I finished reading Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson for my first critical response paper (part of MFA program). I finished the last twenty pages sitting here at Batdorf and Bronson and wrote for a long while trying to get at how to respond to this book.
Needing a break from this type of analytical work, my gaze shifting first to the yellow dog waiting patiently at the front doors, watching intently for its owners to return, then to the rain that is coming down in force now–it began this morning with muted sprinkling–then to a red cruiser bicycle, a rain-soaked paper for-sale sign fluttering in the wind.
I began a story about that cruiser bike, the beginning of which I’ll post here.
Here’s the prompt: Find a window! Let your gaze wander and settle on something. Write about that thing.
A stranger—a man—was on his way to take the red cruiser bicycle she’d loved so much off her hands. She’d been riding it every day for three years, since the day Joseph had strolled with her through the narrow aisles of the bicycle shop. She recalled the pressure of his hand on the small of her back as they walked, the gravity of his eyes, always pulling her toward him. This one, he’d said, after interrogating the salesman with a swagger she blissfully ignored.
She’d tried camouflaging the bike, draping it with jewels—a bumper to protect her from splashes, rainbow-colored spoke covers, and on one particularly whimsical day—a shiny brass bicycle bell. These efforts proved vain. She couldn’t look on the bike without thinking of him…