The Catalyst

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

The Rendevous May 16, 2014

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 10:58 am


The prompt this time began with a funny way to create similes.

Begin with a list of familiar similes, such as “Dumb as an ox,” “Cute as a baby,” and “Horny as a toad.” After you’ve generated ten or fifteen of these, read them over and mix them up so they don’t make sense. So rather than “Playful as a kitten,” your new simile might read, “Dumb as a kitten,” or “Horny as a kitten.” It’s fun to do this in a group and read them around. (This is similar to my “Absurd Modifiers” prompt, but this one focuses on similes in particular. Click here to see the post explaining that prompt.)

Here are the ones I was working with for what I wrote below:

Thick as a baby

Dumb as a rose

Dead as a kitten

Sweet like an ox

Quiet as a peach

Playful as a pig


“Champagne?” he asks, handing me a glass at the front door of his apartment in the Tenderloin.

Two blocks away, I had just passed two transgender prostitutes who asked me for a light as I waited to turn left.

“Sorry, I don’t smoke,” I said.

“Oh,” the taller one said. “Well, do you fuck?”

“Not tonight, ladies,” I said politely, and screeched off.

Nice neighborhood.

I take my champagne flute and climb the ragged stairs behind him, watching his muscular ass through the pale blue scrubs he’s wearing. I want to chew on his chocolate ear.

A wave of nostalgia floats over me. What if we fall in love? I could see the headline: “Cynical Forty-Something Falls for Bohemian Queer Newscaster: Do We Hear Wedding Bells?”

The champagne is sweet as vinegar—too warm, and Korbel, or maybe St. Michelle, something lower shelf—but I take a deep swig, trying to suppress the heat rising in my body.

Inside the apartment, he turns to me, the door behind us still open. “Welcome to my haunted apartment,” he says, as a gust of wind from the open window slams the door shut. He laughs his best Vincent Price laugh, “Mmuhaa ha ha ha ha!”

Then he kisses me so deeply and with such deliciousness that I nearly tear off his clothes right then and there.

On the big white bed is a heart-shaped box of chocolates, one dumb rose, and a bowl of strawberries, one of which he’ll shove into my mouth soon, just as I have an orgasm.




Mother’s Day May 9, 2014

Filed under: Grief,Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 1:57 pm

The prompts this time were:                       Scan 9                                                         

There are flip-flops in your future

More naked than naked

p.s. I love you

What I wrote is below.


I wake to find her there, in my little kitchen, the dog at her feet. On the table next to her, the old percolator I inherited, the long cord draped like a cat’s tail. We both like to use the good china with the little pink and yellow roses circling the edge: a cup of coffee and a thin matching saucer.

“Good morning, Hon,” she says. “Did you sleep well?”

“I did, thank you.” She’s doing the crossword puzzle, just like the old days.

“What’s a six-letter word for ‘where all life begins’?” she asks.

“Mother?” I say.

“Oh, yes!”

I fire up the oven; I’m preparing to make a cake for a birthday party.

“How about an eight letter word for ‘nurturing, protective instinct’?”

“Maternal,” I say.

“Oh! This is fun, isn’t it?”

It’s that second Sunday in May, that day I just can’t seem to enjoy, and the crossword puzzle sounds thematic, in honor of those who gave birth to us.

“What are you doing today?” she asks, putting down her pen. I want to kneel down before her, lay my head in her lap.

“I’m going to have brunch with Scott.”

“Well, that’s nice.”

“And we’re having a massage afterward.”

“Ooh la la!” She giggles. “Such a hard life you have. And what are you baking today?”

“That Baker’s one-bowl chocolate cake with fudge frosting.”

“That’s one of your best, Sweetie. It really is.”

The phone rings. It’s Scott. “Can I come at 11:00 instead?” He needs to call his mother at 10:30; she’s still at church.

“He’s a good boy,” she says, scratching the dog behind his ears. There they sit: my two favorite ghosts.

After I put the cake in the oven, I take a quick shower, and come back to find an empty kitchen. Gone again. It’s just me and the little timer, beep, beep, beeping. Just me and two eight-inch pans, filled with hot cake and memory.




What I Really Want to Say May 2, 2014

Filed under: Videos,Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 8:29 am

This prompts this time were:                                                             

Caterpillars take their time, so why can’t I?

The birds have a story to tell

Stuck in neutral

I found myself struggling to write, so I decided to write directly to my participants. You can find that piece below.


Well, listen. I really want to write something profound. I want to move you the way you’ve moved me; I want to tell you made up stories about brave gay boys and wise women, but I am not Armisted Maupin and this is not a Tales of the City moment.

I want to tell you about kind mothers who knew about loving their little boys without judgment, mothers who taught their boys to bake, and sing, who clapped with them when those boys danced on their toes.  Someday my prince will come.

I want to sing to you now, something Broadway big and vaguely familiar, to build up to the perfect final lines: The cold never bothered me anyway. 

I want to do this, all of this, for you, for all of you, brave, bright, beautiful, bold, brilliant you, to remind you that you still have stories to tell and that there are people who want to hear them. To remind you that if you are afraid, this will pass. That there are safe places to write, to sit, to think, that there are people who are going to welcome you and protect you and love and respect you.

I want to tell you all of this with beautiful modifiers, clever alliteration, and gorgeous metaphors, but all I have is ten minutes, and this pen that’s running out of ink, and this little body racing against time, and my little heart, beating, beating, beating, holding your words here, right here, now.