Saturday, February 23, 2013

Leiter, Garde

"I have a great regard for certain notions of beauty even though to some it is an old fashioned idea. Some photographers think that by taking pictures of human misery, they are addressing a serious problem. I do not think that misery is more profound than happiness."
-Saul Leiter

I love the feeling that comes when imagery can shake me free of writer's block. 

(If any of my readers can share that sentiment in the context of the above image, I highly recommend they look for a little photography book called Early Color by Leiter. I came across one at a Barnes & Noble, so I can't imagine they're too uncommon)

Recently while passing a local bowling alley on the road home at night, my friend/fellow catalyst for wonderful thoughts and I noticed a neon sign attached to the building had lost some critical lettering. The TERRACE GARDENS bowling establishment was prominently displaying the peculiar, accidental name of TERRA E GARDE. 
We were not cruel enough to let Terra's chance existence go unspoken. 

I wrote a quick character sketch for the writer's guild that a handful of the brothers and sisters in my little Ekklesia started up earlier last year. 
This is that, with some revision.


Terra Garde

     Terra somehow failed to “like” what was so perfectly obvious to her friends she would undoubtedly “like”. Because honestly, who doesn’t “like” bowling? 

     “You’ll like it. Come on. You will enjoy this. You will have fun.” 

     You lifted a styrofoam cup of black coffee to her lips, and remembered the accidental syrup spill earlier that morning which had unwittingly set the mood for her day. The one that had apparently christened her left hand with a permanent new maple scent. A scent sadly in harsh contrast with the flavor of styrofoam coffee, and the thick, stale air of the old bowling alley. She wondered if the-BLAM


     Next up, Terra Garde. 

     Alternatively, T.G., as the little screen display claimed through it’s thin layer of dust or nicotine residue, with an off-putting indifference to whatever decade it was somehow still functional in.

     Can friends really roll strikes when they only bowl once in a blue moon? Or do they all secretly enjoy this, and practice in their spare time? T.G. tentatively let go of her coffee and went to go flavor the holes of a bowling ball with the fingers of her left hand. As she enjoyed that thought, she decided she should consider it some kind of little accomplishment while her roll went down a path very different from the one laid out by the small arrows halfway down the line. Moments later, Terra shot a similar ball down a similar path. The dusty screen dismissed her with a “T.G -/-.” She paused, then turned back to find her roll had left the friends cheerful and encouraging, similar to how Robby’s streak had left them cheerful and encouraging.

     ...They like it. They are having fun. 

     Terra went back to her seat and smiled and found her coffee and lifted herself into it. When she burned her tongue with it, she decided to burn quietly, without wincing. Off to her side, the sound of bowling pins bursting from their formation in every conceivable direction echoed down the lane faster than a bowling ball and hit her ear. Terra closes her eyes to attempt to guess how many pins would fall on the next roll based on sound alone. Wait for it....wait for it........wait fo-BLAM.....hmm. Sounds like fifty-three pins. Incredible. She opened her eyes, and someone had returned to her table with a second pitcher of beer. She looked off toward the lane where seven pins were being swept away. Some of the satisfied bowlers saw their pitcher and came to refill. Holding her cup up to hide her face, Terra realized there was something very comfortable about the smell of maple syrup.