We met at the Falcon Art Community, where John Breen had generously loaned us The Liberators‘ studio space to rehearse. Laura Moulton was with us and shared a reading of her piece. Lidia Yuknavitch’s rigorous touring schedule caught up with her and she had to miss and was missed. Geneva, Scott, Joe and Shanna gave their newly edited pieces some strong reads, and got some group feedback. Geneva and Scott talked a little baseball. Two Nice Guy Eddie’s pizzas were eaten – one with mushrooms, one without. One week until curtain.
This week, our final workshop in the series, we were at full strength and the prompt phrase was “I smoke my friends down to the filter.” Scott’s story, framed as an emotionally charged letter from a son to a father, kept us in the trenches of a specific family narrative while raising questions about the nature and nobility of self-imposed isolation. Alice’s piece took us into dark territory through the worldview of a masochistic character obsessed with keeping open a rather hideous wound on her finger, while still trying to survive despite the injury. This week, Shanna’s story was poetic in it’s construction of a character entirely through the keepsakes and sentimental intentions the character possesses in her home. Her piece found it’s connection to the issue directly as we followed the same character’s observance of the street-side shelter of a young girl. Geneva’s story dealt heavily and directly with the issue of pride. Her central character narrates his story through the filter his own pride, giving us his acerbic view of assistance and the nature of those who act as though they want to help. This week’s pieces could be said to have Pride as a prevailing theme – especially in Scott and Geneva’s pieces – but also categorically dealt with the concept of patterns, specifically life and relationship patterns that seem to have no end, with many of the pieces centering on such patterns.
This week, week four of five, we were without Joe, who had to catch up on some of his other writing commitments for the upcoming 1,000 words reading, which he’s participating in. The prompt phrase was “The answer is no and you can never go back.” Shanna’s story covered some interesting territory contrasting two very distinct levels of interior monologue, one sophisticated and one more primal, through the veil of a couch-surfing character sometimes celebrating and sometimes struggling with her own transience. This week, Geneva’s story took us to Haight Street through a fifteen-year-old runaway girl. Her story displayed some of Geneva’s strengths, including many memorable character nuances that created a very full and real character and effective narrative. Scott profiled a sometimes sincerely apologetic, yet sometimes resentfully unapologetic homeless man who we learn about entirely through his forced apology to the world. Alice’s story focused in on the system through a series of vignettes featuring two faceless bureaucrats trying to help a schizophrenic, alcoholic man at the bequest of his brother. Responsibility seemed to be the theme of this week, each of the central characters in this week’s pieces choosing to deal with that subject in their own way.
For this week, week 3 of our 5 week workshop series focusing on Homelessness, the prompt was “Winter dreams the same dream every time.” We were without Geneva this week, and both Shanna and Jacob soldier’d their way through despite being sick with the thing everyone has. A food chain throughline happened in this week’s stories, in which almost all the stories mentioned fast food chains. Jacob managed to take some engrossing candid photos with his phone during the workshop. It seems like a major emotion that is being addressed lately in these stories is one of guilt, and this was definitely true of tonight’s pieces.
We met again tonight, our second workshop, and we were without Shanna, due to a car breakdown on the way to Concordia University, and Alice Clark, due to a workplace incident. The prompt phrase was “It’s more than rain that falls on our parade tonight.” Joe followed up his first piece with a second one featuring a character he had created in the first, and discovered something poignant and poetic by coming at the character and some of his defining moments from another POV. Geneva’s piece was a standout, a full narrative that managed to touch upon the topic on a few thematic levels, while sticking to it’s central characters. Scott’s piece flexed his satirical muscles, and managed to be effectively comedic and biting. Scott’s piece was valuable too, in being the first to really focus in on people’s internal reactions to the homeless and interacting with them.