What Grosses You Out?

This is what we talked about in our fiction writing class last night. I asked the participants to do a free write on two things--something that they were scared of and something that grossed them out. We were going to be discussing two pretty distressing stories ("The Shawl," by Cynthia Ozick and "First, Body," by Melanie Rae Thon) and I thought it would be good to have them start thinking about how to exorcise some of those fears/anxieties/grossness in their fiction. These are some of the things they mentioned on the gross scale: bodily fluids, snot (see "bodily fluids"),  milk (because she grew up in Poland and mile their came in these strange cartons, and was never refrigerated) and hair on plates (this from someone who waits tables and so really does have to face this ick on a regular basis). In the scared of part, people talked about:  rats (one guy has a rat problem in his kitchen. This brought on a whole slew of stories about rats. We suggested he rent a rat terrier. I volunteered Emma Carol, before realizing that she is too fat to chase rats), Christmas (too many family members), finding something unexpected during a home renovation, change, black sneakers (because of a bad date involving a guy who drove a white van and wore black sneakers), and phone calls in the middle of the night.

Speaking of fears, we're going over my poems tonight in class. I like the titles ("Giltner, Nebraska, 1974, population 198," and "Dear Man on Page 56 of the J. Crew Spring 2012 Catalogue," but am not keen on the content.

Here is a picture of a cat for you.