Archive | 2000+ Draft RSS feed for this section

Poem Series Day 6

2 Sep

This one took forever to write. Might be a keeper with a good revision but I was glad to be done with it for now, after a long night. I took my inspiration from one specific and very simple image in the poem “Men Swear” by Matthew Thorburn (from Every Possible Blue, CW Books). Who knows why the phrase and image lingered: yellow pocket square. Here are the first four lines of the poem to tease you: “I misread on the UP escalator / at Macy’s and things go downhill / from there. Now starchy / as a white shirt, now neat as a pleat”

Working Title: Stalker Angel
1st Sentence: As stalkers go, he was a good choice.
Favorite Sentence: A few shouts, some jabbering, a tangle of suit coats and salt-and-pepper hairlines converged on the boy and Mr. Apperson.
Word Length: 2,322

Photo: Yuji_Naka_Tokyo_Game_Show_2008.jpg: switchstyle; derivative work: Tachymètre & Leovilok.

Too many gaps!

26 Jul

Today I played that classic game of “Wait for the Plumber” or carpenter or cable guy or, in this case, the electrician. Plus given my truly extraordinary laziness when it comes to all things domestic, I had to play that even uglier game, “Clean for the Plumber.” Some of you know what I’m talking about. Because some stranger is coming by to fix the whatever, you look around and your comfy, plush, familiar nest morphs into the dusty, dish-and-crumb-strewn, “just put it somewhere,” embarrassing—no, horrifying—absolute mess that it always was. So not only are you a victim of the plumber or electrician’s mysterious and ever-changing schedule but you have to spend that time you’re trapped at home putting the place in shape for him, and although he doesn’t seem to care about appointments and deadlines, you are very much on the clock. If the plumber sees that crumpled Kleenex under the coffee table or the electrician notices all that hair stuck in your brush—well, I’m sorry to be the one to break the news if you happen to be in the dark on this, but that shit goes on your Permanent Record. All to say that I spent too little time on a shorty that I like and hope to fix in revision, and way too much time cleaning up for the electrician… who never came.

Working Title: Oh, no… Meatloaf!
1st Sentence: Mel took the test three times.
Favorite Sentence: What would enthusiasm look like on that flat face, on that wire-hanger body, in those shades of gray?
Word Length: 2,480

PS, Why “too many gaps”? Because I hand-drafted my shorty in the morning then left it to bedtime to type it in and fill in its few gaps. Except that when I went back to the story I discovered more gaps than I’d remembered and they were much bigger than I’d thought—more like crevasses. Three hours later, finally done  and falling asleep over my computer, I went to bed. And so for the first time since making this site public, I had to back-date a post. I blame the electrician.


18 Jul

Who said that if you make it to the age of 16 you have all the material you’ll ever need? Or was it if you make it to adulthood? Eudora Welty? Flannery O’Connor? I hope she was right. In today’s longish shorty I used detail from a visit to Maine’s Jane Austen Society last fall with my friend LaVerne. We had recently finished reading all Austen novels with our book group and thought it would be a lark. I LOVED it—all the wonderful ladies who talked about Austen’s characters as though they were old girlfriends, the amazing homemade cookies, the group’s mobile library spread out on a huge table so members could freely borrow biographies and studies of the novels, the passionate argument about whether Mansfield Park’s Fanny Price is milquetoast or true heroine. I have been dying to go back but haven’t been able to make any of the (infrequent) events. (It should go without saying that the “favorite sentence” below describes a fictional person being fictionally unpleasant.)

Working Title: Ready To Win
1st Sentence: “Are you ready to win?!”
Favorite Sentence: Pagewright cleared his throat and lowered his glasses to look around the room, then began a ponderous line of fluff about why he particularly appreciated Mansfield Park, one of Jane’s—he called her Jane, his buddy Jane, his good friend Jane, Jane his pal—lesser novels.
Word Length: 2,578

Photo of a watercolor of Jane Austen by sister Cassandra.

One Long Session

17 Jul

I talked about my usual practice yesterday so naturally today I did something completely different. Found myself unusually appointment-free for the day and I knew I wanted to do some site work this evening, so I started on the shorty first thing and worked on it all day, taking occasional short breaks. Done (just) before 5:00 PM! But my every nerve is loaded with today’s shorty and my eyes are completely blurred over from screen-fatigue. It’ll be nice to relax with the husband tonight and maybe that site work can wait….

