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Old 03-08-2006, 08:03 AM   #1 (permalink)
You had me at hello
 
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Location: DC/Coastal VA
Developing a piece

I wrote this in my journal, and after reading, I'm wondering if it could be developed into something further, perhaps a short story. Is it boring? Does it hold your attention? Are the words too "pretty"?

Please, rip me to shreds and feel free to post writings you want to develop into something more.


You know who makes up the best titles? Pat Conroy. I grew up and lived in some of the same places he did, so I already have an affinity, but his titles are powerful. Lords Of Discipline, The Great Santini, The Prince Of TidesÖThe Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes From My LifeÖ. Okay, letís leave that one out.

Anyways, he graduated from The Citadel, which I remembered in an entirely un-related issue. Taking the train from NC to DC, I sat behind a woman and young man. They didnít know each other but were conversing. The guy was a Citadel student, had the brush cut, and was poring over a firearms catalog.

After turning one page, the woman said, ďIíve got that one.Ē

And so he started an active and engaged conversation with her about guns. He knew all the benefits, the different meanings behind the bore of the barrel. All kind of greek to me. Iíve had a .22 and a .410 shotgun to clear varmints (mostly copperheads) off our ranch when I was a kid. Thatís it.

She discussed it with him, he was very eager to talk about it. I understand that passion. For some young guys, itís about old Dodge Chargers, for others, itís about lacrosse equipment, for him, guns. It all stems from those dinosaur books we read as tots. We like the big and the powerful, and when we reach the zenith of our youth, it becomes attainable.

He reminded me so much of the plebes that Conroy wrote about. Eager, militaristic, nationalistic, and a care-free aura that communicated a youth of not much suffering.

She did not strike me that way. There were lines of worry, and the tell-tale suggestions of hard roads and sleepless nights. The perception I got, and it may be an entirely inaccurate one, was that she had this gun in order to ward off a person she once shared her life with who has since gone that one step beyond redemption. When he would talk about using the gun for target practice and how accurate it was, she looked haunted. If I could see the thought bubble over her head, I think it would say, ďI just use it to kill the bad man.Ē

Then when he talked about the hole it would leave in a human, she seemed surprised by that fact. Like maybe she didnít want to do that much damage to Mr. Bad, just a little hole, one that doesnít hurt too much.

Honestly, you would think the bigger the hole, the quicker the death, therefore: less pain.

Coming from the same area, Conroy had a lot he could write about. Like... uhÖ shooting fish in a barrel.
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I think the Apocalypse is happening all around us. We go on eating desserts and watching TV. I know I do. I wish we were more capable of sustained passion and sustained resistance. We should be screaming and what we do is gossip. -Lydia Millet
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