My regular post will be posted this weekend…here’s something new (to you)…
So, a couple years ago, when I was between work contracts/unemployed for 11 months, I decided I’d write a novel…2.5 years later, I’ve written 50 single-spaced pages of “keeper material” and have oodles of words, sentences and concepts that I will incorporate. Having been at my present job for a year and a half, novel writing is slow going…I haven’t touched it for a couple months…but, starting a blog (another unplanned venture) gives me much-needed (and almost-instant) gratification…it’s also serving to make me a better writer; and affords me the opportunity to share and connect in the here-and-now….
Also, I want to give a shout out to Gary Jeffries…. http://www.fictionisfood.com
He’s the one who, by example, inspired me to share part of my novel-in-progress…he’s actually working on more than one; and has far surpassed my few chapters…he’s a brilliant writer and a fantastic human being 🙂
Anyhow, I will continue to write my novel…I can feel the excitement returning; but, in the meantime, here’s a glimpse….can you please let me know what you think?
….Oh-oh, I can feel my nerves tugging on my heart-strings already…vulnerability is such an unavoidable consequence of putting your self out there… 🙂
“Tadpoles, Uplifters, and Other Divine Appointments”
(“I knew I loved you before I met you, I must have dreamed you into life”—Savage Garden)
Well, hello and how wonderful…how very, very wonderful!
Can you give me a few seconds to pinch myself…
just to be certain I’m not dreaming?
What I mean to say is, I’m not the kind of person who can write no wrong…so, although when I write, all is right in my world
a novel as novel as this isn’t exactly a safe bet, and….
Oh-oh! I’m saying too, and two, much of everything, which kind of makes four a dubious brand of gambling-rambling…
a freestyle approach that rarely bodes well…
Although, that is my favourite way of sorting out conundrums, for, life is riddled with them, don’t you find?
But, that’s a whole other story!
What I’m badly saying….
and wanting badly to say is…
I just love that you are here…
For, while you’ll soon realize I’m in no position to dismiss miracles,
I can still appreciate that fate, curiosity, and preferences can be wildly unpredictable things—
So, I easily imagined that 999,999 readers wouldn’t find their way here.
Yet, somehow, here you are..
the one person I was wishing for most of all!!
Yep, this defintley rates as a bonifide D-FI-Y…
Oh, and speaking of acronyms,
and, at the risk of TMI,
Here’s an FYI:
Things are really casual in this neck of the woods; so, it goes without saying that you’re meant to put your feet up and your troubles down.
Furthermore, my intuition tells me you’re a sensitive soul, but—please-and-honestly—don’t worry about sparing my feelings.
Just come and go as you like.
For, although we share this particular place in time,
life is comprised of myriad adventures;
and, it stands to reason that there are bound to be opposing legs of our respective journeys.
So, when we’re not on the same page, I’ll remember to take it all in stride…I can either limp or leap.
Rest assured, I’ll sit on the edge of my pins-and-needles seat just long enough to recall the bottom line…
(*Cue the leap*)
Patience is a virtue.
The very wise see it as an invitation to take hold of faith, and embrace delayed gratification.
Granted, there are plenty of times when this angle calls for just the right light; but, I’m a hopeful hugger, so, until you return, I’ll crane my neck and squint as needed.
(*Here’s another FYI…I say the above bit with equal parts wryness and conviction…I am no saint, and I’m certainly no genius.*)
Additionally, given my flair for detours (tada!), you might want to take a page from:
A) Pinocchio (at his naughtiest)…
B) a backward origami maker
3) The Wizard of Oz…
and think of this offering as one of those long-and-unfolding-yellow-brick-roads that (I dare to hope) leads to an a-mazing and gratifying destination.
And, another indulgence, if you’d be so kind.
In the interest of cordiality and good manners, my first inclination is to introduce myself.
However, we better preserve our anonymity on the imagined chance that, were we to meet, we’d feel unduly self-conscious…
Me, wondering if my wholesome curiosity is being misconstrued as duplicitous-opportunism;
and you, wondering if you are being scrutinized and probed (alien style) for material.
It’s not that I don’t feel a connection: I surely do!
But here’s a second consideration.
Once word got out that I was the holder of this “golden (write your own) ticket”, any faith in a ‘tea-and-talk’ approach became steeped in controversy as several starry-eyed family members, friends, and neighbors (who I adored just as they were) started acting very unlike themselves.
Here, I trust, is an enlightening sampling:
- Regression—resulting in a misguided return to 1980’s stylings: Showy, make-way-make-up; massive hair-don’ts; belly-busting crop tops; so-tight-it-ain’t-right satiny pants; and, remarkably sparkly…everything (not to single you out Nana….nor you, Headmaster Jones).
