Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The writing place

There is a room, a loft studio. It has white walls, with years of paint on it and dents on the corners of the walls and doorjams from years of use and it looks well worn and a little fudged around the edges. But the light is amazing. The floors are a soft bright maple, a warm color, but in the winter the floors are so cold. All day long there is a bright bar of sunlight across the floor, and the writer has positioned her desk right by that window. The desk is an old cheapo kitchen table from the fifties. It's white Formica-ish surface is free of clutter entirely. In fact, the only thing on it is sometimes a typewriter, and sometimes a sleek little word processor.

If she wishes it, there is street noise, and traffic. She can look out the window and see the gritty sidewalks of the lower east side, and all the man hole covers say NYC WATER and SEWAGE. Sometimes there is a fire escape she can smoke on, drink her hot perfect cup of Starbucks and crawl back in the window, back to her words. If she looks up and sees a plant on the far windowsill, it is her old white orchid, pristine and sweet. Sometimes there is a snake plant, like her mother's mother grew, in a small terracotta pot.

There are old dressers on the two far walls, again the warm of maple. One of them has the fish-bone design on it's drawers and fronts like her mother's old art-deco vanity. Gone for years now.

When she needs them, certain women appear. Lately it's been Marilyn Monroe, dressed in a white sleeveless zip-up dress, with her pale pale blonde hair and baby soft cheeks, her gentle doe-y eyes and the voice that she did not have to make breathy. She has a small voice, but she's got a lot to say, and she says it all with the sigh of resign. She smokes with the writer, and stands just in front of the window, the light glowing along all her paleness.

Sometimes it's a dark beauty, like Monica Bellucci, who is wry and smiles with one corner of her mouth, tosses her dark hair, and sits on the farthest dresser, being beautiful. When asked questions, she gives simple one word answers, smiling like Mona Lisa. She is there to be mysterious and dark, and Marilyn is there to be world-weary and wise- the thing she never got to be.

Sometimes men are there, but there haven't been any men in a long time. The most recent one was Stuart Townsend, a faux-hawk and a torn black Clash tee shirt on. There was Sam Rockwell for awhile, sweaty and tanned, half-naked and swaggering. They all talked and she listened. They all told their stories, or rather, let the characters they brought to life for her tell the tales. There is a new face in her repertoire now, the right kind of face for a character she never could fit well wiht any person. She heard him loud and clear, but his face was hard.

But for now she listens to Marilyn sigh, and watches Bellucci smile. They all smoke and she drinks her coffee, talking to a voice that is not quite hers, but not unlike her. She tucks up one foot under her leg, wraps a scarf around her neck, because it is cold in the loft, but her fingers never get too stiff to type. She sets her coffee down and stretches out her hands to the machine before her. It is the Word Processor, this time, and when she lifts her head, both of her pretty muses are gone. Ann Bancroft stands in front of her, slick and bitchy and so wry. "Hey kid." she says, "Watch this." Ann Bancroft as she was in GI JANE, all business and Southern charm.

She throws open a door, and out walks a young woman, and when she begins to talk it sounds like this:

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