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