The Catalyst

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

Love, Longing, and Lust April 24, 2015

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 2:31 pm

This time the prompt was a beloved repeat: Similes and Metaphors. Click here for a link explaining that prompt.  Cazwell Ice Cream Truck Providence 47938

The phrases I ended up choosing were: 

Longing is lust

Sex is syrup

Hoping is loving more

What I wrote is below.


Let it come to you, I think, opening my heart chakra, clearing my expectations. Don’t think about it, let it come to you.

I’m talking about love, of course, and not brotherly or sisterly love: I have that, thank God, I have that. I’m talking about rosebud, Saturday morning breakfast, cuddle up on the couch, foot massage love. And Baby, I need it.

Calm down, I tell my lover self, my in-the-crotch, dirty mind, horny self. Calm down. When the hot Latin guy in a white tank top slides his muscular arm onto the open window of his big blue truck, and I feel that familiar longing and lust. Calm down, okay?

The higher self opens the rib cage, turns off the hot red light, asks, “Are you ready for love?” Because love is skydiving: a leap of faith and a long free-fall, before one of two things happens: your chute explodes and you float down in calm and bliss, or you barrel toward the hard earth. Splat!

But longing is lust, and if you’ve got that switch flipped all the time then you won’t find much else. And as a single gay man in San Francisco, you can find a lot of lust. A lot. Boys are hanging out in front of the 7-11 looking for it: capital IT. And I don’t mean a date, mate. Lust is everywhere here: in a bar at the corner of 19th and Collingwood, in the restaurant upstairs (and down), in the restroom at Macy’s (Hey, man! What are you looking at?).

Lust is free.

But weekends in the wine country and handholding in the movie theater? Dinner parties and airfare/hotel packages, five days in Key West? That’s harder to come by.

“The Universe responds to your intention,” friends more spiritual than I keep telling me. Yeah, right. But as much as I poo-poo that belief system, I know it’s all about staying focused and being mindful, and I’ve never been great at all that.

I want to focus on that moment when I decide to leap out of the plane, but instead I just focus on Mr. Right Now on the ground, breaking up old pavement with a jackhammer. I’m not fond of that sound, but it’s so familiar. So is the fantasy of fast, cheap, and fabulous. But in the end, it’s not what I really want.

It always leaves me wanting more, like trips to Umbria, or lunch outside on a sunny day. Sure, I could go to Magic Mountain, ride the crazy rollercoaster instead, but it always leaves me wanting more. It always leaves me wanting more.


Get Over It April 17, 2015

From time to time, I am visited by a younger, innocent, more adventurous, and blatantly critical part of myself: my inner adolescent. He’s become a muse for me, a character, and I have become a messenger for him as well. When he thinks about the future, I often tell him, “It’s not going to be as bad as you think.” Luckily, for me, he also shows up to tell me how good life really is now, and how strong and wise I always was, even back then.

The prompts this time were:        Scan 9 copy 4

Get over it

Too skinny

Take a hike

What I wrote is below.


“Get over it,” my inner adolescent says, putting his feet up on the coffee table and taking a swig from a bottle of Corona. “This place looks fine.”

I’ve spent the last thirty minutes reviewing a handwritten list of what’s left to do, and he’s rolling his eyes now, leafing through the only magazine I have on the coffee table: Consumer Reports Best of 2013.

“What is this boring thing?” he asks, flipping back to the cover. “Don’t you have a Vanity Fair?” The new apartment requires frequent trips to the local hardware store, Ikea, and now, Home Depot. I’m reviewing small kitchen appliances. “You actually read this shit?”

When I look up, he’s staring at me. Unruly chestnut hair that defies feathering; dark brows noticeably thicker than mine are now, and in that too-tight, faded, baby-blue Disney sweatshirt, his eyes are the sky on a clear day.

“Yes,” I tell him. “I’m shopping for a new toaster.”

“Oh, Christ,” he groans. “Is that on your list too?

He’s barefoot. Perfectly smooth feet and shiny toenails. Child’s feet.

“For your information,” I begin, sounding alarmingly like our mother, “being grown up and living on your own requires being frugal sometimes and shopping smart.”

“Oh,” he says, not looking in my eyes. “Sounds like a blast.”

“It’s hard work,” I say. “Self-care is hard work.”

“Jeez,” he says. “I can’t wait to be all grown up then.”

I remember exactly how he feels. That huge expanse of possibility in front of him, all those men he will love and fight with, the ones who will worship him like an idol, or use him like a blow-up doll. The ones who will propose marriage, or won’t return his calls.

“It’s not all bad,” I say, and I realize I actually mean it. “You will be surrounded by words, beautiful words. And good food. And people who love you and make you laugh and tell you wonderful stories.”

“I have that now,” he says as he gets up to toss his bottle in the trash, then remembers to recycle it. “What about sex?”

“Plenty of sex,” I say nonchalantly. “Romance? Not so much.”

