The prompt for this one is a bit complicated. Have everyone free write—for one minute—any words, phrases, or complete sentences in response to the following five noun phrases:
1. an accident
2. a delicious meal
3. an annoying person
4. great sex (or someone or something sexy)
5. a dog or a cat—a pet, or someone else’s pet, even one you didn’t like very much
After everyone has written these descriptive free writes, place the words “Love is” in front of every one. Suddenly you have a metaphor. Read three of these out loud, allowing some time between each reading, and encouraging everyone to write down images, words or phrases that stand out from each person’s piece. Read around three times. Then write for 20 minutes, whatever comes to mind. Here’s what I wrote:
Love came back to visit — a zombie dog with a long, loping face and a loud bark — and he said, “You haven’t forgotten me, have you, old friend?”
I looked up from the keyboard, the notepad, the stir-fry, a wooden spoon in my hand. I was writing a novel before you came to bother me, Love; I was cooking good food and exercising again, squeezing into my skinny jeans, feeling skinny, feeling sexy again in the jeans that used to drive my ex crazy.
I wanted to say, I don’t need you right now, Love; I’m working on my relationship with me, Love, everyday love, every day love, but instead I smiled at that kissable, pathetic face and said, “I haven’t forgotten.”
I’ve been busy, I wanted to say, living without you, really living this time, jogging on Church Street with Madonna and Christina and Rihanna, before you beat on her beautiful face, Love. I’ve been eating one cookie, and drinking one martini, not smoking so much pot, getting to bed early and sober and sleeping deeply, dreamlessly, without nightmares, waking before the alarm. But instead I asked, “Are you hungry?”
Love is always hungry.
“Okay,” I said. “Sit down.”
I know what Love thinks: that this is a happy accident, that our time together is unintentional. And I know what Love smells: blackened watermelon, or sweet flowers in the hair of creamy Polynesian men and women. I know what Love wants to taste: sweat in the crevices of the body: the crook of the elbow, the shallow pool of the clavicle, the belly button, and that place where the thigh meets the pelvis.
I wanted to say, I don’t want you anymore, Love; I don’t dream of same sex weddings or a real family, or flowers about to burst open.
Still. There he was, sitting like a good dog. One hundred and sixty plus pounds of solid muscle and soft hair. What else was there to do but feed him? Wildflower salad from my own garden, fresh sage butter on a poached egg, ciabatta and olive oil, three kinds of bread pudding, and a glass of perfectly paired Port with hints of honey undertones.
Love, I think you’re so good at torturing others, but it’s important to rescue you.
“A toast,” I said.
We lifted our glasses.
“A toast, Love,” I said.