Tag Archives: Grub Street

Me and my tent

Some truth hidden in a lot of nonsense

“Noun!” Instructor Jennifer Crystal pointed at one of my classmates. “Lion!” my fellow student immediately responded. Jennifer wrote it on the board. “Okay, adjective,” she gestured to the next person. “Beautiful!” Some of us were quicker at this game than others. I think for “verb,” I finally came up with “punch.”

After several go-rounds, we had constructed a twenty-entry list comprised of nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, proper names, exclamations, and a color, place name, and number. But this was no grammar class. We were working on personal essays. Today, instead of answering a traditional prompt, like “write about a scar,” Jennifer assigned us each to take the next half hour to create a story that used all the words on our list–sort of a reverse Mad Libs.

Lion, Beautiful, Rapidly, Fly, Hallway, Swollen, Holy crap!, 2, Roger, Lake Michigan, Tyra Banks, Pogo stick, Prissy, Quickly, Punch , Wow!, Magenta, Ziplock bag, Tent, Cozy

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For Love of Moxie

See if you can figure out the writing assignment that made me produce this ridiculous piece.

Moxie: her country side

Acceleration is not Moxie’s strong suit. Bodaciously blue, she is a baby butch. Ceding genuine butch to my friend Ruth’s larger Subaru Crosstrek, I steadfastly maintain that my Impreza Sport, tricked out with extra trim and interior delights, is cuter. Dykiness aside, Moxie’s driver’s seat fits me, which is important given my height impediment. Ergonomically, she hugs me tight, and her seat warmer soothes my muscles after I play soccer.

Furtively, I admit that she doesn’t have enough space in the back to accommodate coaching. Groceries are squeezed out by soccer balls, cones, spare uniforms, and other gear. Having the back neat and tidy is important me, but just not possible. Ice packs run loose, stuffed into tiny voids. Jumper cables worm around the spare tire that hides under the cargo area.

Kayaks, however, they could go onto the roof–I added racks to make her look like a junior version of the  jumbo-sized Outback Subaru now makes. Light sparkles off the metallic paint, adding to the contrast created by those racks, the dark rain cloaks over the windows, and a rim that protects the tip of the hood from being chipped by the gravel that flies when you storm down a country road. Moxie is what I built her to display: “courage, force of character; ingenuity, wit.” Never would I have thought I’d love a car so much. Overhead she has a moon roof. Power ports in various places mean I can charge my laptop in a standard electrical outlet, my iPad through its lightening cable, and the GPS in the cigarette lighter, all while playing music from my phone over Bluetooth.

Moxie: her city side

Quandaries remain. Reverie aside, dare I ask how long Moxie will have my heart? Standard shifting is what I prefer, but I bought an automatic to make it easier for my son to learn to drive, something he still hasn’t done. There will come a time when I’ll need another Lesbaru. Unfortunately, I won’t have the luxury of trading in two cars as I did to buy Moxie. von Salis’s death: it was trading in her car that enabled me to justify that extra trim, spoiler, roof racks, window cloaks, and electrical outlet. Without Susan, bereft of my partner of almost 24 years, my consolation prize was Moxie. Xena-like, I sit in my car, without my Gabrielle. Yes, it can be melancholy, particularly if I think of Moxie’s mortality: that I will someday lose the car I created by melding our old station wagon and Susan’s no-frills Yaris.

Zephyr-Moxie: don’t worry about what is to come; let’s enjoy our time together, car and driver, gadgets too, courageously facing the hills before us, and looking good.

Moxie’s Progenitors
Our old Outback: a perfect size.
Susan’s Yaris: suitable for one

Humor: A Hard Way to Write an Essay

Jennifer Crystal challenged our Grub Street class to write a 500-1,000 word essay “using Unintended humor. Sign reading: No Trespassing. Police Prosecuted. humor to make a point.” In speech and writing, I pepper people with puns and jokes. But humor for revelation?

In our assignment from Writing Well, William Zinsser demonstrates comic devices. To question women’s public adornment with hair curlers in the 1960s, Zinsser parodied an advice column. That seems easy enough.

Dear Jennifer,
Using humor to make a point is really hard. For once in my life, I can’t think of anything at which to poke fun.

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