Monday, September 26, 2016

Edits

My entry for Janet Reid's last flash fiction contest was completed at nearly three a.m. on Sunday morning - an unconscionable hour to hit the "submit" button on any writing (and comments on the internet), but ... I'm actually kind of happy with this piece.

Two edits did come to mind, and though they look small I think they make all the difference.


As published originally ...


"Eleven replies!"

Mom was frantic about the wedding. Cakes, invitations. She wasn't joyous, it was just her job to do, her attention to get, her show, her stress.

How had this become about her?

It became my way to prove her wrong. We’d have more than a pot to pee in.

But we couldn't even afford toilet paper. The last week before our first anniversary, dad drove 500 miles to help me move back home. OJ's slow chase on the TV. Rodney and I queerly relaxed. Dad wasn’t.

Hope crushes easy as a Dixie cup. We couldn’t afford those either.


As I'd like to edit it ...


"Eleven replies!"

Mom was frantic about the wedding. Cakes, invitations. She wasn't joyous, it was just her job to do, her attention to get, her show, her stress.

How had this become about her?

It became my way to prove her wrong. We’d have more than a pot to pee in.

But we couldn't even afford toilet paper.
The last week before our first anniversary, dad drove 500 miles to help me move back home. OJ's slow chase on the TV. Rodney and I queerly relaxed. Dad wasn’t.

Plans crush easy as a Dixie cup. We couldn’t afford those either.


***


That "paper/the" break provides a necessary segue, a  beat and a physical separation to represent the 51 weeks that have passed.

Hopes and plans are different things, and ... to be honest, in this piece (which is not fiction), hope had little honest place. The PLAN, back then, had been to prove mom wrong, to get over those lies not actually in the text above, to transmogrify into a Grown Up magically, without actually maturing or growing. A plan (hope?) destined to failure.

We really were listening to O. J. Simpson's slow-speed chase as we packed up, and my dad definitely was unspeakably distressed. Beloved Ex and I really did find ourselves relaxed, after the decision to separate was made. We were done, the worst had happened (for the first time ...).

My mom, for the record, was NOT really like this. Well, not specially so. But it was a curious time, especially looking back on it. The wedding seemed, sometimes, to have little to do with me. Less still with BEx. There was a lot of part-playing going on at that time in my life, and I wasn't the only one doing it.

We did split a week before our first anniversary; it seemed a good idea, so as not to falsely celebrate. And yet, BEx had gotten me a gift. He'd researched - year one was cotton. I still have the woven throw he gave me; it's waiting to be laundered, having been a favored Gossamer-nap-spot this summer. We at the top layer of our wedding cake together, before dad even came, I think. I probably gained five or ten pounds. It was good cake, though. Almond. Golden pound cake.

The curious coda, of course, has been that BEx is what he is in my life. Still important, though we haven't seen one another face to face since September 2001. Still someone I admire - and, oddly enough, can depend upon.

He was a good man, and I knew that, and that was why I married him. If only I'd been a good woman. Or a woman at all. At least, I am a good friend. I was a rotten wife.

Still working on that part.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Flash

Janet Reid is having another flash fiction contest, to win a copy of Donna Everhart's The Education of Dixie Dupree.

Per our Supreme Hostess, the rules:


               The usual rules apply:

               1. Write a story using 100 words or fewer.

               2. Use these words in the story:


                              dixie


                              eleven


                              lies


                              home


                              mom

So this is why I am up at this ungodly hour. I've been writing ...


"Eleven replies!"

Mom was frantic about the wedding. Cakes, invitations. She wasn't joyous, it was just her job to do, her attention to get, her show, her stress.

How had this become about her?

It became my way to prove her wrong. We’d have more than a pot to pee in.

But we couldn't even afford toilet paper. The last week before our first anniversary, dad drove 500 miles to help me move back home. OJ's slow chase on the TV. Rodney and I queerly relaxed. Dad wasn’t.

Hope crushes easy as a Dixie cup. We couldn’t afford those either.