Iowa Writes

ERIC JAMES SUNDERMANN
About a Man


He lives on a mountain in a cabin with his wife. Every morning, he wakes early, kisses her forehead. He wears a blue robe—it's ripped along the bottom. He sits on his deck, drinking coffee, admiring mountains, breathing their air.

He writes in his journal. Sometimes the writing feels good, other times not. When not, he reads. Reading shows him what he's doing wrong.

His wife likes to decorate, a green and blue mural covers the east wall. She buys a variety of mementos on their travels—statues, rugs. Each has a story; the doll from South America, the mirror from Africa. He enjoys them. He enjoys her. She enjoys him. She makes lunch and they eat fresh tomato-and-avocado sandwiches.

In the afternoon, he drives down the mountain in his jeep. Brush lines the sides of a dirt path. He sings poorly with Bob Dylan.

In town, he stops at the grocery store, picks up milk and bread and more avocados. Many people know him. He says hi, politely sharing thoughts on weather. Outside, he smokes a cigarette.

He heads home to share dinner with his wife. They eat fish.

At night, he sits on his deck, eating mangoes, drinking coffee—this time decaf. He lights candles, traces the mountains' moonlit silhouettes with his finger. He writes in his journal. His writing feels good, doesn't read. He joins his wife in bed, kisses her forehead, drifts to sleep.

He wakes in a lonely bed to a screaming alarm clock. He hasn't cleaned his apartment in months. He stumbles down the hall, hungover. The grime on the floor scratches his feet. He pushes play on the record player. Listens to Bob Dylan. Washes his face. Makes his coffee. He writes for the newspaper. He hates the newspaper. He walks to work, needing mountain air.

About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


ERIC JAMES SUNDERMANN

Eric James Sundermann is a senior at the University of Iowa, studying English with an emphasis in nonfiction writing, and is an arts reporter for The Daily Iowan newspaper. He hopes to someday attend graduate school to earn an MFA in nonfiction writing. He's wearing broken headphones and needs to shave (not always, but only as he writes this).

This page was first displayed
on March 01, 2010

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