Tuesday, January 23, 2007

New Semester, First Exercise

I generally start out my semester in Creative Writing with the following exercise.

You're writing a letter to someone -- it doesn't matter who -- someone of your choosing, real or imagined. It's someone you have not communicated with in a while, and you have to fill this person in on what's been happening in your life. And what's been happening is not good. You have a twin -- probably of the opposite sex, but that's your choice, too. About a year ago, your twin committed suicide by jumping off a cliff. It's been a terrible shock, but you're trying to put it behind you and get on with your life.

But your mother can't do it. She can't put it behind her. She keeps taking you up to the cliff, over and over, and asking, "Why did this have to happen?"

The worst part of it is, you know something that she doesn't, that might explain why it happened. Three days before the suicide, your twin came into your room at night, and had sex with you.

You're sure it happened. But you're a little foggy beyond that -- maybe you were dreaming, maybe your consciousness was a little off. Perhaps you don't know for sure whether you were forced, or a willing participant.

OK, write the letter. You can leave when you turn it in, we'll talk about it next time.

That's all I tell them. So that's all I'll write here, for now.

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