- Fashionably—“I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date”—entrances, coupled with ‘casual’ juggling (this, from a one-armed watch maker…and, no, the irony is not lost on me).
- ‘Spontaneous’ show tune(less) medlies.
- The donning of boas and tiaras…and evening gloves…at family barbeques.
- Affectations characterized by exotic (and unidentifiable) accents.
- A proliferation of stilted and incomprehensible compliments (i.e. Wow, look at you…being all…you!).
- And last, but not least, Yapododeling (the strange marriage of yodeling and rap…and, before you ask who, mum’s the word).
Now, the suggestion that follows isn’t meant to be disloyal or demeaning…
but, keeping it real, imagine the overall effect is a veritable Cirque du No-way!
And, please understand that, although I certainly have considerable appreciation for all manner of peculiarities, I have a sentimental attachment to the familiar.
So, even allowing for the inevitable changes we all go though, I shudder to think (but can’t shake the feeling) that this inside information was greasing a very slippery slope that, in time, might render my nearest and dearest unrecognizable.
Afterall, I’m known for, “what won’t she think of next”
And, knowing those dear hearts as I do, they’d be utterly bamboozled if I were to do a complete turn-about and became—oh, let’s see—succinct…
So brief I’d become a prime candidate for the Linguistically-Conservative Party.
Yes siree, they’d most certainly wonder where the rest of me had gone, and when I’d be back. And, surely, if I answered, “Soon”, that wouldn’t give them any comfort at all!
Well, that was a mouthful! For, while it’s true that words can’t escape me, saying so much in one fell swoosh takes some getting used to.
Furthermore, in the event I sound like a self-appointed traffic-minder on a one way street, I assure you, this certainly isn’t a solo act.
Granted, ushering you into this new world requires that I have the first…okay…a whole BOOK of words. However, you’re in a position to determine whether I have the last word, on the last page.
And, to that end, I’ve thought to include one very important explanation, and two special features meant to help guide you…
in hopes we don’t lose each other, you understand:
- Because I’ve found that “mental acrobatics” work wonders for the imagination—the heart and soul of magical things—you will come across a good deal of word play, mixed metaphors, and a sprinkling of paradoxical expressions….as in, “Making a mountain out of the tip of an iceberg is a sure way to get to the bottom of things”.
Having said that, just because I dish it out, doesn’t mean you have to clean your plate. After all, one person’s, “(Yum?) Mmmm, chopped liver”, could be another’s indignant, “Hey! What am I…?!”.
But then again, not all risks need be avoided; so, how about we compromise and call any ‘mishops’, “leap frog opportunities”. Just kindly skip over them, and jump to the conclusion I meant well.
- Italicized (squiggly) alternatives and insights— ‘training wheels’, if you will, for those times you might prefer simpler words and/or need greater context…but, I’ll try to be careful, since we all need to exercise our vocabs and minds.
Personally, I’d become “wooden” if I didn’t stretch myself at least 3 times per week
(Oops, that’s twice now…good thing Pinocchio knows I think he’s tree-mendous, or he wood think I was trying to cut him down to size).
- Bolded ‘sign posts’ (because, unfolding roads tend to have many blind corners, side streets, and varying speed limits…hints are meant to save you the trouble of wondering, “Are we there yet?”).
Now, I grant you, dear hearts, these ‘guide rails’ take up extra time and space, but I offer them in humble recognition that you are the keeper of this story—the VIP that will decide its ultimate fate. For, without you, I am, arguably, the tale-telling equivalent of the “hypothetical” tree that falls in a deserted forest and (depending on who you ask) does—or does not—make a sound.
By the way, that tree is very real and very old. Her name is Emily Reed, and she insists that you not worry. She recalls being a bit wobbly that particular day—understandably so, given her advanced years—and word is, her resultant tumble wasn’t as bad as it sounded (mystery solved).
Emily always laughs when she shares that her bark was worse than her fright. However, and most importantly, Emily was never in danger of falling far, because she still has strong roots, and other trees to support her (she sends a special ‘shout-out’ to Bruce Spruceteen and Annie O’Kleif).
Anyhoo, I digress (like I breathe).
My point is, if you weren’t willing to listen, my voice would have no resonance—
I would simply be my own audience of one.
But, whew! You’re still here…so, here we go…
Oh, and thank you so very, very much!
Chapter 1: While Visions of Loveliness Danced On Their Beds
(“You spin me right round, baby, right round like a record, baby, right round, round, round…” Dead or Alive)
The blossoming September morning, more ambitious than any that had come before, radiated a brilliance well-suited to the incredible adventure on the horizon. Then, right out of the blue…pink, amber, with a hint of vermillion…Dawn’s enthusiasm peaked and was punctuated by the most unmistakable of all exclamatory squeals—those of the North American Tween Girl.
