Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Thanks for Bringing That Up, Chuck

Apparently I have a burning desire to write about puke. When my kids do papers for school, they are always told to write a vomit copy, first - you know - just whatever garbage spews out - then edit later. I experienced the vomit copy on literal and figurative levels this week. Well, not LITERAL literal - more like literary literal.

A few days ago I had a few spare moments to kill, so I pulled out my notebook and pen. The sentence that came out quickly - and completely unbidden - was this:

She wondered, but only for a moment, if she was doing the right thing before she closed her eyes and forced her finger down her throat.


I sat back and read what I'd written, my eyes widening. Where the hell had THAT come from? Why was she DOING that? Was she a burgeoning bulimic preparing for her first purge? Had she swallowed something potentially fatal? Was it purposeful or accidental? Yuck! I didn't care - I knew I didn't want to write about her. Yet my pen continued:

The pills came up with the first reflexive gag. She counted them - it was easy to do, there hadn't been much else in her stomach. One more gag followed quickly - a dry heave this time. She rested her head on the toilet seat for a moment to make sure it had passed. She rinsed her mouth out with a handful of water from the sink and scrutinized her face in the mirror. She looked okay. Considering. She dabbed at the corners of her mouth with a hand towel, anyway. She shook her hair out and smiled broadly at the mirror. It didn't - she assured herself - look as hollow as it felt.


Well, hells bells. I do not like this story one bit. I do not want to be writing these things about this girl. I do not want to know what drove her to this or what followed. I actively hate this storyline. Get out of my head, silly girl. Get out before I give you a name and then feel obliged to deal with you and your farked up issues. (Characters are a bit like pets in that regard) I closed the notebook and occupied myself in other ways for the rest of the afternoon.

When I picked it up the next day, I swear to you my friends, this is what came out:

Her eyes widened and her hand instinctively went to her mouth as she raced for the restroom; barely making it there before she emptied the meager contents of her stomach into the toilet bowl. This had been the third time this morning. Perhaps it was time to pee on that stick.


More puking? For reals? And pee thrown in as a bonus. Lovely. Now I'm a little more comfortable writing about a pregnancy, but she's clearly been avoiding confirmation on this one. Is she young? Is she single? Has she had an affair? Why - aside from the fact that we meet her while she's actively ralphing - is she not excited? I don't want to know. And I DON'T want to write about barf.

I mean it.

I abandon the notebook for a little while longer, but it always calls me back. This time it called in a masculine voice. Good. At least he won't be pregnant. Time to break this cycle. Pen to paper and:

His rusty pickup careened wildly as he pulled it over, more or less, to the side of the road. He opened the driver's side door and hung his head out,his right hand grasping the steering wheel for support. He spewed so violently that it scattered the fine gravel and remnants splashed up onto his work boots.


Are you fucking kidding me??? More puke?

So seriously - you who are better versed in psychology and/or symbolism than I - what the HELL? I need to - if you'll pardon the pun - purge myself of whatever demon this is before I write again, or my next short story may read a lot like the pie eating contest in Stand By Me. And while I admire Mr. King greatly, that's really not the scene I'd most like to emulate.

Oh - and if you can't help me slay the barfmonster, then at least let me know if you'd like to hear more of any of these stories. I think they're in me. One way or another, I may have to let one or more of them out.

18 comments:

Cheryl said...

I'd follow any of those story lines. All three are great openers.

mama-face said...

you obviously have something in you that you need to get out of your head. One way or the other.

says the non-therapist crazy person.

Eva Gallant said...

Perhaps you have a subconscious desire to be bulemic, or pregnant of hungover? lol
Good writing about an unpleasant subject!

5thsister said...

Take it from someone who had been running from her past for a very long time: It's not going to go away until it is dealt with. Sorry...you're going to have to write this one through, my friend.

And I would love to read it!

elastamom.com said...

Hmmm....I have no answers for this one, Mommakin!!! I like the stories though...

blueviolet said...

Tammy, let it out, and yes, by all means share it with us!!

Badass Geek said...

So long as you don't drink castor oil, you're all set.

carma said...

consider me intrigued :D

MiMi said...

Lady, you are gonna write a novel about a bulimic. It will spew forth and you will love it. :)

Gibby said...

I told you to stop watching that Intervention show! And MTV!! No more MTV!!

Kidding, I would read any and ALL of these stories. Keep puking. I mean, writing.

JennyMac said...

as long as there are no accompanying photos, we are all good. LOL.

Debbie said...

You are so funny! I am sure there is a reasonable explanation for all of these. I'm just not at all sure what it would be.

Ronnica said...

Maybe you need to write a book of short stories all beginning with throwing up? LOL

Perhaps you psyched yourself out after that first one, thus you kept thinking about barf without even realizing it.

Sandy said...

Sounds like a book of short stories to me. Oh damn, someone already said that.

I can count on one hand the number of times I have puked in the last 30 years. I'd much rather read about it than do it.

Swine said...

It appears as though you've been spending time with my five-year-old. Those three stories would all hold her attention, but ONLY because of the puking.

I'd go with the dude puking out the truck. There's gotta be an alien abduction in there somewhere. That, or a half a bottle of scotch!

Mammatalk said...

It takes a very creative person to write about puke. Keep it up, Chuck!

Unknown Mami said...

The only way to get it out is to let it out. Keep writing, I want to see where this goes. You could be the first to write a publish a book of vomit short stories.

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