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SilverMoon
September 29th, 2010, 06:45 PM
 
They would never have thought that she’d move away from Manhattan in a pre-owned red pickup truck, adopt a full grown mutt from a shelter, or cut up all of her credit cards just a week after they were sipping Cosmopolitans at Maxim’s.

KiKi’s clique were all trust fund babies whose family trees could be found in the Social Register. And she was expected to marry into a family whose tree was older than hers. All the training. From a young age she was trained in the social graces. French classes at age five, cotillion dances at Knickerbocker’s, coming out party where she almost tripped, walking down the majestic stairway, arm and arm with her father, for the “presentation.” Teenage boys eyeing the girl mother and father would approve of. It was all a matter of what was “correct”.

None of the women in her family were addressed by their birth name. Her mother, Edith, was DeDe. Aunt Susanna was DooDoo. She never knew what to make of that! Her maternal grandmother, TaTa. And the Jack Russell Terrier went by the name of PooPoo. When her sister’s first boyfriend came to the home, the first time for formal introduction, he botched it all up. He extended his hand to Aunt Susanna and said “Glad to meet you PooPoo”. You could hear darling tittering in the living room. But DoDo promptly sat down, head held high and continued sipping her sherry. KiKi, otherwise known as Charlotte, had lost it right then and there, receiving mother’s familiar look of disapproval. And disaster continued on at the dinner table. He was not invited back. Her sister cried for weeks.

The truck was a sturdy old girl. Chipped a little here and there with a missing passenger's headrest but she liked that about this truck. She was so tired of "perfect". So suffocating, she thought, which reminded her to roll down the window. The breeze on her shoulder felt odd in a way. A city girl who always hailed cabs is now being touched by nature's breath. It was a sensual feeling, finer than her silk sheets at home. Home? Not a home, really. Just a house.

She gave thought to her two names. Neither would do. She decided on Char. Char. A fine name for her from now on and she said it many times over just to become acquainted with the sound of it. Yes. It suited her. It sounded like what it is. She tried to remember? An onomonopia? Nevermind, it was hers now. Nothing had never really been just hers before. Not even her name.

She had a hard time keeping her eyes on the road, passing cornfields, old fruit stands, the remains of old barns. She smiled turning up the radio when Born to be Wild came on the oldie’s station while Ruff was ruffing away in the back, taking in the brush of the wind. Something new to him, as well. An extraordinary day for them both. Free of the cage, they’d be in Mannersville in a short matter of time.

The town smelled like old leather. She collected scents like some people collect stamps. Paris smelled like a Cotton Fresh candle just blown out. Morocco had the aroma of Jasmine. It just went that way with her. She quickly noticed the sidewalks were cracked. Big Betty, the town gossip, wearing little Edwardian-like shoes, was swiftly strutting along the street, stopping now and then to peak into the shop windows. Then bash! She tripped on a wide crack in front of Claudia’s Dresses, hauled herself up on the ledge, hurriedly brushed down her floral dress and continued on her way in a huff with bit of a limp. Char laughed, Ruff barked. She hadn’t laughed in such long while. Yes. This was the town she wanted. But would they want her?

She parked in front of the General Store and managed to get out of the truck though not all so gracefully. And there she stood. In fitted burgundy shift, hair in French twist and wearing Jackie O sized sunglasses. Audrey Hepburn if there ever was one. She just hadn’t quite got the hang of how to dress for this new life. Hadn’t thought of blue jeans, plaid shirts or boots from L.L Bean.. She just wanted to get on with it.

A little bell chimed as she opened the door. The plump older woman at the cashier said “Can I help ya fancy lady? I’m the owner so I can tell ya just bout anything in the shop. And where ya hail from? Look like one of those gals from, what’s that show called? Oh yeah, Sex in the City. Love that show. My husband Burt loves it too! His nose right up to the TV. Have to Windex that screen every damn time!” And she let out a large self satisfied hoot. Char smiled. “Might I just look around a bit?” Mrs. Duffy chucked. “Might? Then the little bell chimed and in hobbled Big Betty. She spotted Char, turned to Mrs. Duffy then back to Char who was looking at the magnet rack. She took in one delicious deep breath, cleared her throat and said, liltingly, “Miss? Is that your red pickup out front with that precious dog in the back?” Char could not but help recognize her and smiled amusingly. “Why, yes. And you ask because…?” Big Betty sung “Just curious”. This would keep her busy for weeks to come. She quickly left the store and swiftly waved to Becka across the street who was nagging at her husband, again.

