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SilverMoon
October 2nd, 2010, 04:00 AM
After all it was natural. In a short matter of time the peak of her immediate purpose had been realized. Though, Char felt divided with one foot still frozen on Park Avenue, the other one planted here, Manersville, where she wanted to move like a gypsy dancer. She was finished with the waltz.

She pulled her foot right out of Park Avenue the morning she saw her neighbor, Dwight, trimming his hedges and whistling some cheerful tune she couldn’t make out. She took that step after having holed up on the porch for three days.
“Dwight. What is in that canister over there filled with red fluid?"
He put down his shears “Well, come on over! Just don’t stand there. This here,
by the window, is humm’n bird juice. Attracts ‘em like bees to honey.” Char examined it, realizing she had never seen a humming bird. “You know… Ye can’t be telling me you ain’t never seen one? Well, now, we’ll just have to fix that! Margie!” he called to his wife “The feeder needs some more juice. Nearly down to the bottom. Eh! It’s your job to keep up with that this here.” His wife, hair in curlers, came out giving him a good hollering and the two went at it not even realizing Char had left. Two, still in love and at this business probably for years. She smiled for the first time in three days.

She had been living, sleeping on the porch couch since she arrived and decided it was time to get rid of the echo in the house. Here, the time to creatively express herself; express it all, finally. Then she remembered the chandelier. If she could create her own moon she could craft anything.

Most people wouldn’t think to start with the bathroom but Char reasoned that it was the first place you see yourself in the morning and the last at night. Two of the most intimate times you spend with yourself. Her mind was rushing like a waterfall, overflowing and wild. She would go kitsch. An Elvis Presley theme. Not that she cared for his music but what she could do with the imagery!

She found a poster of Fat Elvis in the mall forty minutes away. Purchased a loud pink shag toilet seat cover and rug. Found a stencil kit for guitars which she’d use as a border. The wall would be painted silver. Not sure she would find that, there. She would have to wait to get home and check out the hardware store. Char found a sundry of paraphernalia which would suit Fat Elvis. But what she found in an exclusive store which sold high end bathroom fixtures! A clear toilet seat with works embedded. Small syringes for shooting up, pills; all different sizes and colors. Now, this is what Fat Elvis would have had in his bathroom.

There was silver paint in Joe’s Hardware so off she went to work while playing the Beatles White album. The work took her two days being that painting in the stencil guitars took up much of her time. “Fini !” she laughed. Her second favorite thing in the bathroom next to the drug toilet seat was the old garish frame she painted gold for Fat Elvis’ poster. She slept well that last night dreaming up what she would do tomorrow.

She woke feeling peculiar, uncharacteristic. It wasn’t a bad feeling. In fact, she felt a rush of adrenaline surging through her veins. Char felt tempestuous. Very Janus Joplin like that morning, ready to live on the edge. An outlet of sorts. She’d brought an array of clothing here. The clothing was all very different. But of course, she was still going through an identity crisis. What to wear in this new life? So that morning she dressed in a long hippie smock, found the love beads still in the bag, teased her auburn hair into an entire disaster and sang “Me and Bobby McGee” off key. Freedom's just another word...

It was a small, clannish Irish town. Generations of O’Malleys, Boyles, Kellys. A haven unto themselves. The town was never busy but it was the busiest that day. Char walked around town with Ruff who was in the training process. “Heel, heel, heel” she’d instruct. But he would just look at her with those sad eyes. Manipulator, she thought. Being careful not to trip on the sidewalk cracks, she heard rushed whisperings, noticed piercing or bewildered looks and abrupt bursts of coughs. Well, she held her head up high as Janus would have done when she wasn’t nodding off. Then she saw Big Betty passing her way.

In the diner, Big Betty was waiting for Becka who she'd just rung up as soon as she pressed herself into the booth. Becka arrived ten minutes later complaining about her husband but Betty put a stop to that “Our town is being infiltrated!” Becka thought she was beginning yet another histrionic rant. “Earlier this week, I told you, there was this city looking like girl in the General Store who owned a pickup truck. I thought that quite odd to begin with. Then no one sees her. Wait a minute! Jimmy did say he saw a pretty lady exiting Joe’s Hardware. So in fact, she’s still here somewhere. Now, if I wasn’t just blown down. I passed a hippie walking a dog just now.” Becka laughed. “Now, stop joshing me Betty. You had me come all the way down here while I was tell’n Jack I was cutting him off from drinking at O’Brians Pub. Every night he barely makes it to the door!” Big Betty huffed “I tell you our town is being infiltrated by outsiders. This is no tourist town. We’re family.” And word did certainly get around that more were to come to disrupt their ways.

Char had had a good stroll with Ruff but had enough of it. He jumped into the back of the truck and off they drove to Old Jack Crowley's Warehouse. She had a rocking chair in mind for the living room. “Char, my girl, look’n like you’re from the 60’s today?” She pushed back her ratted hair. “Jack, it’s called vintage dressing” “Oh!” he said “Well then for that effort, you’ll be gett’n a big discount today. And how’s that chandelier holding up?” The biggest smile “Holding up like the moon, Jack. Holding up like the moon.”

