The Catalyst

A Writing Teacher Writes (plus some writing prompts and recipes)

My Little Rose February 28, 2014

Filed under: Craft,Poems,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 10:40 am

For this prompt I ask everyone to write two short pieces, and give them about five minutes for each. For the first piece, I ask them to begin with a list of emotions, and then choose one and write about it. I remind them that they can use short phrases, full sentences, even single words, and be as specific or as abstract as they like: there’s no right or wrong way to do a free write.

For the second free write, I ask them to write about something found in the natural world: trees, clouds, mountains, a specific kind of flower, anything that comes to mind.

After the two five-minute free writes are over, we combine the two pieces, taking them line by line: the first line from free write #1, followed by the first line of free write #2, then the second  line from free write #1, followed by the second line of free write #2, back and forth this way, taking one line from each piece and putting them together to create one new “braided” piece. 

The result is always surprising, and often ends up being something like a prose poem.

Mine is below.



I miss her. Every April. Her wrinkly nose, her little black eyes. Big pink and yellow blossoms. I love the way she snorts in my ears when she kisses them. Fat. Juicy. Her tongue is whiplash fast. Fragrant. I love her chunky body. I love that bush. The squat legs, the tiny clip of a tail. The first one he gave to me. When she sees me, she smiles. Taller than any other. Wiggles her entire back end. Sometimes I have to tend to it. Crying. She and I have a history of tenderness. I spray away the bad stuff with a non-toxic soap. We shared a home that could have been. Clean. Sometimes. My bulldog love. I clip a rose, bring it inside, set it in water. My bulldog love. It blooms like a peony, layer upon layer, opening. My bulldog love. I never get tired of that. The way it looks. So lovely. He asks every year if I can stay with you. Every year. My heart swells, it does. I have to tell him no. I’m in love all over again. Still, I have to tell him no.


Sweetness February 14, 2014

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 10:34 am

This prompt involved a tasting plate of Mexican candies: Cocada, Cocada Caramel, Tamarindo, among others (click on the candy names and read their descriptions for inspiration).

The writing responses varied from everything from sexy scenes to child memories.     Scan 140400001

What I wrote is below (what I titled my candy prayer).


Thank you, Mama, for the trips to Goodrich Dairy on Saturday afternoons in those last weeks of summer, when the shortening days brought on a dull melancholy, sweetened by a butterscotch shake. Thank you for Sears and JCPenney, where you let me make my own decisions about which corduroy pants matched which long-sleeve velour shirts, aided only by the Garanimals tags and my good fortune: inheriting your eye for color.

Thank you for hours in the avocado kitchen, squatting down to get the perfect pan for the perfect cake, or chewy brownies, or corn muffins with their golden caps and soft centers.

Thank you for never saying, “Boys don’t act like that,” or walk like that, or sing those songs—ever—you never said any of that. Do you know how rare that is?

Thank you for bedtime stories: Stuart Little, The Wizard of Oz, and The Story of Ferdinand, a bull, a Taurus like me, who didn’t want to fight, but instead preferred to lie in the middle of the ring and smell the flowers—las rosas—sweetness emanating from the hair of all those women in the stands.

Thank you for marrying a man who loved children, who held them in his lap, and sang them to sleep, and carried them—me—from the car after a long ride home to a warm bed. A man who kept us safe and let us dance while standing on his feet. A man who opened his heart to all my boyfriends, some as dark as bittersweet chocolate. A man who helped me hold the grief of losing you—losing us—so that I could somehow make it to the other side of that terrible place without you, that place I find myself in now, so different from your life, so different from the life I imagined. Did you somehow prepare me for something much bigger?

Did you dream of vacations in Mexico, of writing cookbooks, of singing four-part harmonies with beautiful men and women in tiny, sound-proofed rooms? Can you see me sitting here now, writing, finally safe after all of these years, taking in the sweetness that others offer me, every day, like caramel or Hershey’s Kisses, like dark honey by the spoonful? Can you see how you taught me to give it all back? Can you see me? Can you?


Delectable February 7, 2014

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 2:12 pm

This time the prompts were ice cream parlor menus. A few of those links are here: Jaxson’s   Blue Bunny  Dumser’s

Read over the menus and see what comes up. For me, many of the descriptions sounded sexy. What I wrote is below.


Will you think me crude, dear reader, if I tell you he sent me a photo of his bubble butt—two round mounds of butterscotch flesh—and I wanted to take a bite? Will you accuse us both of avoiding intimacy, of objectifying one another, welcoming special requests by the ladleful?

Because this is cyber flirting at its best, and gay decorum at its worst: an app that allows you to hold naked men in the palm of your hand while your fingers do the talking.

I’m so used to it that I’d be shocked if you found it shocking, if Rogelio’s delectable bits or giant banana made you gasp when I made a mistake while scrolling through my photos of the pyramid of pink apples at the farmer’s market and accidentally put the buttery beauty of his exposed skin so close to your face.

I’m sorry. I really am.

What am I to do with this hungry animal I’ve become in my 40’s? The same age my ex was when he said, “Now that I’m older, I just don’t care so much about sex anymore, you know? You know?”

“No,” I said. “I don’t.”

Because I still want to have Rogelio over for  a glass of wine and skip dinner. I want to come out of the bathroom and find him naked on my bed, stomach down, two slices of golden pound cake, a split banana, a candyman’s dream, waiting for me, for more, for more of me.

I want to kiss and entangle our arms and legs; I want to melt into a puddle of fudge, breaking into streams along the contours of his chest, his stomach, his hips, his thighs. I want to ask him to stay the night, not only for the fumbling, clumsy, eyes closed, non-orgasmic am I awake? middle of the night sex. Yes, that, but I also want the too warm, roll over, blankets flung off, twilight waking to pee and stumble back to the soft, firm, nakedness of him.

Of him. The not alone tonight of him, the wake up crusty, hair like a rooster, shall we go at it or go out for coffee this morning, not lonely this time, hopeful happiness of him.

It’s not a lot to ask, is it? To go from flirtation app to flesh? It’s not a lot to ask.