November 11th, 2004


School's out

Jenn E had just said that she understood why Andrea’s essay had no context for the repulsion Andrea wrote of her neighbors in the essay we were evaluating last night.

“You know, we’re coming from the same place, you know, being the same age,” Jenn E said, her hands twirling what little hair she had.

I looked at her hair, four months growth of gray hair pushing its Lucy red further down to her shoulders. Female pattern baldness is perhaps an explanation of why everything that comes from her mouth is followed by a twitchy giggle, the end of each sentence going up as if a question. Her fingers entwined with what’s left of her scarecrow straw certainly makes me want to laugh but not as much as her incomprehensible analysis, week after week, of others’ work. Her assertion that she was Andrea’s age gave me a loud internal laugh, bent over and slapping me knee.

Andrea is a “journalist,” having spent a year sometime last decade in Africa, fucking a writer for a wire service. As far as I know, that's the sum total of her journalism resume. During our initial introductions to the class seven weeks ago, she declared her conversion to Muslim. Her indeterminate accent has a clip at the end but she was born and raised in the US, and I suspect her speech pattern to be as authentic as Madonna’s British period.

Andrea is smart, smarter than Jenn E by a country mile, although there’s a cruelty to her comments, a supple superiority that deflates those hopeful of constructive criticism.

Next week is the final class in the series of eight Wednesdays. I’m thankful. This classroom cocktail was not to my taste; too many bitters, not enough gin. I asked Bill, the teacher, if most of his workshops were an equal gender blend. He replied that most who take writing workshops are women. It gave me pause. Bill’s class last season was evenly split down the middle like a black and white cookie. This session’s class, however, is a hen house with one other man in attendance, a homosexual psychotherapist who frequently eats during class.

We had to submit something for publication last night. I rewrote an essay that most of you’ve seen. Soon it will be on the desk, or in the trash, of the editor of Los Angeles Times Magazine. I have no delusion that it will be accepted but it’s been a learning exercise, a practical one but not as helpful as reading my friends here on LJ.

You sweet, talented people. I owe you so much.

For those who’ve recently saddled up to my bar, attached is the submitted essay. Take a look if you must.

For those who’ve taken to drink a long time ago with me, move along. Show’s over. The revisions are minor and hardly worth a third or fourth pony ride.

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