Sunday, September 12, 2010

Daughter/Mother's Shrink and Serial Killer/Lawyer

What do you say to a room full of people, family, but strangers now that the person who knew you better than yourself is gone?

I used to play the piano. She’d sit and watch from the stairs or the couch. Sometimes next to me on the bench, but she was always there.
The house was messy, but lived in. It was home. And I’d find her on the couch, tired, but refusing to shut her eyes. Just a weekend home, but it was those few times she lived for. But I was always leaving.
I come back now and there’s nothing. Rooms empty, walls white. Just a house that should have burnt to the ground long ago. I sit down to play and look behind me, but she’s never there. Upstairs no song echoes, just the sound of trees at night clawing at my window.
It was Mother’s day when he called. Found her cold, enveloped with water. I can’t use the bathroom anymore. Haven’t since she finally closed her eyes. I only sleep with eyes open, hoping she’ll wake me.

I could have said that.

I was 7, watchin’ some Mickey Mouse show on full blast, coverin’ my ears, but I could still hear her screamin’. Hear the dishes break as he threw her at the cabinets, the wood bend and snap. [pause] The floorboards creaked beneath my feet as I slipped from my room. He lifted her like-like King Kong did to the woman he loved. [laughs] Who am I kiddin’? Love? He didn’t love her. Only enough to leave black and blue marks over her heart and a kiss of death on her cheek. [pause] I sneaked over to the set of drawers in the kitchen, barely tall enough to see into them and grabbed the longest knife and I ran at him. Ran fast and hard. The knife dug deep as I twisted it. He dropped her and flipped around, surprised. He peeled me off and tossed me aside like a used napkin- trash he wanted nothing to do with, but I had won. He fell down and stared up, helpless. [pause]
He was my first. And then the numbers grew. I killed all them you said I did. But, it wasn’t the power that came with it I was after. Don’t get me wrong, it felt good, like holdin’ lightenin’ in your hand, but it was the breath that came after they fell that made me do it again and again. Mighty tyrants taken down and out of the shadows a breath. A sigh of relief from the powerless. Once I heard my momma and that sigh, I had a mission. I was gonna clean up the world, become a superhero. [laughs] You know, that’s the mind of a kid, superheroes don’t exist, but if they did I’d be one. Like the boy that climbs up the tree to deliver the cat to the smiling old woman below. That’s what I did. I took away evil and delivered freedom. Or somethin’ like that. I don’t wanna preach here to you, but I saved more lives than I took.


  1. Notes from Roy:
    Molly Wixson pieces. (Don't forget to put your name on your posts.)

    Both of these pieces are full of good imagery, with a strong sense of the action and drama.

    As I noted in class, the piece about the mother is full of arresting moments and deep emotion. It's not unusual for a piece so personal to be difficult to write further about. If that's the case I'd move on to other ideas. What you can take from this piece is just how arresting some of the images are. Even though they're drawn from life, your descriptions of them are well-imagined and well-written. The contrast between playing piano then and now; the house that should've been burned down; the going away and coming home; the water -- all these are so striking and well done.

    The serial killer piece has lots of possibilities. Look into it for opportunities. The scope of it covers a vast amount of time and a large series of crimes. It goes from the first time to the present where the killer offers explanations. So what were some of the events in between? If he considered himself a superhero, you could recount some of his other exploits/murders. How did he find his victims? Stalk them, kill them? What are the details of all that that support his idea of himself?

    You also might consider the nature of this communication. It's written now as a kind of statement given after his capture, but it could also be revised to be a kind of message sent in the middle of the course of his crimes. A clue he leaves along the way.

    Either of these suggestions would be to open the door to more explorations.


  2. -And I’d find her on the couch, tired, but refusing to shut her eyes. - Something so childlike here. It’s an interesting quality considering the child will soon be thrust into a kind of adulthood. A steeping stone that all children must one day face.
    -Just a house that should have burnt to the ground long ago. - The depth of sorrow and pain here. It just goes to show that one simple and strong image can be worth 25 pages of “this is how I feel.”
    -I can’t use the bathroom anymore. Haven’t since she finally closed her eyes. I only sleep with eyes open, hoping she’ll wake me. - Again, great pain, and a wonderful juxtaposition of closed/open eyes.
    -The strength of this piece comes from it’s raw emotion. I know this story is deeply personal to you, and as long as it feels right, I encourage you to write it. You are tapping into some important stuff. As the piece grows, don’t be afraid to change details if you need to (for personal sanity or for story). I once wrote a play about a cousin that committed suicide, and in the end, the real life story was no where near what was on the page, but the process was deeply healing and important. As long as that is what you feel, go for it.