The trailer park was a ways off North Country Road, set off just far enough. Char was pleased with her purchase. The trailer looked like a small house and had a nice screened-in porch area. And the immense oak tree on the small property was a plus. She owned a tree! In her new grey and black plaid shirt, jeans and sneakers (her boots were on order) she drove over to the antique warehouse, the next town over. She saw it. Just what she had in mind. A large crystal chandelier and in mint condition. Old Jack Crowley, who owned the warehouse, was more than happy to help her hook it up after he finished work.

Char had already put up white Christmas lights, neatly strung across the roof’s base, around window frames and the front door. They were to remain there all year long. Crowley got to work on the electricals, then brought out a hefty ladder from his van. Done. The chandelier was now hanging from a high sturdy branch on the oak tree and she could not hardly wait for evening. Char offered to pay Old Jack Crowley but he would accept no money from her. This would not happen in Manhattan unless there were strings attached, she thought. “Novel” Crowley said, as he drove away “Novel, indeed!”

She kicked her feet up on the old wood coffee table outside on the porch while Ruff jumped up on the couch nudging his snout under her armpit as he had taken up to doing lately when wanting her undivided attention when resting. Char gazed at her glorious, hand fashioned moon, hung in the black of night. She leaned her head back against the couch, her hair now long and cascading, wondering if anyone in Manhattan missed KiKi. There were so many of them to choose from.

Gumby
September 29th, 2010, 09:30 PM
Oh, I like this Laurie. Very charming story, sounds like there is a bit of autobiography in there too. ;-)
I'm not good at pointing out punctuation mistakes, so I'll leave that for those with more knowledge than I, but I truly enjoyed this one. :grin: You did good.

SilverMoon
September 29th, 2010, 09:39 PM
A bit of :wink: I was going for a little enchantment . Different from my dark verse, 'eh? I'm very pleased you enjoyed. Thanks, Cindy.

garza
September 29th, 2010, 11:00 PM
Ya done good, as we would say in McRae County. A beautiful 'coming out' story.

Just a few minor nits that any good copy editor would straighten out. For example, by 'klick' I think you mean 'clique'. There are a few other little points, but nothing to distract from a delightful story of freedom.

SilverMoon
September 29th, 2010, 11:45 PM
First things first. Thank you, garza, for taking time to comment being that you have a busy schedule putting the Newsletter together. I knew there was just something wrong with "click". Should have gone back to it. So, thanks for pointing it out. You hit on the most important point. The story is about emancipation. No man there to rescue her or it would turn into Daniel Steele thingy. She can chop her own wood. Thanks, again. Laurie :wink:

The Backward OX
September 29th, 2010, 11:57 PM
I made this same journey close to twenty years ago. Up until now, I haven’t looked back. I was always a country boy at heart, so both my change and your story felt as if I was coming home.

One small nit. In the fourth paragraph you use “old girl” twice. There are some who say that type of thing - close repetition - is to be avoided.

I’m looking forward to hearing more about Char.

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 12:12 AM
Thanks, Ox. Yes, a little auto bio. Haven't looked back either. People ask me if I miss Manhattan. I say, lived a lifetime there already. In fact, I was thinking of continuing the story so thank you for your interest. "Char" stirred up a bit of colourful trouble in that town. Enchanting, now. Yes. But great possibilities for a wild ride. And thanks. You're right. I'll eliminate "old girl". About continuing the story. I don't know how that can be managed here. Part 1, Part 2? Not quite right. Or add onto the same post. But that would make for a "very" long post which people might not have the patience to read. I think not. Any suggestions? Just new here and have no idea how continuations are managed. Thanks, again. Laurie

The Backward OX
September 30th, 2010, 12:35 AM
I would’ve thought entirely new threads each time something’s finished would do the trick. That should work for both new readers and for those of us who follow her around. For new readers, if you wished, you could add a link that takes them back to the original, at the top of a post in a new thread, with a note: “If you’d like to read of Char’s beginnings, click here”. Do you know how to add a link? Click on #1, then Copy/Paste from the address bar.

writerdog
September 30th, 2010, 12:51 AM
I like it and it does touch on many aspects I found when I moved from a larger city in Kansas to a small town in Oklahoma. Good read and explanation of her why she escaped.

