Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Book I'm Not Writing (yes, I stole your title, Bradley)

Russian Egg

What could it hurt to write some fiction? A scene here and there? Besides risking a little embarrassment because it's not my best suit, what could it hurt? I remember Julia (sorry my anti-Julia friend) saying that any one of us could write a novel just because. Just for the heck of it. I'm anyone, aren't I? Not a novelist by any means. But someone who wants to play...


The first thing she noticed were his fingers. Or maybe his fingernails. They were cropped to the tip, ridged and beaten. Yet despite their obvious wear, for a shoemaker’s nails, they seemed remarkably clean. This is the first thing she noticed.

The second thing Rachel noticed was the way he looked at her when he put the bag containing Edward’s shoes on the counter. It was not an unusual look by any means, and not too long. It was simply a flicker across black, like something remembered. Then it was gone.

She fumbled through her worn leather purse to gather the appropriate payment, which she placed on the counter in exchange for the paper bag containing Edward’s shoes. The bag crinkled and muttered as she gathered it against her chest, and she glanced at the wall of shoes behind the shoemaker. So many shoes stacked in little openings, like orphans awaiting adoption. Brown and black, grey and navy, and a pair of red shoes off to the side. Who did they all belong to, she wondered. Then she blinked and said, "Well, thank you, Mr. Delano."

The transaction complete, and thoughts of what Edward should need for lunch beginning to crowd in, she walked out into the day. Elm shadows played at her feet, gray against her gray flats. Her shoes were rough at the toe, perhaps because she sometimes scuffed the ground when she got distracted looking at this or that sparrow. Who knows why Rachel’s shoes were actually in need of repair. It could have been any number of reasons—their age, her gait, the wrong leather, maybe even that she never polished them. But she suddenly understood what needed to be done. She would wait, though, for three Saturdays. And then she would go.


I think it is good for me to write in arenas where I'm a beginner. It reminds me how tentative a person can feel when putting his words out there for the world to see. It reminds me to be very encouraging, accepting, and careful when I work with new or shy writers. I think it is good to write something I have no plans of writing... to simply play.

(As an aside, my older daughter just gave me some feedback: "Well, it's not very bad." Yes sirree. This is definitely embarrassing. :)

Egg in the Window photo, by L.L. Barkat. Apologies to Bradley J. Moore for stealing his title. :)

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Anonymous Stephie Goldfish said...

L.L. this is great. I loved the detail and the subtle symbolism, like the sparrow and the red shoes. I wanted to keep reading this story. Thanks for this little treat this morning. :)

8:32 AM  
Blogger Cassandra Frear said...

Always good to grow. I've been doing this, too.

8:38 AM  
Anonymous Lyla Lindquist said...

Come now, she said that after you first said "it is very bad," right? And you just got messed up with where you added the italics.

Ask her. What she said was was more like this: "It's not very bad."

Right? :)

11:19 AM  
Blogger A Simple Country Girl said...

I don't think this will work. I like to devour my fiction. In fact I am going on 3 1/2 hours of sleep due to a book encounter last night (and this morning). If you write fiction, I will take way too long reading and re-reading your poetic prose. It is true, I like to eat your stuff, but s-l-o-w-e-r than how I gulp fiction.

That having been said, don't let my issues interfere with your play. Please.


11:20 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I think this is just grand! But of course I already know that anything you do you do well. I love the way you step out, lady.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Glynn said...

You did not steal Brad's title. You simply creatively borrowed it. But you did give him credit, althought the correct form would have been: Headline by Bradley Moore, aka Shrinking Camel. Used with impunity.

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Maureen said...

Gotta understand the lingo, you know? "Bad" as "Baaaaaad" can really mean it's good. 'Course it lacks that extension I've heard my only's friends use when they mean it that way. Like the time not so long ago they all agreed one of my poems was "Really, bad...!"

Then there's the emphasis as in "not bad, not bad at all", meaning it's promising, a very good start.

"Not very bad" with emphasis on "very" means it's bad but not enough to be worried yet.

When the emphasis is on "Not" as in "Not bad" it's getting there, encouraging.

We need to know tone of voice, emphasis, inflection, whether she's had lunch before or after she's read the first chapter....

You get the gist or the jest, I'm sure.

Keep writing. You've got a built-in audience. And we're all always game.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Bradley J. Moore said...

You do NOT sound like a beginner. This is sophisticated, colorful, engaging - reminds me of Lori Moore's writing. Now you have to keep going!

(and about that title... I'm simply flattered!)

5:29 AM  
Blogger Charity Singleton said...

I'm with Bradley . . . you must keep going. I have to know what happens in three weeks!

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl Smith said...

I love how you play - in the yard, ballet, fiction. All of it worthy of consumption by others. Well, I can't exactly speak for your ballet, but I would love to see you perform. Your passion is what makes it all beauty.

And I, too, want to know more about those shoes and the next drop off. The man in my shoe repair store is old and hairy. I'm sure nothing so exciting ever happens there, though he does have lovely grandbabies there on occasion.

12:59 AM  
Blogger deb said...

you go girl.
scuffed shoes,
non writer of fiction.

6:49 PM  

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