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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Chicken Waffle?/Shmoozing

Writing group was great last night....we only had six folks but that was just fine. Kay and Kathryn did the prompts and they were great! James was brilliant as usual - for the picture prompt where he was given three images (a dandelion, a couple getting married and something else I can't remember), he wrote the most detailed poem about a man fraught with indecision over his girlfriend's marriage proposal. When he posts it to his blog, I'll copy it here.When James reads, jaws drop.

And I didn't do so badly myself. My first prompt was a collage of three pictures: three hefty women in bathing suits congregated in shallow water, one on her cell phone looking like there was trouble abrewing.  The second picture was of Jodi's outdoor snack bar (whoever Jodi is), and the third picture was horrific and apparently delicious from the testimonials in the group - a new American delicacy, a chicken waffle. In the picture a waffle sits on a bed of gravy topped with a fried chicken cutlet, maple syrup being poured over the whole mess. That's just wrong - gravy on a waffle, maple syrup on fried chicken - both eaten together. Anyway I wrote a story about how Jodi had stolen Cecilia's husband and how Cecilia and her posse of girlfriends planned on getting him back. 'Twas very funny.

The second prompts were what we call first line prompts. We're given a bunch of first lines to choose from.  In the spirit of over-achievement, I wasn't content to use just one of the lines. I incorporated them all into one story that was written in 20 minutes. I think it's a darn good effort - hope you do too!  Here it is:
First the first lines that were given to us:

  • A rush of cold air and the smell of rain greeted her.
  • Grandfather looked at me and asked, "Where did you get that?"
  • Weeds and mud covered the welcome sign.
  • I hope that whoever took them just made an honest mistake.
  • I felt like I was lost in my own house.
I felt like I was lost in my own house. But really it wasn't my house anymore. And yet, when the girl asked me if I wanted to see her bedroom and we climbed the narrow back stairs that once were used only by servants, and came to the familiar room at the top of the landing, I felt disoriented. 
"This is Stella's room," I said under my breath. The girl heard me. 
"No, it's not...it's mine, silly." 
"I mean it was," I corrected myself as I wandered to the window, knowing already what the view would be - fall, sugar maples of course, the gray bay beyond, a trawler chugging along, nothing had changed. 
I pushed the transom window open without asking the girl's permission - it was that or pass out from the time warp. A rush of cold air and the smell of rain greeted my nostrils. My head cleared. 
"Why are you here," she asked. "How do you know Mother?" 
"I don't remember," I said annoyed, hoping her mother didn't come home while I was there. I had entered the house on false pretenses. 
"Let's go downstairs," I suggested.  "I want to see the yard." 
The old inn hadn't changed much since Katrina - luckily it was on high ground. We should have come back. I tried to convince Harold it would be OK - that Stella and Stan were dead, nothing to be done about it, we'd might as well move on. But, he couldn't bear looking at the bay.  He hated the Gulf now. 
I trudged the property in my Wellies. It was overgrown and marshy, weeds and mud covered the welcome sign.  Next to the gate the only remaining beauty on the property, white, lavender and deep red-purple lilacs. Harold had planted the bushes when the twins were born. 
As I drove away from the property I looked up at a second floor window to see her watching me - she'd seen it all, didn't stop me from taking them - as if she knew there was a story. A wise little girl, scary wise beyond her years. Later I imagined her mother asking her what had happened to them. I imagined my girl shrugging and her mother puzzled, saying something like, "I hope that whoever took them made an honest mistake." 
As I pulled into Grandpa's FIMA trailer park, I shimmied the car in the deep mud, trying to get close to his front step, not relishing red mud on my new Wellies, even though Wellies are meant for mud. I gathered the flowers in my arms, a gift to Grandpa.  There was little beauty and goodness in his life these days since we all moved away. 
Grandpa looked up at me as I walked through the door weighed down by masses of multi-colored lilacs.
"Where did you get those?" he asked.

Today all day at a trade show for a master agent we represent, then an evening shmoozing event that will go late. I'll probably be the only woman again this year and dinner will be a caveman-ish affair. Last year it was at Gibsons where the men ordered enormous pieces of barely cooked flesh, drank gallons of martinis or Jameson's and for dessert the most bizarre of all - an enormous single slab of ice cream covered in chocolate and nuts that the waiter hacked into wedges with a cleaver. The men get very excited by seeing ice cream hacked with a cleaver. I'll have a salad. These days the container holds - doing great on WW, getting my 10,000 steps in every day.  I'm feeling great.


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