I wrote this a month ago with my Thursday night writing group, and I didn’t use too many of the prompts, though I did use these: out to lunch, for whose eyes do I write today, shedding inhibitions, “A writer is not one who answers questions but who asks them.”
What I miss most is going out to lunch, and lingering over a glass of wine, and then pulling my notebook and pen out of my big canvas satchel, and writing lines of poetry while I gaze out the plate glass window, and maybe there’s a park across the street with a pond, and Canada geese, and a snowy egret or two, though certainly no blue herons because that would just be silly to put a bird that big in the city so instead there will be cheery little cedar waxwings launching themselves onto the wind, titmice, phoebes, mountain blue bids, and maybe I’m at a table on the sidewalk and there are street cats who wander by, so friendly, no, no, wait, I have cats here at home, I don’t need cats in my fantasy, nor dogs, I need a fox and an owl who come by together to give me a message about the power of imagination, shedding inhibitions, jumping in, and the fox says “A writer is not one who answers questions, a writer is one who asks them.”
Then the owl says “So what do you want to ask?”
I say, “I want to ask why I’m fantasizing about woodland creatures when I should be fantasizing about what’s on my plate, what I will want to eat when it’s safe to go out again! But all I can remember is food from restaurants that are closed, some just last week, some for decades now: Americo’s on the corner of 20th and Capitol, crusty bread so fragrant, my favorite spaghetti and red clam sauce with big sweet prawns, and the La Bou near the school where I used to teach in Natomas where I’d get a sandwich of thin sliced turkey breast and pesto on dark olive bread, and Bud’s Ice Cream from San Francisco at Yum’s I Dream Ice Cream on 21stStreet where we’d go after a poetry reading at La Semilla Center, and the berry cobbler at New Helvetia Coffee House where I’d go to write and study because the energy felt so good in there, and oh, chile verde from Three Sisters, and just down the street on Folsom Boulevard, the raviolis from Español–all gone now, some victims of time, some victims of the pandemic.”
“For whose eyes do you write today?” the fox asks, persistent in her role.
“Hey, I’m the writer. I’ll ask the questions!” I tell her, but then the three of us laugh because we all know I don’t mind. “I write for me,” I tell her finally, “and for all those who are lonely and don’t know what they want.”
Photo by Scott Walsh on Unsplash