The New Brontes?

I’m excited to announce a new project. My brother (Andrew Lohafer) and I are embarking on a collaboration! My brother is very much a writer in his own right; previously, he has focused on both fiction and journalism. However, he has also worked within the realm of creative nonfiction. I remember being really intrigued by a piece he showed me over the summer. In it, he described the family car we had growing up. His descriptions were striking, but even more than that, they showed me a completely different side to our upbringing, details I hadn’t even thought of in years.

I’m interested in what will happen if Andrew and I begin to recount our childhood experiences. What will he have noticed that I have forgotten? As the older sister, what information do I have that could help him understand our family’s history? Furthermore, how will our discussion contribute to the never ending conversation about what is considered “true” in this genre?

Since I’ve already shared my work with this class, I thought it would be useful to present you with one of Andrew’s drafts. This piece was based off a prompt that we used: in your piece answer a question that you don’t reveal to the reader, and start every line with “This is about”. He wanted me to tell you that this is still a first draft, so feedback is of course appreciated.

As the title of this post suggests, I like to imagine that my brother and I are about to embark on a writing journey that will inevitably lead us to fame and fortune. Hey, our father is a minister, too, which means we’re basically the Brontes already, right?

-Jessica Lohafer

“Untitled”

Andrew TJ Lohafer

This is about two burns that were left on my wrists as the last of 2012 moved across a highway for nothing. This is about red and black blisters turned so no one could see while I toasted and cheered, and waved the year away. This is about thirteen hours of fear that myself hospitalized, criminalized and ostracized; sleeping on concrete.

This is about early months and morning drinking and coughing blood as the back of my hospital gown hung open; the brim of my hat pulled low. This is about a closed throat, tubes and the glue from bandages cover my arms like a shameful tattoo.

This is about big eyes that watch a man, big eyes that canvass a scene of irreproachable midnight phone calls; keeping everything aligned as if irises could be constellations.
This is about favorite notes and chords, favorite notes and chords that could all be taken away just for the slightest second of a fleeting chance to here them through a different voice; other than my own.

This is about falling and skinning your knees on 9th and Stewart; the city looking the same even as everything is upside down. This is about becoming a goddamn man, telling your Father his Father is dead; drinking whiskey walking through the empty streets of the CD looking for fights and friends.

This is about watching the rocks grow, the city move and all at the same time Olive tower shrouded by darkness-the pinnacle of a midnight walk through love.

This is about Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, Sylvia Plath, very much so those three and a greater significance of a true feeling of betrayal-an honest and true feeling allowing no respite. This is about maybe the beats, Gonzo, poetry or anything that could have helplessly been created while sitting among sixteen projectors at two am.

This is about the greatest panic, the big one.  The great panic that cause vomit, horrible thoughts, fainting, making a fool of yourself in public, making a fool of yourself with a women, a great panic that has no explanation, a great panic that has people staring at you on you twenty first birthday, panic that thins the blood and causes one to loose hair and the ability to not sleep for half a week; walking truly not alive through a crowd at a mall with roommates. This is about not being able to speak the language you have learned for years, cooper the only taste in your mouth, ever footstep feels like an accomplishment.
This is about, panic.

This is about the swift ambition to poison yourself.
This is about great strides trying to poison others.
This is about killing parts of everyone’s body.
This is about walking, always walking, hopefully not alone.
This is about alcohol, wanting a drink, taking the drink, then relying on the one sheer truth that the city and our great adolescence taught me or you; that giving up has and always will be an option.

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About Jessica Lohafer

Jessica Lohafer is a poet, feminist, and bartender out of Bellingham, WA whose work has appeared in Whatcom Magazine, The Noisy Water Review, Thriving Thru The Winter: A Pacific Northwest Handguide and Your Hands, Your Mouth. Her collection of poetry, What’s Left to Be Done, was published by Radical Lunchbox Press in 2009. She has served as the Program Director for Poetry in Public Education, bringing writing workshops to schools throughout the Pacific Northwest. Jessica recently received her MFA in poetry from Western Washington University. Currently, she works as the Chuckanut Writers Conference Planner. Jessica is available for performances and writing workshops. For booking inquiries, she can be reached at: JLohafer@gmail.com
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2 Responses to The New Brontes?

  1. Wow. So powerful. The urgency and momentum created by the form really carry the piece. “Shameful tattoo!” I’ll be interested to hear where this collaboration takes the both of you.

  2. This is such a profound piece of writing. And, what a great first draft. I’m excited about your collaboration, and want to see more of your work, Jessica, and your brother’s!

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