This weekend I fell in love with a man named John. And by John I mean John Cheever, the amazing American short story writer. For class we read his complex and interesting and slightly bizarre short story “Boy in Rome,” which prompted our professor to give us a writing assignment based on a technique Cheever used. Cheever is a master of craft so an assignment that called on us to imitate him was a little intimidating. What our professor wanted us to do was to look at something beautiful in Rome and write about it through the perspective of someone angry, sad etc. so that they wouldn’t see it in a beautiful way.
We have still been visiting churches this week and yesterday we visited the Church of Saint Cecilia. At the front of the church near the alter is a beautiful marble statue of Cecilia after she was martyred. Once again I was drawn to my larger piece and I decided to place my main character in the setting of this church. The original piece I wrote for class was longer and had more details in order to convey this feeling of someone sad looking at something beautiful (as the assignment called for), but I edited out a lot of the details because they detracted from the overall story. What is left is a short piece, but it continues the main character’s struggle with her mother’s suicide and brings in a lot of bird imagery, which is what I want to carry throughout the story.