Friday, November 9, 2012

False Start Friday

Suze over at Subliminal Coffee has started a new event, False Starts Friday.  The idea is everyone posts the beginning snip of writing that didn't go anywhere.  I think most people have a few of these on their computers and it's fun to pull them out.  Go here for the linkey list of others participating and it's not too late to sign up! 

So, here's one of my starts that didn't go anywhere. It's obviously not edited but have fun. 




I had two mother figures in my life.  Unfortunately, neither of them were my mother.  Don’t get me wrong, mother was there, gliding in and out of the house between charities, spa treatments, and self improvement.  She often told me that by making herself a better person she would be a better mother.  I could have told her to be a better mother she had to be a mother in the first place.  But I didn’t.  For one if she had hung around more it would have made my life much more uncomfortable. 
Not that she was mean or nosy.  We just didn’t get along.  I always felt awkward and uncomfortable around her.  Just as I felt when I got older and had to start attending charities and spas with her.  She never could understand why I wasn’t interested.  I like the ideas of her charities, but the reality was a bunch of rich women trying to buy the title of “most generous”.  And all of the causes were rich people causes.  They wanted to help( less helpful charities here)  I tried to explain that there were children without food, let alone a computer or cell phone, but they didn’t listen. 
So every month I would go with mother to another dinner or extravaganza.  Until I had spilled so much food or tripped over so many decorations that cleaning and rental costs were taking too much away from the donations.  So mother stopped taking me. 
I was happy with that.  All I wanted was to curl up in my window seat, which was a rather plush and comfortable thing with lots of pillows, and read.  I read everything I could get my hands on.  As a child I had bribed my nanny to bring me any book she could.  I had to pay her my allowance to do it.  She was scared my mother would find out and she’d be fired.  Mother had very strict ideas of what a lady should read.  I tried to explain that mother wouldn’t fire her.  She would give me a lecture.  Like she always did when I did something she didn’t like. 
We would go into the den so she could sit on a leather recliner.  Not that she ever relaxed in it.  I would be told to sit on the upright wooden chair and she would talk about deceit or lying, insensitivity or competence.  Talking on and on about how disappointed she was in me while I curled smaller and smaller into myself, saying yes ma’am and no ma’am all the while feeling no bigger than a fly.  Finally she would say, but you won’t do that again will you?  And I would agree to anything, including letting her name all my children with horrible names like Maxmillion or Ermintrude just to get away from the self loathing. 
It seemed that every time we talked she was telling me how I should be different some way.  She thought she was being a good mother, teaching her daughter.  But that’s why I never shared news with her, never shared my life.  When I was little someone else filled that role.  





29 comments:

  1. I love your first paragraph. It made me laugh. :D

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  2. I'm not sure if this is autobiographical or just fiction written in first person, but either way, I really like it. Good stuff. Maybe it deserves another shot at completion? Anyhow, thanks for posting.

    Hey, I see you live in Georgia, too. How 'bout that? Now I guess I have no choice but to sign on as a follower. (HA!)

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    1. Definitely NOT autobiographical. I don't really like writing in first person so that may be one reason this didn't go anywhere.

      Always glad to meet another Georgia writer!

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  3. But, Sara, it's such a _good_ voice! Then, as you know, I _love_ first person.

    My false starts are all SF that have way too ambitious science bits that are far above my level of understanding. LOL!

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    1. Thanks. Her voice was very strong for this segment. Then she went back to hiding with her books. I Don't even remember how long ago this was.

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  4. Sara, that last line leaves me curious!

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    1. Is FSF nudging you in that direction? Or, like me, do you have many more false starts to share? :)

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    2. I do have more false starts to share. Or false middles since I don't always begin at the beginning.

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  5. I think this should have another chance to fly! ^_^

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    1. Maybe someday. I didn't delete it after all so there's always a chance I'll discover it again.

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  6. Yes, I absolutely think there is some potential here. The character is sympathetic, and the relationship with her mother has a lot of tension and drama and possibilities for development.

    As just a thought, I do think maybe changing or holding off on the opening line might be an idea, because as I was reading, I did keep wondering about who the mother figures were. So maybe an opening line that instead emphasizes the mother might work better since that's where the scene focuses?

    And the scene is all backstory/history, which can be less effective than 'live' events. I'm not sure where you were thinking about what would happen with the narrator -- would maybe setting the story back when she was a girl and making that the 'present' work? Or instead, perhaps open with something where the narrator is acting in the present and then trickle in the backstory of the history with the mother. Maybe Mom is now in the hospital, or dying, or getting remarried, or something in the present that then gets the character reflecting about the past?

    Just some thought-starters...

    But yeah -- definitely think this is worth blowing the dust off and revisiting. Nice work.

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    1. Thanks for you suggestions Chris. I'll definitely keep your ideas with the story in case I ever choose to do more of it. I know it's a lot of telling but so far that's all I've got. I always start with telling. :)

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  7. I could have believed this was autobiographical- for someone who doesn't like first person narration, there was a real flow here. And nice to have the intrigue of wondering who the mother figures were.

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    1. Thanks Lily! That part flowed up really well but then I never met the other characters. They're probably hanging out somewhere in there, I'll just have to go find them.

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  8. Good backstory for some character. Maybe a woman who's wild and wacky ... and bound and determined NOT to be her mother :)

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    1. Thanks Carol, right now it's wide open.

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  9. This was an interesting read. I too am curious about that last line.

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  10. Gosh this character has incredible voice. Maybe she'll find new life in another setting!

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    1. It's possible. That's why it's still hanging around instead of in the garbage.

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  11. That's an interesting beginning! Oh, how many false starts I have... Hmm, maybe I'll share one in a future blog post...

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    1. You should sign up and share some on fridays. It's an easy post to prepare early.

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  12. I like it. I can tell because I want to know more. Maybe you can use this woman for an upcoming book. I erase my bad starts almost immediately, or at least I think I have. I can't find any on my computer. There's a story there somewhere.

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    1. I have a folder where I jot down paragrpahs, character sketches or bit like this that appear out of nowhere. I may not have time to work on it right then but I put it in the folder and someday it may turn into something. Or not. This one came to me in the shower.

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  13. Great voice in this piece. It flows quite smoothly and almost feels autobiographical... that last line hints at so much possibilities...

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