11.29.2016

Of Writing Groups and Drinking One's Own Fluids

In the good/bad column for days, I would mark today decidedly "good."
Work was just the right amount of busy so that I felt productive without feeling like my hair was on fire and I wasn't going ever get caught up.

The grand screw up that was the delivery of my fountain pen was made all better by the notification that said pen was waiting for me.

And today was one of the days of the month that one of the writing groups I'm in meets.

So, yeah. Good day. All the cards are put in to play.  I got to Panera at what I thought was an early time. Pretty much everyone was there.  I still ordered my food. Chicken-noodle soup in a bread bowl, which I then had to place in a real bowl because the bread bowl had sprung a leak. And I got a free drink. And a free birthday scone.  The scone, in no danger of leaching its contents out on to my plate, was set aside for later as I made short work of the soup and its vessel.

As I'm eating, I hear from the table behind me, "Well. You know, she only consumes her own fluids."

Now, I had not been dialed in to the conversation before that point. And I really couldn't focus much after that, because...seriously...what does that even mean? Oh you bet your ass I wrote it down, because, wow.  But yeah...I honestly have no idea where that came from or where it could go.
Full disclosure, later in the evening, I heard the same unidentified voice say something something "bless her heart." So...maybe the consuming her own fluids isn't by choice. Maybe there's something else going on there. Either way, it's messed up.

So, all this potential weirdness is going through my head, Tim informs us that we have a writing prompt.

He's typed up a dozen first lines from books and stories (that I honestly should have read or need to add to my list to read).  The thought is that we take that first line and write a completely different story. There were some great first lines.  I picked one by an author I hadn't heard of who wrote a book I've not yet read.

"It was the day my grandmother exploded." -Iain Banks: The Crow Road

I really couldn't stop chuckling at the line. It was either that or the opening line Andy Weir penned in The Martian, "I'm pretty much fucked."  That one felt too much like how I write my blog, though, so I went with exploding grandmother.

And here's what I came up with...


CMC Writing Prompt; 11-29-16; First Lines

It was the day my grandmother exploded.
If I had to pick the worst day of my life, that would be the day.

Granny didn’t mean to blow herself up. I mean, who actually intends to do such a thing? Oh sure, I s’pose some of them crazy shehites might want to blow theyselves up. But not Granny. She didn’t have a radical bone in her body.

She used to tell us so, “Toby,” she’d say, through a big wad of Mail Pouch, “I ain’t got a radical bone in my body. Hell, ain’t had any kinda bone in my body in damn near twenty years.  Pretty sure that Jehovah’s boy ain’t never been the same.”  And she’d laugh, clear the phlegm from her throat and drench a cricket in the front yard from the safety of her rockin’ chair. All in one gloriously fluid maneuver that only Granny could do. There were the occasional misses, though, marked by years old stains on the front porch.

Nah, twern’t no way Granny would do such a thing as get herself blowed up.

But it happened.  I was up in the hayloft of the barn. I was supposed to be cleaning the saddle room, but the dust dancing lazily in the sunbeams coming through the loft door were much more interesting. Besides, it’d be two more days before Granny checked my work. I’d be sure to have it done by then.

A feller only has to pick his own willow switch one time to learn that you don’t cross Granny.

My back was toward the house when I heard the commotion.   I turned. Maybe I had taken a little too much of Granny’s chaw and was a little leaf drunk from the tobacc’r. Maybe that dancing dust tripped me.

I don’t know quite how it happened, to be honest.  All I know is that I woke up in the hospital.

Paw had come in from town. Ain’t seen him in a good five years, so I knew it had to be serious.

“What are you doing here?”  I could tell my words hurt him, but...well, good. It wasn’t any worse than what he deserved for making momma leave. And when he turned tail, Granny took me in. Granny was the only family I’d cotton to, and he knew that.  Things must be bad if it was him here instead of Granny.

“Am I dying?”  I asked. There was still a ringing in my ears. I had to nearly shout to hear myself. Hell, I could be dying. Maybe this is what dying felt like.

“No son, you’re” reaching for me, I could tell he was trying.

“I ain’t your son” I said, jerking away from his hand.

Recoiling like he’d been snake bit, “No, Toby. You’re not dying. You’re going to be fine. You slipped and fell out of the loft. “

“Where’s Granny? How come you’re here?”  Struggling to raise myself up, found plastic tube hindering me, which was a discovery I made right before the eight knives stabbed in my sides and I collapsed.  It hurt to much to scream. A mild whimper was all that I could muster.

“Son...um...Toby.  Your grandmother exploded.” Placing his hand on mine as he delivered this news. I was too exhausted from my earlier attempt to sit up.

I heard the click of the timed morphine unit before I realized what was happening. My arm, where one of the plastic tubes was, felt like someone was holding an icecube right at the point where the tube entered my skin. I saw a thick, clear liquid making its way down the hole, following the ice cube.

Then, as though a switch had been flipped, my whole arm warmed up. I felt floaty.

As the walls started getting furry and melting in to the floor, I heard the man that pretended to be my father on my birthday and Christmas saying to me, “Get some rest Toby. You’re going to need it.”

And then the black dreamless void.

-fin-


I didn't get all of that written in the allotted ten minutes, so I finished it on the fly with this blog. Because, that's what blogs are for, right? Write. Er..right.

Right.

Did I mention I got a new pen?? I'm loving it.  It's a LAMY Vista. German made. And it's got a great weight and feel. So smooth.  I'm looking forward to getting the converter so I can move away from ink cartridges. Figure I'll do that when I go through these 5 extra cartridges that came with it.  Either way, it's something that makes writing by hand a joy in which to partake. Which is cool, actually, because I have a crapton of poems, and hopefully a few songs floating around in ye olde brain bucket. Along with my journals.

In any event, I'm pumped, to say the least.

And with that, I'm posting this word count of 1400 up to the NaNo site, doing some analog blogging with my new pen, and hitting the sack.

Peace out my friends!
-a.t.

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