“Well, there’s all kinds of romance,” he says, uncharacteristically serious. “Just look around this place,” he says, sweeping his arm over the tiny living room. “It’s filled with people and places you’ve loved: travel, gifts from other countries. Your friends went to foreign countries and brought you back gifts. Isn’t that romantic?”

I’m looking at his straight abdomen. Thin as a reed. No pectoral muscles to speak of. Was I really that skinny?

“But if you don’t ever stop writing that fucking list,” he snatches it from my hands, “you’ll never be here, in this room, right now.” He’s right. I know he’s right. But there’s so much to do. “Dish soap,” he reads, “WD40. Oilcloth. Oilcloth? What the hell is that?”

Before I can tell him, he’s slipping on his tennis shoes and heading toward the door. He drops the list on my desk, face down, then swings the front door wide open. After four days of rain, today is bright and warm.

“I’m going for a walk,” he says. “Remember those? The Michelia trees are opening their sticky white flowers for you, and the jasmine is starting to bloom. It’s your favorite time of year. Remember? Are you coming, or would you rather just sit in this apartment freaking out about what you need to get done?”

I hate that he’s being such a little prick, but I grab my jacket. There’s a coffeehouse down the street I love, and a dog park across the street where I like to sit and watch the pups chase each other around. I’ve been here a few months now, but I haven’t walked with him through the neighborhood yet.





A Witch After All April 11, 2015

The prompts this time came from the SF Noir Film Festival catalog, and included photos and descriptions of the films. Scan 14

Two of the photos are posted here. They inspired the writing below.

“Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” one of the little brats asked me on the set. These child extras really get on my nerves. And you’d think after nearly ten years The Wizard of Oz would be obsolete, but every single time I tell someone about my role in this new film, they either look at me dumbfounded or ask whether I’m Glinda or that foul, green-faced witch. “For Pete’s sake,” I tell them, “don’t be so simple. Think outside the box, will ya?”

“I’m a glamorous witch,” I sometimes say. False eyelashes that look real, and a lacy black gown with a built-in corset. Red lips. Even in black and white you can tell I’ve got red lips. And it’s my first big movie role, but I can’t tell you the title yet; we’re still in production, honey, and I signed a contract. My lips are sealed.

I’m nearly 27, getting old, and I finally got out of getting typecast as the sidekick or the sassy sister. I got myself a real juicy role this time. But this is Hollywood. Everybody thinks they’ve got a chance to make it big, and everybody wants to know what you’ve got swinging. They can say, “Well, let me tell you about the project I’m working on,” or “Let me introduce you to so-and-so.” It’s quite a racket.

I made the mistake of telling some fella at the local watering hole about my new role. The girls left together in a cab. “I’ll walk,” I told them. It’s only about three blocks, and it was one of those warm April nights when everything was in bloom. You could even smell the flowering trees above the exhaust. Anyway, he was a good-looking guy—Honey, they’re all actors and bartenders; they’re paid to be good-looking.

“You’re a real doll,” he said.

“Aww, shucks,” I replied, “you’re a real sweet talker.”

“Naw, I mean it. You got beautiful hair,” and he reached out to touch it.

“Careful, Sweetie,” I said. “If you mess it up, I’ll have to hot-roller it all over again.”

We got to talking. He seemed harmless enough. And I had had two whiskey sours by then, so I spilled the beans about my glamorous role.

“A beautiful witch, eh?” he said. He seemed genuinely intrigued.

“Sure,” I said. “Why not?”

“I dunno.”

“What? You a man of the cloth or something?”

“I’m a Christian,” he said, then he put his hand on my knee and kept it there. “So,” he started, “are you a good witch or—”

I don’t know what got into me. I just picked up what was left of my drink and threw it in his face.

“Hey!” He hopped off his barstool like a drenched little rabbit. “What’s the big idea?”

“What’s the problem here?” the bartender asked.

“This man doesn’t know how to treat a lady,” I said. “He’s got Russian hands and Roman fingers.”

The bartender took one look at my admirer and simply said, “Beat it, Mack.”

“Wait a minute—”

“I said hit the pavement, or do you want me to have the bouncer throw ya out on your tail?”

“Lady,” my admirer said, “you really are a witch.” And he took his hat and left.

I savored a Lucky Strike and then asked for the tab.

“It’s on me tonight,” the bartender said. “And if you want, I can call you a cab.”

“That won’t be necessary,” I said, leaving him fifty cents. “I live close by.”

“Okay, then. Goodnight.”

On the way out, the bouncer, a big, doughy Irishman, held the door for me. “I looked around,” he said. “That guy who was bothering you ain’t nowhere in sight.” I decided to nod as a gesture of thanks, like a queen. Royalty.

Outside, a warm breeze blew my hair off my face, caressed me. I laughed with pleasure. If I had a broom, I would have swept right up into the sky. But I’m not that kind of witch. Not at all.

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