Sunday, September 24, 2023

The ghost of Saturday night

Even though I found her story a bit on the stalkerish side, I reached out. At the start, I got spaghetti out of it.

At that point in my writing career, I was hitting three writing groups a week. Sunday (which I eventually led for like four years), Tuesday, and Wednesday. A typical week for me when I was driving is that I’d generate 3000-4000 words, then cull it down to around to 2000 for group consumption. Basically, run the rough draft by the Sunday group, take the revision to Tuesday, the next revision to Wednesday.

Sundays were a sober affair at Fair Trade and could go from four to twenty-four attendees on any given Sunday. The place was always accommodating and we never had to fight for space (didn't hurt that it was a mellow coffee-shopped vibe). Tuesdays were at Carly’s and were boozy enough to be interesting, especially since it attracted a fair amount of ASU Virginia Piper people (if you don’t know… oh well). Wednesdays were largely a Sci-Fi sausage fest and it was at one of those meetings that I met Shari.

Writing group meant you printed copies of your work so the rest of us could mark it up. Shari’s copy was red-inked and shouting and, when we got past him reading, she lit into him. I’d been attending these groups for over a year and I’d never heard anyone roast another writer like she did. And it wasn’t rude, it was just a masterfully constructed logical takedown of his narrative.

Of course, I was attracted.

Turned out, she’s an ASU professor of philosophy which, well, I only have a BA in philosophy but I could never nail down what tradition she was coming from. Ever. Years later, I couldn’t tell you.

She asked me over for spaghetti and we really hit it off. Drank a couple bottles of wine, hit a pipe continuously, and talked philosophy (and other things) late into the morning. Then fucked.

Well, that turned into a year. And it really worked out because, the taxi industry went tits up. My boss pleaded with me to come out and drive while Shari pleaded with me to move in, drop the cab gig, and just write. She’d pay the bills, I’d take care of her pets and house, write, and play in the kitchen. And it was an awesome kitchen—huge double oven, a six-burner stove. Home all day, writing (eventually up to chapter ten), I got into cooking shows and actually cooking. And got really good at it.

When I moved in with Shari, I was writing chapters six and seven in tandem, weaving in different narratives and trying to keep the timeline consistent. Chapters eight through ten (and some of eleven) got worked there while I made some amazing food.

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