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Today in My History
2000: Beans in My Ears
2001: Take Me Out to the Ball Game
2002: Gynecology Can Be Fun
2003: Gone, All
Don't Do Perky
the Pros and Cons
2006: Catching Up
2009: When Friends Write Books
2010: Giants, Indeed
2011: Halloween Report
"Macbeth: the Radio Play"
Books Read in 2012
"The Year of Magical Thinking"
Most Recent on My
The Paul Picnic
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CREATIVE WRITING - PART 1
2 November 2012
I'm going to do something unusual for then next three (maybe
3-1/2) days. I came across a story I started writing for NaNoWriMo (National Novel
Writing Month) back in 2007. I never finished it and had completely forgotten it,
but I re-read it and...I don't think it's all that bad. So I decided to print the
first three chapters here and see what you think. I know where I was going with it,
but by the time I got into chapter 4, I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to get there and
ultimately quit. But maybe you'll enjoy the first three chapters. This is
obviously semi-autobiographical, except the heroine is more my mother than me, yet not
exactly either of us. The children are an amalgam of all of my own children, of
My case is a species of madness, only that it is a derangement
of the Volition & not of the intellectual faculties. - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The box stood in the middle of the living room. It was wrapped in
silver paper and tied with a big red bow.
Beside it stood her children, big grins on their face. They could barely contain
themselves, they were so eager for her to open it.
They were so different from each other. Tim was tall and muscular, with curly brown hair
and that little curl that would have fallen onto his face if he didnt keep it
slicked back with a thick layer of gel. Right now he had a pencil-thin moustache, left
over from the full beard he sported just a month ago.
It was hard to believe that this strapping man was the little boy she chased up and down
the street 30 years ago. Now he was a father himself, with two little kids.
Jenna was petite, with blonde hair which hung to the middle of her
back. She inherited none of her mothers curls, but everyone always complimented her
on how thick and shiny it was.
Shell probably have to cut it when she has children herself, Laura
thought to herself as she turned her attention to the box again. She hoped that they
hadnt spent a lot of money. Tim could probably afford it, with his job at the
computer company, but Jenna had precious little to spare from her waitress salary. She had
been working at Miz Bees ever since she started college. With grad school coming up
next year, it would be a long time before shed be pulling in the kind of money that
Cmon, Mom! the kids said. Open it!
She leaned over to touch the big box. The ribbon was red and had glitter glued to it. It
was a huge bow, but then it was a huge box. The paper was silver. She had to save that to
use on another gift later on in the year.
The kids were beside themselves in glee watching her agonizingly slow, methodical opening
of the box. Remove the ribbon, roll it up and set aside. Put the bow on the table so it
doesnt get squashed. Paper must be folded to minimize creasing. They knew that all
these would go into the big gift wrapping box under the bed in her room.
When all the wrapping had been taken care of, Laura carefully lifted one corner of the
I dont know why youve given me a gift now, she laughed.
Its not my birthday. Its not Christmas.
We just thought this would be something youd enjoy, Mom, her children
explained, wondering if she was ever going to open the damn box.
Lauras heart dropped when she opened the box. There it sat. The thing shed
been fearing all these years. It was a computer. She had told her children over and over
again that she didnt need, didnt want, would never use a computer.
Dont ever get me a computer, she had specifically said over and over
again. I dont want one of those things in my house. But theyd done
it. Theyd given her a computer. She knew they had spent a lot of money on it. She
didnt want to seem ungrateful, but she simply did not want that thing. She knew she
would never be able to learn how to use it and she hated looking stupid.
Its...its...its a computer, she finally gasped, not quite
able to get out the words thank you.
Now mom, Tim said. I know you said you didnt want one, but really
I think youll be surprised at how much youll like it when you learn how to use
it. Ill get it all set up for you and get you started on it before I leave.
All right, dear, she smiled weakly, trying desperately to hide her
disappointment and her frustration. You do whatever you have to do with that th...
with the computer... and Ill get dinner ready.
She left her children happily unwrapping boxes and cords and so much stuff that it scared
her to even look at it. She went out to the kitchen to prepared dinner.
Her she was in her element. Laura had always been a wonderful cook and she loved to
entertain. Nobody ever left Laura Websters house hungry, if she could help it. And
she always tried to make a little extra for people to take home lunch the next day.
As she began chopping onions and slicing tomatoes for her famous chicken cacciatore she
almost forgot that her children were in the other room fixing her computer for her. She
went out to the garden to pick some fresh basil. None of that stuff that came in jars for
her. Everything had to be fresh the home grown tomatoes and fresh herbs made all
the difference in the end product, Laura believed.
As the smells began to fill the house, Jenna came out to ask if she could help.
It smells great, Mom she said. What can I do for you?
Laura asked her to set the table. Lets use the good dishes tonight,
Jenna said. Its a special night; lets celebrate.
She went to the dish cabinet and pulled out the gold-rimmed dishes that had belonged to
Lauras godmother. They dated from the turn of the 20th century and Laura was so
proud of them she wouldnt let anybody wash them, and certainly would not put them in
a dishwasher. In fact, she rarely used a dishwasher at all. She liked getting her hands in
soapy water and liked the look of the dishes and glassware as she dried them.
Laura was not one for new-fangled contraptions. She liked doing things the old-fashioned
way. Why, oh why had they given her that...that...thing. She would never use it. She hated
Call your brother for dinner will you, Jenna, she said, her mouth set in that
thin tight line she got when she was upset.