mardi 12 septembre 2017

Here I am again with another Assignment from THE STORY INTENSIVE. We had different choices for this one. I chose to start off with this sentence offered by the class. So hope you enjoy the read.
We all had a stake in it: we all had something to win and something to lose.
Our family isn’t the tightest knit family like the ones you see on TV. So sitting in the waiting room is a beautiful family picture I am dying to snap as soon as I step in. My brothers, they both look so groomed and perfect. Blake sitting alone, again, still manages to flaunt his signature Armani dark blue suit though his features are a bit more wrinkled than usual, and when I look closely the circles are darker under his big brown eyes, that don’t look so big right now either. No tie for him, he’s the casual would-be-millionaire and shows it. I don’t know if his patent leather shoes are shinier than his golden wedding band. Derek, the youngest of my brothers. Two whole years exactly, –mom had them on the same date two years apart, she couldn’t have mastered something so unusual, if she’d tried– Derek makes a point to remind Blake as he pinches the small overlap his stomachs pushes from his shirt stretching because he’s sitting down. But looking at Derek sporting his new leather jacket, I recall the story behind it. He told us, –fakely-shying away from his owenership in being the one wanting so bad to buy it– because his wife begged him to buy it in Italy. He’d went on: it was almost like stealing it, so I bought it to make her happy. -Yeah, right, I told myself, you just loved that Derek-‘’the ladies go wild at the bank when he walks in and he’s wearing his Levi’s dark blue 517 boot cut jeans and white shirt under it, my sister-in-law coos with the biggest of grins, unsuspecting why they give him this much attention. I don’t even want to go there. I am jealous of his still slim silhouette. For Christ’s sake he’s fifty-four and look like a freaking teen-ager. Tell me how that can be fair. When I’ve been dieting all my life. Losing 20 pounds, gaining 25. Losing 25 and gaining 30. It’s a never ending cycle.
You’d look at our family pictures and swore we were the happiest of families alive. To tell you the truth, we are a far cry from the Braverman family on the TV show: Parenthood. I enjoyed watching the show so much, I’d fantasize about being Crosby’s wife as dysfunctional as they were, they still had each other’s backs. I can’t believe my brothers are here.
Then I am quickly reminded of why they are, when Derek gets up to greet me distracted by a beep from his iwatch as he asks me how long all this is going to take. I have a busy schedule today.  don’t you always?
They’ve come to ”cash in” as they say in those misleading lottery commercials. But boy, oh boy are they in for the surprise of their well-tailored, shiny patent leather shoe, groomed, adultery filled lives.
I’ll even snap a picture of their surprised faces.
Peggy Elms 09-11-17
Writer

lundi 4 septembre 2017

THE STORY INTENSIVE

Hello there you beautiful people,

It has been a while since I've been here. I missed coming here and sharing my writing. I admit to being shy about the results yet, I am learning in THE STORY INTENSIVE that sharing is part of growing as a writer. So here I go. My first lesson is a I don't remember exercise in freewriting.

Thank you for stopping by, leave a word or two about your thoughts will you, I'd love to hear some input.

I don’t  remember…

                I don’t remember walking home from the school bus the day Samantha slapped me across the face for no apparent reason I knew of. I don’t remember if I cried or if any of my friends witnessed this unpleasant scene.
                I don’t remember my first day in first grade. There was no kinder garden then. They started having kinder garden classes the year after I started second grade and cried the whole first day.
                I don’t remember why I wrote a love note to Jackson in fourth grade when my heart was set on his best friend Isaac.
                I don’t remember if my father was with my mom, Nathan and I while we moved in our brand new home in 1967. I don’t remember seeing mom packing our special picnic lunch of potato salad, baloney sandwiches and a homemade Boston cream pie, she had prepared. So in the end we had one third each of a delicious enough apple pie our new neighbor dropped off to welcome us in the neighborhood. What a treat.
                I don’t remember preparing my lunch of baloney sandwiches every day. But I know for a fact my mother never did. She was always dead tired by the time she got home late from her work in the factory and would go to bed right after we watched the Flying nun at seven thirty.
                I don’t remember how they put Uncle John in the ambulance the night he got really sick and his kidneys failed. It took forever for him to come home from the hospital. I don’t remember my parents giving me a straight answer when I asked about his return. Can’t have been much of an answer or I’m sure I wouldn’t have kept on asking. I don’t remember where I hid the silver dollar I would have wrapped with my favorite wrapping paper I kept neatly in the bottom drawer of my dresser . I picked this happy one in my mind believing it would cheer him up and remind him I was waiting impatiently at home for him to come back and be all better.
                I don’t remember when Safka our fourth and last pet dog left for a new home. Mom didn’t either when I asked her. Dad hadn’t the faintest idea either. So maybe she just ran away.

