Genesis- Part 1

This exercise was inspired by an assignment from a class I took at Webster the Spring of 2008.  The class was titled “Point of View.”  The assignment was to rewrite Genesis from the point of view of Adam, Eve, God or Satan/the serpent, and to experiment with how the story changed based on who was telling it.

With this post I’ve taken the exercise a little farther.  As well as experimenting with changes in the story of Genesis, I also wanted to experiment with voice, tone, and character expression.  In addition to this, I’ve also re-written the story using the points of view from the four characters mentioned earlier.  Each character will have his or her own separate post.  At the end of the post, I’ll clarify who it was talking, but hopefully by then it should be obvious.

On a side note, I’m aware that Genesis is a religious story, and I don’t mean for these exercises to express any viewpoints on God, religion, etc.  This is just an experiment with point of view, character, and voice; and should only be viewed as such.

I was the king of the world, in the literal sense.  The world was different than it is now.  It was smaller, nicer.  Everything, save the Creator, was under me.  All the plants, the fish, the serpents, the mammals, the woman; Eve, she was under me.  The way she used to look at me, that love, that adoration . . . I was her sun, her moon, her Earth, her everything, and she loved me.  My third son, he likes to criticize our Creator—said it’s wrong to demand love and adoration.  Though I punished him for saying such things, I understand why he says them.  He doesn’t know.  He doesn’t know what it is to have that implicit love, that implicit obedience.  I don’t claim to understand the awesomeness of that which is our Creator, but—if our worship of Him is even half of what Eve’s worship was to me—I understand why he demands it.

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Here’s another exercise, a non-fiction one, which came out of conversation at Cousin Hugo’s.  The idea was to recreate an experience when we’d been drunk, or in some way out of control.  Seeing as some of us had never been quite so drunk, the idea expanded to be a time when we’d done something to surprise ourselves.  This is my touching childhood memory which came as a result.

I don’t recall ever having been out of control, and I’ve never been drunk because I know being drunk puts you out of control.  This isn’t to say I haven’t surprised myself by doing things I didn’t previously think myself capable of.

In second grade I was called “crybaby Hannah.”  I hated this name, but unfortunately it was appropriate.  It was getting to the point that I cried so much even my parents worried.  My Dad was constantly telling me I had to toughen up and quit crying at every little thing, which of course made me cry and frustrated him further.  My brother just told me about Bruce Lee and martial arts moves, and my guess is he was trying to give me a feeling of empowerment.  One afternoon was spent telling me about “the sweep,” when you went down and used your leg to sweep your opponents legs, and effectively knock them down.  He warned me, however, that as I was not Bruce Lee I shouldn’t try this move unless I was already on the ground.

I was forced to have more contact with my peers because both my parents worked, so after class they left me in the care of the after-school program.  None of my friends from my grade attended the after-school program, and all of my bullies did.  I had managed to make friends with some of the younger kids, so it wasn’t like I was continuously picked on.  Through distraction and avoidance I managed to avoid being antagonized most days.  I say “most.”

One afternoon a friend and I were wandering through the Prairie-Pocket, a tall patch of grass that concealed you from the supervisors.  I think we were playing Pocahontas.  Two of my bullies came to the Prairie-Pocket against our wishes.  My friend thought a good way to ward them off would be screaming at the top of her lungs.  This seemed like a good idea to me, so I stood alongside her, screaming my heart out.

Screaming produced the opposite of the desired effect, in that we provoked the boys instead of making them leave.  Tommy, the worst, marched right in and pushed me to the ground, demanding I shut up.  I hit my head on a brick and had the wind knocked out of me.  I wanted very much to cry.  My friend had left, and all I could see at first was Tommy leering and calling me a crybaby.  He was trying to provoke my tears, and he would have succeeded had I not looked up a little more to see my leg lying right next to his.  I was in perfect position for “the sweep.”

To this day I don’t know went through my head.  It wasn’t anger or vengeance (that came directly after).  It was a calm decision—just a simple “okay” and sweep.

I knocked Tommy onto his stomach, attempted to pin him and demanded (with such cockiness that I surprised even myself) that he say “uncle.”  He recovered himself, though, and he would’ve beaten me up worse if both our friends hadn’t run to the supervisors.  Both Tommy and I were made to sit in separate corners, but I remember being held in a sort of reverence that day by the staff and other kids.

I was extremely proud of it when my mom picked me up, and I told her all about it.  Neither her or my dad seemed very pleased, but I wasn’t punished.  My brother shared my pride, and congratulated me on the successful execution of “the sweep.”

Few people called me crybaby after that.  I still cried a lot, but they left me alone.  They knew I could snap and sweep, and no one wanted that.


When I was still in Saint Louis, some college friends and I would get together every Wednesday, usually at a dive called “Cousin Hugo’s.”  We were technically a writing group.  On a rainy day, based on the complaints of one of my friends, we decided the week’s exercise would be about puddles.  This is what I produced:

When I was young, puddles meant joy.  Puddles meant splashing in my goulashes and feeling the water jump out from under my feet and all around me.  It meant riding in the back seat of Mom and Dad’s car, hoping that one of them wouldn’t or couldn’t veer away from the stream of puddles in the curbside and thus make a wave far away from any sea-side.

As I grew older, puddles only meant it rained.  It meant jumping across uneven portions of the sidewalk to avoid the water which pooled in them.  That used to be fun—some altered mini-version of hopscotch.  But by the time I was twelve such fun was to be considered childish and scorned, and puddles became an annoyance.

Puddles grew to be a larger annoyance in my adolescence, up through my adult years.  Puddles would mess up my new converse on school days and my black pumps on date nights.  I, like my mother and father before me, avoided puddles in my car so as not to ruin my breaks or rust out my exhaust pipe.  Puddles meant it was a pain in the ass to leave my house, my dorm, my apartment.

There was only one puddle I was fond of in that time—the puddle that formed under my car door when it rained while I was in class.  Normally, I hated these puddles, and despised them as sneaks and hit-men.  But this one puddle inspired my then boyfriend into random chivalry, and he picked me up and carried me to my car and set me inside the driver’s seat.  That was the last time a puddle was fun to me.

Now I am wasting away, and don’t go out much even when it doesn’t rain.  Puddles are regret.  They echo the teardrops falling from the sky, augment and expand each one, piling the regret bigger and bigger until there’s just a puddle of it—a mirror of regret staring back at you when you look down to the past.