MEMOIR NEWSPAPERPEOPLE Chapter four Day 6 NANOWRIMO 2021

Newspaperpeople

  1. Storkes

You will never know the wounds you are capable of carrying, until you have to. The era comes back to haunt you. The monster that he was.

And then you will think of all the kind men who surrounded you then.

As they prepare you for the anesthesia you whisper, to God, let me die.

Let me go now.

And then you sink.

Everything is gone.

They wake you up.

They wake you up as if you have made some kind of mistake and girls are so disposable anyway.

The pain lives in a vault, in a chamber of your heart, that you learn to bury deep.

You won’t be alone.

They are shaking you.

“Wake up,” they say.

“Nooooo.”

They keep shaking you and shaking you and shaking you.

You wake up.

It wasn’t your time.

It wasn’t time for God to take you. Not yet.

You were only 22.

Now you realize perhaps God himself put you through this.

He keeps driving up, after.

He keeps driving up.

A girl lies next to you in the little room they make you walk to.

There are two beds. So you can recuperate.

She weeps, softly.

You weep.

There is a list on the table, with hundreds of names on it.

And the names are lined through.

And the names have names to come, after the two of you.

They run them through here like cattle, you think to yourself.

Cattle.

Chattel.
Cattle.

Chattel.

That he never loved you is the hardest lesson you will ever learn.

Your mother, who had always told you, “Come to me with anything,” is going to be no help. She simply tells you her French friend Selima had to have 14 of them, because of the Nazis.

Jim offers to marry you.

In the cold silence of your room, full of beige, full of books, with the money he had thrown down on the table, to pay for it, you stepped into the bathroom, while he slept and photographed yourself in your white Mexican wedding dress, with his Leica.

You had grasped at straws.

There was no way to call your father.

Your uncle was gone.

Your grandfather was tending to your grandmother, who had had a stroke after her son died, suddenly.

“Stand on your own two feet,” he said.

It’s that Christmas, it’s that day, when you know you have no choice.

There will be millions of girls that day, across the country.

Like the girl lying right next to you.

You didn’t die.

Maybe because you had to write a book, that would come many years later, so that no other girl would have to face this kind of thing, ever again.

I drove down to Los Angeles to meet the French sperm who was my father. He had hired detectives to find me at Santa Barbara High School. When I was 16. He said, or his current wife said through the door, “His therapist feels that you need to meet him, now.”

I stood in terror behind the door of our place on Carillo Hill, that day.

I thought maybe my real father, not the man I called Daddy, who was my father, to me anyway. (Since Mother made it so I could never call him) and I actually was that naive, to think that he might be able to give me some direction. I was two weeks late on my period. Student Health at UCSB arranged for me to take a urine test.

I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way.

I was the girl who had no father.

Not like my mother’s father.

I was also a girl that my mother had no time for.

She made me into her best friend.

So I never even had a chance at being a daughter.

She told my best friend, “The men are going to come for Adrienne.”

My best friend told me that years later, going through her second divorce.

He lived north of Wilshire.

I found him.

I made an appointment to arrive, the last trip I ever took down to Santa Monica in my Audi. I was just a girl of 22, needing help.

There was no man to turn to.

Years later, reading the poem I wrote in Edgar Bower’s class, it’s what I wrote after.

I handed it to him, and he laughed it off. That acid dropping, clown. He laughed at my writing, some stupid little college girl who was getting D’s and F’s Winter Quarter at UCSB. The girl who he came up to rape and keep on raping, time after time, day after day, with that poisoned cock he had, covered in vitiligo. The cock that only knew how to rape, not love. He was like a battering ram, with it. Once he said, “I want to see my cock come out of your throat.”

To this day I remember his favorite position.

I never let another man put me in that position ever again, when I had sex.

The girls at work, the younger ones were having babies, and I made a quilt for Bonnie in Classified, for her baby.

Mine was gone, and I sewed the quilt for hers.

I’ll never forget how happy she was to see it. It was polka dots with an eyelet edge, and I tied it instead of quilting with many colors of embroidery thread.

Rosie had taken me aside.

I told her I needed to take three days off and I was crying.

I loved Rosie.

I also loved her funny boyfriend too.

She told me, she had to have one too.

I don’t know how I survived.

There has been some purpose for me to have survived.

Perhaps it is to write it down.

Never let a man kill your heart and soul.

Never.

The clinic was near Cottage Hospital.

Jim, offered to marry me.
Years later when we saw each other again, we discussed our lives.

I said, “What if we had married?”

I thanked him for the offer he had made me. His chivalry.

He will forever be in my mind as that.

Not all males are chivalrous.

I think males know other males very well, just as we know other women very well.

It’s in our genes,

I didn’t love Jim.

I was in love with the photographer.

I couldn’t have slept with Jim.

I couldn’t have asked Jim to take something on, that he wasn’t prepared to do.

He was still the cherubic blond baby of his mother’s.

I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way. The street where there is supposed to be true love.

I was the girl who believed everything men said to me.

He had said he wanted to plant his seed inside me.

He had lied.

“I don’t want you spoiling Christmas for your grandparents,” Mother said.

