Just got accepted into another MFA program. This time, in prose poetry, haiku and some flash.
“What are you nuts?” My friend asked. (You know who you are)
Is it worth pursuing?
Why pursue a second MFA?
To enjoy the structure and support an MFA offers. Enjoyment of the process. I don’t give a damn about the actual degree. Speaking as a writer, that is…
Writer’s block shadows many writers. One of the ways to emerge victorious from such a block is to gain inspiration and accountability from an MFA program. Go for it. Whatever your chosen field, the joy of learning is part of staying sharp and creative.
“Ten Thousand Miles from Home” is my next tiny story collection and appears in a few weeks. Ten stories. Creative non-fiction/fiction.
Tales about an immigrant whose distance from home impacts her relationship with her father.
Here’s one story that was just accepted by Bacopa Literary Review for publication in their 2015 print publication. Thank you, Bacopa for the opportunity. Thanks to Susie Baxter, Bonnie Ogle and Rick Sapp who are the “Critters” in my writing group and never stop pushing me to the limit.
“I forgot the list,” my father said at the grocery store.
“Do you remember anything?” I asked.
He shook his head and removed the familiar white cap, the one with an embroidered yellow kangaroo. A piece of paper fell out from under the cap.
“Is that the list?”
The crumpled paper lay on the sidewalk. I picked it up and read the words written in his new wife’s handwriting: “one loaf of white bread, one tub of butter, and a jar of raspberry jam. Does that sound right, Dad?”
He nodded and placed the cap back on his head. His blue eyes sparkled with the devil and he wore a wicked smile. “I think I’m losing my mind,” he said. “I can never remember a damn thing.”
My heart sunk. “You should see a doctor.”
“She says I’m just getting old.”
He meandered into the store, said “good morning” to the man whose back was turned, picked up a bottle of beer, and placed it under his overcoat. The young man turned around from the mirrored wall. “Did you want to buy that, Mister?”
“The bottle inside your coat.”
“Oh.” My father looked under his arm. “Yes. I’ll drink a little now.” He twisted off the cap and took a swig. I glanced at the teenager whose right eye twitched. I handed over a ten-dollar bill. “Keep the change,” I said. “Let’s go home, Dad. I’ll come back later for the rest.”
“No, Luv,” he said. “I have to get the things now or she’ll shout at me.”
My father nursed the beer while I filled the cart with one loaf of white bread, one tub of butter, and a jar of raspberry jam. I asked the young man for three meat pies, paid, and steered my father by his elbow out of the store.
“Maybe drinking affects your memory,” I said. He smiled, dimples and warmth mixed with beer and love.
“Shit, Dad. What am I going to do with you?”
“Not much,” he countered. He raised his eyes to meet mine, his bushy, brindled eyebrows scrunching up and down. I flashed on a photo I once admired —a wizened Kung Fu master with long white hair and bushy eyebrows, a hint of wisdom and treachery in his narrowed eyes.
My father took another swig from the bottle and leaned on my arm as we crept down the hill to his house. He shoved the bottle inside his overcoat just before the new wife opened the front door.
“Did you get everything on the list?” she asked with a smoker’s scratchy voice.
“Yes, and more,” I replied.
“Why the hell did you get more? He shouldn’t spend the money,” she growled.
“I paid for it,” I said. “I got meat pies.”
“A waste of money,” she said. I wanted to laugh and cry, but coughed instead.
“It’s alright,” my father slurred. “Dina was just trying to help.”
The new wife emptied the grocery bags onto the table and counted each item out loud: “one, two, three meat pies, one loaf of white bread, one tub of butter, and a jar of raspberry jam.” She scrutinized the receipt and my jaw tightened. The receipt included the beer.
“You got everything, but ….” She stretched up to her full five feet, rolled back her shoulders, stuck out an ample bosom, and confronted my father. “You forgot the bloody onions. You’re always forgetting something. I told you I needed onions. How can you make stew without onions? What’s the matter with you?”
My eyes glazed over. My breath came fast. I clenched my fists and bit my lower lip. My father apologized and collapsed into a chair, arms wrapped around his overcoat.
“By the way,” she said. “Give me some of whatever you’re hiding in your coat.”
I bent down and kissed my father goodbye and he winked. On my way out, I glanced at a photo taken during the Second World War—my father and two buddies in army uniforms posing with rifles in front of the pyramids. I passed the ancient Egyptian relics inside his china cabinet: the etched scarab worth thousands, the priceless New Guinea tribal mask with real curly black hair, and the massive ironwood aboriginal totem pole stuffed into a corner of the living room with a woman’s dirty hat hanging from its carved bird’s beak.
collector of treasure,
collector of trash.
(published in the upcoming Bacopa Literary Review for Fall 2015)