Writing with Style? "Writing with Style" is the name of the workshop I'm attending here in Banff. Lisa Moore, our workshop leader has some incredible insight into the writing process and into human beings themselves, and I'm inspired by the discussions we're having and the work I'm doing. Last night, I worked on an assignment that was an exercise in setting tone and atmosphere for an event leading up to a trauma. We were asked to write two pieces: one with a light tone and another with a heavy one. Each foreshadows the same or similar traumatic event. Here's one of the pieces: I stand at the bottom of the stairs and understand instantly why deer stay trapped in the lights of oncoming cars. Fight or flee; they can’t decide and nor can I. Paul is upstairs mopping up the water that came gushing from the bathtub faucet he dislodged with a single blow of his fist. I’ve just come from the basement, where I’ve turned off the water main. I’m wet and there’s still soap in my hair. I hear him swearing at the mess he’s made. He calls down to me for more towels and a mop. Get your own damn mop, I think. No, I better get him the mop. No, I don’t want to go back upstairs. I hear him coming towards the landing. I’ll get them, I say, and his footsteps recede. I turn away from the stairs and I look at the door of the laundry room at the end of the hall. The top of my head feels hot as I choose some clothes from the clean pile on top of the washing machine. I pat myself dry with the guest towel in the downstairs bathroom. Where’s the fucking mop, he yells. Coming, I say, as I snatch the car keys from the hallway dresser. I don’t bother closing the door. I race to the car, put it in reverse and peel out of the driveway. As I make my way to the intersection, in the rearview mirror, I see Paul come running out of the house. Swerving around a car stopped at the stop sign, I don’t know how to avoid the truck coming straight for me.

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