As far as she was concerned I had taken care of it.

On her deathbed, under the spell of morphine, I said, “You never saw yourself as a grandmother did you?”
She said “No.”

My mother was of the generation that had Andy Warhol.

That Christmas in 1981 my little brother and I were to take the train to Cambria, so our family could have Christmas. You will never know how strong you have to be for your family, until it is needed. You will also never understand why you had to put on a happy face as if nothing bad had happened.

As the train rumbled up the coast, I couldn’t say anything to my brother about what I had just gone through. He was too young. To this day, I wish I had had an older brother. This is what the men at work would become for me. Like Big Brothers. That is what Alan was to me.

We think of storks as the things that come with babies like miracles wrapped in swaddling clothes. There are myths we live out. There are also fairytales.

I was the girl on Red Rose Way who walked under Storke’s bells.

Up in his tower, I sat the books that held the millions of words.

They were bound books, every newspaper that had ever run.

I climbed the stairs all the time to see them.

The panic attacks began in my mother’s car, as we drove home to Santa Barbara after that Christmas. A bee flew into her car, and at the time, I was afraid of bees, as I had been stung once, as a very young child. Suddenly I could not breathe. My hands curled into little blue claws as there was no oxygen, coming in. I wasn’t breathing.

He put me through that.

And he still kept driving up.

He kept on sending postcards as if he were making a piece of Performance Art, like Chris Burden.

That’s what he was doing.

He had no plans to give me up and I couldn’t breathe anymore.
There was nothing left.

He had killed my heart.

Or so I thought.

Perhaps, my heart did not die, for it is the strongest organ that I have.

It is always with my heart that I have traveled this world.

I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way, and I was the girl who wore her heart on her sleeve.

I was the girl who lived on Red Rose Way who thought she had met her second Prince Charming. The first one had not been.

I was the 22 year old they gave Xanax to. Harold was on it too.

Harold, the best boss in the world.

I walked between the Pacesetters, under his watch.

They were spitting out film.

They were spitting out thousands of letters, whole alphabets put together out of the people who were busily typing upstairs on the Third Floor, they had come down the pneumatic tubes, and been retyped and marked up in the Composing Room.

I was becoming a Journeyman Printer.

“Harold, I can trim the type.”

“No, you job is to bring the type to the hooks.”

“But I can do more than one thing, Harold.”

“No, you are doing your job.”

And so I had gone from being the girl that came from Fashion, through Classified Accounting, into a Switchboard Operator, to a Proofreader, and finally I was on my way to the Floor.

That’s how important all of us were.

That’s how hard we worked to make everything true and perfect, at the newspaper.

It had won the Pulitzer.

It had belonged to T. M. Storke.

Copyright 2021 Newspaperpeople by Adrienne Wilson – Nanowrimo 2021 – all rights reserved

One of my poems, #NewspaperPeople #Nanowrimo2021 #Memoir

I posted these poems over at my old Blog, Valentine Bonnaire – these were written on Red Rose Way in 1981, by me as a very young college student at UCSB https://valentinebonnaire.com/2016/09/05/trois-poemes-dune-rose-shattered-1981-where-i-laid-me-down-to-sleep-for-novel/

So now I am going to read one of them and turn it into a podcast.

During the month of November I will be reading the others as well.

Thanks for listening,

much love from

Adrienne

#2

this is the hardest poem I ever had to write

rosa1:july

“you used to give me roses”

you used to give me roses

one perfect rose

like a perfect life

and I looking at that perfect life

I had to tear it apart

expose the center

past each perfect veined petal

past the subtle gradation of

softest color

peach rose white cream magenta scarlet lavendar

or the deepest red which fades to black

when I in my foolishness tried preserving

the moment and the scent

other times you brought a handful

claiming, “these are the last ones in my garden”

but you’ve always had a year round supply

how can I make you cry?

should I tell you I was a rose

when that doctor came in with the smile on his lips

I want to show you the center

of a perfect life the center of the rose

if you’ll let me ramble

past all these tangled petals dropping

like bombs on our conversations

each petal must be a moment

no one ever played he loves me, he loves me not

with a rose except me

you gave me roses

and you gave me one perfect rose once

like a perfect life

and I looking at that perfect life

I had to tear it apart

expose the center

expose my own heart in the process

that rosebud & my heart

so much the same, so much the same in fact

that when he

came into that room with that smile on his lips

and pulled apart the petals to find other petals

and more petals and more

past veined velvet

past each subtle gradation of

softest color

peach rose white cream magenta scarlet lavender

or the deepest red which fades to black

when I in my foolishness tried preserving

my own heart

and all the petals

that I’ve saved all the roses

can’t ever replace that one perfect rose I held for a moment

inside me.

*AUTHOR NOTE

THE INCITING INCIDENT IN THE NOVEL IS ABOUT THIS. SO, 1981 TO 2021

It has taken me this long to be able to write it in first, and today to read what I wrote 40 years ago out loud.

SBWC 2019 – writing a play, from Vanilla Suede

Okay so like I do not have the time to learn to use Pages, and my WP Blog has served me well, so well and for so long that, this is just easiest.

Fed Ex can handle the print out.

