Posts Tagged ‘Cleveland Street’

Floppy Disks

February 28, 2009

While I was home for the holidays, I cleaned out my bedroom at my parents’ house. It took three visits since my move to Portland to actually sort through everything, and of course with time it’s easy to forget why some things were kept. Among the stuff I got rid of in the most recent and final sweep was a wad of unlabelled 3-1/4 floppy disks, the content of which I wasn’t sure of (and none of the computers around had floppy drives so I couldn’t be bothered to check). Yesterday in the shower it randomly occurred to me that these disks contained all of the fiction and poetry I had written for my college writing classes. Overall it’s not a great loss; some of the better stuff was printed, and is filed away somewhere, but I did lose a story that I wrote for my application to Ernest Gaines’ creative writing colloquium: It was called something like “Definitely Spaghetti”*.More specifically, it was a short story about two girls heating up the last of a very coagulated pot of leftover spaghetti and eating it on their Cleveland Street stoop late at night while drunks from the McKinley Street Strip fought, yelled and stumbled by…most of the story was a very detailed, semi-psychedelic and probably excessively verbose description of the spaghetti’s consistency–can you tell that I was pretty influenced by Postmodern Fiction? My family made fun of that story a lot; I’m sure they blamed it for my non-acceptance to the course, though to be honest I’m sure my overall style was a big turn-off to Mr. Gaines, as I’d been warned it would be.

I did, after receiving my official denial letter, write a fictional denial letter to myself from Gaines, lambasting me for my postmodern bullshit and encouraging me to give up on fiction, and forwarded this letter to some friends, at least one of whom was fooled, and very sympathetic–he expressed his disgust with Gaines and swore he’d never read him again. I suppose that letter was my most successful piece of fiction from the period.

* “Definitely Spaghetti” referred to the first time I went to Patrick Gibbens’ apartment on Wilson Street, and he made spaghetti with Ragu sauce and Tony Chachere’s. While pouring the Tony’s into the pot, Pat announced that now the spaghetti had transcended states, and was at this point “definitely spaghetti”.