Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Will this give me the kick in the ass I need?

I was just talking to my mom a couple nights ago (yay - I love it when I get calls from my mom! From New Zealand!) about my current stay-at-home-mom blues. She understands me well and recognized my need for a "mommy helper." Some kind babysitting soul that can come in once a week and give me a break. Yes, that is what I need right now.

So thinking about that, I got excited about being able to write again. I dug out all my old exercises and materials and found this piece below. We were asked to write a short story in which every sentence began with the next letter of the alphabet. I'm going to retype it here, hoping it will grease the gears a little. And from here on out, whenever I post something writerly feel free to critique, criticize, lambast, praise, send money, or what have you. I'm pretty thick skinned, and welcome whatever you have to say.
"Almost there," Josh said over his shoulder. Behind him I was breathing heavily.
"Can we stop for a second?" I asked.
"Don't think about it; just picture the powder at the top," he said, not looking back again.
Eventually we would be off this goddamn mountain, I told myself. For six months, since he hurt his knee wakeboarding, Josh had been talking about hiking Big Mountain before the lifts opened. Getting to the top would be the easy part, he would say.
"Have you ever boarded through a mine field," he asked me yesterday, looking out the front window at the fog surrounding the mountain. "It's like BOOM, gigantic rock, BAM, ice boulder, AAAA, crevasse - a fucking rush, dude."
Kayaking Flathead River during the spring runoff, windsurfing the 6-foot chop of the Columbia Gorge, wakeboarding with a 12-foot boom, snow camping in Jewel Basin, Josh did it all.
"Love isn't what it's about, baby," he said to me this morning in the car on our way up. "Marriage, kids, jobs, all for sellouts. No offense, Jane, but I'm all about living, you know, feeling life without having all that obligation shit."
Occasionally he was sweet and caring, like when he was laid up for a week in traction after is hang-gliding accident.
"Put yourself in my position, baby," he said when I asked him if he could change his Big Mountain trip to the following weekend so we could go to my parents' 40th reunion party.
Quitting was an option, I told myself as I continued picking up my heavy boots and putting them down again, trying to stay in Josh's tracks, but struggling to match his long strides. Recently I've wondered about thrill seekers, especially after spoon-feeding Josh for two weeks through his wired jaw. Something must be missing in their lives, like drug addicts trying to replace a lost father or gamblers looking for love in the form of money outside their empty marriages. The truth was, I realized as my snowboard rapped me on the back of the head step after step, I wasn't missing anything important enough to explain my addiction to Josh.
Using my board as a sled, I placed a foot on either side for steering and brakes and navigated the rocky ice terrain down the south face of Big Mountain.
"Very funny, Jane," he called after me when he heard my board grinding over the late fall snow crust. "What're you going to do, wait in the car?"
X-games can keep you, I thought. Yelling over my shoulder, "Find your own ride," I made my way down the treacherous face alone. Zigzagging slowly around the boulders, I imagined my parents in their nice clothes, enjoying the people they loved, and I saw myself toasting them with respect.

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Love the one you're with.


Blogger Arabella said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thanks for your nice comment on my blog. :)

You're an amazing writer. Such an assignment seems completely daunting to me.

Are you familiar with Sudden Fiction?


This story reminded me of the genre.

2/14/2006 10:20 AM  
Blogger The Gradual Gardener said...

That was great! I was waiting to see how you'd pull off "Z".

Only criticism, and I shouldn't even being saying this seeing as I'm the world's worst speller...I'm pretty sure your snowboard rapped you on the back of your head. Although a snowboard rape would be interesting...

OK, I'll go get my mind out of the gutter now!

2/14/2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

F'n awesome! I'm in amazement at how well that flowed, considering the A-Z requirements. I would have gotten stuck. You write beautifully. More, more!

2/14/2006 10:59 AM  
Blogger Mignon said...

Oooh, yeah, GG. That's not quite right. Fixing it right now... And don't worry about couching any criticism you have. I will not judge. Especially if it's grammar, spelling, or punctuation!

Arabella, we did a lot of short-short stories in the writing classes I took, and I love that genre. I'd never heard it referred to as sudden fiction. I can't wait to read the whole page (probably won't be able to until tonight - Madeleine just came in and said she and Pooey are having a sword fight and she's holding a huge pokey stick - oh - Pooey is Quinn).

Thanks guys!

2/14/2006 11:00 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

Dude, that was awesome! I got such a clear mental image of the kind personality Josh was; you created his character so well in such a little piece.

2/14/2006 11:01 AM  
Anonymous 1 of 2 Dads in DD said...

When you get that Pull It Surprise will you please let me know just what the surprise is?

Seriously... about the writing...


2/14/2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I loved it! And, I am the world's worst critic. What made it great was the visual of the mountains and the hard ground and rocks and most of this came through via dialogue. Much better than you just telling us what happened. Let the characters tell it! Super job! Mommy's Helper hurry so Mignon can write more!

2/14/2006 12:41 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

htdDude, where's the J sentence? Between Josh and Jane and Jewel basin and the word "just," it's a no-brainer. But you forgot the alphabet. You know what you should do? You should ask your daughter to help you remember the alphabet. I bet she could help you immeasurably. [/bitchy snark]

I couldn't resist, Mignon!

2/14/2006 3:15 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

(Sorry—that htd came from the word-verification thing.)

2/14/2006 3:17 PM  
Blogger Mignon said...

htd back at you (high time for a drink?). And I can't believe I left that out! It made it through several revisions and was graded by my professor and still I didn't notice.

Any suggestions for a 'j' sentence anyone?

2/14/2006 4:19 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

That was a nice piece of writing. Sharp and edgy like the people and events you were describing. I really could picture the action too. Kudos! And happy V-Day too. :-)

2/14/2006 6:18 PM  
Blogger Brooke said...


Please go write that book...we need it.

2/14/2006 7:39 PM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...


2/14/2006 9:07 PM  
Anonymous LetterB said...

J sentence suggestion: take the last clause: "Josh did it all" and make it a declarative sentence before "Kayaking" Voila!

2/14/2006 9:21 PM  
Blogger Esereth said...

It seems like an excercise like that is designed to force writers to sound infantile. But you didn't. You sounded good.

Grease those gears, hon.

2/14/2006 9:40 PM  
Blogger Jaye Wells said...

Nice! What a great exercise idea. Might be a good thing to tuck in my mental rolodex for time when I am feeling stumped. Thanks for sharing your writing with us.


2/15/2006 6:06 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

So creative Mignon. And the story flowed really well. I hope you'll share more of your writing exercises.

2/15/2006 6:57 AM  

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