So I am adapting a short story that I wrote in 2013 for ERWA called Vanilla Suede that they put in the Treasure Chest. It’s a real little shorty and totally dialogue but as I was writing it, and now that I think about it, that might have been the year that Walter Dallenbach had passed away and so the PLAY “Vanilla Suede” is FOR Walter, just as Heart of Clouds was writ for Walter Davis based on the title of his “Do You Remember Love” which won a Humanitas.  In 2006 when I saw that prize on his mantel at a party I almost keeled over.  Well I was a therapist you know?  That is HUGE.  So anyway, Vanilla Suede is just dialogue, that my editor Bob Buckley taught me to write and I was able to do as he did, with all his dialogue pieces as Flash Fiction.  He is so very dear to me.  Always.  So anyway I am breaking my words into three scenes and all morning I grasped a new understanding of “spectacle” and what that means for set design.  So this is really simple in some ways.

— I am breaking up the story into three distinct scenes.  The first scene starts at a funeral where two old friends who have known each other for years meet up at the death of a mutual friend.  These are my MC’s Trent and Marina – they are older – mid 50s or?  But the essence of these two characters is that they have lived in long marriages and are now divorced, but, hesitant to get involved with anyone else.    So I know that I wrote the shorty with Aristotle’s Poetics.   Even as thinly as the dialogue is! — we used to write to 1200 words sometimes in my genre at ERWA so this is one of those shortys.  And I want to use a very minimalist style to present this.  Painting the props myself and I only need like three.  It’s set to Glenn Miller “Moonlight Serenade, and that will be the second part of the scene.and I am just going to do this here because can access right at the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference.

So where I am going to break the text and how that will look.

The PLAY VANILLA SUEDE = three scenes.

SCENE #1

THE MOURNERS

There is a dark stage and as the lights come on dimly lit, “DARK” we see maybe seven people standing in a circle the mourners are EXTRAS in a sense because this is the only line ONE OF THEM will say.

EVERYONE IS HOLDING A FLOWER to symbolize putting a flower on a GRAVE.  ONE BY ONE silently and with great care, EACH MOURNER places A FLOWER at the base of the tombstone until we hear “GONE TOO SOON” by the last mourner, who shakes his head, sadly and slowly back and forth.  The mourner’s FACES all hold the sadness one sees at the loss of someone dear.

The mourners recede into darkness, BY ONE BY ONE WALKING BACKWARDS AND UPSTAGE until THEY EXIT STAGE LEFT ONE BY ONE, and the LIGHTS now move to a spotlight on the faces of my two MC’s.  TRENT AND MARINA.

 

SO, NEW LINE = “TAKEN TOO SOON” as said by one of the mourners.

Now we hear TRENT say to MARINA the next part.  This is a play for TWO PEOPLE.

We see TRENT and MARINA as the last of the mourners, when he says:  “Sometimes you just need to be held,” ——– This line is where my shorty started.

SCENE #2

TRENT and MARINA are now the last mourners left at the site of the grave but we DO NOT NEED TO SEE TOMBSTONE, so lights are just ON THEM.

In this part the conversation between them is about the 1920’s, as in the shorty.  However I am going to make another break in the action here so – I have to move them from Marina talking about the Halloween Party and her grandparents to the TWO OF THEM deciding they are going to go to the party together.  Also work in the EE and I have thought how to do that.  TRENT can have a book of EE’s poems on the set on a table.  In this part, MARINA can say, “Oh, you have read ee, and Trent will say, “YES.”  Then she will say, “Oh I have a fave poem of his.”  So what has happened here is that there is going to be a LOVE SCENE with the BALCONY involved.  They have decided to go to the Halloween Party together.  But we never see the Halloween party.

SCENE TWO is at TRENT’S APT and in this scene is where we will see the DANCE SCENE so this goes in where he says, “HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THIS” —- enter the Miller SOUNTRACK on Moonlight S.

This is also the part where MARINA will read EE poem.

SCENE THREE IS BALCONY LOVE SCENE I AM EDITING.

I think this is a one act play in two scenes?  Not sure what to call it but Walter and Carmen will know.

SETS #1 TOMBSTONE AND MOURNERS

SET #2 TRENT APT DANCE SCENE

SET #3 LOVE SCENE ON BALCONY BEHIND BALUSTRADE (hidden from aud) just hear the voices and the lines.

FINALE- the lights turn into the stars! ❤ How is that for a spectacle!!!  ha!

Here is a link from my old blog Valentine Bonnaire (my nom de plume) for when I wrote Vanilla Suede for ERWA, it may have run in September that year?  So.  2013.  ERWA changed hands at some point, so here I talked about writing it and there is a picture of the shoe and music link.  I was writing Suede Shoe Stories, at that time.  Pink Suede, Green Suede, Red Suede and Vanilla Suede.  You will see Red Suede in the archives at ERWA if you feel like it.

*author note, sadly Walter passed in 2014, so I wrote this before that but, the play Vanilla Suede that is SBWC 2019 is dedicated to my screenwriting teacher, the magnificent Walter Dallenbach.  The match scene in the film Lawrence of Arabia.