Day One: Select a book at random in the room. Find a novel or short story, copy down the last sentence and use this line as the first line of your new story.
Me first! Me first! I wanna write about bitches! I mean, that was one of those words that I got my mouth washed out with soap if I said it, when I was a kid. Well, I am not really a kid, and I have had my own apartments many times since. I have even said that naughty word many, many, many, and maybe even more than those times. I am certainly no potty mouth and, in fact, I can’t even remember when the last time I said this b%$* word. After all, you didn’ ask me to say IT or write it. You did, however, get me thinking b*#@ stuff (and it wasn’t about female dogs). Oooo wait, I said the b word in my third sentence. I am in my early fifties and I still remember when I was ten. I called my little sister a *^%$ (probably because she was being one), but she was just a second grader. Could a second grader do anything that would remotely cause her to being called a b&^#* ? (I think not). I think that I was just “experimenting” with naughty words. Besides, my older brother seemed to get extreme satisfaction from getting me to say or do something and watching me squirm. He also loved to push my sister’s buttons. Cruel. Susan, my sister, was not sad when he went off to Catholic school. I don’t rightly remember because I was at a one of those prep schools on the Cape; Cape Codd (and it was an eon ago). But that is not what we are to write about, you could probably care less about me getting my mouth washed out with soap for saying something I should have been spanked for. Actually, I may have been spanked, too. Those were the late, late 60s and spankings were pretty common. Well, not really that common, because they wouldn’t have been as special, memorable. You mentioned that I should write down the last line of a story of a book? A story about a b*^$ ? I don’t get it? I wrote down, or I will write down a line in “The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down,” it is about a Hmong child her American doctors and the collision of two cultures. This was the first book I had at an arm’s distance. You said: “at random.” Too random? Yes, this is way random! Well, I will give it a shot. The first was out of the question, and the second would rob the reader of the texture of English underlain by Hmong, French and other languages, as well as, removing him or her one further step from my own experience as a listener. (wow, that was a real b*^*&) just to write, let alone to understand. Gotta go back, reread. Mom and Dad probably gave me this book because I might possibly relate or appreciate the young girl’s difficulty. Nobody, can appreciate the little girl’s problems. I have my own set, of course, and I can relate to the Hmong girl’s problems on a level, however, am an older American man and cannot possibly pretend to understand what this little lady had to deal with. Frankly, I am just shooting in the dark, writing about what I believe the last sentence of the book was about; what I gleaned from it. The young Hmong girl, in Laos, had epilepsy. I have epilepsy. The Hmong girl lives in a land where if you have this disease, it can easily be misdiagnosed and also lead to early death. In the United States, and in many other Western countries, this disease is not a death sentence. Sure, I have to take a boat load of meds to control my epilepsy and I do, though many in my family think I take it too lightly. I simply don’t want the pills to rule their worlds or my own. Life beyond epilepsy. The title of the book, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” means more to me than it might to others. I sense that this girl is overcome by epilepsy, a spirit, and falls down. This book? Random? Perhaps not? The last sentence? I will see. I have appreciated. I appreciated how my Dad washed my mouth out with soap. Actually, he made me wash it out, I had to take a bite of the Dove bar. That was terrible! My brother may have made me call my sister a bad name, but I learned the lesson.