ENGL 302: Exercise 1 “In the Garden” & Thoughts

As I’m taking Introduction to Creative Writing (ENGL302) this semester, and trying to use this blog for more things, I thought I would share some of the work I’ve been doing.  After all, I am planning on being a writer and I want to get exposure as well as thoughtful critique by anyone interested in doing so.

This week, Professor Rochelle asked for us to create a 1-2 page response to our choice of prompts.

I went through pre-writing and draft work, but it was no more than two minutes after I churned what would be my official reply that I felt the desire to completely rework it.  This was surprising to me, because I typically feel good about what I produce and turn in, but I think it’s a sign that I’m growing as a writer.

The prompt:  Describe a garden as seen by a man or woman whose significant other has just dumped him or her.  Do not mention the man or the woman, the significant other, or the dumping.

There was a distinct beauty in the arboretum’s flower garden that did not fade.  There were huddling, top-heavy cones of lavender that did not wilt.  Matured, fist-sized roses in pinks and yellows and virgin whites brushed petals with lady’s breath in the gentle breeze, but would not shrivel.  Even the sun, though in its final fits of burnished gold and muted reds, refused to turn to ash; Apollo drove his steed toward night, but the sky did not blacken early.

The world should be cracked, crumbling—different.

It was not.

The brick path, sanguine in color, wound north and disappeared for a moment behind a mighty sculpture of a marble nude examining a single chiseled rose resting in his lifeless palm before returning, completing a u-shape.  Boxwoods (declared so by the miniature signs placed by them) prevented visitors tramping from one side of the footpath to the other.  The shrubbery was an arm’s length thick and half a man’s height, ending now and again to make way for a flower pot or piece of art.  Amidst the greater labyrinth the gardeners had coaxed and nourished from the ground, this was but a small loop, a diversion from the more fantastic exhibitions hidden further within, and thus it was mostly desolate.

The psychic keen should have brought every woman to the path, should have pierced the heart of every chest that swelled beneath a fair face, but only a harried mother existed here, one hand keeping a cell phone to her ear and the other swatting at her dallying boy, and she spared not even a glance for the plants.  Her orange skin and Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses covered nothing but a corpse; she snatched her son’s hand from the caress of a daffodil, as oblivious to the single desire of Narcissus the aches of her sex; when the world should have been reeling with the howling of agony, it heard nothing.  The garden remained, and the woman and son disappeared around the bend.

It was not a moment later before a low murmur of voices from the south announced new arrivals:  An Asian man and woman, old and worn, appearing wrinkled like raisins spent a lifetime baking beneath a prairie sun.  They tottered, bodies close and fingers interlaced and it was as clear as the matching rings on their fingers or the folds in their skin that they had seen many years, and they had seen them together.  Fog clouded the woman’s dark irises. Her gaze was void.  The man, his head tilted down to her ear, talking low but constant was surely her world.

But it was she who paused and lifted her head, nose pointed to the low-hanging dogwood blossom just inches from her ear while her husband blinked.  She raised weathered palms, cupping it with such gentleness that it could have been crystal, and bent the star-shaped flower to her face.  The woman inhaled deeply, chest rising—once, twice, great lungfuls of scent without sight!—then took her lover’s hand and continued their walk.

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