's a pretty shade of blue, probably rented for today from the sky - overcast and a sickly purple-gray, like a bruise. And on any other day, I've rented the overcast color and used it on the back of my calf. 'I don't know how it got there.' Pick up the phone and tell your machine that my-bruise-is-gone-I'm-wearing-a-skirt-th
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