Challenge #2

challenge

Here is another challenge for you (us) to try today.  This time, actually try playing along.  To play, either comment or post on your own blog (make sure to link back to me so I know you played).  C’mon it’s more fun with more people…ignore the innuendo there, please.

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Never say never.  You can do this.

Select a random book.  Select a random chapter, write down the first line.  Select a different random chapter.  Write down the last line.  Now write a story that connects those two (keep it to less than 1000 words).  

My random sentences are courtesy of the Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart (although I ended up changing them to present tense).

The hours that follow are wretched ones indeed.  She sits cross-legged on the bed staring at the doorway just praying he will walk back through it.  This isn’t a little fight, like when they fought about who left the garage door open.  This is an epic fight.  One to write books about.  The question is, would it be a happy book?  Would it be a book someone in another epic fight could learn from?  That all depends on whether or not Todd walks back into this room.  

There is always the other option, she can get up off the bed and go to him.  For a second her leg actually twitches.  She almost moves in that direction.  Then she stops.  No, this one is on him.  It is her mistake so he needs to be the one to forgive and take the next step.  So she sits.  

Time ticks by.  She can hear it on the clock hanging from the wall.  She almost stands up to smash the clock, but instead she allows herself to get lost in the comforting tick of the clock.  Nothing can throw off the rhythm there.  Nothing.  

She pulls her eyes down from the clock to watch the doorway again.  Is that a shadow falling on the wall?  Is he coming to talk?  She holds her breath, each limb frozen for fear of making a sound and scaring him off.  Her lungs burn and the shadow is gone.  She takes a deep breath.

Something has to happen, rules be damned.  She can’t stand it any longer.  How long does he expect her to sit here, wondering?  She stands up, feeling the sweet anger seep into her soul.  Anger makes sense.  Anger she understands.  Anger is something she has felt plenty of times.  She lets it seep through her skin.  The anger gives her the confidence to storm out of the room and into the dark hallway.  

Then she pauses.  In the shadows of her home…their home…the guilt finds her again.  She can’t direct anger at him right now, this time he has done nothing wrong.  He needs time.  Time is something she should be willing to give him.  

But what would be the harm in seeing how he is spending the time?  She could just peek around the corner and down the stairs.  He is probably just below the loft, sitting on the couch.  Does he have his head in his hands?  Does he have a cup of coffee in preparation for an endless night of arguing this out and moving on?  Does he have a glass of scotch to dull the pain?  

There is no harm in just checking on him, seeing how he is handling this.  She turns the corner, dragging her toes on the thick carpeting they had picked out together.  The wooden railing that signals the end of the loft space is in her reach.  She is tempted to run to it, but she keeps her steps slow and calculating.  She strains her ears, but can’t hear any noise from below.  She reaches the railing and peers over it.  How will she react if he is staring up at the railing and catches her spying on him?  Would that be better or worse?  

When that doesn’t happen, she leans further over the railing.  He isn’t in the living room.  She moves along the edge of the railing to the right, leaning as far over as she dares.  She can’t see him in the kitchen.  It looks like the dining room light is off, so he isn’t in there.  

Unless he is sitting in the dark and wallowing.  

The thought makes her sad.  The sadness, the need to comfort him, moves her feet.  She walks at a more acceptable pace down the stairs to the first level.  He has to be in the house somewhere, right?  It takes her five minutes to check the house fully to convince herself of the answer.  And the answer is no.

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A Challenge-Poetry

Here’s the challenge (play along in the comments or on your own blog-just make sure tag back to me so I know you played).

Write a 20 line poem (no more, no less) about an important moment in your life.

Here’s mine:

The day you were born changed everything

and probably not in the way you think.

Before you, I was

serious,

never emotional,

and too busy being busy to

stop and enjoy life.

You gave me the time to

slow things down,

breathe,

and appreciate.

As you got older, I got even better.

You thought I was taking your hand,

leading you through life safely.

I suppose, in a way, I was.

But in a bigger way,

a much bigger way,

it was you leading me and teaching me.

The day you were born changed everything

in exactly the way I needed.

To the Lady in the Grocery Store Who Spanked Her Child

When I go to the grocery store, I leave the produce section for last.  Evidently, you stop there first.  So when I arrived today and turned the corner to start down my preferred aisle to start shopping, you were right in front of me.  We followed very similar paths through the entire store, so I was behind you the whole time.

That means I heard your two adorable boys through the whole store.  The smaller one, in the cart, didn’t say much.  He was cute though.  The bigger one was easier to hear as I walked.  Sometimes he was even louder than my own two.

I heard him at his best, in the beginning.  When he thanked you for buying all this stuff so he could have a party.  He called you the “best Mommy ever”.  It was adorable.

Somewhere around the granola bars, I heard it when you first let the stress get the better of you.  You did that heavy sigh, a warning.  “Alex, please stop asking for things.”  It got my attention, but not for the reason you think.