Terrebonne, 3 September 2017

Peggy Elms, writer

lundi 5 janvier 2015

Maxine's late summer



       She looked at the stove clock and it said 6 :02 am. Miles had left the day before. Good paying job for a big mining company. This was his third time. They flew a crew of about twenty young men to this lost place called Miracle Bay, the coldest area in the province.
It was still dark outside. The almost noiseless split AC unit was humming coolly above her head. Elias was still sleeping and he had left the computer on, another familiar sound. Miles had said that it consumed less energy if you did. So as good obeying parents, who knew nothing really about computers, they knew about saving money and that was fine with them.
            Maxine missed her son. The distance set by this trip was but a prelude to what life had in store for her. Kids do grow up. Kids do become independent adults. All part of life. All good. At least that’s what she was telling herself lately.
            She smiled when she heard Elias call out in his sleep. Dear man, he is a slave to his work and dreams, she thought. She wished he could do more for himself than for her at times. She would be more at peace with herself then. He had worked non-stop for the past three months. Saving up to make up for their holiday in the sun. The first in their twenty year marriage.
        She kept on writing. Practicing her hidden talent. How she enjoyed the fantasies she would dream up. Laying them on paper was the hard part. Sharing her stories was like a whole was burning through her stomach lining. Too many ‘’what ifs’’. 
         For instance, while on her daily walk yesterday she thought of how amusing it could be to write about her childhood summers. Of course, she would use this cool name list she found on the web for her characters. Also, Adele, her best-online-friend had sent her a cool link for writers and she found a whole community laid at the end of her fingertips for her to explore in many ways and in many of her days.
      She delighted in the idea of sharing her early mornings getting her ‘’day-at-the-pool-kit’’ together. How her mom would remind her that she had left a towel on her bedroom chair, as she kissed her forehead before she left for work in the morning. How grown-up she felt fixing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on her own. And the special times, her dad offered her the little spice cake he said he hadn’t been hungry for at work. Maxine knew now that he would save it as a special treat for her whenever he could afford to get one for her from the big food distributor she remembered from a visit at his workplace months earlier. It took all she had not to cry at these memories though.
        She could write about how she would hold on tight to her dollar bill then, while Shelly and her walked, almost ran down the street, filled with excitement at the joy the day would bring. How Shelly would plan their lunchtime right before noon, so they could share a French-fry, which they would soak with vinegar and sprinkle generously with salt.
     The writing went on for a while. She felt confident about elaborating a little, not too much from ideas that would spring, it seems out of nowhere. When inspiration lacked, she did a stretching routine of about twenty minutes. When that was not enough, she would dress-up and go for a long brisk walk outside, searching inside herself for peace settling in her mind, so she could go on writing again. She tried and at times, succeeded in not scaring herself crazy, and kept at it. She would revel in the days she would produce anything at all on a blank page. Even more, when she could type it out on her computer and share it via the world-wide-web.
      Maxine now saw herself as a writer. A published one? A popular one? Not really, but she loved that she had come to a place where her breathing felt less constricted in her chest and allowed her heart to beat more freely. Hence, follow her inspiration and write.


Peggy Elms, writer,
Terrebonne, 05 january 2015.



mercredi 11 juin 2014

HERE I GO

FIRST THE SURPRISE



Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!  

What is this? 

Is this for real?

That's what came to my stunned brain and out of my big mouth as I was reading Sarah Selecky's email explaining how an anonymous doner had paid for my STORY IS A STATE OF MIND ecourse because he/she had been moved by the comment I had written on Sarah's blog about how positively encouraging she had been with a fellow writer concerned about ''the flow'' in her writing. 

