November 19, 2011

Triggering disaster

333 words for the Trifecta Writing Challenge, because I like to write to the word. Next week's challenge? Saying the same thing in 33 words (and using another prompt). (cue maniacal laughter).


“Pour yourself a drink, consider using a pseudonym, and write,” writes my friend the writing coach on my Facebook wall, after I moaned about the work involved in dredging up less than Pollyanna-esque memories of my grandparents. I had signed up reluctantly for her class at her encouragement, despite the fact I barely slept, I was already so overcommitted.

Personal memoir, while an interesting possibility for someone who’s failed so spectacularly as I to live a life with any rhyme or reason, is also dangerous. A veritable minefield, I think, especially now that I am knee deep in possibilities at the halfway mark of the session.

This week is photos, using photos to jar memories. Not that hard.

I look desperately at the pictures, staring hard to find the strands, to make the connections. The whiskey, peaty and sharp, burns the edge of my windpipe as I strain to find that hook.

Suddenly a few photos stand out, but not for the reasons I expect. Still, I have the answer to this week's task. The figure in the photos is my father as a young man. These images prod me toward my keyboard.

My dad. My playful, silly dad wearing one of his many masks to belie the turmoil that lies directly below the surface.

I comprehend I have no choice but to do this work, to reach into my forbidden past, to summon my inner therapist to help me figure out exactly where I’m at with regards to my father before it is too late. It’s just, well, it's just that I don’t want to. Right now I want to imagine I do not have the time to do the work, to cope with the feelings guaranteed to come with examining the masquerade I called my childhood. At the same time, I fear the march of time will leave me with unavoidable regret.

I understand anew that it’s time to figure out how to exist without harbouring the need to exist.



  1. I love this usage, it is just perfect!
    I so feel you on the I don't wanna. And I think you are such a hardcore badass for going ahead with it anyway.

  2. I enjoyed both reading, and reading between, these lines. Your post definitely left me wanting to know more.

  3. Ditto. Please write. We need you to.

  4. Joules, thanks for your vote of confidence. I was hardly surprised that I was totally unsure of what the third meaning of that word meant!!! But *shrug* I am so over thinking I am wrong all of the time. Part of the magic of being 40 is not caring any longer if I AM wrong! <3 We'll go forward together, trust me. I need the camaraderie.

    Alex, thanks! You may want to know more but I'm not sure I do. *grin*

    JC. I love your presence here. Hard to believe I found you through random surfing. So grateful I did. Please join us at Trifecta for some fun, games and prompting to write.

  5. go karen!
    AS your bandita in memoir making I feel you..Especially with the big overhanging question of "the father."
    You post as well as your week four assignment left me with the philosophical ringing to the last sentence..
    I think you should explore it some more
    <3 Matea

  6. Thank you so much for submitting to this week's Trifecta Writing Challenge. I love what you did with the word and the piece in general. Digging through old memories is hard, hard work--but, as your post shows, it can produce fine writing. Hope to see you back again next week!