Once home, with a Quaker rocking chair, she went into her Fat Elvis bathroom. Looked at herself in the mirror, thinking of all the stares and whisperings she had seen and heard that day. She didn’t mind a bit.

The day she closed her eyes and pointed her finger on the map, landing on Mannersville, was the day she knew she’d make a home for herself anywhere. Anywhere but a metropolis. If it had landed on Chicago, she would just have to cheat and give it another try. She deserved other tries.

Char washed her hair, using nearly a whole bottle of hair conditioner to get the tangling out. Then, dressed in a flannel nightgown and with wet hair, she looked nearly like a young girl. She went out into the chill of night to the side of the house to turn on the chandelier which hung from the strongest, high branch on the old oak tree. She returned to the porch couch, looked up to her chandelier moon and knew that happiness was a matter growing yourself up.
 
 
 
 

 

The Backward OX
October 2nd, 2010, 06:18 AM
“So Bobby thumbed a diesel down
Just before it rained;
Took us all the way to New Orleans”

How's my memory?


Back later, when I have time to take it apart.

The Backward OX
October 2nd, 2010, 01:00 PM
Laurie, this makes for fascinating reading for an insider, in that some of ‘who you are’ comes through. Perhaps someone with more knowledge than I on such matters might be able to advise you of ways in which the essential Laurie could be harnessed - oops, that wasn’t quite what I meant - ways in which ‘who you are’ could be used to greatest advantage in the creative world. Did that make sense?

Here are a few specific thoughts.

You need to decide in advance in which tense - present or past - you wish to set your story, and ensure you apply that consistently.


And here’s another inconsistency - easily remedied by keeping focussed -



Though, Char felt divided with one foot still frozen on Park Avenue, the other one planted here. Here, where she wanted to move like a gypsy dancer. She was finished with the waltz.

She had been living, sleeping on the porch couch since she got there


Note the “here” in the first two sentences and the “there” in the third. Here and there are different places.



Found a stencil kit for guitars which she’d use as a boarder.

The word you need here is border. A boarder is a lodger who is supplied with regular meals.



She’d brought an array of clothing on her second day there.

Here it is again. The word needed is “here”.



sang “Me and Bobby McGee” off tune.

I think most people say off key.

“We finally sang the very song that driver knew.
Freedom’s just another word....”



“Heal, heal, heal” she’d instruct.

Heel. Heal is what the doctor does.



In the diner, Big Betty was waiting for Becka who she rang up as soon as she pressed herself into the booth. Becka arrives ten minutes later complaining about her husband

You have two tense issues here. The first is “for Becka who she rang up…”. This is present tense, whereas the story is set in the past. What it should be is “for Becka, who she’d rung up”. The second is “arrives”. That’s also present tense and should be “arrived”.



Char washed her hair, nearly using a whole bottle of hair conditioner to get the tangling out.

Now for something different. “Nearly using” means that she came close to using it but used something else instead. It’s easy fixed. Just reverse the order of the two words.



Then, dressed in a flannel nightgown and with wet hair she looked nearly like a young girl.

You wouldn’t by any chance have a photo you could spare?


Keep up the good work.

garza
October 2nd, 2010, 01:23 PM
Please, Ox. 'We finally sang up every song that driver knew.' Don't misquote the scriptures.

Silver Moon - Ox found all the nits. All that's left for me to say is it's a good continuation of a great story. Keep going.

SilverMoon
October 2nd, 2010, 03:56 PM
How's my memory? What did I just read?

Ox, editor extraordinaire, thank you for such thorough coverage! It’s been so long since I’ve written a short. In the past, I had severe “tense” problems. So much so, you’d think the characters were in and out of a time machine. I’m so glad you pointed out the inconsistency with Becka in the diner but, again, feared that there would be more issues than the other few you pointed out.

“Nearly using” (the conditioner) was a sterling catch. Would have never crossed my mind. And it took her about a half an hour...

My repetition of “here” and “there” and the context in which they're used is duely noted. Will be on the look out in the future.

Consider everything a fix.
 

You wouldn’t by any chance have a photo you could spare?

I’d be happy to oblige you but I'm afraid Ruff got a hold of the pics and chewed them all up. She’ll never get him trained!

SilverMoon
October 2nd, 2010, 04:03 PM
garza, revealing a little secret. You got me going on with this. Reading your short "Ralf" fueled me. So, you must take allot of credit for this story. Glad you're enjoying. And thank you so much for your kudos!

Nellie
October 2nd, 2010, 05:53 PM
Laurie,

Sorry I couldn't point out any of the error(s) last night the same way Ox has done, but then my memory isn't so good. I was more into the moral of the story than picking things apart.
Aren't characters always in a Time Machine anyway?! Our minds are the time machines, we go back and forth in time, wishing we could have, would have, etc.
I do like your style of writing in prose. I know we will hear more.