This is what I wrote:

Dear Sarah,
I came across your newsletter by a friend on pinterest. She sent me your course and how I would like to do it someday. Money is a bit scarce right now. Still, how glad I am to be finally writing. I started last week and do all the prompts, I had not been writing for at least 2 years and it shows in the way I have become. I am not so thrilled with me these days and you and my sweet friend are life savers. I enjoy my 10 minutes of writing in the morning, I am feeling better and better everyday. I believe writing is curing my sadness, so I shall continue to do so.
Thank you so kindly,
P.S. I had no idea people like you existed. I wish you much success with your future books , I know you deserve it.
So here I am starting a writing blog to share some of what I will be doing with Sarah's ecourse STORY IS A STATE OF MIND, along with links from the tremendously big world wide web, whenever I find them interesting, helpful and insightful for me to share.  I know I can only get better at writing as long as I stick to this program and I'm sure I will be open to try more of what STORY IS A STATE OF MIND has to offer.

I actually struggled a bit on lesson 1, still enjoyed the experience. It was challenging, creative and made me feel I was learning something new in every step. So I couldn't wait to start Lesson 2. 

This is exercise 2; starting a story with another author's first sentence:
Jill McCorkle-
Dear Dr. Love, by now you have gotten several letters from me and this will probably be the last. I have decided to go ahead with my plan to end my life along with Lizzy, my wife, on the twenty fourth of March, which would be our sixtieth wedding anniversary.

I did not tell her or anybody else about my decision. Sadly, there is really nobody else to tell. As you know, from my first letter, I recently received a terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis which would take me to the hospital and leave sweet Lizzy to move into a nursing home alone, and we promised each other we would not let that happen. You know I could not live with myself even for a short time, knowing Lizzy left to bare life alone with Alzheimer. I have seen her become agitated, confused and at times really filled with rage, but the hardest part is when she is sad because she can’t figure out who I am or where she is or  where she left her doll. So you see I am faced with the outcome alone. I am “stepping up to the plate” as my tender hearted Lizzy would say, one last time and doing what needs to be done.

I made sure all our legal papers are in order, I’ve attached a list of names you’ll need to contact. The only special request we have, is that someone spread our ashes in our beautiful lake near our cottage, we sold off years ago, it was by far Lizzy and I’s favorite place to spend leisurely time together when we could at last afford it, I figured it was just the right place to spend eternity together. I’ve drawn a map of where it is on the back of this page. The owners know about our request, but you could check with them if it’s still okay with them. I sure hope it is, for there is not much I will be able to do about it when the time comes and hate to leave that burden with you.

I am sorry we never got to meet in person, though I sensed more than once by reading your column, you respect my decision to terminate my wife and I’s life in dignity and love. As any human being should have the right to do in a dire situation as ours.

I wish you joy and happiness, but most of all; dignity in life and death.

Yours truly, Nathan Prestonn.

LESSON 2 EXERCISE 3:  write with a sentence I started a paragraph with-

The door shut slowly as she quickly turned around, making sure he had left. She then let herself slide to the floor exhausted.
At first, she felt like she was having an out of body experience the shock being so intense, not quite believing she had screamed as loud as he did:
-Go now, you want to. I know I want you to, so go…go now! And he did just like that. Magic really.
He should have slapped her, he should have pushed her, he should have kicked her. He did not do any of these things, though he said if she had been a guy he would have punched her in the face. For that reason only, he did not. Could it be he was as tired as her of this sad dance they had been performing for too many years? Maybe so, she might never know, and honestly now in that moment, she did not care.
Still, she sat there motionless, numb mainly and for so long she wasn’t even startled by the sound of the phone ringing in the kitchen where Brian had thrown it in a fit of rage over an undercooked chicken recipe she had labored through most of the afternoon for them to enjoy together. Seems senseless now.  And at the same time, everything was making sens again. She realized that no matter what she did to please him, it would never be enough.
The phone kept ringing. To her surprise she still would not move. Bracing herself for the burning sensation in the pit of her stomach from the fear she lived with for too long, but it never came, instead, the shift had come in her. She was finally free.

Peggy Elms, writer.