Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Or Something Like That


I'll be honest with you. I haven't been working on my novel lately, nor have I been working on a short story. I'm kind of at a stand-still. Nothing serious; this happens occasionally. So I've been occupying myself with other things...housework, cleaning closets, reading Anne Rivers Siddons' Off Season, sipping Diet Coke. Thinking.

I'm also wondering what Eudora Welty did when she went through a dry spell. (That's her desk in the picture above.) Maybe she worked in her garden. Or baked a cake. Or played with her cats (don't know if she had cats, but she seems like a person who would).

As for me, after I have done everything else, I motivate myself by going through my Works-in-Progress folder, reading the first paragraphs of some of my stories:
Murder at the P. O.

C. J. Pickens loved walking to the post office. Excitement swept through his body as he awoke each morning, eagerly anticipating his two-mile trek into town to see what was going on, catch up on the latest gossip, and check his post office box. He never knew what to expect. Would it be Publishers’ Clearinghouse sweepstakes information? Entry forms for a trip to the Bahamas or Disneyworld? A letter from his cousin in Tiptonville?

* * *

Greek Grandma's Funeral
She looks peaceful, thin lips forced into a smile, white hair ratted and stiffly sprayed. Spit curls, like tiny bird nests, rest in front of her ears. Dressed in a blue satin ensemble, a brooch pinned at her squashy neck, her cheeks are covered with lipstick prints from grieving female relatives, their wails and moans echoing throughout the sanctuary of St. Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church.

* * *

The Rise and Fall of Boyd K. Wilkins

From the time Boyd K. Wilkins was old enough to think, he knew there were great things in store for him. He couldn't wait to get out in that great big world and experience everything life had to offer. And the quicker, the better. He had long ago decided he would not be living out his life in a tiny, dilapidated old house, wearing bib overalls and worrying about how to pay for groceries. He would not marry and have a bunch of kids he couldn't afford. And he would, by god, have the things he had always wanted.

* * *
Aunt Fanny's Drawers
Uncle Robert was old when he finally got married. Forty-six was too old to do much of anything, let alone take a wife. And it was so unlike him. The Uncle Robert I knew wore bib-overalls, farmed, milked cows, fished, and spent his evenings reading The Louisville Courier-Journal and Time Magazine. A wife just didn't fit into the picture.

* * *

The Night Has Passed

We drive into Beech Grove, Kentucky on a cold Sunday afternoon in early March, turning down the street where most of the stores are perched: the little restaurant that serves up delicious slaw burgers each day; the small dry goods store where Momma bought our shoes when we were little, and a mom & pop grocery store, the aisles so narrow you are forced to brush against familiar-looking people to get by.


* * *

Jake, Duke, Dolly and Me

Jake Turnbow was 52 years old and owned the Jiffy Mart when I met him. The clerk hired me, and I didn’t see him until I’d been working there for a good little while. He never said nothing to me when he was around the store. But that was before I jumped into the back room. I used to jump a lot. Instead of walking from one room to the next, I’d kind of hang onto the door frame and jump into the next room. Of course, I was only 17 then. I don’t jump nearly as much anymore. Anyway, I jumped into the back room and you would not believe what Jake Turnbow did.

* * *


Maybe I'll get motivated tomorrow. Or the next day. Or something like that.

6 comments:

Suzanne said...

I LOVED this concept and post. All those first paragraphs make me want to read more.

Suz said...

Definitely, those just whetted my appetite.

Now I'll be thinking all day . . .

Sandra Ree said...

I loved that each and every first paragraph was in the age range that I could relate to! Yes, they made me want to read more too! Well, Brenda? :)

Rhonda Hartis Smith said...

Brenda,
You are awesome! I'm an avid reader when I'm not painting and I agree with everyone else-when you read these paragraphs, you want to read more. I go through the same thing with painting--I'll clean house (which I hate), organize the closets, put the canned goods in alphabetical order, well you get the picture.
Rhonda

mlh said...

I know how you feel. Sometimes you just find a day where all you are doing is dragging your feet.

But tomorrow is another writing day...

Jeanna said...

A "dry spell" is only time between "wet spells." You'll do it.

All words and pictures © 2008 Brenda G. Wooley