Skip to content

The Fish Must Fry


I want to twist my hand until it cracks off, i want to smash my forehead through the wall and out into the cool night, i want to punch through the middle of my chest and implode the world around me. I’m full of words and they’re stuck inside me and flushing out at inopportune moments before i have a chance to grasp them and put them down, black on white. This story that’s been churning in my lungs for years is closer and closer to the vocal chords, ready to be told.

I sat there last weekend on the back porch on Lake Livingston and i don’t quite fit in but i don’t want to fit in. I want to catch it all, every word they speak. It’s my friend’s dad and his dad and another older fellow and a cousin or a brother, i forget which one. I can’t catch their words, these southern gentlemen, hard as i try. Their hands are creviced and well-worked, their faces betray no secret emotion saved only for their wives. Their eyes radiate only respect. Their words escape me.

They’re waiting to fry some fish fresh from the lake just a hundred feet behind me. But it looks like rain, the clouds have already let a few drops slip. I’m holding a cheap beer and i’m listening to their dialect but the important parts i need to memorize are too quickly spoken to be drawn into words. Then the clouds give up and rain explodes all around us, bringing with it that much needed cold front. I’m still awake from the night before and the rain only helps me in my wretched state. That and the cheap beer.

My professor said last class to sit and listen to people and pick up on their inflections and accents. Then your dialog will become real, it won’t be forced nonsense. I’m trying but the southern gentlemens’ stories are too entertaining and i can’t think of a way to put their voices on a page. They speak in cadence and poetry, saying things in this beautiful quick drawl. It almost felt to me like i’d be betraying them by stealing their words for my dumb little stories.

So i let them keep their words, their little 2-second poems. It can’t be done, their words can’t be translated. So they must remain, pulled back into themselves like a turtle tired of the tears.

There, i did it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ardin Lalui permalink
    09/28/2010 11:22 pm

    Nice post. Writing dialogue is my favourite part of writing, and I relate to your feeling of the challenge of capturing inflection and accent. It’s definitely something to work on.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: