As noted, the writing prompt for the veterans “Today I …” came from the format for Heidi Julavits’s The Folded Clock in which she starts each chapter “Today I …”
On the recommendation of one of the veterans I borrowed the book from the library. It’s a fascinating study in starting at the surface and excavating multiple levels of perception and feeling with added insight into the culture at large.
I’m only a few pages in, but so far my favorite is August 2, “Today I was stung by a wasp.” It’s not because of what happened to her but rather because of the way she goes from a painful shock to a pitch-perfect image. She deals with her crisis without burdening her friend on the phone who is “inundated by motherhood.” Her tendency not to impose on others (a trait I share) morphs into an outrageously uncomfortable and funny account of being trapped in a window seat on a long-haul flight and needing to go to the bathroom.
She packs in another terrific image of pacing as she talks on the phone. That’s been my modus operandi ever since I untethered myself from a corporate desk and acquired a phone with earbuds and a microphone. It’s liberating and helps the ideas flow.
Julavits covers all this territory in about four pages. The workshop will revisit this book.