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Bethesda - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today... — LiveJournal
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
Last night was the final class in my workshop at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda. Not wanting moss to grow under my finger, I’ve signed up for another one, which starts next Wednesday. I committed a huge mistake last night, however. I let slip that I enrolled in the new workshop and the Giant Hearing Aid asked once, and then again, which class I was taking, and wrote it down. I fear I will see him, and I can only hope the new teacher will have more control.

Our last assignment was to make a pie from the fruit we spilled on the page the previous week in a rapid exercise of character creation. We had two minutes to describe a tourist visiting the Washington Monument. Quick. Turn the page. Two more minutes to imagine a seagull’s perspective of the monument. Stop. Two minutes to outline the man who mows the lawn at the site. Finally, two minutes to fill out a newly elected congressman seeing it for the first time.

The homework was to write three hundred words chosen from one of those four characters. With a little help in the editing process (thank you), this is my outcome:

Claire had seen the damned thing in books and movies her whole life, but she wasn’t quite prepared for how tall it was now that she was standing at its base. She harrumphed and took her place in line with the rest of the tourists, waiting for the elevator to the top. She looked around at her shuffling neighbors and didn’t see a one that was dressed properly. “No pride anymore,” she quietly sneered. Her niece, who was always fussing over her like she was senile or something, cautioned her that she might be cold but Claire wasn’t going to let her niece or some stupid weatherman tell her she couldn’t wear her red, white, and blue spangled halter top in the capital of her own damned nation. No Sir. It was becoming clear her niece might have been right, Claire thought, as she rubbed her paper thin skinned arms for some warmth, but she’d be damned if she’d let her niece know the better.

The line was inching forward and Claire really wished she had brought that sweater. She shooed a fly away from her cheek and watched a man on a lawnmower making perfect lines in the grass a hundred yards up from her. He was a fine-looking gent as far as she could see, but he was no Abe. Her Abe. No one ever could be. The air grew colder and she rubbed her arms a little quicker.

Cobb had been working the lawn of the Monument for going on twenty-five years and he couldn’t remember a colder April day. The sun was out but a lot of good it did, he thought, as he rode the rough rumble of his mower. He glanced over at the line of tourists. He’d been happy to see the crowds grow over the past few years, after that awful day, and there, among all of those tourists was the brightest reflection of red, white, and blue fireworks he’d ever seen. “Now that’s what I call a patriot,” he chuckled to himself. Cobb let his mower crawl to a stop, and squinted in the crisp sun to get a better look. The colors blurred his vision but he could tell it was a woman, a looker at that, she was. He raised his hand in a wave, even before he could think about doing it, and the moment he did, he regretted it.

Claire craned to look behind her. What was that crazy fool waving at, she wondered. She squinched hard so she could see the distance and damned if that man wasn’t looking right at her. She tugged at her halter with her right hand, smoothed her hair with her left, and beamed the biggest smile she had mustered in longer than she cared to remember.

I walked out of class feeling accomplished, something that undercut my dreadful day. I made a few friends who threaten to put together a writing group, and I felt thismuch more confident in what I’m struggling to pursue.
14 comments or Leave a comment
From: danman869 Date: June 9th, 2004 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Sequins and lawnmower exhaust

That was fun, Terry. You managed to make me want to read more. I always think that's the first indication of good writing: drawing in your reader.

Good for you for signing up for the next workshop. I hope it's even better than this last one.
among_the_stars From: among_the_stars Date: June 9th, 2004 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
i wanted to read more too. *smiles*

i was just talking the other day about wanting to take a writing class but not having the creativity to write fiction. i'm jealous of your talent. you're good. *hugs*
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 9th, 2004 10:13 am (UTC) (Link)
I've no fiction in my brain, either, but taking a workshop brings it out. Sign up! You'll be surprised. I sure was.
shawnsyms From: shawnsyms Date: June 15th, 2004 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)

A looker at that

Your story made me smile very broadly.

>>I've no fiction in my brain

I think I'm finally figuring out that the fiction isn't in my brain, it only reveals itself on the page. I just finished by first short story ever, for a competition my school is having, and it killed me to force it out — specifically because I devoted too much time to trying to imagine it inside my head, and then I ran out of time to actually get the words out and refine them adequately.

You're skillfully expressive. Don't stop.

PS—I emailed you about your impending stop in Toronto. Did you get my message?
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 15th, 2004 08:12 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A looker at that

I found that the quicker I spit it on the page, the easier it is. Just write and don't look back until you're done and then you can fuss over it all.

I don't remember getting your message about Toronto but I am coming up on the 24th and staying at the Days Inn. It would be great to meet if you have time.
shawnsyms From: shawnsyms Date: June 15th, 2004 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: A looker at that

I sent details on how to get a hold of me to guysterrules@livejournal.com. Maybe it didn't get through for some reason—drop me a note at ssyms@inf.ca if you have a sec.

ladycakes From: ladycakes Date: June 9th, 2004 08:54 am (UTC) (Link)
oooh...I want to know more about the Claire person.

I need to take a writing class in the worst way.
lapalomita From: lapalomita Date: June 9th, 2004 09:23 am (UTC) (Link)

Ahhh, reminds me of the good ol' days back when I was an English minor...
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 9th, 2004 10:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh! You changed your screen name. Me so confused but I like it.
lapalomita From: lapalomita Date: June 10th, 2004 02:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oops! I posted about changing my name yesterday =oD "Palomita" (which means "little bird" in Spanish) is my nickname.
quuf From: quuf Date: June 9th, 2004 09:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Lovely. I can see it all.

Abe's my feller, too . . .
guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 9th, 2004 10:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Ooo. You posted a nice, long one today. I can't wait to read it later, when I don't have people screaming at me.
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guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 9th, 2004 10:24 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha. Ha. Ha. Then Awww. I received special mention for the perspective shift. I was stoked until the teacher said the only way to be a writer in the margins of my life is to get rid of my TV. Then I got super bummed.
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guysterrules From: guysterrules Date: June 9th, 2004 10:32 am (UTC) (Link)
I know! I was all "But, but, but..." and then she suggested I put a towel over my TV. Can you imagine?
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