Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The ditz gets it done

This is from my oldest WIP, The ditz gets it done, I actually have a completed first draft of this, but it's been through so many different incarnations, I barely recongnize some of them.
this is from the first one. I'd love to know what you think.

Pageants as an institution were dying a slow, slow death. It was up the few ceremonies that had survived the massive overhaul of ‘Scholarship Programs’, to keep the tradition alive. Grace and Marilyn were practically buzzing with anticipation, if the pageant went well this year it would mean years and years of sponsorships and word of mouth. I was feeling a bit of the nervousness myself even though I really had nothing to lose. It wasn’t the unsteady feeling of actually competing in the pageant, it was all the things I had forgotten in my few years absence. I liked the energy and the seriousness of the girls. They really, really wanted to win, for lots of reasons. I had wanted to win for my Mother, but a great deal of these girls wanted the notoriety or the feeling of a crown on your head. It is a nice feeling, but I had only wanted the approval of my Mother, which proved more elusive than the holy grail. I thought about all the fun I’d had competing when I was young. Cassie would go with us, and she cut her teeth taking photos taking candid shots of me while I would get ready or when I was being crowned. As I got older, the stakes got higher and the people got more and more businesslike about winning.
“Hey, Ellie, do you remember me?” A man who is vaguely familiar snaps me out of my thoughts. I smile automatically, “No, I’m so sorry, I just can’t place you.”
The man’s face falls and I feel just a teensy bit guilty, but I’ve met so many people in the last hours, not to mention all the people I’d met during my reign and my years on ‘the circuit.’
“Roger Angel, you know, Vanessa’s brother.” It clicks into place suddenly, and I smile again, this time genuinely. Vanessa Angel had been almost as good a friend as Cassie was. She was a diehard pageant girl from a diehard family. Her two older sisters had both been Queens in 1996 and 2001, it was almost assumed that Vanessa would win the year we finally had our chance, and it was still considered a major upset that I won. As a matter of fact, when I had my major foot in mouth moment, Vanessa’s mother, who could put my mother to shame in the fierceness department, petitioned the owners and the board of pageants to dethrone me.
I had no problem with Vanessa even though her mother and mine were sworn enemies, she was more than gracious when I won, even helping me with appearances in her hometown and hosting a welcome home MAR party when I was home finally.
“Of course, Of course how is Vanessa?” I ask, studying Roger, who looks like his sister from the dark hair to the mile long lashes.
“Oh, she’s fine, you know she’s working in California now, doing the news.”
“Well, that was always her dream, wasn’t it?” I ask, laughing, thinking of all the times I’d watch Vanessa mimic Meredith Vierra or Katie Couric.
“It sure was, and she got started as soon as she could, I’m pretty sure she was fine with not winning, you know.” He says, patting my arm. I grin again, “So what in the world are you doing here?”
“Well, Mother finally finagled a seat on the board and I work for the network carrying the telecast.” He responds.
“Ah, I see.”
“Well, it’s been great to see you, but I don’t want my Mother to hang me for talking to you.”
I laugh at his little joke, but whisper, “Is she still mad?” I really wonder how I got this job if she was still bitter about Vanessa.
“I don’t think so, but I don’t want all these pretty ladies to get jealous.” He says, his breath warm on my cheek. I take a step back to clear my head. The combination of Vegas and whatever cologne Roger is wearing makes my vision swim. He takes my elbow, “Are you OK?”
“Yes, I’m fine, I just need to sit for a minute.” I was just happy that I’d had a reaction to a man other than Stephen. He leads me over to the table and tells me about his nieces and nephews, as he gingerly lowers me into the plush conference room chair, I hear a tight voice behind him, “Well, I see someone works just as fast as she used to.” Vanessa and Roger’s mother states, and I see Roger go stiff at the sound of her voice. My eyes widen as the woman I’d secretly referred to as ‘Cruella’ steps out from the shadow of her son.
“Ellie.” She says, extending her hand. The small, long fingers are dripping with rings and I take the limp hand in mine as Roger smiles at me weakly. “ While I’m trying to formulate something to say, we’re interrupted by a commotion on the other side of the room. There is a scream and a crash as a disheveled Miss Michigan clambers into the room.
“She was just, oh my god, she’s…I only left her alone for just a minute or two….” She babbles, as everyone rushes towards her. I catch sight of her through the crowd, she’s crying and still trying to talk. Like everyone else I surged towards her, but stop dead when I catch sight of her mint green dress, a lovely summer weight shift, but completely ruined. It was covered in blood.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Ten minute windows!

