~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course

PROMPT INSTRUCTIONS: Do some research relevant to your topic, then apply it to a section of your prose that felt insubstantial or thin.

Feedback on previous pieces, has requested more background on what is not working between Rex and I. By going back into my journals I found concrete details and then created a hybrid of them as a journal entry below.


September 30, 2003

I’m here on the bed, while Rex is in the other room, babying his acoustic guitar. I can see him winding the fresh, new strings, plucking each one to vibrational perfection. But I feel no harmony.

He’s mad, and has turned to his instrument, polishing the curves of its wooden body, with rapt attention. I’m jealous of a guitar. My burgeoning belly begs for just a simple touch. The Mama Massage Oil we were gifted hasn’t even had the seal broken. I want to scream, then sob. But I cannot risk to feel the loneliness of this pregnancy. I, too, am stringing a symphony – our mutual composition – of neuro-pathways, fingernails and a nervous system. I want this being to sense only welcome, not one trace of sadness in my veins. Yet tonight is just another night, watching the hunch of Rex’s shoulders, him facing anything but me. And I’m here with my body, beautifully transforming, in our house thick with tension as he strums.

I’m trying to take responsibility for my part of all this upset. Rex says I need to meditate. I’m sure it would be beneficial. But it’s hard to take that advice from a man whose meditation nook is covered in dust and dried gecko poop. Which is the source of tonight’s upheaval. Apparently, in my attempt to dust the myriad of saintly photos collecting spores galore, I accidentally bent Meher Baba’s picture. So as the Indian-style font beams out from beneath his holy beard, “Love Alone Prevails,” Rex is reprimanding me like a child, scolding me for carelessness.

This outburst leads to his more favored form of meditation these days, a cigarette break outside. It’s supposed to keep the second-hand smoke at bay, but smokers never realize the clouds they create. Their sooty exhalations are far-reaching, impervious puffs that slink in sideways, heavy, invisible but stinking.

courtesy of Daniel Costal
courtesy of Daniel Costal

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