Working Title: Rent-a-Bot
1st Sentence: Based on your personality profile, the head shot you provided, and the needs articulated for this outing, we have selected three possible companions.
Favorite Sentence: Alexander smiles through it, swallows, wipes his mouth with the napkin, then says, “Take care of this, will you?” and shoves it into Robert’s breast pocket, while leaning over him in a vaguely threatening, did-you-notice-how-tall-I-am way.
Word Length: 2,093

Searching for an ending….

6 Jul

I got to one but I don’t think it’s the right one. Hopefully revisions will steer me right.

Working Title: The Mom Game
1st Sentence: I’ve played the Mom Game since I was in college, where I discovered that reporting all the worst stories about your mother and rating them against other people’s black tales is a great way to get to know people.
Favorite Sentence: She qualified, so I replied to her alcoholism opener with a story about how my mother refused to let the dentist use Novacaine when filling my cavities because she feared it might be a gateway drug.
Word Length: 2,218

Painting “Tote Mutter” by Egon Schiele, 1910.

A Motivational Speaker

20 Jun

A keeper today!

Working Title: Yessiree Bob
1st Sentence: Idiots.
Favorite Sentence: Anyway, if a traveling salesman strutting the stage and spitting rapid-fire, high-gloss whup-ass into a microphone had to catch her boss’s attention, did it have to be this guy?
Word Length: 2,152

Photo by Brady Willette, 2010.

Job Interview from Hell

15 Jun

Note the word length on this one. I’m backdating posts right now (I’m typing this on June 30),  importing notes I took when I originally wrote the shorties. If I’d documented the word length of this story on June 15, it would have been much shorter. I go back and revise previous shorties every day, often filling in small blanks that require research. Occasionally I realize a small blank is a big one, as with this story. Anyway, I like it a lot, so yet another keeper!

Working Title: Thank You, Sir, May I Have Another?
1st Sentence: She arrives precisely fifteen minutes early, tugging at the lapels of the black blazer she has owned for seventeen years.
Favorite Sentence: Ms. Michaud, are you the sort of person who sniffs a sandwich before biting into it?
Word Length: 3,486

Photo here.

A Pirate Story for the Husband

10 Jun

Pat and I have a very long-running joke that goes like this: I tell him I just read a great book and he says, “Okay, but did it have any pirates in it?” Or he suggests we see a movie and I say, “Well I would say yes but it sounds like there are no pirates in it….” When we make this joke we then pepper our next few sentences with “Yar!” or “Har ye mateys!” or the like. This joke waned during the Pirates of the Caribbean years because of course there was just too much pirate in the air. But it’s made a comeback lately. When I announced to Pat that I had successfully met my Micro May challenge of writing a daily shorty every day of the month, he said, “That’s so great, Honey. But did you write any stories about pirates??” So I promised a pirate story. I actually like this draft a lot, but it didn’t come easy. Notice the word length.

Working Title: No. 1 Fan Demands Pirate Story
1st Sentence: PirateDude79.
Favorite Sentence: Does he stare meaningfully into the benign indifference and arch an eyebrow because he is a man born to melodramatic gesture and his name is a coincidence, or does his name force him into it?
Word Length: 2,861

Image from Open Clip Art Library.

Going Meta

2 Jun

It’s been a while since I’ve spoken directly to the reader as author. It was fun and the story has potential possibly with a very strong revision, but I don’t need to repeat that experiment anytime soon.

Working Title: Algebra for Life
1st Sentence: A man runs out of a restaurant.
Favorite Sentence: It’s not a happy accident that I get to perk up my blond highlights.
Word Length: 2,005

Another Story with a Therapist

18 May

At the end of my second week, I wondered if there were only clunkers ahead of me. I’ve been rocking along ever since and today feel particularly excited about the work I’m doing. Pushing to complete a story every day has forced my Inner Critic to keep her mouth shut and I don’t miss her one bit. But what’s with the new focus on therapists? On another note, this may be the first story I’ve ever written with a dog in it.

Working Title: Little Ludwig: A Cautionary Tale
1st Sentence: Name a kid Ludwig, and what do you expect?
Favorite Sentence: Maybe he’d even get his own show, on the strength of being the first to teach a dog to play Sweet Home, Alabama on the harmonica, or to say the Pledge of Allegiance with right paw properly laid over heart.
Word Length: 2,218

Photo by Anna Utehina, May 2006