Ok, so I literally have about ten minutes until I have my next task, job, appointment, or general thing-to-do, and in a (what I consider) a valiant effort, I will do a ten minute blog.
If you know me, I'm sure you're laughing....
I can't even tell a joke in ten minutes, but here we go.

Funny things that happened this week that I'd like to share.
1. Marley (our community property dog) has realized that if she barks, we come a runnin', so she employees this tack when she's hungry, bored, playful.
soon, it's going to be the doggie that barked wolf and she'll really need us...well, you get the point.
2. The first part of this months calender looks like the wipe-off marker bled all over while the end of the month is blissfully free.
so far.
3. We finally cut Leesy's hair.
Poor, Poor Ashley.
4. And shaved Brady's head. he looks a little like Natural Born killer Baby.
(which is not an insult..that's Brad Pitt in that movie right?)
5. I'm usually very good with names, but at my New JOB there are like FIVE LEE's, so I'm standing at the bread oven screaming LEE! at the top of my lungs when some dude with creative facial hair (uh, ADAM, I THINK) says, That's Brittany (of which there are also about four)..
Should OUTBACK implement nametags? METHINKs YES.
6. I didn't vote in the primary, but did you hear that HILARY won Cleveland County?

OK< I'm out.
Have a great week!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The left pt 2.

This statement, along with so many he’s made through our five year courtship and ten year marriage strengthened my trust in him. He’d watched his Mom self destruct after his Dad left, just as I had watch my beautiful, intelligent father fold inside of himself for over a year. We were like mirror images of the same person. Even into the early years of our marriage we were both highly protective of our parents. We didn’t dare say anything derogatory or unsavory about the wronged half of our parental duos.
We acknowledged this to each other laughingly, the oldest of our siblings, he had two and I had one, we felt a responsibility than was unnecessary but part of us nonetheless. Abruptly we stopped this when we had our daughter. We had someone else to protect. Not only Sadie, but ourselves.
We decided together to put our pasts behind us. Sadie wouldn’t know how insecure we were, Sadie would only know how much we loved each other and her. Sadie would never watch a car drive away knowing it might not come back for weeks or months at a time. Sadie would never, ever know the pain we had both suffered. Without uttering a word, we both agreed to this. I would do anything, anything to not have my child wake up crying in the middle of the night because of me.
I didn’t count on stretching this promise to its limit, and watching it rebound in my face like a rubber band. I didn’t count on Sean changing his mind. I didn’t count on it, I didn’t expect it, and I certainly didn’t know how to deal with it. Sometimes, when you are one of the left, you can still become comfortable and complacent. Those are the times you have to watch out for.

I was making lasagna when my life changed. It’s funny how you remember things like that. The noodles were greasy in my hands as I packed them into a casserole dish, while Sadie baked in her tiny tots kitchen to my left. When the phone rang, I considered screening, but as rare as sales calls were, I took my chances.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Carmen Silver checked her rearview mirror once, then twice. No one was following her, thank god. She relaxed in small increments. She looked at her daughter sleeping soundly in the backseat and sighed happily, maybe just maybe they would make it this time. Maybe she would get far enough away so that she’d never be found. She knew there were ways to change your name, start over. Carmen was counting on some good luck and prayer to carry her through. Her stomach rolled uneasily as a light rain started to fall. Her mind raced with all she’d need to do. She should have thought through this a little more. She tapped lightly on the brake; her back tires slid and finally caught the rain slick road. Carmen took a deep breath to calm herself. I’m going to be fine, she thought, I am going to be OK.
The mountain roads were hazardous under the best of conditions, but in the rain or snow they were almost impossible. Carmen knew if she could just get off the mountain she would be home free. Suddenly, her vision went wickedly blurry. She gasped. The sheen of lights on the road caused her head to ache. She squinted and rubbed at her face. The road danced in front of her and instinct kicked in. Carmen slammed on the brake, and the car slid endlessly towards the shoulder and eventual drop off. She gulped air and looked back at the baby. Oh no oh God please no no no no no. Knowing from her early bible lessons that God would listen any time, she started to pray frantically. Making deals with God in the middle of the night was Carmen’s special talent. She promised she’d never drink again. She promised she would call her Mom, but most of all she promised Dale would never hit her baby again. The car stopped, but Carmen’s vision continued to ebb and swim in front of her. Blinking and crying she fought to regain control of the situation, but panic was getting the better of her now. If Dale caught up to them, it was over. Light sliced through the windshield and a horn blared. Just as quickly as the silence had started it ended. The car lifted and lurched towards the edge of the road and began to roll. Carmen prayed again, sickly, as Megan began to cry in the backseat. Not my baby, Lord, please not her.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Left

