I’m going to use workshop time in class today to work on free writing in the memoir genre, which means you, lucky reader, get a sneak peek at what it’s like for me to “write outside my comfort zone.”
The idea behind this snippet is “Moments” and “People,” and how both are equally important in our lives. I hope to (one day) write a memoir in a series of moments that will come together to define the bigger idea of the importance of people and kindness and the little things. I thought I’d practice with this concept a bit here, while I have the chance to write in public consequence-free.
Here goes nothing:
Three years ago, I sat in a soup kitchen next to a man with the last name Jagermeister, who joked that it was no wonder he was a drunk with a name like that. We had met about five minutes ago, but he was telling me about all his tattoos and the people he belonged to because of them. He had his prison number printed boldly on his forearm, right under the scar that landed him there, saying that his number was all anyone saw anymore anyway. I complained about a midterm I had the next day; he wondered aloud where he would sleep that evening; we both ate day-old mac and cheese with plastic forks and elbows on the table.
This conversation took place at Denver Rescue Mission, a program that helps men in Denver transition out of homelessness. This involves extensive work therapy, drug, alcohol, and trauma counseling, bible study, GED or vocational training, and the list goes on and on.
I didn’t know it at the time, but Mike was considering dropping out of the program that night. He’d been in for two weeks, and the withdrawals and become “unbearable” for him. I put that word in quotes because after our conversation, Mike stayed in the mission. He got his GED. He graduated the program the same time I graduated high school, and we celebrated with a cake that just said “Congrats!” in all capital letters.
We were both celebrating, we were both moving on, we had both beared the unbearable.
That’s about what I have so far. Definitely a work in progress! All is going well.