WIPpet Wednesday

WIPPet Wednesday Memoir The Good Girl

More from my memoir.  Thanks to KL Schwengel, who hosts WIPpet Wednesday.  If you want to join, post an excerpt that has something to do with the date and add it to the linky here. My math is 9+3=12+2=14+4-=18 for 18 sentences today.

After dropping out of high school, I went  to a very small women’s college, where I first breathed free as a scholar.  I did not have to hide away so that men might be interested in me, as there were none in my classes. While younger than most of my class, I was not the youngest in the crowd, and quickly acclimated to the ivied halls. My professors treated me as an adult, and I responded, flourishing in the life of the mind.  None of them saw the yawning gap in my psyche where a person was supposed to dwell. My personhood was stitched together like the B movie monster with a transplanted brain, my mind and body unconnected, striving against each other at every decision.

My sophomore year in high school, I dated a young man who ended up being the only one who asked me out more than once. After what I felt was a suitable period, and feeling that no one else would ever be interested in me, I married him at the beginning of my junior year of college. My relationship with him, and thus, my marriage, worked on exactly the same lines as all other aspects of my personal life:  do whatever I was told, never question authority, never rock the boat, never stand out in any way.  My ex-husband, also very young, did not know any better. He constructed and maintained the box in which my soul and personality was locked away.  I became a chameleon, without opinions of my own. With some empathic ability, I quickly mastered ascertaining others’ opinions and preferences, and reflected them as faithfully as a mirror, with no distortions or additions of my own.

When I went to graduate school, and began to find my professors expected me to be an adult, my husband left me for a college friend, saying that he found my ambition to get a Ph.D. distasteful.  Left entirely on my own for the first time in 23 years, I realized that I did not know what music I liked, what books I enjoyed reading, or what foods I liked to eat. I had never done grocery shopping alone, I had never written a check, and I had never lived alone. I knew how to be a scholar, but I had no idea how to be a person.

Advertisements
WIPpet Wednesday

Wednesday WIPpet, August 13, 2014

I give you 13 sentences of my memoir for the 13th day of the month.  WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by KL Schwengel.  If you would like to participate, post a date-related (calendar date, not romantic date) snippet of a WIP (hence, WIPpet) here.

My complicated childhood echoed through the years in odd ways. Although family is very important to me, I rarely tell any of my family how important they are to me. My sons encouraged that reticence when they were teenagers, fleeing emotion as if it were hydrofluoric acid. However, those sons also helped me learn how to be a mother to alien creatures, who acted nothing like their sisters. Furthermore, I had met my daughters when they were 5 and 3, so 0 to 3 was unmapped wilderness, filled with snapping wolves and lumbering bears. My sons laid to rest any nature versus nurture discussions I had in my mind; their drive and fearlessness taught me how to take risks, while making my face pale with fear. They put up with my inability to help them with math and physics homework, as well as my crying through nearly every movie I took them to see. Well, not Pokemon.

My daughters, who accepted me as a second mom, weathered my learning how to be a mom. I remember the stark terror I felt when my oldest daughter handed me a Barbie, inviting me to play with her. I had never played dolls with anyone in my life, and I knew nothing about being a child. She was very gentle with me, explaining the rules, “Barbies are plastic, so they can’t talk back to us. We can imagine them talking, though.”

Both girls guided me through playing in the park, swinging and talking, giving me a childhood I had imagined but never lived.

EM

WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday, Memoir

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of KL Schwengel.  If you want to participate, post an excerpt tied to the date somehow, and add the link here. This excerpt is from my memoir.  It is much rougher than the earlier excerpts, so criticism is welcome.  It is 23 sentences for the date.

My nearest sibling in age was four years older, and the only one of us who went to kindergarten. By the fall I was 18 months old, I inhabited a dim and quiet house for most of the day.  My mother slept on the couch from the time the older kids left, to the time they came home. I crept silently into my overstuffed chair, and lived a full life with my imaginary friends and my books. I eavesdropped from under the table when my father read to my younger sister, or when my older sister or brother read for my father. In my chair, I began to trace through the pages, finally cracking the code of the letters, and, with tears of joy, the words. My parents were astounded I knew how to read when I was three.  I had received a new book for Christmas from a family friend, and proceeded to read it in the car on the way back home.  Initially, my siblings were scornful, thinking I was pretending I could read, but when they verified I was reading the correct words, no one knew how I learned.  Neither my mother or father had any idea, and questioned my siblings. All of them denied spending the time or effort to teach me to read.  I knew how I had done it, but no one asked me.

I found my siblings’ abandoned readers and dove into them, thumbing through them many times in the three eternal years I waited for school. Books were my escape, my friends, my refuge.  Reading at an early age, after years of long, quiet hours to practice, I stood out in first grade. I gloried in the attention and approbation at first, but teachers’ notice had a dark side.  At one point, my teacher told me to finish reading a story to the class, and left the room.  While the children behaved well in the classroom, even while she was gone, my payback awaited on the playground.

I was surrounded and taunted. Backed by most of my classmates, the largest boy in the class towered over me, jeering, “Spell cat, if you’re so smart!” Even in my terror, I remember thinking, what a stupid word to pick. His face shining in fury, his fist inches from my face, he demanded a confession that I had made up the story and could not read.  Faced with physical harm, I quickly complied.