Cindy

SilverMoon
October 2nd, 2010, 07:12 PM
Hi, Cindy. I thought this would be the closer but I get the idea that more are wanting to hear about Char and her escapades (you included! Thanks). An honor. So, I'll bring in part three. Fleshing her out even more. Holy God!


Aren't characters always in a Time Machine anyway?!

Ox was pointing out the importance of grounding the story with the same tense. I'm using the past tense and slipped up a few times bringing in the present tense. Though, if writing a novel you can switch tenses. I've read this on many occasions. About the interweaving. Having the space, the many pages to do this.

And big thanks to you for liking my prose style. I'm really new coming into it. My former attempts are in dusty folders, just where they should be!

caelum
October 3rd, 2010, 01:25 AM
Hey, Laurie, nice continuation from the other piece. Sounds like she's getting established and having some fun with her abode. I don't have many nitpicks, but a few observations. You may want to initiate new lines with each snippet of dialogue. This isn't always necessary, but it's especially helpful when there's an exchange between several players. For instance:


“Dwight. What is in that canister over there filled with red fluid?" He put down his shears “Well, come on over! Just don’t stand there. This here, by the window, is humm’n bird juice. Attracts ‘em like bees to honey.”You could put it as:

“Dwight. What is in that canister over there filled with red fluid?"
He put down his shears “Well, come on over! Just don’t stand there. This here, by the window, is humm’n bird juice. Attracts ‘em like bees to honey.”This makes clearer who the speaker is. Got a few other observations.

But he would just look at her with those sad eyes. Manipulator, she thought.I find dogs impossible to resist when they're like that.


She returned to the porch couch, looked up to her chandelier moon and knew that happiness was a matter growing yourself up.That's an interesting note to end on. Sometimes I think happiness is a matter of accepting things, which could be put as growing up.

all the best,
-cae

SilverMoon
October 3rd, 2010, 02:17 AM
Thanks, cae.




“Dwight. What is in that canister over there filled with red fluid?"
He put down his shears “Well, come on over! Just don’t stand there. This here,
by the window, is humm’n bird juice. Attracts ‘em like bees to honey.”
Reads sooo much better! A fix.


But he would just look at her with those sad eyes. Manipulator, she thought.
Thanks for this observation.

Colloquial "Growing herself up" Especially, as she was "formed" all of her life, this was her happiness.

Great points. Thanks. Laurie

Chesters Daughter
October 4th, 2010, 08:23 PM
Sorry for my tardiness, Laurie, love, you know I've had stuff going on. Again, I must state for the record that I am out of my element here so I can only comment as a reader. Great visuals, your imagery is superb and the story is very engaging. It chugs along like a happy express train, no boring stops. Kudos. Love that Elvis bathroom, great detail there. I believe there's quite a bit of you in your Char, wise choice, love. Okay, you know what a pain in the butt I am about nits, so I'm sure you're expecting the following. Such a disgusting creature of habit I am. Here goes. I don't think you need that comma after Though in the first line, I found that pause awkward. Actually, it might be better to lose the cap in Though and swap the period after realized with a comma, but that would make for some run-on sentence. Where are the grammarians when you need them? Hopefully someone else will come forward because I'm a bit unsure about that one. No comma in "Nearly down to the bottom."

"Here the time to express herself creativity..." should be either her creativity or herself creatively. Overflowing is one word and there is a typo in Presley. No comma in "Not sure she would find that there." Typo in "suite Fat Elvis", should be suit. No apostrophes before the s in both O'Malleys and Kellys. Should be pickup truck. "Anywhere but a metropolises", the a indicates singular, it should be metropolis, or remove the a and leave it as plural. I think you may need a comma after "wet hair"

Sorry for being such a nitpicker, I know these are all really tiny things, but I come to a full stop when I encounter them. Not good for flow. Don't fret, though, I doubt others are as anal as I. These short stories are sure a helluva lot longer than poems, and again I apologize for taking so long. You got a great thing going on here, Laurie, and I am super pleased you've decided to continue, you've tickled my curiosity. See, I told you wrote beautiful prose, so nyah. Keep up the great work, love.

SilverMoon
October 4th, 2010, 09:00 PM
Lisa, no nit pics. Good, strong observations and advice! You're in good company with my critics. Going to go over the fine points you made and make the changes. Yes, you did say my PMs are sometimes like prose. I'm sure that stuck in my head as did garza's short, getting me thinking to take the plunge. Glad you liked the Fat Elvis bathroom. Had allot of fun with that! What follows keeps much of the fun in but becomes more poignant. "Char fini" due in a few days. What follows this is "Char continues..." And you, too, did arrive "fashionably" late! Thanks for showing up at all! You know how I value your input. Laurie