Dare ya!

Thinking about writing a post for here this AM by either commenting on my need to spend time on my novel or complaining about spaced-out grocery baggers who love to put bottles of tea on my tomatoes?

OR should I ignore the blog and go write a story (begin one, edit an old one, get back to the novel instead of blogging about getting back to the novel?)

Then bam! Why not write a story here using the prompt I posted today? Do it all real-time, warts and all?

First thought: If I do it here, won’t I be mortified if it’s crap?

Thought 2: And it will be crap because it will be first words, first thoughts.

Thought 3: But what if in the end it has juice ? I won’t be able to send it out, will I?

Thought 4: Aren’t I the one who preaches about “disposable fiction?” Get over yourself, Gay.

Disposable fiction? Have I mentioned this concept here? Let me do that briefly.

Like so many writers, especially writers who are just figuring out how ugly courier really is, I used to think that any half-way decent thought, sentence, paragraph return was precious if I actually managed to produce it. I’d cling to it as if it had been written on clay tablets. I’d totally rework a story around that one surprisingly lyrical bit so I could keep it. The result of course was convoluted crap.

And that’s exactly the way to become a convoluted crap writer. Not my overall goal.

So at some point, over time, I came up with the idea of thinking of my initial writing as “disposable.” This wasn’t easy because I was so afraid that if I wrote a good line or created an evocative image, I’d never come up with something quite as good ever again. But that’s nuts. Not only does a writer come up with reams of stuff, it steadily gets better the more you toss out there.

So with all that in mind, I’m going to write a piece of throw-a-way fiction in this spot. I’m not going to worry about if it’s good, going to be good, going to get me into Smokelong. I’m just going to see what happens. For the fun of it. For the hell of it.

I’m going to use the prompt I posted at EDF’s Flash Fiction Chronicles today and I’m going to set a timer. 20 minutes. I’m not going to edit it now. When the bell rings, I’m going to quit. Step away from the words, regardless of how shitty they are. And come back to them later. I can always throw them away.

Here’s the prompt:

PEPSI-DYSPEPSIA-FLUCTUATE-ETON JACKET-ICE BOAT-BLUE GOOSE-STARKVILLE-LUNCHEONETTE-PONDER-REVERBERANT

It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself. –Salvador Dali

It’s 7:30: GO!

___________________________________________________________________

I waitress at night at the Starkville Luncheonette on State Hwy. 41, just down the road a bit from Clancy’s Grease and Lube and about a mile before the first real intersection in town. Donnie lets me wear jeans and t-shirts, thank goodness, not a one of those scratchy gold-colored uniforms with the white collars and starched aprons that my mom wore back in the day when she worked the counter.

The place is empty so I’ve got time to ponder what I’m going to do about my daughter. Her name is Beth, she’s twelve, and she’s already got some breasts. I think it’s time we get out of town, leave the river and the coal mine behind, head somewhere that has a winter to it, where blue geese dip through gray skies and aand old men build wooden houses on icy lakes.

I’m wiping down the counter for the millioneth time when a thin guy wearing a plaid jacket and shorts come in the door. I didn’t hear a car or truck out on the gravel so he takes me a little by surprise. I take my own half-filled Pepsi glass off the counter.

“Hey,” he says. “You got pie?”

“Lemon meringue, no berry.” I straighten up, tossing the rag under the counter, and before I can stop myself, I’m smoothing down my hair with a damp hand.

“Lemon”ll do.” Grinning he slides onto the stool opposite to me. Puts his large fists on the table. No wedding ring. Let my eyes flick up to his sun-burned face, green eyes, slightly crooked front teeth.

“Coffee?”

“”You got herb tea?”

Herb tea? This makes me smile. But my back is turned now so he can’t see it. I pull the lever on the hot water. Grab a basket of tea bags. “Where’s your car?”

“I walked. I been walking all night.”

Now that he says this I can see that his jacket is dusty his dark hair greasy. “You a hobo?”

“That’s a word you don’t hear these days?” he says.

“Well, the train does go by here. You look like you’re moving through.”

“I’m not. I’m staying.”

“Oh.” I shrug and turn away to get that last piece of lemon pie for him and there’s something queasy going on in my stomach. This guys kind of nice looking, but wierd too and I’m thinking maybe I need to call old Deputy Dave.

“Good pie,” says the guy. He holds his fork like a gentleman. I’m surprised because for some reason I’d thought he’d have that prison grip thing going on.

___________________________________________________________________

7:52. Buzzer went off but I had to finish my thought. Will check this out later and see what I’ve got

4 thoughts on “Dare ya!

  1. eBlue

    This is brilliant – both the snippet and the idea of disposable fiction.
    My old Creative Writing professor used to tell us to “kill our darlings” all the time – if he had explained the thought with less violence, I might have understood then as clearly as I do now.
    Thank you.
    (tl.schofield, blogging in the dark)

    Reply
  2. Dan Tricarico

    Hi Gay, You are an amazing writer. This was so much fun to read and your story in LITSNACK is still one of my favorites that I included. What I love about this are the details. The narrator doesn't just have a Pepsi, but it's “half-filled.” She's been there and she's been drinking it. The guy doesn't just want coffee, but goes into a diner and orders “herb tea.” It's those little things that make it so real. Thanks for the continued instruction on how to write great fiction. Dan

    Reply
  3. Dan Tricarico

    Hi Gay, You are an amazing writer. This was so much fun to read and your story in LITSNACK is still one of my favorites that I included. What I love about this are the details. The narrator doesn't just have a Pepsi, but it's “half-filled.” She's been there and she's been drinking it. The guy doesn't just want coffee, but goes into a diner and orders “herb tea.” It's those little things that make it so real. Thanks for the continued instruction on how to write great fiction. Dan

    Reply

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