EM

Excerpts, Memes

Look meme

Last week, Jeff Clough tagged me in the look meme.  Okay, there was a small problem.  I have just begun a new WIP, and wanted to use it. The rules are:

1. Grab your current work in progress. Check

2. Find the first occurrence of the word “look.” Umm, “looked” is in a scene I had just outlined, not written.

3. Copy that paragraph and a few surrounding paragraphs. Well, here’s the outline paragraph.  “A few surrounding paragraphs,” um, well, they don’t exist yet.

4. Post them to your blog. Here you go:

Christine remembered how Estienne had looked at the church door.  He had not smiled, and his hands trembled, but his eyes met hers with kindness.  The breeze had ruffled  his dark, curly hair, and lifted tendrils of Christine’s hair to reach toward him in concert with her thoughts. Her mind wandered as the priest said several prayers, although a phrase pierced the fog now and then. She blushed at the mention of children and grandchildren. Finally, Estienne put his family ring on each of her fingers in turn, rubbing the inkstained one with a smile, before replacing it firmly on the one carrying the vein to her heart. His hand was warm,  and so solid she could remember its touch ten years later.

Her hand cramped, crushing the parchment, driving its edges into her palm.  How could he be dead?

5. Tag five other people. Um, about that. I’m really not good at tagging people.  I think these memes are fun, but some people think they are worse than root canals. So have a whirl, if it sounds like fun.  Please leave a link in the comments if you do.  I’d love to see your excerpts.

Excerpts, Memes

Six Sentence Sunday

Today’s exercise in the 15 Days Challenge that Jeff Goins is running requires me to post something ugly. Well, here’s ugly for you. Although this appeared on one of my other blogs, it got no comments, so I’m reblogging it for honest critique.

Lapidary Prose

The parking lot for the Alachua Sink looked unimpressive; cars parked on the dirt under the live oaks. Next to a bulletin board full of announcements and brochures, a sign stuck into the dirt pointed, warning that the observation deck was a half-mile away. The path meandered off into the woods, with few signs of human habitation. Soon I crossed the Hawthorne Trail, a popular bike path that replaced an unused railroad line; its pavement new and bright, a stark contrast to the sandy dirt path that crosses it. Around another couple of turns, I walked underneath a train trestle, rails gone, gravel sidings disappearing into the grass, which was left to grow tall and heavy with seeds. Trees have fallen and been left where they lie, obscured by Virginia creeper and hanging vines as thick as my wrist, looking like those in the early Tarzan movies.

View original post

Excerpts

British bride WIP excerpt, playing with POV

Part of my playing about with this story involves writing a scene from each of the two main characters’ points of view.  

He watched her enter the restaurant, savoring the few seconds that he could observe her before she saw him. Although not surprised, he was briefly dismayed at his immediate physical reaction to seeing her. What a beautiful woman she was, certainly attractive in the conventional sense, but so vibrant. There was nothing pastel about her—her dark hair and eyes such a contrast to her flawless ivory skin, the deep red lipstick accentuating her mouth, whose strength balanced her face perfectly. She caught sight of him and the faint smile she wore blossomed into a full, warm one that started his heart pounding. She walked toward him, poised and graceful. He couldn’t take his eyes away from her. He reached down to kiss her lightly on the cheek, which he had to admit to himself was a male territorial thing, as he noticed the eyes of every man in the place devouring her much as he had just done

 

She had to admit that she had put a lot into her appearance before meeting him—he would certainly say that she got “gussied up.” She was more nervous than she expected to be, which she found somewhat surprising. Not to boast, but she was rather used to men’s attentions, and usually gloried in it. But then, there was something different about him-it was important that he like her.

When she went in the door, she didn’t see him at first; looking around, it was only a second or two before she saw him, resplendent in his uniform, his eyes sparkling, mirroring the smile on his absolutely handsome face. He walked over to her, leaned over, and kissed her briefly on the cheek. The kiss was soft, but had an impact all the way down to her stomach. She wanted to remember the touch of his lips forever.

Excerpts

Excerpt British bride novella

The sun was high before she woke up, but she had nowhere to be, so lay in bed lazily thinking about the previous evening and her handsome American GI, remembering seeing him across the room. To be honest, she first noticed him because he was tall and handsome, though not dark like in the romance novels, but with curly blond hair. As he came closer to her, it was his eyes that drew her gaze; they were a shade shimmering on the blue-green divide without committing one way or the other. After he disposed of the bothersome drunk, he spoke to her for the first time; his voice was a nice rich baritone with a not unpleasant American accent, neither too drawled nor too clipped. But as he took her hand into his to lead her to the dance floor, it was his smile that reached into her chest and wrapped itself around her heart. It was a smile that opened up the windows to his heart and aired out any dark corners he might have—genuine and freely given, she somehow knew that it was not unthinkingly bestowed, but was a gift to her, and only to her.

Excerpts

Excerpt from WWII British bride novella

He was lost before the music ended.  Her delicate, but not fragile, hand disappeared in his, starting the nerves tingling all the way up his arm. His other hand covered over half of the small of her back, the warmth of which raised his heart rate to a level he hadn’t felt recently save in combat. Even worse, the crush of the dance floor drew them closer together than was truly proper; although the joyousness of the celebration cancelled the affront, it didn’t relieve the chaos swirling through him as they were inexorably pushed chest-to-chest by the crush. For his own sanity, and to have any hope of talking to this vision, finding out her name before she disappeared back into the dreamland from whence she came, he leaned down to her ear, savoring the excuse to inhale the spicy-sweet fragrance of her, “Let’s go outside for some air.”

She tipped up on her toes to answer, “Yes, please,” totally unaware of what her sweet, warm breath on his face was doing to him.