saturday nights in 1987

pen & ink drawing of a young woman in hot pants kneeling down next to brick wall

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When the puppy is sick at 4am, the parents don’t get up early to blog, unfortunately —

(she seems to be better now — whew!)

However, here’s a write from this weekend’s Writing the Flood workshop. We had a great time and got some powerful writing done!

(Mark your calendars: the next Writing the Flood will be on July 23.)

Our first write on Saturday was this: describe what Saturday nights looked like when you or your character were in high school…

We took 7 minutes for this introductory exercise, but you might want to set your timer for 10 or 15.

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Here’s my response to this prompt:

She didn’t go out with friends, no girls banging up in beat up cars, crashing against or through her front door, filled with giggles and Jean Naté and lust — she wasn’t out roaming the Midwest city streets with a pack of old friends, not even double-dates were allowed. This is what it means to be under lock & key. She swept the floor, stood under the shower, all too aware of his awareness. If she was dating somebody — and this was the best reason to be dating somebody — she could go out. A boyfriend unlocked the front door, up to and until the moment that it became clear (if it did) that she and this boy weren’t going to have sex — then the door locked again.

Going to dances meant going with her younger sister, most often. So Saturday nights in 1987 might look like hot shower and wash out the long hair that fell to just above her butt, scrape off all other unwanted hair, smooth on lotion, act like it’s perfume, and stand in front of the mirror with the radio playing Top 40 on Sweet 98 while you set your hair up in bendy rollers, paste on your makeup, pull on a too tight purple Lycra dress and slip into the flats that you can dance in. Get into the car with your baby sister, two years younger, act like you’re both ok. Hope someone at the all-ages dance will be cute and from a different school; hope to forget about your stepfather while out on the dance floor.

Thanks for the tender way you hold your memories — thanks for the power in them. Thanks for your words.

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