Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Let's get Fictional Too

About two weeks ago I started a story. After writing a few paragraphs, creating a bit of an exposition with our setting and a main character introduced, I asked you, the loyal reader to come up with ideas for how we were to continue.

To my great surprise, most of you wanted to immediately kill our just introduced character in a pique of now-for-something-completely-differentness or have her slowly tortured to death. I must agree with one of our readers: I can think of much better things to do with her in the early morning field.

And so the ideas came in as comments and emails. I must thank Connor for some off the best ideas so far. And not one of them had to do with dismemberment.

One of you, however, did much better and actually continued the story. Bravo!

Jason Ard picked up where I left off and brought to our story a new background and set of skills to inform his writing. And in a great direction it is going. I look forward to Jason writing more.

Our story starts off looking as though it is in third-person omniscient (mind-reading fly on the wall) and then it becomes clear it is in first person. Jason picked up on that and introduced our narrator to the world into what might be considered an embarrassing situation. His character is certainly one I’d not have thought of. Does he approach or doesn’t he?

That seems up to you. Let’s continue our story. Take a stab, (but not literally please) and send me a portion. Let’s make something unexpected happen. Let’s make something meaningful happen. Let’s make something fictional seem real.

You never know what we might do with it.

Read (and write) on.

She woke in the early April dawn to do as she did nearly every morning during the growing seasons: to walk outside into the air and look out over the acres, to walk lovingly, maternally, through the field to see what was sprouting, what was blooming, what was today becoming ripe.

She was a caretaker to this land, this small farm. Not far from Gainesville, this was a community garden, barely a farm, really, at five acres. She took care of the comings and goings of the volunteers, the implements, the irrigation, and kept watch always. In return she lived here, with a few others, in this small house, took what she needed from the land—and a bit extra to sell at the Saturday farmers’ market—and had her utilities and rent paid by the monthly fee charged to those with plots to garden. And each morning, overall and each row, she surveyed the land.

And like every other morning, she pulled off her covers, pulled on her dungarees and her socks, and silently padded out of the bedroom to the open front door, where she put on her workboots and opened the screen door to walk out onto the porch, carefully closing it behind her by hand so it would not slam.

Standing for a moment on the porch, she looked out ahead and to either side at the trees bordering the greened furrows. Three steps down from the wide porch placed her nearly at the foot of the field, to plant her outspread feet on the soil, stretching her arms wide, raising her palms, face, and chest to meet the rising sun, open wide to the world.

She was surprised, as she nearly always was, by the warm moistness of the barely dawn air. Recognition of such air, at this time of year, was not in her genes. Back home, in the mountains of north Georgia, she would walk outside, just as she did here, to feel the cool air shrink and pull tight her skin while the sun slowly warmed her, the air, the ground, all things. It was a curious but common juxtaposition of opposites she had grown not only accustomed to but comforted by; the quick contraction and slow expansion of her own skin, her body, and the world.

It was on just such a morning that I met her.



PART II

By Jason Ard

I had left my SUV parked near the end of the driveway, and approached quietly out of respect for the morning.

I had rifled the contents of the truck. Being my mother’s son, I had filled the truck with tools and gadgets. I did not bother to unpack any of the packages from between the seats. I knew those would contain frying pans, the inflatable kayak, the tent, and the fishing tackle. None of these would be of any particular help this morning, unless I wanted set up camp here on the side of the road.

I figured I had all the stuff I needed to avert any crisis of reasonable scale. My mother had probably invented the concept of Eagle Scout in a past life; she was always prepared. I strove to fulfill the image, but this situation would be like so many others in my past, and I was lacking the one crucial ingredient to make the only possible plan effective. Still, I consider myself a capable man, and all I needed was a little assistance, here.

I walked up the drive looking at my old, beat-up cowboy boots, and thinking of what I might say to whomever would answer the door when I knocked. Something polite would be a good start, “Good morning, I was wondering if you could help me?” Or, “Hi, I’m broke down at the end of your driveway….” Interesting how nothing really seems to fit when you’re running stuff through your head.

The smell of freshly tilled soil broke my thoughts and I looked up toward the house. There she stood, just off the porch steps, head tilted back and arms outstretched, as if she were a goddess greeting the morning sun. Was I really going to ask this beauty if I could borrow a jack?


Is he? Can he? What happens next? What would you do? Write the next part of our story and let's all find out what happens when we get fictional.

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