An aisle later, in juice, I heard him ask for something else.  I cringed for you, knowing how much that can hurt.  I turned the corner in time to hear you.  “Alex, please stop.  I am throwing a birthday party with 12 of your friends coming.”  I saw the panic cross your face.  Did you really say 12?  You grabbed another bottle of juice.

I lost you for awhile here, probably because I had to wind through the “boring” aisles full of soap and toilet paper while you were shopping for a party.  As I pulled out of the deodorant aisle, Alex’s little voice caught my attention from the cookie aisle in front of me.  “But people at parties like cookies, Mommy.”

You sighed, again.  But something inside you must have agreed with his reasoning.  I saw you grabbed the loaf of gluten free bread from your cart.  I’m not sure if it was a treat for you or because someone attending the party had an allergy.  I’m guessing it was the former, because after weighing it in your hand for a minute you asked Alex to go put it back.  While he was gone (two aisles over) I saw you drop the cookies into your cart.

As I was walking through the frozen foods, I heard you again.  “Alexander Michael, that is enough.”  I don’t know where you were or what he said to provoke you.  But it got my attention.

I finished produce and pulled up to the single open lane just in time to see you reach out with your hand and smack Alex firmly on the bottom.  He dropped the candy he had been holding back into the display.  Your eyes came up and landed on mine.  I saw the blush cross your face, the panic in your eyes.  I get it.  People tell me I wear the teacher expression all the time.  You were worried.  You were terrified that I was judging you for spanking your son.

I should’ve told you.  I don’t judge you at all.  You did everything right.  More importantly, Alex will be fine.  He was pushing the boundaries and you showed him where they were.

My daughter, about Alex’s same age, engaged him in conversation while we were bagging our groceries.  He doesn’t think less of you for spanking him, and neither do I (not that it should matter what another Mom thinks of you).  In fact, when you turned to leave and for those few seconds he wasn’t with you…he was asking my daughter if she was going to have a party for her birthday too.

“I don’t know,” she told him, shrugging.

“I’m sure you can if your Mommy is cool like mine.  She’s the best Mom ever.”

Smart kid you have there, Mom.  You’re doing a good job.  Just thought you should know.

Sincerely,

The Lady in the Grocery Store

Where Have You Been?

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If you didn’t read the title of today’s blog in a perfect imitation of the Great Molly Weasley…go back and read it again.  I’ll wait.

Well, since Molly Weasley asked (and I could never refuse anything she asked of me) here’s where I’ve been.  First I was working, wrapping up the end of a school year.  The end of a school year is EXHAUSTING.  It’s a race to the finish line…and you have to stay focused to end strong.  Then the school year was over, so I was taking a fantastic 4-day weekend/anniversary trip with my husband.  It was the PERFECT weekend; time in my favorite town, took the kids to a movie, trip to the zoo (for free…yay membership), board game time as a family, and relaxation.  Then, because I’m a teacher and that’s how we roll, I promptly went back to work attending trainings.  In fact, I have to be at a training in like an hour…so I have to make this quick.

But you don’t care about all that, do you?  Nope.  You are here to keep me honest on my writing, be my support group.  So here’s that update.

  • The same 4 books you already knew of as done are…done.  (What a shocker, right?)  I’ll break them down a little more.
    • The romance hasn’t been touched since I last updated you.  It’s good.  I’ve drafted a query letter and put that on the back burner for awhile.  I’ll pick up the query soon and read it again to make sure it’s good.  Then it’s out to the agents with it.
    • The YA sci-fi has undergone an edit after the beta reader had a go at it.  There are added scenes, which flush out the character and the action a bit more.  There are details that answer new questions.  That query is out in the hands of the wonderful agents.  Cross your fingers for me.
    • The YA fantasy (and sequel) have undergone major edits and changes.  I already told you about the point of view change, which was massive, but they have already been to a beta reader and been edited there as well.  It’s been a whirlwind with those two books, but they are so much stronger now.  The first is being queried now.  Cross your toes too, just in case.
  • I have the outline of another YA fantasy and have written the first (probably) 1/3 of the book.  Then I stalled out.  I picked it up again a few weeks ago, read the outline and read everything I’d written and got fired up again.  Wrote like two more pages and stalled out.  I can’t figure out what is stalling that idea, but I will.  Last night I decided it’s probably a middle grade more than a YA, maybe that’s the problem.  I will play around with that.
  • I have the outline of a mystery/suspense novel.  Not my usual genre to write in, but one of the genres I read.  So why haven’t I written in that genre before?  Um, hello fear, how are you?  Can I weave suspense with my words?  Anyway the outline is done but I haven’t typed a single word of the novel.  Not a word.

So if I’m being honest, Mrs. Weasley, I haven’t done enough writing.  Someone should really hold my feet to the fire and make me sit and write actual words on these manuscripts.  I write for me, right?  It shouldn’t matter that 4 finished works are going unnoticed by agents and publishers.  It shouldn’t matter that right now I’m a nobody in the publishing world.  I’m all these characters have and their stories should be told!