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 01:31 AM
I would’ve thought entirely new threads each time something’s finished would do the trick. That should work for both new readers and for those of us who follow her around.

I like this idea. The only possible problem is that I might not be churning Part Two out tomorrow. Perhaps, not till the weekend due to "life stuff". I know how to link but not in this context. Should be able to manage it, though. So basically the question is, do you think three days would be too long a stretch of time to present her, again?

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 01:41 AM
Thank you, writerdog. Another person who relates to uprooting from a city to a smaller town. Quite the experience. She truly did escape! Wouldn't you? :wink: Thanks, again.

The Backward OX
September 30th, 2010, 02:17 AM
I like this idea. The only possible problem is that I might not be churning Part Two out tomorrow. Perhaps, not till the weekend due to "life stuff". I know how to link but not in this context. Should be able to manage it, though. So basically the question is, do you think three days would be too long a stretch of time to present her, again?
Definitely not. Think of your own reading about favourite characters. There would be gaps in your reading. Anyway, attention span might be irrelevant, as Part Two could perhaps easily be a stand-alone piece.

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 02:23 AM
Thanks, Ox. I can tell you now that Part Two would stand on it's own.

caelum
September 30th, 2010, 02:45 AM
Okay, great piece. Love the theme of moving away and starting a new life, and an uptown girl escaping to the countryside is a cool take. Oh she's been living in her white bread world. (sorry :D)

I got a bunch of grammar and style nits for your consideration. These are random thoughts that occurred to me as I read.


They would never have thought that she’d leave Manhattan in a pre-owned red pick-up truck, adopt a full grown mutt from a shelter or cut up all of her credit cards just a week after they were sipping Cosmopolitans at Maxim’s.I'd consider two changes here. Changing "leave" to "move away from" to make that a little clearer, and I'd add a comma before "or".



KiKi’s clique were all trust fund babies who’s family trees could be found in the Social Register.Who's should be a whose here.


All the training.Okay, I have a suggestion here. What you might want to do here is hint at the nature of the training to help ease into the examples you give. Here's an example of how I might rewrite the beginning of the paragraph,

KiKi’s clique were all trust fund babies whose family trees could be found in the Social Register. She was expected to marry into a family whose tree was older than her own. Hers was a class of propriety. From a young age she had been trained in its social graces.


The truck was a sturdy old girl. Chipped a little here and there with a missing passenger's headrest but she liked that about this truck.I'd put a comma before the but, and change the last bit to "but that's what she liked about this truck". Sometimes if the flow is really flying I omit commas before a but or any conjunction.


It was a sensual feeling, finer than her silk sheets at home. No, really. It was a house.I don't understand: "It was a house." Do you mean the air felt more at home than her sheets?


She decided on Char. Char.lol, this is the name of the alien homeworld off Starcraft, a terrible lava-planet. Love the name.


Nothing had never really been just hers before. Exactly, not even her name.Never should be ever here. I might cut "exactly".


She had a hard time keeping her eyes on the road, passing cornfields, old fruit stands, the remains of old barns.I'd say something here to connect the not keeping her eyes on the road with the sights. You could exchange the comma to a semicolon and put something like, "the passing cornfields, old fruits stands, and derelict barns were too beautiful."

hope this is helpful,
-cae

The Backward OX
September 30th, 2010, 03:08 AM
Some more stuff I noticed.

Third paragraph: I think you meant sherry where you said cherry.

And in the third last paragraph, perhaps Old Jack could come over to put up the chandelier “after he’d finished work”, or something like that. Otherwise, readers are left wondering how he can be in two places at once.

The Backward OX
September 30th, 2010, 04:19 AM
Words can be funny at times. That’s funny peculiar. Even more so when they’re names. Take that name Char. On my first read, I somehow didn’t take in that her birth name was Charlotte. So when I came to Char, I searched around in my memory bank for a pronunciation and came up with an opening sound the same as in “church” or “charred”. But “char” is a very English word abbreviated from “charwoman” and meaning a domestic servant, and that didn’t sit right with the free spirit created here. So I thought some more about it. Okay, this time I came up with making the opening sound the same as in “chemist”.

So she becomes Car.

