Joan Koerper, Ph.D. & Riverside Inlandia Creative Writing Group

10-11-2012: Results of the fifteen minute collaborative exercises of the Riverside Inlandia Creative Writing Group in the bowels of the Riverside Main Library.
That night’s workshop facilitator and giver of prompts: Joan Koerper, Ph.D.
The prompts are in bold.

The San Timoteo Canyon…

The San Timoteo Canyon. I don’t know anything about nothing—all I know is that it has my name—and I had my name first—just ask my mom. Mom said that San Timoteo is my “Saint’s Day” and that he is the patron saint of poets and writers and artists. And driving through the canyon is a time of respite. The two lane road passes horse farms and open space, a time to reflect and ponder on the day. Absorbing the natural setting to the left and right. It is a place of peace and quiet.

So I brought my 12 gauge shotgun—intent on putting holes through every single road sign that reads San Timoteo Canyon. Yep! Road signs got slaughtered. But nobody better not mess with the wild life and the green sage brush.

Today, the rains flooded the road and the dark and curvy canyon was closed leaving frustrated drivers having to find another way home. Some got stuck in the muddy waters cursing the lack of cell phone bars on their phone. Others were frustrated because they could not read those shot gun blasted signs.

Co-authors: T. Perez, Frances Vasquez, Mae Wagner, Lisa Biehman (sp?)

The hearses lined the side of the road…

The hearses lined the side of the road like dead roaches along the molding on the bathroom tile.
I stormed up to the lead car and pounded my fist on the black glass. Everyone else refused to talk to me; the other woman. Adultery is never particularly popular, but the presence of a priest and a coffin made me even less welcome.

“I know you can see me in there!” I screamed, pulling the .38 from my purse. When the window shattered the two living passengers, the diver and his assistant, fled with hands raised to the heavens.

I wanted to make sure the bastard was really dead.

Co-authors: Laura Aranjo, Wendy Sank (sp?) Suzanne Maguire

I wanted to soar…

I wanted to soar in my mind but my body never left the ground. That does not keep me from trying it over and over again. Never give up. So, I put my head up, straightened my back and…breathed in the briny smell of the ocean, looking out at the horizon and imagined my body dissolving into the mist. In this state I sensed a clarity about the world that I had never experienced before. But, it lasted only for a few moments and I was back in the world again. I returned to reality…saddened by my need to go back to my daily routine. I kept a sea shell and bought a bird charm in a vile of sand from the beach for a necklace to remind me how to let go of myself again.

Co-authors: Don Daviau, Gertraud Daviau, Celena Diana Bumpus, Nan Friedley

The cemetery was filled with people for the Day of the Dead

The cemetery was filled with people for the Day of the Dead
the rotting corpses permeated the air with an acrid stench
rows of memorials on display like monuments
loved one’s dressed to celebrate life.
Ghostly apparitions circle the living.
The living rise as one to celebrate the dearly departed.
Brittle bones decaying to dust in caskets.
Cold air hits the back of their necks like ghostly breath
for a moment there is no sound
then the silence in broken by the anguished screams from beyond the veil.
Those who rose to remember lost souls now flee the cemetery
the dead are walking.

Co-authors: Mike Sleboda, Cassandra Alderson, Michelle Gonzalez, Heather Dubois, Linda Rhodes.