Five voices strong, the frenzied emoting (freaking out…in a good way), was composed (not) of whistle notes worthy of a host of operatic divas—or Mariah Carey clones; and—given the ambivalence (yes and no) that comes of straddling two ages—the girls bounced Tigger style in a clockwise group hug, while uttering ululations (this-is-my-tribe cries) suggestive of ancient cultures. Consequently, their uninhibited utterances were transformed into roller coaster trills.
Oh, what a jubilant chorus of wavering vibratos (jolly jiggly notes)!
And, their talents didn’t end there.
In addition to requisite lung power needed to stretch ‘woooooooh’s’ and ‘eeeeeeeeeey’s’ to their thinnest, the girls’ virtuosity (one-in-a-gazillion-talent) included nimble bursts of staccato declarations.
Like a hail of paintball bullets, they blurted colorful girl codes, “O-M-G! B-D-E! O-M-G! B-D-E…!” (Oh, my gosh! Best day ever!); until their ‘spontaneous funbustion’ sparked their favorite bit of all.
Breaking momentarily, they adopted exaggerated expressions of wide-eyed cluelessness—
shoulders up around their ears (their own, of course, not each others)…
each arm bent at the elbow (like checkmarks)…
and, palms held up (like plates awaiting second helpings)…
—they turned to each other and warbled breathlessly,
“Who-the-what-the…?! Who-the-what-the…?!” (An expression of their own making).
(This rhetorical call-and-answer could easily be mistaken for “The Song That Never Ends”; since, as far as the girls are concerned, it never gets old. And, considering their young ages, it also passes for ‘edgy’: for, it borders on saucy, but never crosses the line.)
Now, I appreciate that on a drama-scale ranging from HIGH to ARE YOU FOR REAL?!’, this stratospheric (oh my heavens) introduction is off the charts; but, even if there were such a thing as ‘restrained effusiveness’ (dialed-back gushing), it would do an injustice to the monumentality of this occasion.
You see, today is the last day—before the girls’ first day at—drum roll please…
The Arabella Winthrop School for Exceptional Girls!
And, I must point out that the ‘Exceptional Girls’ reference is not indicative of elitism. That kind of foolishness is contrary to the school’s values; and the same is true of its counterpart, The Maynard Winthrop School for Exceptional Boys.
Rather, it is in recognition that, from day one, all children are awe-inspiringly unique.
And, that being said, even exceptionality must allow for commonality. Otherwise, our five lovelies would be without names, and the telling of this story would be most challenging and confusing indeed!
(However, here are hints of wonders to come. Firstly, I am very real. Secondly, all due respect to Mr. Shakespeare— while a rose by another name does smell as sweet—if these girls had been called anything else, it would be a very different story. Their monikers (“Say my name…”) have shaped each child’s destiny; and their name-callings pave the way for the stuff of dreams and magic.
Back On Track, Straight Ahead…
Presently, convinced that her bed is a night owl in need of a day job, 12 year-old Alison Judith Snodgrass is bounding—determined that her mattress double as a trampoline. And, here’s another heads-up. In another month or so, sans segue, Ayjay will be struck by the notion that her surname sounds like a Dr. Seuss inspiration (… snodgrasslers and zoodlers, all dancing and swaying, chattering hobnoodlers, who knows what they’re saying?); and this will account for one of those gales of laughter that convinces the uninitiated observer that girls tend to laugh at everything and nothing at all.
Thankfully, this brand of cynicism (sour-puss-ness) can do nothing to stifle Ayjay’s joy: she is as warm and whimsy-spirited as her collection of novelty tee shirts, snuggly pom-pommed hoodies, Crayola-colored jeans, and signature woolly and wonderful cold-weather socks.
Speaking of which, when clothes are the topic of conversation, as they often are with females (of every age), Ayjay is likely to repeat that an added bonus of being African Amazian is that her complementary complexion makes bright colors ‘pop’—yellows shine sunnier, blues feel happier, and reds beam brighter.
And, just to give your imagination a better foothold, I need to mention that Ajay is a deep milk chocolate color…after all, how were you to know, given that black people—as with all people of color—come in a wonderful range of shades.
The same is true of Afro-Amazian hair—in terms of multiple variations, I mean. Which, if you will bear with me, brings me to my circuitous point.
This pit stop—a series of introductory anecdotes—features past game changers meant to increase your appreciation for how very human and special these girls are.
Case in point…