Of course, now I know better. She’s a sister to Cher, which I should have thought of from the beginning, regardless of the fact I missed her birth name.

But just look at the potential here for confusion, when you’ve made your name into a household word with Owning a Glorious Moon.

So, there’s these two old biddies join a writing group.

‘Have you read the latest by SilverMoon?’

‘Yes, isn’t she a marvellous writer. Look at the way she develops the character Car.’

‘Car? What are you on about? I thought we were talking about Glorious Moon. There’s no one called Car in that. It’s all about some old charwoman.’

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 04:20 AM
Thanks, cae, for covering so carefully. I've made all the changes you suggested and fixed the punctuation and grammar problems.



I don't understand: "It was a house." Do you mean the air felt more at home than her sheets?


I tried to make it clearer with this change:


It was a sensual feeling, finer than her silk sheets at home. Home?. Not, really. It was a house.

I see how clearly, now, that there needs to be some sort of introduction into her "social rituals" and plagiarized you there!

I'm glad you like the name Char. Now, you and Ox can fight it out!

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 04:48 AM
Ox. Oh, yes. I've made that mistake before. You can tell Sherry is not my drink of choice. And, thanks. Old Man Crowley did need to man his store no matter how much he liked Char. A fix already. Thanks!



Quote from the Questioner

So she becomes Car.

Of course, now I know better. She’s a sister to Cher, which I should have thought of from the beginning, and so on...

I LOL! You are a riot! I needed that. Thanks. I'll sleep on "Char" tonight. Noooo. That should be put another way. I'll reconsider in the morning. :wink:

P.S. "Char" You and cae could have an interesting conversation about the charms and confusion regarding the protagonist's name.

caelum
September 30th, 2010, 07:23 AM
Oh, now I see what the house part was about. :) I think your clarifying helps it out a bit.
-cae

Olly Buckle
September 30th, 2010, 09:34 AM
A nice beginning with lots of potential directions you can take it, looks like you could have fun with this. One thing jarred for me, the smells, Paris i think of as smelling like a urinal, Morocco has various smells, in the towns it is like the disgusting bin at the back of a butcher's shop, in the mountains it is pine trees and crisp mountain, by the sea it smells like the sea does everywhere. But I guess Car lives in a different world from me and moves in different circles. Always interesting to see people trying a different direction, good move.

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 01:39 PM
Thanks, Olly. I've been to both Paris and Morocco. Something might be wrong with my olifactory factor. Concerning Morocco, I was thinking of the verdure. However, the slums did smell like urinals. And I know this because? I've made the mistake of popping in the wrong rest room on several occasions, I'm afraid. Yes. There's lots of places I can take this. Will be an interesting process! Several ideas floating around. Just have to nail the best one down and write by the headlights like I've just done. In college it was required that we outline first. I found this very limiting.

SilverMoon
September 30th, 2010, 01:48 PM
Oh, now I see what the house part was about. :smile: I think your clarifying helps it out a bit.

Yes. But if not for you, it wouldn't be clear enough. Just a couple of added words can make for the comprehensible. Thanks, again. Laurie

Nellie
October 1st, 2010, 12:29 AM
Laurie,

This almost seems like a tell all story, coming from you.

I like the 3rd paragraph where it tells that women are not addressed by their birth names. When I initially read it, I thought DoDo was to be pronounced as DooDoo, which could have been mistaken for PooPoo.

It will be interesting to see were you will take us now.

Cindy

SilverMoon
October 1st, 2010, 01:21 AM
Thanks, Cindy. Life is getting crazier by the minute so I may not continue until after a little a while.

Chesters Daughter
October 1st, 2010, 01:16 PM
I told you to write prose, my wonderful friend with a gifted pen, and you did so with success, kudos. Out of my element here, know nothing about prose save for what floats my boat, and this most certainly does. Another installment, please, I should like to follow Char, newb that I am still got the name thing. Please continue, Laurie, you have a rapt audience in me and others from what I see. Excellent effort, wish I could be her, small town, nosy bitch and all, leaving behind all that hinders, continue love, I want to know more. We both know you have tons of fodder for the fire, let it burn. Big hugs.

SilverMoon
October 1st, 2010, 02:15 PM
Thank you, Lisa. So pleased you enjoyed Char and her travels! Turns out I will get to second installment earlier than thought yesterday. So stay tuned! Laurie