This is a WIP

I have heard that divorce is nothing. I have heard that it’s just a matter of words on paper. It’s an easy way out in a world of drive-thru decisions. I know better. I know that it matters, I know because it mattered so much to me when I was seven going on eight that my throat hurt with the effort of not saying the things I wanted to say to my Mom or to my Dad. I know that divorce is a living breathing entity that lives on, far beyond the paper it’s written on. It fills the room the way smoke can when the windows are closed. It has a taste, for me it was molasses mixed with butter, the sweet burnt smell that will forever make me melancholy. For my brother it was bacon. We both ate looking at the table at our Grandmothers house, listening to people talk as if we weren’t there or couldn’t comprehend what they were saying.
For my husband the taste was Juicy Fruit gum, the gum his mother passed him over the airplane seats as they moved from Michigan to Georgia in one weekend. He won’t chew it to this day. Divorce has a smell, as well, a bitter desperate smell that reminds you of cheap bars that stand alone next to neon blinking hotels.
You can argue that it’s petty to blame your parents for your hardships. I would tend to agree. I am generally inclined to agree. I think that past a certain age, get over it, and move on. I know that things can be bad; I know one of the worse things you can see are your parents kissing someone else for the first time. I know that seeing them as people when you are too young to actually think of them in these terms is confusing and maturing to say the least.
Sean and I came from similar places of pain and so I thought we were on the same page. I thought he knew and agreed to my terms of living. I absolutely refused to be blindsided by anything.
I had laid down the law in the early days of our relationship. I wasn’t one to shy away from what I considered to be an essential part of me. We were munching pizza in the common room of our dorm, lying end to end on an enormous faded and smelly couch. He was absentmindedly rubbing my bare foot with one hand as we discussed random things. When the subject of parents came up, I resisted the urge to sit up. The subject made me so tense I tossed my unfinished pizza back into the box.
“My Mom left when I was in kindergarten.” I said, looking at him to gauge his reaction.
“Oh, well, My Mom and Dad split when I was ten or so.” He stopped rubbing my foot and stopped inhaling the pizza, I noticed, though he didn’t put it down.
We were both silent for a minute and I thought about how best to say what I was thinking. I should say what Clara, my roommate and current best friend, had discussed ad naseum. Which was that when a parent leaves, even if they are replaced you are then and always one of the ‘left.’ As in, one of the left behind. It makes you sketchy and suspicious for the rest of your life, you can’t help it. It’s Sean who breaks the silence.
“Did your Dad remarry?” he asked, skating lightly into the sensitive discussion.
“He did.” I answer. “When I was fifteen, she’s still around, but...” I pause, and Sean hears what is in my silence.
“But you remind her of your Mom and the life her current husband had before you were around?”
It shocked me that he was so insightful, but as tears pricked my eyes I thought about the pain still lodged in my chest. I thought about how it might always be this way. I might always wonder why I was a girl my Mom didn’t want. “I can’t do it. I could never divorce. I won’t do it to my kids.” I proclaimed rather vehemently for a nineteen year old who three years earlier had decreed she didn’t want children, she never would. Sean simply looked at me. A gorgeous boy on the cusp of man hood, his green eyes shiny from his own unshed tears and nodded. “I know you won’t